Chapter III
Preliminary Operations and The Approach

Map 2
Invasion of Mindoro
15 December 1944-31 January 1945

Airfields on Mindoro

Getting to the Objective

The first step of the Luzon Campaign involved the seizure and development of air base sites in southwestern Mindoro in order to provide land-based air cover for convoys moving toward Lingayen Gulf and to permit the Allied Air Forces to broaden the base of its attack against Japanese air power on Luzon. Mindoro is none too pleasant a place. An ovoid about half the size of New Jersey, the island is very mountainous though it has some coastal plains along the east, northeast, and southwest shores. Throughout much of Mindoro rain is a daily occurrence even in the "dry" season. Humidity is high, the climate enervating, and malaria and other tropical diseases prevalent. Third-ranking in size among the Philippines, Mindoro is for the most part undeveloped and has fewer natural resources and less favorable terrain than many of the other islands.

The best airfield sites, MacArthur's planners knew, were located in the northeast, but that section of the island has poor flying weather and was dangerously close to Japanese air concentrations on Luzon. Therefore, the planners elected to secure a beachhead and airfield sites near San Jose, in the southwest corner.(Map 2) Mangarin Bay, Mindoro's best anchorage, lay nearby.1

The Allies accurately estimated that the Japanese garrison on Mindoro numbered some 1,000 troops. The men were under the control of the Japanese 8th Division on Luzon, but the combat troops--two provisional infantry companies--came from the 105th Division, likewise on Luzon. Also present were about 200 survivors of ships sunk off Mindoro on the way to Leyte, some Japanese Army Air Force engineers, ground crews of a couple of Japanese Naval Air Service units, and a handful of other service troops. The 8th Division organized a Marauding Unit of 110 troops and sent it from Luzon to northern Mindoro shortly after 15 December, or U-day as the Mindoro target date was known. The reinforcements did nothing to put the Japanese on Mindoro in position to defend the island against the force MacArthur had sent.2

MacArthur assigned responsibility for the operation to General Krueger's Sixth Army, supported by the Allied Air and Naval Forces. Krueger, in turn, delegated the job to an especially created headquarters designated the Western


Visayan Task Force, and placed this unit under Brig. Gen. William C, Dunckel. The principal combat components of the force were the 19th Regimental Combat Team of the 24th Division and the separate 503d Parachute RCT. Scheduled to jump at Mindoro, the 503d was reassigned to the task of making an amphibious landing abreast of the 19th RCT when planners found that not enough space was available on Leyte to accommodate the troop-carrying aircraft necessary to lift the parachutists.

Other combat components of the Western Visayan Task Force included the 3d Battalion of the 21st Infantry of the 24th Division, which was to execute feinting operations against southern Luzon from Mindoro; an antiaircraft artillery group; and an engineer boat and shore regiment. Since rapid construction of airfields was a primary mission, the task force included a large proportion of airfield engineers--four U.S. Army battalions and a Royal Australian Air Force works squadron--and other service troops. To help unload assault shipping at Mindoro, Krueger detailed 1,200 men from various X and XXIV Corps units on Leyte as stevedores. These men were to return to Leyte once their task was finished.3

Air support plans were similar to those for Luzon, albeit on a smaller scale, and included operations by Allied Naval Forces CVE's, the Allied Air Forces, the Seventh Air Force, Halsey's Third Fleet, and the B-29's. Land-based planes of the Fifth and Seventh Air Forces would neutralize Japanese fields from Manila south on Luzon; the Third Fleet's planes would cover the fields north of Manila. To accomplish its share in this program, the Third Fleet planned two series of strikes on Luzon, one from U minus 1 through U plus 1 and the other from U plus 4 through U plus 6.4

Admiral Kinkaid delegated command of the amphibious phase of the operation to Rear Adm. Arthur D. Struble, the commander of Task Group 78.3, the Mindoro Attack Group. Cruisers and destroyers of Task Group 77.3 (the Mindoro Close Covering Group) together with CVE's, old battleships, cruisers, and destroyers of Task Group 77.12 (the Mindoro Heavy Covering and Carrier Group) would be in support.5

The supply plan was similar to that for the Lingayen invasion. The total force to be supplied at Mindoro included 12,000 ground combat troops, almost 6,000 ground service units, and approximately 9,500 Allied Air Forces troops. Aircraft would at first operate under control of the Fifth Air Force's 310th Bombardment Wing headquarters6 and planes were to be flying from Mindoro by U plus 5, when a strip was to be ready to accommodate one fighter group. Before the assault at Lingayen Gulf, engineers would expand the Mindoro


facilities to accommodate another fighter group, a light bomber group, a tactical reconnaissance squadron, and two commando fighter squadrons. Allied Naval Forces PT boats were to begin operations from Mindoro on U plus 1.7

The Western Visayan Task Force staged on the east coast of Leyte and departed Leyte Gulf on 12 December aboard the ships of Task Group 78.3.8 (See map, p. 20.) During the night of 12-13 December the convoys transited Surigao Strait, between Leyte and Mindanao, and headed westward into the Mindanao Sea, Task Group 77.12--the escort carriers--moving to the van. Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet carriers had left Ulithi, in the western Carolines, on the 11th and had started hitting targets in northern Luzon on the morning of the 14th.

Struble's forces steamed on through the Mindanao Sea unmolested until the afternoon of 13 December. Japanese Army and Navy planes had had the three groups under surveillance since 0900, but had not attacked pending receipt of information on the force's destination. In midafternoon ten Japanese Navy planes, including three designated as suicide bombers--the dread kamikazes--flew up from a field on Cebu and found the Allied force off the southeastern corner of Negros Island.

Unobserved by lookouts and undetected by radar, which nearby land masses blanketed, one kamikaze flew in low over the water and crashed with a mighty roar on the light cruiser Nashville, Admiral Struble's flagship. Combined explosions from the plane's bomb and ship's ammunition wrecked the flag bridge, the communications office, and the combat information center. Over 130 men were killed outright, including General Dunckel's chief of staff, the 310th Bombardment Wing's commander, Admiral Struble's chief of staff, and Task Group 78.3's communications and medical officers. The wounded, numbering about 190, included Dunckel, who was painfully but not seriously injured and burned.

Struble and Dunckel quickly transferred to the destroyer Dashiell, which also took aboard some of the members of both officers' staffs. The rest of the staffs and the wounded sailed back to Leyte on the Nashville, protected by the destroyer Stanly. Later in the afternoon another kamikaze so damaged the destroyer Haraden that it, too, had to return to Leyte. Casualties aboard the Haraden were approximately 15 killed and 25 wounded.


The Japanese, having decided that Panay, Cebu, or Negros would be the target of the Allied invasion force, had ambitious plans for renewing air attacks on the 14th, but few materialized. The Japanese wasted too much time looking for the convoy off Panay and Negros, and were diverted by Allied Naval Forces movements off the west coast of Leyte, movements that concerned resupply of Sixth Army units on Leyte. Meanwhile, Halsey's Third Fleet planes kept the Japanese air garrison on Luzon occupied, and during the day Struble's CVE-based planes knocked down about thirty Japanese aircraft before they could close with the Mindoro-bound force.

On the morning of the 15th, as the Allied groups started moving in to the Mindoro beaches, 25 Japanese planes from the Clark Field center on Luzon and 12 to 15 from the Davao area of southeastern Mindanao attempted to resume the attack. Struck by Third Fleet aircraft even before they got off the ground, many of the Luzon-based planes never reached the Mindoro area. Allied Air Forces P-38's (which arrived over Mindoro from Leyte about 0800 to assume the air cover duties of the CVE's), and CVE-based planes still operating at Mindoro shot down eight of fifteen kamikazes that attacked shipping off the island on the 15th. Nonetheless, Japanese air operations during the day met with some success. Kamikazes so damaged two LST's (Landing Ships, Tank) that the Allied Naval Forces later had to sink them. Ammunition exploding aboard the LST's damaged the destroyer Moale as it tried to rescue survivors and fight fires. An LSM (Landing Ship, Medium), the destroyer Howorth, and the CVE Marcus Island received lesser damage from kamikazes, but continued operations.9 Casualties totaled 7 killed and about 20 wounded.

In accordance with plans, the CVE's had started to withdraw upon the arrival of Allied Air Forces land-based planes, but in midafternoon word came that weather conditions over eastern Leyte would prevent land-based aircraft from providing air cover the rest of the day. Task Group 77.12 thereupon slowed its speed and, late in the afternoon, returned to a support position off Mindoro in order to provide air cover on U plus 1.

Meanwhile, the 19th and 503d RCT's landed, and, despite a few harassing raids by Japanese aircraft, unloading proceeded far ahead of schedule. Admiral Struble was able to depart with the bulk of the ships of Task Group 78.3 at 1900, leaving Rear Adm. Russell S. Berkey of Task Group 77.3 in charge off Mindoro.

The next morning, 16 December, a slow tow convoy of small tankers, barges, and LCT's (Landing Craft, Tank), with accompanying destroyers, hove to off Mindoro, having suffered the loss of one small Army tanker sunk and a destroyer damaged by kamikazes on the way.10 Berkey's force left about 0700, and the CVE's resumed their withdrawal about 1100, when Allied Air Forces planes showed up from Leyte. Poor weather conditions again forced an early retirement of land-based aircraft, and CVE planes had to maintain some cover over Mindoro all day. The three echelons of Admiral Struble's force finally got back


to Leyte on the 17th with no further damage.

