United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific

Leyte: The Return to the Philippines

by M. Hamlin Cannon

. . . to Those Who Served

Table of Contents


The Author


Chapter 1: The Strategic Plan

Preliminary Discussion – Plans Agreed Upon

Chapter 2: The Nature of the Target

Geography of Leyte – The Resistance Movement on Leyte – Liaison Between Leyte and Australia

Chapter 3: Plans Are Made and Forces Are Readied

Estimate of the Enemy Situation – The Tactical Plan – The Logistical Plan

Chapter 4: The Return

The Convoy Forms – Softening the Target – Japanese Plan of Defense – Securing the Channel Approaches – The Convoy Enters Leyte Gulf

Chapter 5: A Day: 20 October 1944

Bombardment of the Shores of Leyte – X Corps Goes Ashore – XXIV Corps Goes Ashore – Bringing in Supplies

Chapter 6: The Japanese Reaction

The Air Forces – The Battle of Leyte Gulf – The Japanese Reinforce the Leyte Garrison

Chapter 7: Southern Leyte Valley: Part One

The SHÕ Operations – Enlarging the 96th Division Beachhead – Catmon Hill Area

Chapter 8: Southern Leyte Valley: Part Two

The Dulag-Burauen Road – Securing the XXIV Corps Beachhead Line

Chapter 9: Northern Leyte Valley: Part One

San Juanico Strait – Leyte Valley Entrance

Chapter 10: Northern Leyte Valley: Part Two

Drive up Leyte Valley – Capture of Carigara

Chapter 11: Logistics and Civil Affairs

Logistics – Medical Support – Civil Affairs – Relations With Filipino Refugees

Chapter 12: The Mountain Barrier: Part One

The Coastal Corridor – Battle of Breakneck Ridge

Chapter 13: The Mountain Barrier: Part Two

Reinforcements – 32nd Division Assumes the Offensive – Battle of Kilay Ridge – Central Mountain Range

Chapter 14: Measure of the Fighting

The American Ground Forces – Japanese Warfare

Chapter 15: Battle of the Ridges

American Plans and Preparations – Battle of Shoestring Ridge – Battle of the Hills

Chapter 16: The Fall of Ormoc

Plan for Amphibious Movement – The Movement Overwater – Drive Toward Ormoc – Two Sevens Are Rolled in Ormoc

Chapter 17: Battle of the Airstrips

The American Dispositions – First Japanese Effort – Battle of Buri Airstrip – Attack From the Sky

Chapter 18: Logistics

Construction – Supplies

Chapter 19: The Entrances to Ormoc Valley

Southern Entrance to Ormoc Valley – The Mountain Passage – The Drive South

Chapter 20: Seizure of Ormoc Valley

Drive From the South to the Libongao Area – The 32nd Division Resumes the Offensive – Debouchment From the Mountains

