December 1944 (1)

 

Japanese destroyer sinks in Ormoc Bay

6 December – the main thrust of Operation Wa on Leyte, P.I. was provided by the Japanese 26th Division, minus the battalion that was attempting to protect Ormoc, but the enemy found it difficult to maintain their schedule given to them by the Manila headquarters.  General Suzuki requested a 2-day delay, but he was denied.

Only 300 Japanese paratroopers of the 16th Division were left after desertions to jump on the Buraen airfield.  The 700 troopers of the 3rd Parachute Regiment, flying in from Luzon, ran into heavy flak and lost 4 planes.  The remaining Japanese

Major Shirai Tsuneharu suiting up for Leyte jump.

aircraft dropped their troopers on the 11th Airborne Headquarters Company.  [Smitty’s unit] (an eye witness story on this will appear on another day.)

8→9 December – 500 more enemy paratroopers were assigned to to jump on an airfield above Ormoc near Highway 2, but they landed 5 miles north of their target.  Col. Mitsui, with poorly armed service units, was dug-in on a high ground position below the city waiting for support.  MGen. A. Bruce’s US 77th Division broke through the defense.  He sent the following message to Corps Commander, John Hodge: “HAVE ROLLED TWO SEVENS IN ORMOC. COME SEVEN, COME ELEVEN.”  [referencing to the 77th; 7th and 11th divisions].

9 December – two more enemy convoys were enroute to Ormoc Bay.  The first convoy had 3,000 men of the 8th Division and 900 tons of matériel and supplies in 5 transports, 3 destroyers and 2 sub-chasers with an escort of about 30 fighters.  US Marine Corsairs sank 3 transports and then one more was sunk in a combined USMC/Army aircraft effort.

The other convoy of 2 destroyers and 2 transports carried 700 men, tanks, and mortars.  These were spotted by the destroyer Coghlan which proceeded to sink one of the Japanese vessels.  Despite the fact that so many enemy ships were destroyed, a very large number of reinforcements made it to shore, but their effectiveness was hampered by the amount of supplies that went to bottom of the ocean.

11th Airborne encampment, Leyte.

13 December – 1,800 prisoners at Santo Tomás, Luzon began marching to Pier 7 to board the enemy “hell ship” Oroyoku-Maru.  It was sunk 2 days later near Subic Bay by American carrier aircraft.  Angry Japanese guards shot at the men trying to escape the ship’s sinking hull and those struggling in the water.  Those that made it to shore were sent out on other ships 27 December and 2 January.  Out of the original 1800 Americans, 1,426 perished.

Also on this date, the cruiser USS Nashville and destroyer USS Haraden were damaged by kamikaze pilots.

15→20 December – The Visayan Force [ between Mindanao and Luzon are the Visayan Islands – Cebu, Panay, Negros, Leyte and Samar.], the US 24th Division landed on Mindoro just off the SW coast of Luzon.  The island only had a small garrison, but 4 abandoned airfields that would soon be used by the US Army Air Corps.  The 503rd PRCT came ashore.  They could not jump in due to the weather.

+ Maryann Holloway’s father saw a lot of what transpired here – her father’s story on the USS Hornet.

On and over Luzon, US carrier aircraft destroyed 225 enemy aircraft in 3 separate attacks.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Russell Curione – Toms River, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 tail gunner, MSgt. (Ret. 20 years)

Drew DeVoursney – Atlanta, GA; USMC (Ret.), Iraq

Philip Helms – Halifax, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, Ordnance

John ‘Jack’ Kelly – Broad Channel, NY; USMC, Korea

Jack Lapouraille – BelAir, MD; US Navy, WWII, USS Salerno Bay

Joseph Maltese – Emmaus, PA; US Army, WWII, Sgt., emergency communication

Gene Nooker – Cheyenne, WY; Manhattan Project, WWII

Louie Piszor – Green Bay, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bee shovel operator

William Ryan – Parma, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 82nd Air Engineer Squadron

Franklin Stearns Jr. – Conway, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

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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 May 4, 2017, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. Slowly returning to the blogosphere after our trip—this is hard stuff to read, especially when the world seems so dangerous these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean. China now has a railroad being built to connect 8 nations in the name of trade. Sounds a lot like Japan’s old Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity, eh?

      Like

  2. Thank you for the link to the story of Maryann Holloway’s father, GP. It is amazing what these men, on both sides, went through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bits that engage the attention apart from the unrelenting action are that I didn’t know it was in the Japanese nature to desert, and how ironic it is to be in combat, survive to be taken prisoner, survive a sinking, and then succumb in another.