To the north, Halsey's planes had again struck Luzon on 16 December, and the carriers had started retiring eastward to refuel in preparation for the second series of attacks beginning on the 19th. Late on the morning of the 17th a vicious typhoon began lashing the Third Fleet and did not blow itself out until evening of the 18th. Continued bad weather forced Admiral Halsey to cancel the strikes scheduled for 19-21 December, and on the 21st the fleet retired to Ulithi to repair storm damage and start preparations for its operations in support of the Lingayen Gulf landings.

Through the 16th, Japanese air attacks had cost forces of the Southwest Pacific Area 2 LST's and 1 small Army tanker sunk; 1 light cruiser and 1 destroyer severely damaged; and 1 CVE, 3 destroyers, and 1 LSM slightly damaged. The Japanese had also inflicted almost 390 casualties--about 155 men killed and 235 wounded--the majority of them Allied Naval Forces personnel. The CVE's had lost 9 planes and Halsey's carriers had lost 27 to the Japanese. The typhoon through which the Third Fleet had sailed resulted in the loss of about 790 men. It also sank 3 destroyers, wrecked 200 planes, and damaged 28 ships, 9 so severely that they were out of action for weeks.

On the other hand, according to the claims of the Allied Air Forces, the Allied Naval Forces, and the Third Fleet, about 450 Japanese planes had been destroyed in the air or on the ground in the Philippines since the 1st of December. The Third Fleet claimed about 270 Japanese aircraft, Struble's CVE's got another 70, Allied Air Forces planes at least 80, ship-based and shore-based antiaircraft weapons 15, and approximately 15 more were destroyed during kamikaze attacks. Japanese air power in the Philippines had been literally decimated, and reinforcements had to be flown in from the home islands and Formosa. Finally, Admiral Halsey's planes had sunk 33 Japanese ships of various sizes and types in Luzon waters, while the Allied Naval Forces had destroyed a small freighter off Mindoro.

For the Allied Naval Forces, the Third Fleet, and the Japanese, the invasion of Mindoro had indeed been costly. Ashore on that island the story was far different. The landing was unopposed and through 16 December the Western Visayan Task Force suffered no casualties in ground operations.

The Air Build-up at Mindoro

The 19th and 503d RCT's began landing at 0730 on 15 December and by late afternoon had outposted a final beachhead line lying seven miles inland. Troops secured the San Jose airstrip, a prewar emergency landing field roughly five miles inland, against no opposition.11 Beach conditions were almost ideal, and an observer from the 2d Engineer Special Brigade, watching the unloading, was prompted to report that the "operation was really just a maneuver" for shore party units.12

Since expansion of the San Jose strip was not feasible, engineers quickly began surveys for a better site and soon found


one about three miles south of the field. By midafternoon the 1874th Engineer Aviation Battalion and No. 3 Airdrome Construction Squadron (RAAF) had begun work on the new site, ultimately called Hill Drome. The field was ready as scheduled on 20 December, on which day Fifth Air Force P-38's and P-61 night fighters began arriving; P-47's reached the field from Leyte three days later. Meanwhile, engineers began work on another strip called Ellmore Field, about two miles northwest of Hill Drome. This second field was ready for limited use on 23 December and for continuous dry-weather operations on the 28th, a week ahead of schedule.13

The first runway was barely operational in time to be of use in helping to turn back new Japanese counterattacks.14 On or about 20 December the Japanese Naval Air Service in the Philippines, which had executed the bulk of the attacks against Mindoro so far, was reinforced by some fifty planes flown in from Formosa, bringing its operational strength to about seventy-five planes at bases within easy range of Mindoro. With this force--augmented by a few Japanese Army Air Force planes--the Japanese renewed air attacks on 21 December,15 the day before ships of an Allied resupply convoy were scheduled to reach Mindoro. About twenty kamikazes attacked the convoy, so damaging two LST's that they later had to be abandoned, and inflicting lesser damage on two destroyers and a Liberty ship.16 The 3d Battalion, 21st Infantry, en route to Mindoro in this convoy lost 6 men killed and 32 wounded; U.S. Navy losses were about 70 men killed or wounded; the Japanese lost 7 planes in kamikaze attacks and 3 others to shipboard antiaircraft fire.

In the meantime the Japanese Southwestern Area Fleet, with headquarters at Manila, had organized a small surface striking force of two cruisers and six destroyers and had ordered it to Mindoro to bombard the Allied beachhead and sink whatever Allied shipping it could find unprotected in the area.17 The Japanese had no intention of making a major action out of this raid; the best they could hope for was to delay for a little Allied development of the Mindoro air base.

The striking force sortied from Camranh Bay, Indochina, about 1300 on 24 December and was discovered early the next day by Allied submarines operating in the South China Sea. Forewarned



by the submarines, Allied Naval Forces reconnaissance seaplanes began tracking the Japanese force, and about 1930 on the 26th reported that the vessels were within easy range of the Allied Air Forces' base at Mindoro. In preparation for the impending action, General Kenney had hurriedly reinforced the Mindoro air garrison, and 105 planes were ready to fly against the Japanese naval force--13 B-25's, 44 P-38's, 28 P-47's, and 20 P-40's.

Except for a few P-61's, which were searching for Japanese aircraft, none of the Mindoro-based planes was equipped for night operations. They therefore had to use running and landing lights to guide each other and to locate the Japanese ships sailing on toward Mindoro under cover of bad weather. Despite air opposition, about 2300 on the 26th the Japanese fleet units began to bombard the beachhead and airfield areas, where they caused little damage. After some forty minutes of such shelling, the Japanese vessels withdrew northwestward at high speed, still under attack by Allied Air Forces planes.

Offshore, the Japanese had sunk a Liberty ship and an Allied Naval Forces PT boat.18 The Allied Air Forces had lost 26 planes: 3 B-25's, 7 P-38's, 10 P-47's, and 6 P-40's. Many of these aircraft were not lost to Japanese action but crashed as they tried to find some place to land. The bombardment prevented landings at the Mindoro strips and many pilots, finding their planes running low


on fuel, headed through the darkness and heavy weather toward Leyte fields only to crash on the way. The Allied Air Forces--at first making somewhat larger claims19--had helped to sink one destroyer to which an Allied Naval Forces PT boat gave the coup de grâce. The Mindoro-based planes also severely damaged the weather decks and guns of the two cruisers and had not permitted any of the other Japanese ships to escape unscathed.

On 28 December Japanese aircraft resumed kamikaze and conventional attacks against Allied shipping at Mindoro and against shipping on the way to and from that island. From that date through the 4th of January 1945, the planes succeeded in sinking 3 Liberty ships, including one carrying air force ammunition; a tanker carrying aviation gasoline; two LST's, a destroyer, and two LCM's. Three other Liberty ships were so badly damaged that they had to be run aground to prevent sinking. For a time the loss of cargo of the Libertys and the tanker inhibited airfield construction and air operations at Mindoro. In addition to these sinkings or beachings, the Japanese also inflicted severe damage upon a Liberty ship, a destroyer, a PT tender, and two PT boats, while another destroyer, an LCI, a mine sweeper, and an oiler suffered lighter damage as direct or indirect results of kamikaze operations. Attacking the Mindoro airfields during the night of 2-3 January, Japanese planes destroyed 15 P-38's and 7 A-20's. During the period 28 December through 4 January, the Japanese lost some 50 aircraft in the Mindoro area. Thereafter, Japanese air strikes in the region virtually ceased; the Japanese were occupied with Allied convoys moving toward Luzon.

Ashore at Mindoro the Western Visayan Task Force, beginning on 19 December, instituted a series of patrol actions along the southern, western, and northwestern shores of Mindoro to hunt down Japanese stragglers, secure areas where the Japanese might land reinforcements from Luzon, and set up and protect radar stations and ground force observation posts, some of which were established on small offshore islands.20 Mindoro guerrillas guided and gave support to most of the Allied patrols and also played a large part in various mopping-up operations all over the island. While the 19th and 503d RCT's were thus spreading out, the rest of the 21st Infantry reached Mindoro to reinforce the beachhead. General Krueger, fearing possible Japanese reinforcement moves from Luzon, had dispatched the 21st to Mindoro just after the Japanese naval raid.

On 1 January control of the Western Visayan Task Force passed from the Sixth Army to Eichelberger's Eighth Army, which continued to mop up and patrol. By the end of January Western Visayan Task Force ground operations associated with the seizure and securing of the air base had cost 16 men killed, 71 wounded, and 4 missing, exclusive of the casualties resulting from Japanese air attacks. Total casualties for the Allied land, sea, and air forces of the Southwest


Pacific directly concerned with establishment of the southwestern Mindoro air base, including those from kamikaze operations, numbered about 475 men killed and 385 wounded. On Mindoro, the Japanese lost about 170 men killed and 15 taken prisoner. Japanese casualties in the air and naval counterattack operations are unknown.

Work continued apace at the Mindoro airfields throughout the period of the Japanese raids, and the facilities were greatly expanded.21 General MacArthur decided to add more medium bombers and fighters to the Mindoro air garrison for better support of operations on Luzon, and temporarily canceled plans to establish a base for troop carrier and cargo planes on Mindoro. At the same time, he directed the Allied Air Forces to construct heavy bomber fields on Mindoro from which to launch strikes against the southern Philippines, Formosa, and the northern Indies. Work began on the first of two bomber fields on 2 January, but neither was ready in time to provide support for the move to Luzon.