Chapter 21: Westward to the Sea

The 77th Division Goes West – X Corps Goes West – The Japanese Retreat

Chapter 22: Leyte is Liberated

The Eighth Army Assumes Control – The Road Ends

Appendix A: GHQ Operations Instructions No. 70, 21 September 1944

Basic Military Map Symbols

Bibliographical Note



1. Sixth Army Daily Strength Reports, 12 November-25 December 1944

2. Shipping Tonnage Discharged in Leyte-Samar Area, 28 October-25 December 1944

3. Airdrops by 11th Air Cargo Resupply Squadron, 11 November-25 December 1944

4. U.S. Army Battle Casualties at Leyte, 20 October 1944–8 May 1945

5. Sixth Army Battle Casualties by Arm or Service, 20 October-25 December 1944


1. Operational Organization for the Leyte Campaign

2. Organization of the Central Philippine Attack Force

3. Japanese Army Organization of Major Units for the Leyte Operation


1. Sixth Army Plan, 23 September 1944

2. Situation in the Pacific, Mid-October 1944

3. X Corps Landings, 20 October 1944

4. XXIV Corps Landings, 20 October 1944

5. 96th Division Advance, 21–30 October 1944

6. 7th Division Advance to Dagami, 21–30 October 1944

7. Securing the Tacloban Area, 21–23 October 1944

8. Fight for Entrance to Northern Leyte Valley, 21–25 October 1944

9. Drive to Jaro, 26–29 October 1944

10. Advance to Carigara, 30 October-2 November 1944

11. Battle for Northern Entrance to Ormoc Valley, 3–15 November 1944

12. Battle for Northern Entrance to Ormoc Valley, 16 November-14 December 1944

13. Shoestring Ridge, 23–25 November 1944

14. Shoestring Ridge, 26–27 November 1944

15. Battle of the Ridges, 5–12 December 1944

16. Situation on Leyte, 7 December 1944

17. Securing the Southern Entrance to Ormoc Valley, 7–15 December 1944

18. Japanese Attack on Burauen Airfields, 6 December 1944

19. Mountain Passage, 25 November-22 December 1944

20. Seizure of Ormoc Valley, 15–21 December 1944

21. Opening the Palompon Road, 22–31 December 1944


Conference at Pearl Harbor – Guerrillas Prepare for Inspection at Consuegra – Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita – Lt. Gen. Sosaku Suzuki – Patrol of Company F, 6th Rangers – Convoy Off Leyte – Landing Beaches – Troops of the 1st Cavalry Division – 75-mm. M8 Self-Propelled Howitzers – Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert – Beach Area – Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger and Col. Ruperto K. Kangleon – Unloading Supplies at Dulag – Japanese Air Attacks – Air Strikes Against Japanese Installations – Antiaircraft Gun – Lockheed P-38 – Japanese Convoy Under Attack – Landing Areas and Leyte Valley – Crew of a Light Armored Car M8 – Filipino Civilian Guides U.S. Tank – San Vicente Hill – 105-mm. Self-Propelled Howitzer M7 Firing – Dulag and Bayug Airstrips – Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge – Disabled M4 Tank – Burauen – Engineer Troops – A Patrol From the 7th Cavalry – Maj. Gen. Verne D. Mudge – 8-inch Howitzers Readied for Action – General MacArthur – Proclamation to the People of the Philippine Islands – Tacloban – Tank-Supported Infantrymen of the 34th Regiment – Palo – Pastrana – U.S. Antitank Platoon – 155-mm. Guns Firing on Carigara – U. S. Patrol Crossing the Canomontag River – Access Road From WHITE Beach – Tanauan Airstrip – LSTs Unloading at Tacloban Airfield – Road Conditions – A Litter Squad Evacuates a Casualty – A Casualty Receives Treatment – An Operating Room at the Station Hospital, Tanauan – A Casualty is Evacuated by Ship to a Rear Area – An Officer of a Civil Affairs Unit – Refugee Area on ORANGE Beach Near Dulag – Engineers Remove Land Mines – View From the Ridges Looking North up the Limon Valley – American Troops in Limon – Lt. Col. Thomas E. Clifford, Jr. – Filipino Carriers Haul Supplies – Foothills of Central Mountain Range – General MacArthur and Maj. Gen. Archibald V. Arnold – Troops of the 77th Division Board LCIs at Tarragona – Convoy Carrying 77th Division Approaches Deposito – A Patrol of the 307th Infantry – Aerial View of Ormoc – Buri Airstrip – San Pablo Airstrip – Operational Losses at the Burauen Airfields – Approach Road to Quartermaster Service Center – Heavy Machine Guns Cover Crossing – U.S. and Japanese Tanks – Japanese Dug-in Positions Along Highway Banks – Japanese Light Tank – Palompon After Allied Bombings

All illustrations but one are from Department of Defense files. The photograph of Lt. Gen. Sosaku Suzuki on page 51 was contributed by Lt. Roger Pineau (USNR).

Office of the Chief of Military History

Department of the Army

Washington, D.C.

United States Army in World War II

Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor

Advisory Committee (As of 1 May 1953)

James P. Baxter, President, Williams College

Brig. Gen. Verdi B. Barnes, Army War College

John D. Hicks, University of California

Brig. Gen. Leonard J. Greeley, Industrial College of the Armed Forces

William T. Hutchinson, University of Chicago

Brig. Gen. Elwyn D. Post, Army Field Forces

S. L. A. Marshall, Detroit News

Col. Thomas D. Stamps, United States Military Academy

Charles S. Sydnor, Duke University

Col. C. E. Beauchamp, Command and General Staff College

Charles H. Taylor, Harvard University

Office of the Chief of Military History, Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith, Chief*

Chief Historian, Kent Roberts Greenfield

Chief, War Histories Division, Col. G. G. O’Connor

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division, Col. B. A. Day

Chief, Editorial Branch, Joseph R. Friedman

Chief, Cartographic Branch, Wsevolod Aglaimoff

Chief, Photographic Branch, Maj. Arthur T. Lawry

*Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward was succeeded by General Smith on 1 February 1953.