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Battle for Luzon, Philippines

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by Philscout, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Here is a good read on how and possibly why MacArthur chose the strategy he did. In many ways "brilliant' and in many ways common sense leading to a brilliant outcome.

    Chapter 7: The Philippines: Strategic Objective

    ""General MacArthur had driven past Finschhafen and had penetrated the enemy's New Guinea defenses to a depth of over 300 miles. The strategy of his advance was briefly outlined in a memorandum to the War Department. " This advance," he stated, " is along a decisive operational axis that drives a wedge into the [Japanese defense] perimeter toward a central core-the Philippines-that dominates all aerial and shipping lanes employed by the enemy for his current reinforcement and maintenance program. . . ."[SUP]4[/SUP] The establishment of Allied forces in the Philippines would not only cut Japan's communications with the islands on which she was dependent for the means to run her war machine, but would also provide an ideal base from which to prepare the final blows
    [168]​
    [HR][/HR]
    against Tokyo itself.​
    General MacArthur continued his analysis with an appraisal of the various approaches to the Philippines. He considered that an attack from the Southeast Asia Command would be frontal in nature, pushing the Japanese back upon successive lines of defense which they could readily keep supplied. " A major effort along this line of action," he concluded, " is undesirable both tactically and logistically." An attack across the Pacific would also have to be delivered against a position organized in great depth. It would have to be supported entirely by carrier-based aircraft as opposed to land-based air cover, and it would not sufficiently cut the enemy's lines of communication nor seriously curtail his war potential.[SUP]5[/SUP]

    A drive from the Southwest Pacific Area, on the other hand, possessed several advantages which General MacArthur explained as follows:
    The attack from the Southwest Pacific Area departs from a base that is closest to the objective and advances against the most lightly organized portion of the enemy's defenses, effecting a decisive penetration. It is the only plan that permits an effective combination of land, sea and air power. The advance can be made by a combination of airborne and seaborne operations, always supported by the full power of land-based aviation and assisted by the fleet operating in the open reaches of the Pacific. A penetration of the defensive perimeter along this line results in by-passing heavily defended areas of great extent that will fall, practically of their own weight, to mopping-up operations with a minimum of loss.[SUP]6


    [/SUP]

     
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  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Good discussion and links, guys. Any info on Lee's second question about how soon air operations against Okinawa began from PI?
     
  3. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    If you can't find it at HyperWar or CMH it probably didn't happen :

    The first attack on Okinawa was made by Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force, operating as part of the Third Fleet, in the preliminary operations for the landings on Leyte. Nine carriers, 5 fast battleships, 8 escort carriers, 4 heavy cruisers, 7 light cruisers, 3 antiaircraft cruisers, and 58 destroyers arrived off Okinawa early on 10 October. Admiral Mitscher made every effort to achieve surprise. The force followed the track of bad weather caused by a typhoon moving toward Okinawa from the southeast. A smaller force of cruisers and destroyers made a diversionary attack on Marcus Island, 1,500 miles to the east, in such a way as to simulate a large force. Aircraft based on the Marianas intensified attacks on Iwo Jima, to hamper searches from that direction, and flew interdiction patrols ahead of the Third Fleet forces. ...... "Okinawa was not assaulted again until 1945, when carrier planes raided the Ryukyu and Sakashima Islands on 3 and 4 January during a heavy attack on Formosa by the Fast Carrier Task Force."
    >>>
    During February and March 1945, aircraft based in the Southwest Pacific and in the Marianas made almost daily runs over the Ryukyus and adjacent waters. Army and Navy search planes and patrol bombers hunted the waters for Japanese shipping and helped to isolate Okinawa by destroying cargo vessels, luggers, and other craft plying between Okinawa and outlying areas. One or two bombers flying high over Okinawa became so familiar a sight to the Japa´┐Żnese that they called it the "regular run" and dispensed with air raid alarms.5 During March American submarines also tightened the shipping blockade around the Ryukyus.<<<<<<


    Chapter II: Invasion Of The Ryukyus


     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    One correction:

    Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force ..... Nine carriers, 5 fast battleships, 8 escort carriers, 4 heavy cruisers, 7 light cruisers, 3 antiaircraft cruisers, and 58 destroyers

    8 escort carriers should be 8 light carriers (CVLs). CVEs with speeds of 16-19 knots couldn't operate with the fast carrier force. Every other ship type listed is consistent with fast carrier organization, as is 8 CVLs for the preliminaries to Leyte Gulf, before Princeton was sunk.
     
  5. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Good point
    Here's is a good link for Task Force 58 with a list of ships.

    OPERATION ICEBERG
     
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  6. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    I assume(a big assumption )that one of the main reasons for the capture of the northern philipennes ,was to first repair and then prepare or even build airfields,from which to attack Japanese positions in the phillipennes ,and launch attacks toward Okinawa. Did the U.S.Airrcraft have the range to target Okinawa from basses on Luzon,?because the U.S.Navy seems to have taken serious damage at Okinawa ,which perhaps would not have been as bad if it had had support from U.S.A.A.F. Units attacking from Luzon.Cheers,Lee.
    P.s,sorry guys,I should've read closer on the link about the Mexican air force P47's.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    B24's based in Luzon hit Formosa on a regular basis which compllicated Japanese Kamikaze operations from that island. It didn't eliminate the threat, but made it tougher.