Nevertheless, a sizable air garrison existed on Mindoro by 9 January. Major Allied Air Forces units included 3 fighter groups, 2 medium bomber groups, 2 night fighter squadrons, 3 tactical reconnaissance squadrons, a photographic squadron, and an air-sea rescue squadron. While none of the units was up to strength in either planes or pilots, the total was stronger than the minimum General Kenney had deemed necessary for proper support of the Lingayen invasion.

Insofar as the invasion of Luzon was concerned, the principal value of the Mindoro operation was the establishment of the air bases. In addition, the island was used to good purpose to stage diversionary activities designed to focus Japanese attention on southern Luzon. Later in the campaign for the recapture of the Philippines, Mindoro became a staging base from which to mount many operations against smaller islands to the north, northeast, and east in order to make the water passages through the central Visayan Islands safe for small ships moving to Luzon. Larger operations for the recapture of major islands during the Southern Philippines Campaign were also staged from Mindoro.

By the time the Sixth Army was ashore on Luzon, it had become obvious that, whatever the cost, the establishment of an air base at southwestern Mindoro had been well worth the effort. The value of the fields was proved time and time again as Mindoro-based planes interdicted Japanese communications on Luzon, struck Japanese shipping in Philippine waters, provided cover for convoys moving to Luzon, and flew direct support missions for ground forces on the latter island. The support value of the base would be enhanced during operations in the Southern Philippines Campaign and, once the heavy bomber strips were ready, by many indirect strategic support missions.

It seems safe to assume that without the Mindoro airfields, MacArthur would not have been able to move to Luzon when he did. Certainly, without those fields his forces would have found the


invasion of Luzon, and postassault operations as well, considerably more hazardous and difficult.

Diversionary Activities

The Southwest Pacific's diversionary operations were divided into three phases. First, Dunckel's Western Visayan Task Force would seize northeastern Mindoro and Marinduque Island, thirty miles to the east, in an attempt to make the Japanese believe that the two areas would be developed as staging bases for an invasion of southern Luzon. Second, a series of minor naval demonstrations, simulated landings, dummy parachute drops, and radio and radar deception measures would be executed at various points along the south coast of Luzon. Third, south Luzon guerrillas would co-operate with the Allied Air Forces and the Palau-based Seventh Air Force in destroying railroads, bridges, highways, wire communications, and Japanese supply installations throughout southern Luzon.22 The Allies also carried out a Pacific-wide deception program to make the Japanese believe that the Formosa-Amoy area, rather than Luzon, would be the next major Allied target after Leyte.23

The Western Visayan Task Force's share in the program got under way on 1 January when the 21st Infantry, from its base in southwestern Mindoro, began clearing out northeastern Mindoro, a job that the regiment did not complete until almost the end of the month. By that time the Japanese on the island were no longer a threat. Some 135 Japanese were killed in northeastern Mindoro--at least 50 of them by guerrillas under General Dunckel's control--and the rest of the garrison of some 300 Japanese originally stationed in the area fled to the mountainous interior. The 21st Infantry lost but 1 man killed and 7 wounded. A company of the 21st Infantry secured Marinduque Island during the week ending 11 January, guerrillas having previously cleaned out all but one small pocket of Japanese on the island.24

Little information is available concerning guerrilla sabotage operations in southern Luzon, and it is impossible to allocate credit for destruction as between the guerrillas and the air commands. Suffice it to say that since there was considerable difficulty getting demolition supplies into guerrilla hands, the sabotage was probably not as extensive as hoped. Very few of the minor naval and aerial demonstrations were executed before the Lingayen invasion because the necessary planes and small naval vessels could not be diverted to the task in the face of the Japanese aerial counterattacks at Mindoro and Luzon.25 In brief.


none of the Southwest Pacific's local diversions took place as originally planned. On the other hand, the northeastern Mindoro and Marinduque Island operations succeeded in liberating more Filipinos, helped to clear the Visayan Passages, and secured the north coast of Mindoro against Japanese reinforcement movements. The effects of the Pacific-wide program are unknown.

By the time the deception value of the Southwest Pacific's diversions could have been realized, the Japanese on Luzon well knew where the main landings on that island had taken place. The Japanese were no longer concerned with southern Luzon--they had other fish to fry.

The Approach to Luzon

Allied aircraft, which had not concentrated their efforts against southern Luzon, had been flying missions over widespread areas of Luzon for months. Carrier-based aircraft of the Third Fleet had struck targets on Luzon in September while providing strategic support for the invasions of the Palau Islands and Morotai; they had hit Japanese installations on Luzon again during October and November in support of the invasion of Leyte; and they had returned to Luzon in mid-December in support of the Mindoro landing.26 By this time, Leyte-based planes of the Allied Air Forces and Seventh Air Force bombers from the Palaus had also initiated strikes against Luzon in a program of air attacks that doubled in intensity during late December. On the 30th, Halsey's carriers left the western Carolines on their way to Formosan and Philippine waters. Meanwhile, Kinkaid's surface forces had completed their preparations; the amphibious attack convoys had finished loading and had set sail for Lingayen Gulf.

Assembling the Attack Forces

The major problem amphibious and ground forces commanders faced in mounting the assault forces--once shipping limitations had been established--was that of co-ordinating staging activities at widely separated points. For example, XIV Corps headquarters, corps troops, and the 37th Infantry Division staged and loaded at Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands nearly 3,000 miles southeast of Lingayen Gulf.27 The XIV Corps' 40th Division mounted at New Britain, 375 miles west of Bougainville. I Corps headquarters was at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, almost 2,000 miles from Lingayen Gulf; its 43d Division was 125 miles to the east at Aitape in British New Guinea; and its 6th Division staged at Sansapor, on the Vogelkop Peninsula of western Dutch New Guinea some 625 miles northwest of Hollandia. The 25th Infantry Division of Sixth Army Reserve had the longest distance to travel, being located on New Caledonia, about 1,300 miles south-southeast of Bougainville. The 158th RCT loaded at Noemfoor Island, 440 miles northwest of Hollandia. Sixth Army headquarters, the 6th Ranger Battalion, and various other Sixth Army units were on Leyte, about 500 miles southeast of Lingayen Gulf.


Service units were loaded at all these places and at various Services of Supply bases from Australia to Morotai. The staff work involved in co-ordinating the movement of such widely dispersed units, and in scheduling the arrival and departure of shipping from each staging point, would stagger the imagination of anyone not well versed in the peculiar problems of waging war over the vast reaches of the Pacific. The wonder is not that some problems arose during the loading and staging, but rather that the problems were so few and relatively minor in nature.

The XIV Corps was responsible for obtaining the supplies for its own units and for Sixth Army forces stationed in the Solomons and at New Caledonia. XIV Corps units staging at New Britain, New Guinea, Morotai, and Leyte bases obtained their supplies from the Southwest Pacific's Services of Supply through channels established by the Eighth Army, to which these XIV Corps organizations were attached for logistical support during the staging period. An initial survey indicated that all XIV Corps units lacked 25-30 percent of the supplies that Lt. Gen. Oscar W. Griswold, the corps commander, deemed essential for combat efficiency. But before loading began, those units staging in the South Pacific area had obtained 98 percent of their required supplies while those mounting at New Britain and points west got 95 percent of their requirements. The major lasting shortage was that of wheeled vehicles, a shortage general shipping limitations imposed. The I Corps' supply situation was quite similar.28

The principal trouble both corps had in loading stemmed from delays in receiving full information concerning characteristics and cargo capacities of ships assigned to them, the limitations of tonnage for each type of vessel, and changes in ship assignments.29 To some extent these problems seem to have resulted from insufficient liaison between the Army and Navy headquarters concerned. For example, when ships of the III Amphibious Force arrived at Bougainville to load corps troops and the 37th Division, the XIV Corps discovered that the tonnage allotments prescribed for each type of ship by Sixth Army loading instructions were greater than the limitations Allied Naval Forces had imposed upon Admiral Wilkinson's vessels.30 Again, Army loading planners often found that the information they had concerning a given ship's characteristics was based upon the characteristics of the ship as originally constructed, not as it had been modified by the Navy during a year or more of combat service.


Such problems frustrated and irritated Army loading officers but seemed to have been ignored by the naval echelons concerned.31 In the end these unfortunate--and perhaps avoidable--problems did not prevent the assault forces from loading on time with sufficient supplies and equipment to undertake the tasks assigned. It is enough to say that the two corps and the two amphibious forces overcame the problems, just as they overcame others presented by adverse surf and beach conditions at some staging areas, the late arrival of some ships and ground service units at staging points, and the necessity for transshipping men and materials among various bases for more orderly loading. The job was done.

XIV Corps elements staging at New Britain completed loading on 10 December; those mounting at Bougainville finished two days later.32 On the 17th all groups of the III Amphibious Force rendezvoused at Huon Gulf, eastern New Guinea, to rehearse the Lingayen assault. General Griswold felt that the 37th Division's rehearsal was satisfactory but had much fault to find with the 40th Division, remarking upon a "general failure to observe the spirit of the rehearsal."33 As a result, further training was conducted at Manus Island in the Admiralties, where the convoy reassembled on 22 December.34 On the 27th LST's and LSM's, with escorts, made up a separate convoy and departed for Leyte Gulf. The rest of the force left on the 31st, all sections sailing toward a rendezvous with other components of the Luzon Attack Force, including the VII Amphibious Force with the I Corps aboard.