    Like

  4. .do you ever use guest writer submissions?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not as yet done so. I usually re-blog a person’s post. Is there a particular story you care to tell? My comments here are moderated by me, so only you and I can see them until I approve it. Therefore if you wish a comment to be quiet, simply tell me to delete after reading.

      Like

  5. As I am sure you noticed, WWII history is one of my favorite periods of time to revisit and learn from. I appreciate your site and the historical pleasure it gives my information starving brain 🙂

    Are you Airborne as well? I salute your father for his service… I am also a military brat…

    I am glad we have connected! ~Janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I am not airborne. My wish to enlist was the one and only NO I received from my father [being the height of the Vietnam War may have had something to do with that]. My father was Army Airborne, my uncle was USMC {Career man), my son USMC and cousin was Navy. It’s great to have you around here, we have such a great group of regulars that talk between themselves too! They make this site their own and I think that makes even better than I ever imagined!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Views, Reviews and Blogs by an Emergency RN and commented:
    This is one of my favorite sites to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The cartoons are irresistibly funny at any time, even after many years. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nightmare. But thank you for the picture of the soapy puppy. Appreciate it.

    Like

  9. Always appreciate your comics gp, there is a lot of irony in them but I’m sure the humour was appreciated back in those days.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have read about POW’s dying because of the brutality of the Japanese.
    A good book about that is called Prisoner Of The Japanese

    Liked by 1 person

  11. War is the hell .I read 1426 of 1800 soldiers are death. a real catastrophy

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So sad about the prisoners. I had read about that before, and I always wonder how the pilots must have felt, if they even knew during the war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the point, who knew? The Japanese had not signed the Geneva Convention, so they didn’t mark those ships. When they do discover what they’ve done, I’m sure it had drastic psychological effects. I have a post that covers a similar situation that will appear during the Intermission stories between 1944-45.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Fine series of posts, it brings home the scope of the Pacific at this stage and the tragic loss of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And just think how much I’ve actually left out. Especially at this point of the war, so much went on in the Pacific, it takes a lot more than one blog’s space to cover it. Thanks for following, Lloyd.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s very interesting what you say about “the amount of supplies that went to bottom of the ocean” . I think that this war was the first where the problems of transport such an effect on the outcome (Rommel for example). WW1 was very local and in lots of wars before this, the troops just foraged for food. I would have to admit though, that I just don’t know how the Civil War sides were supplied.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not researched that, but I’m presuming that supplies were brought in by horse and wagon. In Europe, as in WWI, edible food would be easy to recognize. I am curious as to how many died in the Pacific from eating plants that were unknown and were toxic. Those were probably put down as dying from disease.

      Like

  15. Can’t “like” the post because of the account of prisoners dying at the hand of allied planes. I read the trial defense that the onus was on the captain of the ship to mark the vessel as prisoner transport, although I don’t know how much those markings were respected during the war.

    There were Japanese civilians aboard, too.

    Like

    • The Japanese had not signed the Geneva Convention and felt no commitment to treat prisoners fairly. The ships they marked as hospitals were usually supply and transports while the prisoner ships were unmarked or seen as military. The Allies had no way to distinguish between them. But I understand your reason for not clicking ‘Like’, I have trouble with that same issue on other blog posts as well.

      Like

  16. Interesting as always, G. I’ve never heard much about desertion with the Japanese. I do remember the story of the last Japanese man coming out of the Philippine jungle years and years after the war and wondering if it was over. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks, GP. So much history here.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a sobering story of so much lost life; but I sure appreciate the info and facts, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. So sad and cruel – hell indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wonderful story. Thanks for the link.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sad to read about all those prisoners of war, helpless on a sinking ship having to choose how they were going to (sadly) die. It must have been terrifying!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. If I can use English language fluently, I ‘ll be able to talk more in various…(T^T)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. As beetleypete remarked, I too, never realized the Japanese had paratroopers. It makes sense though. The desertions you mentioned is remarkable. Where would the deserters go? No army takes kindly to desertion, but, at this point in the war when the Japanese probably knew they were doomed, I imagine little mercy was shown to those who were caught, whether by their own countrymen or by Filipinos.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Intense, GP. The loss of the men from the Oroyoku-Maru was devastating. That got to me. Thanks for another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. More interesting stories and facts as usual, GP. I never realised that the Japanese made such use of paratroops. The fate of those prisoners on the ‘hell ship’ was sad indeed.
    Best wishes,Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I just interviewed a sailor aboard the Nasville. He felt bad for the boys that were lost due to the kamikaze. He felt they were under his care. That’s a heavy load to bear.

    Liked by 2 people

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