Leyte, Philippines begins

Leyte, Oct. 1944

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 0945, 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.

MacArthur observing the beach at Leyte

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:

“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…”

Gen. MacArthur walking into the Philippines.

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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Current News – Happy 74th Birthday to the U.S. Air Force 9/18/1947 

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/?s=air+force+birthday

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Military Humor – 

“The situation in Iraq appears to be going well, gentlemen. THAT however, is a map of Staten Island.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

James C. Barnhart – Somerset, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart / Korea, Purple Heart

A. Charles Casadonte Jr. – Herkimer, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. B/111 Medical Battalion

Keith Dunker – Dayton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Pt., pilot

Lester Flack – Guest, KY; US Army, WWII, 22 Infantry Division

Richard Gartee – Monroe, MI; US Navy, WWII

David M. Hardy Jr. – Tucson, AZ; US Navy, WWII, USS Louisville

Richard G. Hudak – Elizabeth, NJ; USMC, Vietnam, Captain

Teppo K. Jokinen – brn: Hyvinkää, FIN/ Everett, WA; Finnish Air Force

Paul Mazal – Loomis, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-47 pilot, Lt.  # O-763693, 513/406th Fighter Group, KIA (GER)

Andrew Pellerito – MI; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 355031, Co. K/3/2nd Marine Div., KIA (Betio, Tarawa)

Joseph C. Rouse – Riverside, NC; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class # 2624770, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Helen Scallion – Birmingham, AL; Civilian, WWII, B-24 & 25 electrical system construction

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About GP

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

Posted on September 13, 2021, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 118 Comments.

  1. Here’s one of two pillboxes at White Beach just south of the current Tacloban Airport. You could walk inside the second one close by. It was full of mosquitoes.
    BTW, I don’t know if photo links work here. Oh well.

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/p47koji/o0hZ38

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the history lesson, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have had to break from the manuscript because life has taken an unexpected turn. (We are moving to Virginia! Buy. Sell. Job. Cross Country move.) I have one chapter remaining and it deals with your post! I appreciate the reminders and I miss writing. It’s been almost a month!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It sometimes is easy to romanticise war, yet its brutal reality is a shock to the human psyche. The whiners lamenting slight inconvenience during Covid-19, would never have lasted in combat conditions.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Thank you, GP. This post painted the picture of MacArthur I had suspected.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. When I see photos like you used I wonder if one of those LCs was my father’s. I don’t mean he was on one, he kept them running.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. One reason I always read through the comments here is because I come across things like the statues of MacArthur walking ashore. I’ve seen the photo, but wasn’t aware the sculptures existed. Let’s hope no one takes it into their head to pull those down!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Love the cartoons, MacArthur had an ego as big as his talent. Now I know why he walked ashore. Good info, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Very interesting and humorous episode, GP! Thank you! Have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey GP just stopping by to see how you are, your posts just get better, fascinating, keep well friend..

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Love the officer shirt. Reminds me of when I was young, and my “friends” used to say I’d never do anything the easy way if there was a hard way to go about it 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  12. General MacArthur walking ashore would have made a good caption contest. I think his expression is caused by the fact that he has suddenly realised just how unpleasant it’s going to be to have to walk around all day in soaking wet trousers. Let’s hope one of those high ranking officers just happens to be carrying a dry pair for him.

    Liked by 3 people

    • haha, Mac was the determined sort with a huge ego, but he was also ‘down to earth’. He would rather ask a Pvt. his idea of a situation than an officer (as an example).

      Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to view MacArthur in a more favorable light than
      many. Even my dad who ultimately served under him
      during his return to the PIs was more neutral than I
      w/ regard to Mac. Anyway, I have repeatedly heard by
      MacArthur detractors that his actual walk from the
      landing craft was staged and restaged for publicity
      reasons. I don’t even know if it is true. I always thought
      “So what? Nobody seems to care that the famous
      photo of the US Marines raising the flag over Mt
      Surabachi was also staged. It was the second flag
      raised over Iwo Jima that day.”