The I Corps units staging at Aitape finished loading on 25 December and conducted a limited rehearsal on the 27th, when they were joined by the headquarters of the I Corps and the VII Amphibious Force aboard the command ship Blue Ridge.35 This combined convoy left Aitape on the 28th. The rest of the I Corps units finished loading at Sansapor on 29 December and, having had a limited rehearsal on the 23d, sortied during the afternoon of the 30th.

While the various amphibious attack groups were starting toward the objective area, the combat echelons of the Luzon Attack Force were also moving forward, all to rendezvous at Leyte Gulf during


the period 1-5 January.36 There, on the 4th, General MacArthur and members of his staff boarded the light cruiser Boise, sailing with two escorting destroyers as Task Unit 77.1.2. Admiral Kinkaid and General Krueger went aboard the command ship Wasatch, which, with another two destroyers, formed Task Unit 77.1.1.

The first portion of the Luzon Attack Force to leave Leyte Gulf consisted of the Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group (Task Group 77.6) together with a few oilers, ammunition ships, tugs, LCI(G)'s (Landing Craft, Infantry, Gunboats), and screening vessels, all departing about noon on 2 January. Later that day the bombardment and fire support vessels, Task Group 77.2, accompanied by twelve CVE's and escorts from Task Group 77,4, moved out of the gulf. Command of these van echelons was vested in Vice Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf, who was also the commander of Task Group 77.2.

During the night of 4-5 January another large element of the Luzon Attack Force moved out of Leyte Gulf into Surigao Strait. In the lead was Task Group 77.3, a close covering group consisting of three light cruisers and six destroyers, accompanied by Task Unit 77.1.2, General MacArthur aboard. Next came the entire VII Amphibious Force-I Corps convoy with two CVE's providing cover, followed by the III Amphibious Force-XIV Corps LST-LSM groupment. The whole formed a single convoy over forty miles long. The main body of the III Amphibious Force-XIV Corps convoy left Leyte Gulf on the morning of 6 January, and, making more knots than the preceding elements, soon began to close the distance.

Air Attack and Counterattack

Meanwhile, the Pacific-wide aerial support plan was in operation. Mindoro-based aircraft greatly stepped up the intensity of their attacks during the last week of December. Seeking to stop Japanese overwater reinforcements, these planes sank three large cargo ships or transports and an escorting frigate at Vigan, 100 miles north of the Lingayen Gulf beaches, on 30 December, and three days later at San Fernando, La Union, fifty-odd miles south of Vigan, got four cargo ships and another escort. Strikes against Japanese transport on Luzon were also profitable, and, the Allied Air Forces claimed, Leyte-based and Palau-based heavy bombers (B-24's) destroyed 140 Japanese planes on the ground at various Central Plains fields during the period 20-25 December alone.37


The Third Fleet's fast carriers sortied from Ulithi on 30 December and arrived at their first launching point--about 140 miles southeast of Formosa and 225 miles north of Luzon--during the predawn hours of 3 January. There the carrier force began to run into bad weather conditions that were to hamper its operations for weeks.

Admiral Halsey's missions for 3 and 4 January were to destroy Japanese air power on Formosa, hit shipping in the same area, and conduct secondary strikes against the Ryukyus and Pescadores. Poor weather conditions curtailed the morning strikes and forced cancellation of all flights in the afternoon of the 3d. Weather the next day also limited flight operations, but Halsey reported that his planes had destroyed 100 Japanese aircraft and sunk 12 ships and damaged 18 others during the two-day period. There were to be no strikes on 5 January, S minus 4, since the Third Fleet was to move to a new position from which to hit Luzon on S minus 3. On that day, the fast carriers were to cover all Luzon north of Clark Field except for the Lingayen Gulf Area, the Allied Air Forces were to blanket Clark Field and the area to the south, and Admiral Kinkaid's CVE planes were scheduled to fly against Japanese airfields in the Lingayen region. These plans were destined to be changed.38

As of the 1st of December the Japanese Army and Navy had probably had a combined air strength of some 500 planes in the Philippines, the bulk of them based on Luzon.39 This strength had been largely destroyed by Allied air strikes in support of the Mindoro operation and during Japanese air attacks against Mindoro-bound convoys and the Mindoro beachhead area. By the 20th of December, the Japanese Naval Air Service in the Philippines had no more than 30 planes, and the Japanese Army Air Force was down to approximately 100 first-line combat aircraft. About that date, some 50 naval planes flew to Luzon from Formosa to renew attacks against Mindoro, and shortly thereafter, it appears, a few Army aircraft also came down from Formosa or the home islands to reinforce Luzon. Many of these planes were lost during continued attacks against Mindoro until, by 31 December, the Japanese had probably no more than 150 operational aircraft left on Luzon, and about a third that many on other fields in the Philippine archipelago, for a total of about 200.40

The Japanese had no intention of making a large-scale air effort at Luzon and planned to send no strong air reinforcements to the Philippines. Instead, they were devoting their main efforts to strengthening the air defenses of the homeland, the Ryukyus, and Formosa. Nevertheless, 200 combat planes was a respectable force. It could also be an


extremely effective and potent force if the Japanese elected to use the aircraft in kamikaze attacks.

On the evening of 2 January the van group of the Luzon Attack Force--the mine sweeping and hydrographic group, with attachments--was entering the Mindanao Sea, where three Japanese planes ineffectually bombed it.41 Early the next morning five or six kamikazes jumped the force and succeeded in inflicting minor damage on an oiler and a mine sweeper. By this time the main body of Admiral Oldendorf's force--battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and CVE's of Task Groups 77.2 and 77.4--was also well into Visayan waters. Late in the evening a lone kamikaze slipped through air cover and antiaircraft fire and crashed aboard a heavy cruiser of this second echelon, inflicting considerable damage.

Before noon the next day, 4 January, CVE-based planes shot down two would-be kamikazes, and Allied Air Forces planes, helping to cover the convoys, got another. Beginning at 1700 the Japanese ineffectually attacked the mine sweeping group, then off Mindoro, but not far to the rear a kamikaze caused such damage aboard a CVE that the ship had to be sunk after the loss of about 95 men killed and 65 wounded. The form Japanese air operations would take was becoming clear.

MacArthur at this time reasoned that the attacks had been staged from Luzon airfields, where Allied Air Forces land-based planes had met considerable opposition since the 2d. Late on the 4th the Southwest Pacific commander, having decided that land-based air operations against Luzon had not been as successful as anticipated, requested Halsey to commit the Third Fleet's planes against all Luzon at least as far south as Clark Field on 6 January.42 Admiral Halsey agreed and, making every possible effort to cooperate with the Southwest Pacific forces, directed his pilots to hit air facilities at Manila as well as those at the Clark Field air center.

On 5 January, while the Third Fleet was making preparations for the new strikes, Oldendorf's forward groups were having a bad time. In a series of kamikaze attacks late in the afternoon--the time the Japanese most frequently chose, the Allied Naval Forces had learned--the Japanese had inflicted considerable damage on a CVE, a heavy cruiser, and a destroyer escort, while also hitting another CVE, a second heavy cruiser, two destroyers, a destroyer transport, a mine sweeper, a fleet tug, and an LCI(G). The first CVE was so badly damaged that it could not conduct flight operations on the 6th, S minus 3, and only limited operations thereafter. Personnel losses for the day were about 65 men killed and 195 wounded, practically all of them of the Allied Naval Forces, Of some forty-five


Japanese planes attacking during the day, almost all were destroyed.

Nor were the kamikazes the only Japanese forces the advance groups encountered. In midafternoon two Japanese destroyers were discovered moving toward the mine sweepers, now off Manila Bay. An American destroyer and two Australian frigates tried to intercept the Japanese vessels but were unable to close within effective range. Oldendorf then ordered the CVE's to launch strikes against the Japanese ships. The CVE-based planes severely damaged both destroyers, which put back into Manila Bay sometime during the night.

Far to the rear, the amphibious assault convoys had no trouble from Japanese planes on the 5th, but developed a number of contacts with Japanese submarines. During the midafternoon a midget submarine fired two torpedoes toward the portion of the convoy that included the Boise, MacArthur's command post afloat. Both torpedoes missed and the submarine was later sunk by combined sea and air action. Another submarine, which could not be found, fired a torpedo or two at a group of LST's with no effect.

On the morning of the 6th, Third Fleet carriers launched attacks from a position about 120 miles off northeastern Luzon. Weather conditions, together with Japanese dispersal and camouflage measures, reduced the effectiveness of the strikes, and Halsey's planes claimed the destruction of only thirty-two Japanese aircraft.

The Kamikaze Threat

It was small wonder that the Third Fleet had found so few planes, for most of the operational aircraft the Japanese still had on Luzon were engaged in attacks against Admiral Oldendorf's groups, now operating in or near Lingayen Gulf. At dawn on the 6th, CVE's and escorts took up air support positions just northwest of the gulf, Task Group 77.6 moved into the gulf to begin sweeping operations, and the fire support vessels of Task Group 77.2 steamed into position to bombard shore installations. Mine sweeping started at 0700, almost coincidentally with a series of Japanese air attacks that lasted for the next twelve hours.

Between 0700 and 0800 Japanese planes undertook some orthodox air attacks, bombing and strafing two destroyers, a destroyer transport, and three mine sweepers, but causing little damage. Kamikaze attacks began about 1130, and by noon the Japanese had severely damaged a battleship and two destroyers and had inflicted lesser damage on two other destroyers. In the afternoon kamikazes sank 1 mine sweeper; severely damaged another battleship, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, and 1 destroyer transport; and caused light damage aboard a heavy cruiser, 3 destroyers, a mine sweeper, and a seaplane tender. The heavy cruiser Louisville, hit for the second time in two days, had to retire from the gulf and join the CVE group outside, and a destroyer transport, also hit for the second time, likewise had to give up active operations. The Japanese attacks killed nearly 170 men and wounded 500 more; misdirected friendly antiaircraft fire caused a few additional casualties.

