October 1944 (5)

 

20 October – the X and XXIV Corps of the 6th Army, under General Krueger, made their amphibious landing on a 25-mile (40 km) stretch of coastline between Dulag and Tacloban on the eastern side of Leyte.

At o945, the 1st Cavalry went ashore on White Beach, the 24th Infantry Division went on their left at Red Beach and the 96th Infantry Division landed further south on Orange and Blue Beaches.  They all moved inland for about a mile, hitting stiffer resistance as they went.

The 7th Infantry Division at Violet and Yellow Beaches had the lightest opposition, but Dulag was taken by the following day.  MacArthur described the view he witnessed from the flag bridge of the USS Nashville:

Gen. MacArthur surveys the beachhead ay Leyte.

Landings are explosive once the shooting begins and now thousands of guns were throwing their shells with a roar that was incessant and deafening.  Rocker vapor trails criss-crossed the sky and black, ugly ominous pillars of smoke began to rise.  High overhead, swarms of airplanes darted into the maelstrom.  And across what would have ordinarily been a glinting, untroubled blue sea, the black dots of the landing craft churned towards the beaches.

From my vantage point, I had a clear view of everything that took place.  Troops were going ashore at Red Beach near Palo, at San Jose on White Beach and at the southern tip of Leyte on tiny Pansom Island…

MacArthur became impatient and ordered a landing craft to carry him and President Osmeña to Red Beach for a dramatically staged arrival back to the Philippines.  But the boatload of VIP’s and press were caught in a traffic jam of vessels making an effort to the same makeshift pier.  The harassed beachmaster directed the VIP’s away and said, “Let ’em walk!” This more and likely is the reason for his surly expression in the famous photograph, despite him trying later to create a better one.

Mac went into the 24th’s area and sat on a log with Osmeña and a Signal Officer gave the general a microphone.  The “Voice of Freedom” was back on the air and Mac gave his speech, “People of the Philippines, I have returned…”  His aides noticed that the speech left him shaken and visibly moved.

By evening, a 17-mile beachfront was taken with only light casualties, but a serious enemy counter-attack came with Japanese torpedoes bombers that scored a hit on the USS Honolulu.  Approximately 22,000 enemy troops were dug into their positions in the hills behind Tacloban.

The X Corps had unfavorable conditions in terrain and sporadic mortar and artillery fire which caused them to take 5 days to complete unloading.  This however did not prevent them from the establishment of their beachhead.

MacArthur’s summary:

“The enemy’s anticipation of attack in Mindanao caused him to be caught unawares in Leyte and the beachheads of the Tacloban area…  The naval forces consisted of the 7th US Fleet, the Australian Squadron and supporting elements of the 3rd US Fleet.  Air support was given by naval carrier forces, the Far East Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force.  The enemy’s forces include the 14th Army Group under Field Marshall Count Terauchi, of which 7 divisions have been identified – 16th, 26th, 30th, 100th, 102nd, 103rd and the 105th.”

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Military Humor – 

“Cause no one’s going to notice a branch covered moving tank…”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harry Adams Sr. – New Cumberland, PA; US Army, WWII

Robert Clark – Westmoreland, NH; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

Cleo Douglas – Berwyn, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Doris Graham – Blanchard, MI; US Navy WAVE, WWII, Unit 32 nurse

Virgile Green – Paron, AK; US Army, WWII, PTO

Raymond McCormick – E.Greenwich, RI; US Navy, WWII, USS Wisconsin, Alabama & South Dakota

Naomi Oliver – Wanganui, NZ; Women’s Nurse Corps # 816540, WWII

George Psiropoulos – Fon du Lac, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Infantry Div., Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Frank Southern – Dipton, UK; RAF, WWII, ETO, 272 Squadron navigator, POW

Lester Tenney – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO, tank commander, Bataan POW

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 10, 2017, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 70 Comments.

  1. I appreciate the old pictures you use gp, they support the story real well.
    Interesting to read MacArthur’s comments on the various campaigns regarding the enemy.
    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. always something new to learn from you, GP. tahnks much!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A new story finz ri read

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder if MacA subsequently did anything about that pesky Beachmaster, or accepted that he was just doing his job?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. GP, I was reading what Gypsy Bev wrote up above and that reminded me of the many letters soldiers have written. When you consider the exhausting and emotional battles soldiers have had to fight in, it hits you just how amazing it is the record they leave. In some ways, it must be not only of historical significance but a cathartic experience for them as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like to read these stories. I sometimes think of my parents. As a little girl,I would ask what the war was like? Mom said so many people died. With a far away look she would say her fiance- an architect never came back. Hopefully it reminds us how precious our lives are and how much we should appreciate our time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Always interesting to hear the first person accounts. Wonder when they did write these things. Was it something they remembered after that particular battle was over? They certainly couldn’t have been writing and fighting at the same time. Today they would probably speak into a recording device like most doctors use.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Today is easy, as you say, but back then the men wrote by moonlight or back at their base camp or when they were finally put into reserve, etc. You weren’t supposed to keep a diary because the enemy might retrieve it if you were hurt or killed. Today we are thankful for those troops that are speaking to the different veteran’s programs collecting these stories.

      Like

  8. The camouflaged tank is a gem. But the insight on MacArthur was priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It always amazes me, when I read the first-person accounts on your blog, that the writers took the time to document, given everything else they were dealing with. I wonder what will be left to read for future generations. Tweets? lol

    I always love the photos you locate – and chuckle at the funnies. Humor in Uniform.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve thought of that myself. Is there going to be a laptop or phone or tablet found in a junk yard 100 years from not with a hard drive full of unseen emails and texts ?? People don’t take the time to hand-write anything these days, plus youngsters don’t even learn how to write cursive anymore.

      Liked by 3 people

      • And neuroscience is quite concerned about that – apparently learning cursive is important for the development of connections and pathways that are needed for other cognitive tasks, difficult to remediate.

        But then, those who make the laws and set the standards are science-ignorant in the main, and I wish I knew what to do to change that sad fact.

        It will only worsen over the next 4 years, no doubt, as the child-in-charge seems not even to understand the importance of a vaccinated populace. The epidemiologists are beginning to panic about his rousing of the anti-vaxers – as is the World Health Organization.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting as always, GP. Thanks. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’d always wondered why MacArthur didn’t look happier. I thought it was because his trousers were so wet.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I always enjoy the Military Humor bits, but these two were particularly amusing!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I always learn something new in your posts about the war in the Pacific. Keep ‘me coming!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. It’s always interesting to hear the official spin and then to hear some of the first-person stories you’ve shared with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Funny story about McArthur. My son is in the Signal Corps, but he keeps saying he’s strategic not tactical (meaning he wouldn’t be on the shores with McArthur). Hmmm…

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I remember as a kid hearing about the few remaining WWI vets and how some day they would all be gone. Here we are now, WWII vets will soon be a memory. I wonder if I’ll read here, the name of the last WWII veteran.
    Lester Tenney, Bataan POW; he had a strong will will to live.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Another great article that allowed us to be there in emotion. Leaders have a difficult assignment and MacArthur executed this assignment to the best of his abilities.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Of course, I’d heard MacArthur’s famous promise to return, but never read about his actual return. Fascinating!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I have always been a little unsure about MacArthur. He did seem to court publicity and photo opportunities, but also made some decent tactical decisions.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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