    No Japanese air units were operational on Luzon during the battle for Okinawa, with most USN losses coming from Kamikaze's coming from the north.

    I am still looking for sortie information from the FEAF on missions against Okinawa prior to the invasion proper. The B24's had plenty of range to hit Okinawa, Clark Field being about 800 miles away.
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Aircraft from Luzon, including fighters, could strike Okinawa but could not maintain the kind of continuous presence necessary to defend the fleet against kamikazes or to provide on-call support to the ground forces. There was a continuing need for ships to operate around the island - afloat reserves, reinforcements, supply ships, hospital ships, gunfire support, etc. CVEs were needed to provide close air support and fighter cover. Then there were the radar picket destroyers; and the fast carrier forces supported the whole operation, drew a share of the attacks onto their own formidable fighter and flak defenses, struck at potential kamikaze bases, and dealt with other threats like Yamato.

    No doubt land-based air made a valuable contribution, looking forward to seeing more about that. Did they establish bases in northern Luzon? Those I'm aware of were in the Clark Field/Manila area. The Japanese actually held out in the mountainous north, east of Lingayen Gulf, until the end of the war.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    FAEF missions against Okinawa prior to the invasion?
    I really doubt it...

    Clark field wasn't captured until January 30, 1945. The first fighter groups didn't move in until the end of February, and the first bomb groups didn't move in until, roughly, the middle of March.

    That does not leave a whole lot of time before the landings begin on April 1st.
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Very good point, Takao. The timeline seems to make it impractical to use the PI airfields for missions to Okinawa.
     
  11. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    Hey guys,thanks for the info,and those links too.Cheers,Lee.
     
  12. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Seems to me I remember reading that B-29's (XX group)? were bombing Okinawa from Chinese bases in late 1944?
     
  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    I imagine that Halsey and Nimitz's fronts to the north of the Philippine Islands would have accomplished the same goals with less losses. Some historians had questioned the necessity of retaking the Philippines. In their view, it was an unnecessary battle that elevated the prestige of the Army (and that of MacArthur's personal reputation) over real strategic need. The Navy's war plan in '42 proposed to bypass the Philippines in favor of taking other, smaller islands which would serve as air and naval bases just as admirably as that in the Philippines, without risking the heavy losses that would be inevitable in a major campaign there.

    [Taking cover from anticipated controversy!]
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    And those same historians make the fatal mistake of not understanding the political dynamics at work on why MacArthur was allowed to proceed.
     
  15. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    I Think One Commander,with all the necessary information,may,just may have perhaps been preferable to two rivals.Not wanting to stir up a hornets nest,but your thoughts would be appreciated.Cheers,Lee.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I still haven't seen much compelling evidence for a campaign north from Australia. We seem to have fought a WWI war there because that's what MacArthur knew. Going straight for Japan, isolating it, and pounding them into submission would have been far cheaper, IMHO.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Biak,

    Perhaps you are thinking of Okayama, Formosa - Chinese-based B-29s bombed there a few times late in 1944. To the best of my knowledge, Chinese-based B-29s never bombed Okinawa.
     
  18. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The first mention of Okinawa in the AAF Combat Chronology is 27 Mar 45 with approximately 150 Mariannas based B-29s attacking in support of the impending invasion.
     
  19. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Thanks Guys, I found this which is most likely what I was thinking about. Thought B-29's from China had been in on this: I also thought I remembered the XX's B-29's may have bombed during recce's in October of 44.

    Wave after wave of carrier planes swept over Okinawa shortly after dawn of 10 October. The first strikes bombed, rocketed, and strafed airfields at Yontan, Kadena, le Shima, and Naha. Later waves made intensive attacks on shipping, installations, harbor facilities, and similar targets. The attack con-
    [44]
    [HR][/HR]tinued throughout the day. Many enemy aircraft were caught on the ground, dispersed and revetted, but only a few in the air. A fighter-bomber from the Bunker Hill dropped a bomb between two midget submarines moored side by side. Other islands in the Ryukyus were reconnoitered and attacked, including Kume, Miyako, Amami-O, Tokuno, and Minami.
    ....................................

    During February and March 1945, aircraft based in the Southwest Pacific and in the Marianas made almost daily runs over the Ryukyus and adjacent waters. Army and Navy search planes and patrol bombers hunted the waters for Japanese shipping and helped to isolate Okinawa by destroying cargo vessels, luggers, and other craft plying between Okinawa and outlying areas. One or two bombers flying high over Okinawa became so familiar a sight to the Japa´┐Żnese that they called it the "regular run" and dispensed with air raid alarms.5 During March American submarines also tightened the shipping blockade around the Ryukyus.

    Chapter II: Invasion Of The Ryukyus
     
  20. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    I've felt the same way but wonder what would have happened to Australia if we had. I think the time taking the direct route to Japan would have allowed a larger build up in the South West Pacific Area and the possibility of counter-strikes from there.
     

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