From their results, the Japanese air operations since 2 January can best be characterized by the term "limited success." So far, they had sunk two ships and caused damage of varying degrees to


some thirty others, and killed approximately 330 men and wounded about 760. But the Japanese had not forced the forward elements of the Luzon Attack Force to retire--on the contrary, mine sweeping and bombardment had progressed pretty much as planned. Nevertheless, Oldendorf and other Army and Navy commanders in the Southwest Pacific Area were worried.

Admiral Oldendorf was worried with good reason. Previously, kamikaze operations against his ships and those of other naval commands, though dangerous, had generally been executed by relatively untrained pilots who had taken few precautions to avoid detection and antiaircraft fire and who often appeared to be flying partially damaged, lightly armored planes carrying little ordnance. In January the kamikazes had been operating in a far different manner.

There was now a definite program of kamikaze operations, for the vast majority of the perhaps one hundred Japanese aircraft that had attacked the forces under Admiral Oldendorf's command since 2 January had at least attempted kamikaze crashes. In addition, the pilots seemed to be more skilled. They took every advantage of radar-blanketing terrain, especially in the Lingayen Gulf area, and flew toward target ships at extremely low altitudes, thus helping to avoid both radar and visual detection. Flight tactics included radical maneuvering designed not only to avoid antiaircraft fire and Allied planes but also to confuse observers as to which ship was the actual target. Finally, many of the kamikaze planes were heavily armored and armed.

The Allies had expected great results from the relatively new proximity fuze for shipboard 5-inch antiaircraft weapons, but the Japanese planes usually appeared so suddenly and took such violent evasive action that 5-inch batteries could seldom track properly. The employment of the expensive special ammunition was, therefore, generally useless, and was sometimes even dangerous to friendly ships. Having missed approaching kamikazes by such distances that fuzes were not activated, shells sometimes sailed on to explode on or near Allied vessels, thereby causing some damage and many casualties. The heavy cruiser H.M.A.S. Shropshire, which used its 8-inch batteries in antiaircraft barrages with projectiles set to explode at either 2,500 or 5,000 yards, evidently found her answer to the suicide planes. How effective the method was cannot be accurately ascertained, but it appeared to observers that a number of the kamikazes turned away from the Shropshire toward other ships. At any rate, kamikazes never hit the Shropshire.

Other Australian ships and the U.S. Navy vessels, finding their 4.7-inch or 5-inch ammunition ineffective, fell back on their automatic weapons batteries--40-mm.'s and 20-mm.'s. However, Admiral Oldendorf reported that the projectiles of these guns did not have sufficient explosive power or impact to knock out heavily armored kamikazes, even though those planes were hit many times as they drove through a veritable hail of antiaircraft fire.

CVE-based planes had also proved unable to stop the kamikaze attacks. The CVE's had maintained local air superiority in the Lingayen area and over other convoys on their way to the gulf, but kamikazes continually slipped through the air cover, and the CVE-based planes


had knocked down less than half of all Japanese aircraft destroyed from 2 through 6 January. Interception, as a result of the Japanese flight tactics and the radar problems, became largely a matter of luck in the Lingayen Gulf area.

By evening of 6 January Admiral Oldendorf had concluded that the terms "local air superiority" and "adequate air cover" as understood before the Luzon operation had little meaning in the face of determined kamikaze attacks. What was required, he said, was a program of offensive air operations designed to keep all Japanese airfields within range neutralized until all Japanese planes were found and destroyed. His CVE's, he pointed out, could not undertake such a task. For one thing, they had too many other missions and for another they were too few in number even to undertake all their close support missions. Finally, Admiral Oldendorf went on, the planes with which the CVE's were equipped were simply not good enough to cope with the type of aircraft the Japanese were employing for the kamikaze attacks.

Some thought of taking his ships out of Lingayen Gulf undoubtedly passed through Admiral Oldendorf's mind on the morning of 6 January, but he well realized the implications of such a retirement. He decided, instead, that if the kamikazes could not be physically defeated, they might be beaten psychologically. Therefore, he saw to it that the mine sweepers continued their operations despite damage. Then, in midafternoon on the 6th, he sent in the bombardment battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, not only to undertake assigned missions but also to make the Japanese think that their suicide operations were ineffective. Despite the damage they incurred that day, the bombardment and mine sweeping groups did not begin retiring from the gulf's confined waters to take up night dispositions until almost 1930, about an hour after the last kamikaze raids.

As darkness came on 6 January, Admiral Oldendorf was worried about what the morrow might bring, and again with good cause. When his forces had sortied from Leyte Gulf on 2 January, intelligence estimates had led him to expect that the Japanese would have 300 to 400 operational planes on Luzon, with the capability of bringing in reinforcements in sufficient numbers to mount daily air attacks with 150 planes for a period of ten days or more.43 So far as the Admiral could ascertain by the 6th--from the reports of the Third Fleet, the Allied Air Forces, and the air and surface elements under his command--the Japanese could have lost less than 125 aircraft so far, giving them at least 225 operational planes on Luzon alone with which to continue their kamikaze program.

Oldendorf's estimate seemed close to reality the next morning, when Admiral Halsey reported that photographs taken by Third Fleet planes on the afternoon of 6 January indicated that 237 apparently operational Japanese aircraft were on Luzon, most of them based at Clark Field.44 How the Third Fleet's intelligence officers arrived at this estimate is unknown, for by dusk on 6 January the Japanese actually had less than fifty operational aircraft left on the island. But Oldendorf could not know this, nor could he know that the Japanese had no


intention of exercising their capability of flying in strong reinforcements from Formosa and the home islands. He knew that the Japanese had not yet mounted attacks with their 150-plane daily potential, and he also knew that the number of attacking planes had mounted steadily every day since 2 January.

Oldendorf believed that the kamikaze attacks would continue, an opinion shared by General Willoughby, who now thought it possible that the kamikaze operations constituted one phase of a co-ordinated counterattack plan that would also involve operations of naval surface elements.45 The worries that such estimates must have raised in MacArthur's and Kinkaid's minds were certainly not put to rest when, late on the 6th, Oldendorf reported that there was a vital and urgent need for additional air support at Lingayen Gulf.

Recommending that the Allied Air Forces redouble its efforts against Luzon and that the Third Fleet move to the Lingayen area, Admiral Oldendorf pointed out that much more damage to the forces under his command would invite the Japanese Navy to sortie in some strength, precipitating an action with which his own forces were becoming progressively less prepared to cope. He went on to say that if kamikazes went to work on the amphibious convoys--now well within Visayan waters--the results might be disastrous. He concluded with the ominous suggestion that the situation warranted immediate reconsideration of all current plans.46 On the basis of information previously available, Admiral Kinkaid had already taken steps to increase the weight of Allied air effort against Luzon. First, he had recommended to General MacArthur that no more air elements be diverted to deception operations along the south coast of Luzon, but that planes assigned to these activities be reallocated to missions against Japanese fields on Luzon. General Kenney immediately issued orders reducing the scale of the diversionary efforts. Second, Kinkaid had requested Halsey to strike Luzon again on S minus 2. To this request the Third Fleet commander had agreed reluctantly, since he had planned to hit Formosa on the 7th. Halsey felt that further operations in the Luzon area would simply tie down his fast carrier groups to a passive role, and he thought it a better idea to bomb Formosa, whence he erroneously believed most of the Japanese air strikes were originating. Nevertheless, he reversed the Third Fleet's course, that force having already started toward Formosa.47

When he received Admiral Oldendorf's late evening message, Kinkaid further requested the Third Fleet to attack all Japanese fields in the Lingayen Gulf area, heretofore reserved for CVE-based planes. Kinkaid hoped that the Third Fleet, in co-operation with the CVE's and the Allied Air Forces, would be able


to place a day-long neutralizing blanket over all Japanese fields on Luzon. Admiral Halsey agreed. The Allied Naval Forces commander also wanted the fast carrier groups to move to new positions west of Luzon in order to provide additional support for all echelons of the Luzon Attack Force and to interpose itself between Luzon and any Japanese surface elements that might approach under cover of the bad weather then blanketing the South China Sea. Kenney seconded Kinkaid's recommendations, but decision was deferred.48

MacArthur proposed further changes. Also believing now that the kamikazes were coming from Formosa, he requested, through the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that on 8 January B-29's strike Formosa airfields instead of their scheduled targets, the port facilities in northern Formosa. Later, thinking that the Japanese might be staging kamikazes to Formosa through the Ryukyus, General MacArthur asked that in addition the B-29's attack Okinawa airfields. The Joint Chiefs agreed to these requests, but bad weather conditions prevented the B-29's from carrying out the new assignments as planned. Successful B-29 strikes against the Formosa fields were undertaken too late to do any good, even if the Japanese had been flying kamikazes from the Formosa area.49

Halsey's planes, still hampered by poor weather conditions, struck Luzon fields as scheduled on 7 January, claiming to have destroyed about 80 Japanese aircraft during the day. The effort did not halt Japanese air attacks. Of the 40 to 50 operational aircraft the Japanese had left--it appears that the bulk of the planes the Third Fleet's aircraft destroyed on 7 January were not operational to begin with--20 or 25 attacked the various echelons of the Luzon Attack Force.

