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"The Saga of Ormoc Bay " Topic

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233 hits since 11 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse11 Jan 2019 9:08 p.m. PST

"The battle for Leyte had been raging since an Allied invasion force arrived off the coast of this central Philippine island. From the 23rd of October to the 26th, in a running battle on the sea and in the air, the Japanese attempted to repulse the landing. This titanic military engagement, known as "The Battle of Leyte Gulf," proved to be the largest naval battle in history and decided the fate of not only the Philippines, but also of the once mighty IJN Combined fleet. During the four-day skirmish, Adm. Halsey's Third Fleet and Adm. Kinkaid's Seventh decimated four separate Japanese naval task forces commanded by Admirals Ozawa, Kurita, Nishimura and Shima. When the smoke had cleared, the surviving Japanese ships of Operation "SHO-GO" limped back to Tokyo and the Americans secured the landing beaches. Consequently, despite the stiff resistance by the Imperial Navy and Adm. Onishi's newly instituted Kamikaze tactics, American ground troops finally stormed ashore.

Since U.S. Army soldiers had landed on the island in late October, they had been pushing inexorably west across the island. The Sixth Army had allocated over 200,000 ground troops for the operation, which included the 1st Cavalry Division, 6th Ranger Battalion and the 24th, 32nd and 77th Infantry Divisions. The American units were making great progress, and by early November, through the use of a double envelopment strategy, they were pushing the enemy infantry units towards the sea. However, Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi, the Japanese Southern Army commander, refused to concede defeat. The "Tiger of Malaya" ordered that a maximum effort be made to augment Leyte through Ormoc Bay. The original enemy strength on the island consisted of 21,000 men from the 16th Infantry Division. However, by November 9th, they had already reinforced the island's defense with another 20,000 soldiers that were brought in from other areas. This disturbing trend could not be allowed to continue.

Leyte sits in the central portion of the Philippine archipelago, as part of the Visayan group. It lies SW of Samar, east of Negros and Panay, between the Pacific Ocean and the Camotes Sea. Possession of this island was crucial for the Allies, as it split the Japanese forces in the north on Luzon from those in the south on Mindanao, which constituted a great threat to enemy shipping lanes and served as an excellent base for driving further into the Philippines…."
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