Combat Bulletin No. 27 / [videorecording]Statement of responsibility: produced by Army Pictorial Service Signal CorpsType: Visual materialSource of data: GovPH YouTube channelOnline resources: Click here to access online
Philippine content: Preparations for Philippine Invasion (including MacArthur landing on Leyte) 13:57 - 27:59
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Philippine content: Preparations for Philippine Invasion (including MacArthur landing on Leyte)
13:57 - 27:59
[Transcription]: The Navy's carrier-borne air force prepares for one of the series of strikes that soften up the Philippines for the Army's amphibious invasion. Since August 30th, when Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet began operations in the Marianas, carrier planes have blasted Jap defenses, shipping, and air power throughout the archipelago. Dive bombers, torpedo planes, and strafers operate from the flight decks of the carriers with record speed. Possessed of great mobility through its accompanying supply and repair ships, the Carrier Task Force maintains an uninterrupted series of attacks. Carrier aircraft are credited with the destruction of 2,500 enemy planes in a two-month period. Our losses were approximately 300 carrier planes, making the ratio higher than 8:1.
Plane handling crews buck the propeller blasters; they move the aircraft into take-off position.
After receiving the take-off signal, a fighter goes aloft.
Other craft ride up the elevator from the hangar deck to the flight deck.
Just as soon the propeller wash of the plane ahead has been dissipated, the next member of the carrier squadron leaves the forward runway.
Forming for the attack. Target: Mindanao Island and vital shipping lanes of the southern end of the Philippines. In addition to the primary mission, the Mindanao strike tends further to confuse the enemy, who's never sure of when and where an amphibious assault will follow the strafing and bombing forays.
Beginning 10th October, the attacks move into Japanese home waters. This time, the destinations for carrier aircraft of Vice Admiral Mark A. Mitscher's command are the Ryukyu Islands and Formosa. Targets: Japanese shipping and major military and naval installations. The Ryukyu is guard to southern approaches to Japan proper, and are important as staging and communication centers. Formosa, one of the most strongly fortified areas in the Japanese empire, bars the lanes to the China coast. It protects Japan's lifeline between the homeland and her new colonial possessions to the south. The carrier planes blast these enemy bases through ten days prior to the first landings in the Philippines.
Our aircraft sights a US submarine on regular patrol deep in Jap waters. The subs contributed to the mass destructions of enemy shipping. Hundreds of vessels were either sunk or damaged in the Ryukyu-Formosa strikes. This is in addition to extensive damage to ground installations.
Mission successfully accomplished, the planes return to their carriers. Our losses had been light. In the Ryukyu's raids, they are known to have been 14 aircraft and 9 aircraft personnel.
As the plane approaches the carrier's stern, wheels are down. So is the hook trailing from the tip of its tail. This hook is caught in the cable of the arresting gear, pulling the plane to a halt. Just forward of the last landing wire are the steel barriers, which prevent a plane that has missed the gear from racing down the deck towards the parked planes.
The signal officer guides the landings. The large paddles he manipulates are the pilot's instructions as to what he must do to get the plane aboard safely.
This means "cut the gun and land."
As one plane hits the deck, its landing gear gives way.
This time the signal officer indicates to the pilot that he can't make it.
The last of the carrier-borne aircraft return. They come in against the 25-knot wind, with the carrier moving away from them at about the same speed. The planes themselves land at something like a hundred miles an hour.
The plane handling crews take over as the aircraft are *** for routine checking and necessary repairs.
The pilots report for interrogation.
Down to the hangar deck to await the next order to launch planes. Meanwhile, far to the south, General MacArthur prepares to return at last to the Philippines. The General himself is in personal command of the invasion troops. He boards the light cruiser Nashville on which he maintains his headquarters during the passage to the theater of the operations.
With General MacArthur are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland, his Chief of Staff, and Lieutenant General George Kenny commanding the Far Eastern Air Force.
Units of Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet, and Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid's Seventh Fleet, supported by an Australian squadron, await the signal for the attack on Leyte Island in the Philippines. The invasion armada of at least 600 vessels is the largest ever assembled by the Allies in the Pacific.
The move on Leyte has the element of surprise. According to General MacArthur, the enemy had anticipated landings on Mindanao, 300 miles to the south. A large number of US battleships, and Australian and US cruisers and destroyers, participate in the heavy preliminary bombardment of Leyte.
First waves hit the beach before 1000 hours of the 20th, called A-Day. The major attacks are along the east coast between Tacloban, the capital of Leyte, and Dulag, 20 miles south. Leyte is the wasp waist of the Philippines. Eighth largest in the archipelago, it lies between the northern tip of Mindanao and the southern tip of Luzon. The defenders facing Lieutenant General Walter Krueger's Sixth Army are members of the Fifteenth Japanese Division, which organized the March of Death for the captives of Bataan.
General MacArthur sets out for the Leyte Beach head a few hours behind the first assault waves. With him is Brigadier General Carlos Romulo. Being assisted into the barge is Sergio Osmeña, who succeeded the late Manuel Quezon as president of Philippine Commonwealth. One of the functions of Osmeña's government will be to contact Filipino guerrilla leaders, who have harried the Japs since the fall of Corregidor in May 1942.
An historic moment in the history of the Philippines. General MacArthur waves ashore. The bitter days of Corregidor are two and a half years behind him. The road he followed back to the archipelago covered 2,500 miles from the south-eastern tip of New Guinea where the offensive started early 16 months ago. General MacArthur's troops encountered only feeble resistance before fanning out to take initial objectives on Leyte. Forward elements are already within striking distance of Tacloban and the island's major airfields.
The American columns move inland along an 18-mile front to a depth of four miles. Troops of Major General James N. Bradley's 96th Infantry Division outflank Dulag, and capture town and its adjacent airfield on the 21st.
Natives return from the hills where they found safety during height of the siege. Leyte has a population of 835,000.
In ceremonies at the provincial capitol building where president Osmeña speaks, captured Tacloban becomes the temporary seat of the Philippine Commonwealth Government. Thus, General MacArthur makes good his promise to return to the Philippines.