At Lingayen Gulf the Japanese attacks of 7 January were on a greatly reduced scale, and most of them were of the orthodox type. However, these planes did succeed in sinking two of Oldendorf's mine sweepers. Far to the south, Japanese planes attacked the amphibious convoys intermittently throughout the day, but succeeded only in damaging one VII Amphibious Force LST. During the following night VII Amphibious Force destroyers sank a Japanese destroyer off Manila Bay, one that had put back into the bay on the 5th.

The next day, 8 January, the Third Fleet began moving toward Formosa, refueling on the way. MacArthur and Halsey had both recommended against Admiral Kinkaid's proposal that the Third Fleet take up a covering position off Luzon, and Admiral Nimitz had accordingly instructed Halsey to proceed against Formosa as originally planned. MacArthur, who still believed that the kamikazes were coming from Formosa, also suggested that the Third Fleet attack Formosa on S-day, 9 January, especially if the fleet were not in position to launch major strikes against the island on the 8th.

Nimitz, MacArthur, and Halsey were


looking upon the Third Fleet's fast carrier groups as a strategic weapon of opportunity that should not be tied down to close support of a landing except in an extreme emergency. They realized that Oldendorf and Kinkaid were justifiably influenced by the damage the kamikazes had inflicted upon the Luzon Attack Force, but however reluctant to act against the recommendations of the subordinate commanders, the three senior officers felt that the best employment for the Third Fleet was at Formosa, from which the Japanese air was apparently operating.50

Poor weather conditions again curtailed the Third Fleet's operations on 9 January and the strike against Formosa that day--none was launched on the 8th--did not prove as successful as hoped. Third Fleet planes destroyed 47 Japanese aircraft, 5 of them in the air, sank 9 Japanese ships, and damaged 19 other surface vessels.

Meanwhile, the situation at Lingayen Gulf had taken a turn for the better. On the 8th, kamikazes struck the heavy cruiser H.M.A.S. Australia for the third and fourth times, inflicting such damage that Oldendorf had to relieve the ship of its bombardment assignments. That, however, was the only important damage Oldendorf's groups suffered on the 8th. For the amphibious convoys, on the other hand, things proved a bit hotter than previously. Kamikazes seriously damaged two escorting CVE's and inflicted minor damage on an LSI, an LST, and an attack transport (APA). In all, the Japanese employed no more than fifteen planes during the day, but had damaged six ships, killed about 50 men, and wounded around 65 more.

Throughout S-day, as assault operations got under way at Lingayen Gulf, about fifteen more Japanese planes conducted scattered attacks. Kamikazes inflicted severe damage on a battleship, hit the light cruiser Columbia for the third time and H.M.A.S. Australia for the fifth time, and damaged one destroyer escort. Friendly antiaircraft fire, for the second time, inflicted many casualties aboard the battleship Colorado.

The Japanese were not quite through. On 10 January eight kamikazes attempted attacks, succeeding in damaging an APA and a destroyer escort. On the 12th, striking with five planes, the Japanese severely damaged a destroyer transport and inflicted lesser damage on another destroyer escort and a destroyer transport. West of Luzon kamikazes, on the same day, hit convoys on their way to and from Lingayen Gulf heavily damaging 3 Libertys and lightly damaging another and 2 LST's. The 13th of January brought with it the last significant air attacks on elements of the Luzon Attack Force. At Lingayen Gulf that day Japanese planes severely damaged another CVE, an APA, and an LST, while lightly damaging a destroyer transport. On the same day another APA suffered a bit from friendly antiaircraft fire.

That was the end. For the Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, it was more than enough. In the month following 13 December, when the Japanese first launched air attacks against the Mindoro-bound convoys, Japanese planes had succeeded in sinking 24 vessels and damaging 67 others. (Table 1) Shipboard casualties from the air attacks


13 DECEMBER 1944-13 JANUARY 1945
Type of Vessel Sunk Heavily

Battleships   3 1
Heavy cruisers   2 1
Light cruisers   3  
Escort carriers 1 4 2
Destroyers 1 4 11
Destroyer escorts   3 2
Destroyer transports   2 1
Mine sweepers 3 1 3
PT boats 1 1 1
Attack troop transports   1 3
Fleet oilers     2
Fleet tugs     1
Small tankers 2    
PT tenders 1    
Seaplane tenders   1  
Liberty ships a 6 4 2
Landing ships, infantry     1
Landing ships, medium     1
Landing ships, tank 6 1 4
Landing craft, infantry 1   1
Landing craft, mechanized 2    
     Total 24 30 37

a Includes three Liberty ships beached and abandoned at Mindoro.

Source: The sources for this table are primarily the naval documents cited previously in this chapter and Morison, The Liberation, pages cited in note 8, p. 46, above. The totals in the table will not necessarily agree with the text, because the table makes allowances for "repeats."

The table also includes one PT destroyed and a Liberty ship severely damaged as a result of the naval action off Mindoro. Finally, the table includes vessels damaged indirectly as a result of kamikaze operations, such as the destroyer Moale being damaged by ammunition exploding on another vessel.

numbered approximately 1,230 men killed and 1,800 wounded. Of these, the vast majority were men of the United States and Australian naval forces. Losses among merchant seamen were about 275 killed and 100 wounded or injured, while U.S. Army shipboard casualties numbered around 150 killed and 200 wounded.51

In the same period, 13 December-13 January, the Japanese had lost perhaps 600 aircraft on or over Luzon and the Visayas to Allied air attacks or in kamikaze operations. Of the total, probably at least a third had been destroyed in attempted or successful kamikaze attacks. With these losses, Japanese air power on Luzon ceased to exist. Although the Allies could not yet know it, they had nothing more to fear from Japanese air strength in the Philippines.

When the kamikaze attacks tapered off, Allied forces had yet to develop an


effective defense. The only answer seemed to be Admiral Oldendorf's proposals for complete neutralization of all Japanese fields within range. The impossibility of accomplishing this with the means available in the Pacific during early 1945 was first demonstrated at Luzon in January and again at Okinawa in April, when damage to naval forces far surpassed that at Luzon.52 In both campaigns kamikaze attacks ceased at Japanese initiative--at Luzon because the Japanese refused to send in strong air reinforcements; at Okinawa because they were unwilling to continue the heavy attrition of aircraft attendant upon such operations, preferring to save planes and pilots for the defense of the homeland. What would have happened at Luzon, where Allied air strength was weaker than at Okinawa, had the Japanese elected to exercise their capability of mounting attacks and reinforcements from Formosa is among the imponderables of World War II.

Mine Sweeping and Preliminary Bombardment

At Admiral Oldendorf's direction, mine sweeping, hydrographic surveys, shore bombardment, and support aircraft attacks had continued throughout the period of the worst kamikaze operations at Lingayen Gulf.53 When mine sweeping began about 0700 on 6 January, the day that the kamikaze attacks were at their height, Oldendorf expected reports of heavy mine fields and strong beach obstacles. Much to everyone's surprise, exploratory sweeps during the morning turned up only two floating mines and none of the moored type.54 When sweeping was completed on the 8th, only four mines had been found.

On the 7th underwater demolition teams had slipped into the gulf to begin their hazardous task of destroying beach obstacles, and hydrographic ships began marking shoals and taking soundings. Again contrary to expectations, no beach obstacles were found. The "frog men" encountered only a little rifle and machine gun fire, and the few beach defenses they observed appeared to be unoccupied. Their tasks and those of hydrographic ships were completed on the 8th.

While this work was under way, the CVE-based aircraft were bombing and strafing targets along the gulf's beaches and at inland points, flying 250 to 300 sorties during the period from 6 through 8 January. Meanwhile, those oft-forgotten but highly important naval aircraft--battleship-based and cruiser-based seaplanes--were helping to direct the preliminary beach bombardment, which also began on the morning of 6 January.55

First targets were Japanese installations in the San Fernando area, on the


east side of the gulf, and on Santiago Island and the nearby mainland at the northwest corner of the gulf. Spotting planes could locate no suitable military targets in the Santiago Island area, and the bombardment vessels fired only a few rounds of ammunition in that direction. Bombardment of the San Fernando area, answered by several ineffectual rounds from Japanese shore batteries, had lasted about two and a half hours when Admiral Oldendorf stopped it in order to send his battleships and cruisers further into Lingayen Gulf to support his beleaguered mine sweepers and to make the Japanese think the kamikaze operations were having no effect. The vessels were in position to fire at the southern beaches about 1715, one section hitting the town of Lingayen and its airstrip and the other concentrating on the San Fabian area, at the gulf's southeast corner. The firing was continually interrupted by kamikazes, and when it ceased at 1915 not more than half an hour of actual bombardment had taken place. The Japanese did not return fire.

Oldendorf's ships again covered the southern beaches on the 7th, once more with no answer from the Japanese. The day's firing ended about 1730, when the bombardment vessels, as was their practice, began retiring from the gulf's confined waters to take up night positions outside. Returning on the morning of the 8th to resume bombardment about 0800, one section again hit the Lingayen area. About ten minutes later a destroyer standing close inshore and a spotting plane from a battleship reported that Filipinos were forming a parade, complete with United States and Philippine flags, in the town of Lingayen. The fire was shifted to more westerly targets while leaflets were quickly prepared instructing the Filipinos to clear the area. A spotting plane dropped the leaflets and the paraders dispersed. Bombardment started again as soon as the area seemed vacated.