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I had no idea the beaches were named by colors. Guess that might have been an easier way to remember them. Did the press ever get in the way of the actual combat? Loved the picture of MacArthur going ashore.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I do not recall offhand any story of the Signal Corps or commercial press ever getting in the way. They were dedicated young men who went into combat – usually without weapons and they lost quite a few of them due to their dedication.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The photos make me think of my dad. He was just a lad. (Rhymes) Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A fascinating episode, GP.
    Love the humor!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. If that was the enemy caught unawares….goodness only knows what troops had to withstand when the defenders were on the alert!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Weer een stuk geschiedenis waar ik weinig over wist en zo boeiend geschreven

    Liked by 3 people

  18. A terrific report of MacArthur’s return. That photo is a classic.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. This is a glorious featured image, and an even better article! Hugs! Still trying to think of the name for the new military vehicle. It is four initials.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I am never sure about Macarthur, but the fighting for the Philippines was hard, and well done indeed by the US forces with their local allies.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. My husband would agree with the “Officers” tee-shirt!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Another important slice of campaign history

    Liked by 3 people

  23. GP, goddamn, my wife’s father was in the thick of all that. This post is a keeper!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Dear GP,
    oh dear, we first had to find Leyte on our atlas.
    Every time we visit your blog we learn something new. Thank you VERY much.
    Keep well and happy
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  25. A great start to an amazing battle. I will read with interest.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Leyte holds a pivotal role in the Philippine’s history from when Magellan landed in Limasawa in 1521 to the largest naval battle in WWII on Oct. 23-26, 1944. As I understand, MacArthur’s ship ran aground so he had to wade ashore which irritated him. After seeing the photograph later, he decided to do the same thing in later landings for its effect. That’s MacArthur! But Filipinos love him!!

    Liked by 4 people

  27. GP, thank you for this post! 🇵🇭 Tacloban, Leyte is indeed a strategic place to landfall, both troops and hurricanes. 😅 No wonder that Eastern Visayas was chosen then instead of Mindanao (Southern part of the country). Blessings to you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Great post, GP. Much fighting remained, but I can only imagine that establishing the beachhead felt good. “I have returned…after several thousand men paved the way”

    The “Officers” cartoon reminds me of a man I worked for for about 15 years.

    I hope you have a great week..

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Dennis L. Peterson is a South Carolina author. He’s working on a WWII book that’s a combination of a relative’s letters and the history behind them, what he cannot reveal. He needs to be following your website here!

    Liked by 3 people

      • You are very welcome. I enjoy reading about MacArthur. He is one man who should be taught in school today.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You would think. I did a rather large report on him way back in gramma school. The teacher was surprised I even heard of him!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Golly. How soon people forget.

            When I was in 6th grade, Ted Lawson came and spoke to us. IIRR, he had a nephew or other young relative there in the school. He talked about journalism. (His co-author was Bob Considine.) I had the nerve to ask him a question: “What makes something ‘news?'” He responded with the old (new to us) saw about “Dog bites man” isn’t news; “Man bites dog,” that’s news.

            I have no idea how I came up with that question.

            Liked by 2 people

            • It is an excellent question at that! Was the answer understandable at that age?

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thank you. The question gave Lawson an easy rejoinder, and yes, everyone understood it and laughed. He devised his talk for the kids, minimizing his injuries, saying the leg had been scratched as he “exited the craft” and later got infected. Actually, he and the co-pilot were launched at speed through the windshield. His leg had to be field-amputated by their flight surgeon, and needed further attention state-side. We were a little young to appreciate his full story, let alone the psychological effect it had on the Japanese. I wish I could thank him for his sacrifice and for honoring us with his visit.

                A satirical New Yorker cartoon at the time shows two Japanese men walking down a street lined with destroyed buildings. The caption reads: “Well, that’s war. We bomb Washington; they bomb Tokyo.”

                Liked by 1 person

  30. I am sure your blog has rekindled the interest of many people searching for information on this campaign. I especially love the photo of General MacArthur and this…

    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.

    Liked by 6 people

  31. GP

    I may have mentioned this before, but Ian Toll’s Pacific War Trilogy is OUTSTADNING!

    It combines both strategic and tactical viewpoints along with in-depth character bio’s (Nimitz, King, Halsey, MacArthur) in a flowing narrative prose that is just a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 4 people

  1. Pingback: Leyte, Philippines begins — Pacific Paratrooper | Ups Downs Family History

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