The reasons for resuming the bombardment of Lingayen and its environs in the face of this friendly demonstration ashore are unknown, especially since neither underwater demolition teams nor spotting planes had discovered any signs of Japanese activity in the area. The town, at least, seemed safely in the hands of the Filipinos. The most obvious explanation is that erroneous intelligence, having indicated that strong defenses would be encountered in the area, made it incumbent upon Admiral Oldendorf to continue the bombardment whether he wanted to or not. Too much was at stake to take a chance. Actually he could have put a force of seamen ashore on Lingayen Gulf's southern beaches on 8 January without fear--indeed, the entire beachhead area could probably have been occupied by men from the bombardment vessels without much risk anytime after Oldendorf's vessels reached Lingayen Gulf on 6 January. One can but ponder on the amusing (and undoubtedly confusing) results had the I and XIV Corps arrived at Lingayen Gulf to find the beaches already occupied by men of the Allied Naval Forces.

The Filipinos in the Lingayen area could hardly have been pleased as they saw their homes and public buildings damaged or destroyed by what to them must have seemed an unnecessary bombardment. It seems a tribute both to the Filipinos and to the prewar administration


of the United States in the islands--as well as a severe and obvious indictment of Japanese occupation policies--that the people of the Philippines took such adversities in their stride, not permitting personal resentments to overcome judgment and loyalty.

Throughout the rest of 8 January, bombardment of the landing beach areas continued without incident. Practically no military installations or targets were found in the Lingayen town and airstrip area, and relatively few were discovered in the San Fabian region. The San Fabian bombardment vessels ran out of targets by 1530 and moved back up the gulf to strike the San Fernando area for another forty-five minutes, completing the task that the Japanese kamikazes had interrupted on the 6th. The Lingayen area ships had long since ceased their firing for the day. Thus ended preliminary bombardment operations.

That the bombardment, mine sweeping, and air operations in the Lingayen Gulf area had been successful as a preparation for an amphibious assault there can be no doubt. Ashore, considering the absence of Japanese defenses, air and naval bombardment targets had been more than adequately covered, while in the gulf the mine sweepers found only four mines. Judging the effectiveness of the bombardment is another matter. Since the ground forces suffered very few casualties during the landing, the shelling and strafing would appear to have been completely effective, but as Admiral Oldendorf pointed out, the "Japanese tactics of withdrawal from [the] beach areas probably made much of the bombardment unnecessary."56 In the face of the kamikaze attacks, the situation might have been far different had the Luzon Attack Force encountered expected mine fields and shore defenses.

During the night of 8-9 January Oldendorf's forces cruised just within Lingayen Gulf and across its entrance. The amphibious attack convoys reached the entrance about 0400 on the 9th, S-day, and, the bombardment vessels leading, immediately began moving southward to assigned anchorages. As the amphibious shipping deployed to begin landing operations, the fire support vessels (control now vested in Admirals Barbey and Wilkinson) took up positions for last-minute preassault shelling. Under cover of this fire, transports began lowering boats and loading them with troops; LST's disgorged LVT's and LVT(A)'s of the assault waves. All was in readiness for what many of the participating officers and men of the Luzon Attack Force and the Sixth Army firmly expected to be a bloody shambles.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (2) * Next Chapter (4)


1. GHQ SWPA 01 74, 13 Oct 44, G-3 GHQ SWPA Jnl File, 13 Oct 44.

2. Sixth Army FO 33, 20 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, 21-30 Nov 44; Japanese Studies in World War II, No. 12, Operations on Mindoro, passim; WVTF Hist Rcd, 15 Dec 44-31 Jan 45, an. 2, Intel Rpt, pp. 7-9, 12.

3. Sixth Army FO 33, 20 Nov 44; Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 8-14; Sixth Army Admin Order 15, 23 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, 21-30 Nov 44. Most of the stevedoring troops came from the 306th Infantry, 77th Division, which had just reached Leyte. See Cannon, Leyte, p. 277.

4. AAF SWPA OI 74, 30 Oct 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 7 Nov 44; Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, pp. 235-41; Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 18-20; Rads, Arnold to MacArthur and Nimitz, 26 Nov and 13 Dec 44, CM-OUT's 68838 and 76699; 2d Carrier TF Opn Order No. 4-44, 7 Dec 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 17-22 Dec 44.

5. TG 78.3 Mindoro Rpt, pp. 1-5; TG 77.3 Mindoro Rpt, p. 1.

6. Not desiring to move its own headquarters forward nor to set up a special headquarters, the Fifth Air Force used the bombardment wing headquarters to control all air activities at Mindoro during the early phases of the operation.

7. Sixth Army Admin Order 15, 23 Nov 44; USASOS LI 74/SOS, 1 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 4 Nov 44: Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 13-16.

8. The rest of this subsection is based primarily on: Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 13, 18-21; TG 78.3 Rpt Mindoro, pp. 5ff.; TG 77.12 Rpt Mindoro, passim; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 101, Battle of Mindoro, pp. 1-9; Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, pp. 235-37; Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., "The Army Air Forces in World War II," vol. V, The Pacific: MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953) (hereinafter cited as Craven and Cate, AAF V), pp. 396-97. Additional information on kamikaze operations in this subsection and in the rest of this chapter is derived from: Samuel Eliot Morison, "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II," vol. XIII, The Liberation of the Philippines: Luzon, Mindanao, the Visayas: 1944- 1945 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1959) (hereinafter cited as Morison, The Liberation), pp. 23-26, 29-31, 33-36, 43-48, 98-119, 125-26, 133, 138-140. Originally, it was anticipated that Triumph would be published before The Liberation. As events turned out, The Liberation was in print first, permitting the present author to take advantage at the last moment of deeper research into U.S. Navy materials and Japanese sources than he could or needed to undertake for Triumph.

9. Morison, The Liberation, page 29, states that the destroyer damaged was the Ralph Talbot. In describing the day's attacks, pages 29-31, he does not mention the damage to the LSM.

10. Morison, in The Liberation, page 31, does not mention damage to the destroyer, and implies that the Army tanker was only damaged.

11. WVTF Hist Rcd, Opns Rpt, pp. 1-2; Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 16-18; 19th Inf Rpt Mindoro, p. 1.

12. Ltr, Asst ACofS 8-2 2d ESB to CG 2d ESB, 19 Dec 44, Sub: Obsns of Landing on Mindoro Island, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, 21 Dec 44-1 Jan 45.

13. Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 17-20; Craven and Cate, AAF V, pp. 397-98.

14. The story of Japanese air and naval counterattacks is based primarily on: Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 21-23; WVTF Hist Rcd, an. 2, Intel Rpt, passim; TG 78.3 Rpt Mindoro, passim; Craven and Cate, AAF V, pp. 398-401; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 101, Battle of Mindoro, pp. 8-13; No. 5, 4th Air Army Operations, 1944-1945, pp. 61-65, 73-74; The Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC), Japanese Naval and Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II By All Causes (Washington: Navy Department, 1947) (hereinafter cited as JANAC Japanese Shipping Losses), pp. 20, 78; an exchange of radio msgs dated 27 and 28 Dec 44 among Sixth Army, WVTF, Fifth Air Force, and Seventh Fleet, all to be found in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, 21 Dec 44-1 Jan 45.

15. There were some isolated attacks between the 15th and 21st. On the 18th, for instance, a kamikaze destroyed one PT, and in a conventional bombing run a Japanese plane lightly damaged another PT. Morison, The Liberation, p. 34.

16. Morison, The Liberation, page 35, accounts for only one destroyer damaged in this action.

17. The carrier Unryu was apparently scheduled to participate, but was sunk off Formosa on 19 December by a U.S. Navy submarine. Two more Japanese cruisers were originally assigned to the action but were left behind as being too slow. Additional information on the Japanese naval action comes from Morison, The Liberation, pages 37-43.

18. Morison, The Liberation, pages 40-41, states that the PT's damage came from bombing by a U.S. Army plane, and that Army aircraft also added to the damage inflicted upon the Liberty ship.

19. The Fifth Air Force originally claimed to have sunk or set afire at least four Japanese troop transports.

20. The remaining material on Mindoro ground operations is based principally on: WVTF Hist Rcd, Opns Rpt, pp. 2-7; ibid., Intel Rpt, pp. 4-9; 19th Inf Rpt Mindoro, pp. 1-2; 503d Prcht Inf S-3 Per Rpts Mindoro. The casualty figures are derived from a study of all pertinent sources, which provide contradictory and irreconciliable figures.

21. The remainder of this subsection is based upon: Rad, MacArthur to Krueger and Kenney, CX-55211, 21 Dec 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, 21 Dec 44-1 Jan 45; GHQ SWPA OI 74/15, 1 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 13 Oct 44; Sixth Army Mindoro Rpt, pp. 21-23; WVTF Hist Rcd, an. 5, Engr Rpt, passim; Craven and Cate, AAF V, p. 401.

22. GHQ SWPA OI 80, 20 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 20 Nov 44.

23. Rad, MacArthur to JCS and Nimitz, CX-52283, 16 Nov 44, CM-IN 15326; Rad, MacArthur to JCS and Nimitz, CX-52782, 23 Nov 44, CM-IN 22748; Rad, Nimitz to MacArthur and JCS, 19 Nov 44, CM-IN 21934; Rad, JCS to MacArthur and Nimitz, 30 Nov 44, CM-OUT 70546.

24. WVTF Hist Rcd, Opns Rpt, pp. 2-4; ibid., Intel Rpt, pp. 7-9; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 12, Opns on Mindoro, pp. 7-9; WVTF G-3 Opns Rpts Mindoro.

25. Miscellaneous memos and msgs in WVTF Guerrilla Jnl File and WVTF PDQ Guerrilla Net File; Rad, TG 77.11 (Diversionary Attack Gp) to ANF SWPA et al., 4 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 3-4 Jan 45; Rad, MacArthur to Kinkaid, TG 77.11, et al., 7 Jan 45, WVTF G-2 Msg File; Rad, Kinkaid to MacArthur, 0644 5 Jan 45; Rad, Kenney to Whitehead and TG 77.11, AX-30585, 8 Jan 45; Rad, Kinkaid to TG 77.11, 8 Jan 45. Last three in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45.

26. G-3 GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summaries of Opns, Sep 44 and Nov 44, copies in OCMH files. The first strikes against Luzon were executed on 21 and 22 September. See Cannon, Leyte, ch. IV.

27. All distances in this paragraph are straight-line statute miles.

28. XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, Opns, pp. 1, 8-12; ibid., pt. II, Administration, pp. 5-10, 27; I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 1, 13, 162-63.

29. In addition to the sources listed in the previous note, description of these problems from the Army point of view is found in: 37th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 11-13, 191-92, 285-86, 297-301; 40th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, p. 6; 6th Inf Div, G-4 Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-8; 43d Inf Div Rpt Luzon, p. 57; 43d Inf Div, G-4 Rpt Luzon, p. 1.

30. The matter was finally straightened out after an extensive exchange of radios among XIV Corps, Sixth Army, Allied Naval Forces, and the III Amphibious Force during the period 16-28 November, copies of which are to be found in XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 13-18 and 19-24 Nov 44, and in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 15-25 Nov 44. At least partially, the difficulties stemmed from the fact that XIV Corps had at first been instructed to employ long tons in planning its loading, but found that its figures had to be revamped on the basis of short tons. Comments of Hon. Hugh M. Milton II, Asst Secretary of the Army (CofS XIV Corps during Luzon assault), 6 Dec 56, in OCMH files.

31. To reach this conclusion the author consulted the reports of the Luzon Attack Force, III Amphibious Force, VII Amphibious Force, and their various echelons, including many reports of individual ships. Of some forty naval reports consulted, only one, that of the AP President Polk, reflects any awareness of the problems that so harried Army planners. See: Extract From Report of President Polk, in COMINCH, Amphibious Operations, Invasion of the Philippines, October 1944-January 1945, 30 Apr 45, ch. VII, p. 5.

32. Information on staging and rehearsal is based principally upon: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 13-15, 24-25; 37th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 15-17; I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 13, 19; 6th Inf Div, G-4 Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-7; 43d Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-5; 43d Inf Div, G-4 Rpt Luzon, pp. 2-3; III Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 7-9; ibid., Encl G, Logistics, p. 2; VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-12.

33. Memo, Griswold for Brush (CG 40th Div), 21 Dec 44, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 12 Dec 44-9 Jan 45.

34. Ltr, CofS XIV Corps to Maj Gen Robert S. Beightler and Gen Brush, 20 Dec 44, sub: Tng of Unloading Details and Shore Party Personnel, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 12 Dec 44-9 Jan 45; XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 25.

35. The I Corps report, page 13, states: "realistic rehearsals were feasible and carried out to the last detail." This statement is flatly contradicted by all other Army and Navy reports that mention the I Corps-VII Amphibious Force rehearsals.

36. The remainder of this subsection is based principally upon: Luzon Attack Force Rpt, pp. 10-13, 21-26; III Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-10; VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 11-13; ibid., Encl D, Chron Rpt, pp. 2-8; TG 77.2 (Bombardment and Fire Support Gp--Vice Adm Jesse B. Oldendorf) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 5, 8.

37. During air operations in support of the invasion of Luzon, two members of the Army Air Forces won Medals of Honor. For a combination of heroic actions while flying fighter cover for bombers striking Clark Field on 25 and 26 December and for a fighter sweep over Negros Island on 7 January. Maj. Thomas B. McGuire of the Thirteenth Air Force was awarded the Medal of Honor. Tragically, the award had to be made posthumously since the major's plane crashed on 7 January as he tried to save a fellow flyer from Japanese attack. While leading a photographic and strafing mission against airfields in the Aparri and Laoag areas on 11 January, Maj. William A. Shomo of the 82d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron met a flight of thirteen Japanese aircraft, shooting down six Japanese fighters and a twin-engine bomber. For this action, Major Shomo was awarded the Medal of Honor.

38. Craven and Cate, AAF V, pp. 406-11; JANAC, Japanese Shipping Losses, p. 78; G-3 GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summaries of Opns, Dec 44 and Jan 45, copies in OCMH files; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 3, 23-32, 61-62; Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, p. 242.

39. Information from the Japanese side in this and the next subsection is derived mainly from: Japanese Studies in WW II, No, 72, History of Army Section Imperial GHQ, pp. 156-61; No. 5, 4th Air Army Opns, 1944-45, p. 64-73, 77; Statements of Col Misoo Matsumac (Staff 4th Air Army), in G-2 GHQ FEC, Statements of Japanese Officials on World War II (hereinafter cited as States) (4 vols.), II, 434, 443.

40. The total of about 200 is far less than the total aircraft the Seventh Fleet's CVE's alone later claimed to have destroyed in the Luzon area. The wide discrepancy between Allied estimates of damage and the Japanese figures is inexplicable.

41. The general sources for the remainder of this subsection and all of the next are: Luzon Attack Force Rpt, pp. 10-18, 22-47, 52-75, 80-83; III Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-11, 17; ibid., Encl D, Air, pp. 2-5, 15, and Encl H, Battle Damage, pp. 1-4; VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 13-14, and Encl D, Chron Rpt, pp. 5-19; TG 77.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 7-32, 35-42, 48-56; TG 79.1 (part of Wilkinson's command) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 9-11, and Encl A, Chron Log, pp. 9-25; TG 79.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 6-14, 42-43; TG 77.9 (Reinforcement Gp) Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-6, and Encl A, Chron Log, pp. 10-23; TU 77.4.2 (CVE's) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 1-3, 6-13, 16-18; TU 77.4.4 (CVE's) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 9-18, 21-28, 30-35, 38-41; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 4-11, 47-56; Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, pp. 243-46; Craven and Cate, AAF V, pp. 409-13.

42. Rad, MacArthur to Halsey, CX-55815, 4 Jan 45, in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45.

43. See above, ch. II.

44. Rad, Halsey to Nimitz and MacArthur, 0020 7 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 6 Jan 45.

45. G-2 GHQ SWPA DSEI 1016, 7 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 7 Jan 45.

46. Rad, Oldendorf to Kinkaid, 0614 6 Jan 45, VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, Encl D, Chron Rpt, p. 12; Rad, Kinkaid to Halsey, 1834 6 Jan 45, and Rad, Oldendorf to Kinkaid, 2110 6 Jan 45, last two in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45.

47. Rad, Kinkaid to MacArthur, 0644 5 Jan 45; Rad, Kinkaid to Halsey, 1834 6 Jan 45; Rad, Halsey to Kinkaid, 2054 6 Jan 45. All in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45. Admiral Halsey, in Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, page 243, states he received the request to repeat the Luzon strikes from MacArthur, but no such message from MacArthur can be found. For cancellation of deception operations, see above, page 53 and note 25.

48. Rad, Kinkaid to Halsey, 0324 7 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45; Chamberlin Comments, 20 Jan 57.

49. In addition to sources noted previously, information on B-29 operations in support of the Luzon assault is from: Rads, MacArthur to Arnold, CX-56001, 7 Jan, and CX-56140, 9 Jan 45, CM-IN's 5768 and 8096; Rads, Arnold to MacArthur, [Maj Gen Curtis E.] LeMay, Wedemeyer, et al., 7 Jan, 9 Jan, 9 Jan, and 10 Jan 45, CM-OUT's 88424, 89316, 89317, and 89580; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 23-26, 66.

50. Rad, MacArthur to Nimitz and Halsey, 8 Jan 45, cited in VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, Encl D, Chron Rpt, p. 16; Chamberlin Comments, 20 Jan 57.

51. Casualty figures are based upon the sources previously cited; upon Morison, The Liberation, passim; and upon telephone conversation, 28 May 1952, author with Mrs. Kathorne A. Daly, Division of Insurance, U.S. Maritime Administration.

52. See Appleman et al., Okinawa, pp. 96-102, 489. During the Okinawa operation kamikazes alone sank 26 ships and damaged 164 others. There the Japanese used about 1,900 aircraft in kamikaze attacks, while during the Mindoro-Luzon invasion period they employed about 200 in such operations. The percentage return was thus much greater for the Mindoro-Luzon operation.

53. This subsection is based principally upon: Luzon Attack Force Rpt, pp. 13-14, 26-33, 48-52; TG 77.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 1, 6, 18-20; TU 77.4.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, p. 4; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 52-54.

54. Col. Russell W. Volckmann, commanding a guerrilla force known as the U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines (Northern Luzon), USAFIP(NL), claimed that his men had removed many mines from Lingayen Gulf during late 1944. Volckmann Comments, 10 Jan 57.

55. See, for example, extract of report of USS Colorado, in Luzon Attack Force Rpt, p. 60.

56. TG 77.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, p. 36.

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation