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Pacific War - Fall 1944
The Palau operation is just completing. Carriers and submarines attack Formosa and Luzon to weaken Philippine defenses for coming invasion.
Special Air Task Force (STAG 1) operations throughout month in SW Pacific with TDR drones with mixed results
1 . Minesweeping continues in Ulithi lagoon.
3 . I-177 sunk by Samuel S. Miles (DE-183). I-177 had sunk Australian hospital ship Centaur.
3. Shelton (DE-407) was sunk by Japanese submarine RO-41 while escorting the CVE group.
3. USS Seawolf (SS-197) sunk by USS Rowell (DE-403) in friendly fire.
6 . Dutch submarine Zwaardvisch sinks German submarine U-168 in Java Sea.
9 . Diversionary bombardment of Japanese installations on Marcus Island by TG 30.2.
10. TF 38 (Mitscher) consisting of four carrier groups, pounds Japanese shipping
and installations on Okinawa and other islands in the Ryukyus
11. Two task groups attack Japanese airfields and other facilities on the north coast of Luzon in preparation for operations against Formosa
12. TF 38 hurls heavy air strikes against Japanese shipping, aerodromes, and industrial plants on Formosa, regarded as the strongest and best-developed base south of the homeland proper.
12. Second Quebec Conference ("Octagon") discuss the Pacific and division of Germany.
12. Italy declares war on Germany.
13. Japanese aerial counterattacks in the wake of TF 38 strikes on Formosa
13. Peleliu Island, Palaus, is secured.
14. Japanese aerial counterattacks continue, inflicting damage on multiple ships.
15. Retirement of damaged ships.
16. Japanese torpedo planes attack retreating TF 28.
Ngulu, last of the Caroline Islands
Western Carolines secured
17. Ranger Battalion lands on islands at the entrance to Leyte Gulf
18. Two TG attack principal Japanese airfields near Manila and shipping in the harbor.
Bombardment begins against Japanese installations on Leyte. Stillwell ordered out of China
19. Continue carrier attacks around Manila.
20. Four divisions land on Leyte, Philippines. Campaign lasts till end of war.
"I shall return" fulfilled. Japanese aerial counterattack with horizontal bombers.
21. Leyte landings continue.
21. Aachen, Germany, captured. Ancestral capitol of Karl the Great, Charlemagne
22. Japanese warships detected northwest of Borneo
23. Darter (SS-227) sinks heavy cruiser Atago while Dace (SS-247) sinks heavy cruiser Maya.. Continuing, Darter severely damages heavy cruiser Takao.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was really three or more naval battles in an all-out
attempt to destroy the U.S. fleet and disrupt the landing in the Philippines.
This was the last major fleet engagement in the war as the
Japanese battle and carrier fleets were destroyed and the U.S. landings
Japan lost 4 carriers, 3 battleships, 6 heavy and 4 light
cruisers and 11 destroyers.
The U.S. lost two light carriers and three destroyers, and light cruiser Honolulu (CL-48) was damaged and in repair thru end of the war.
24. Attacks on Japanese central force in Sibuyan Sea force an apparent withdrawal.
24. Battle of Surigao Strait -- Japanese southern battle forces destroyed.
25. Battle Off Cape Engano -- Japanese northern decoy carrier fleet destroyed.
25. Battle of Samar -- Japanese central force attacks U.S. escort carriers and successfully
25. Liberation of Paris
Technique of Kamakazi introduced at Samar; first by a few fliers who were sucessfull against CVEs.
Unites States and Great Britain resume diplomatic relations with Italy.
26. Battle for Leyte Gulf concludes as Navy carrier-based and USAAF land-based planes attack retiring Japanese ships
28. Minesweeping ended in Ulithi lagoon which will supplant Eniwetok as the
Pacific Fleet's foremost advanced base in the Pacific.
Kamakaze attacks become the rule.
29. Carrier aircraft again attack Japanese airfields and shipping in the Manila area.
The Philippines is composed of many islands. The biggest are Luzon in the north and Mindanao
in the south. The largest islands in between are - Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Panay and
Iwo Jima in the Bonins is half way between B-29 bases in the
Marianas and targets in
Japan. 2,251 damaged planes land there : with possibly twenty thousand lives saved.
Iwo is the bloodiest Marine battle of the war with 24,391 killed in the 36 day
Okinawa in the Rykuyas island group 350 miles off the south coast
of Japan and bounds the East China Sea. Its capture cuts off the Philippines and Formosa from Japan and is
required as a giant airfield for the plannned invasion of Kyushu in the Fall.
Japan consists of four home islands with a population and
land area similar to Italy.
Japan is part of an island chain extending from the Kamchatka peninsula
of Siberia on the Bearing Sea, southwest down the Kurils, through the Japanese home islanda, the Ryukyus, Formosa, thru
the Philippines and on to the East Indies.
Japan is made up of four main islands. The north island is Hokkaido, less developed. The main island
is Honshu with an appendage that is almost another island called Chugoku. A smaller island is Shikoku
which forms the Inland Sea with Chugoku. And there is the southern island of Kyushu with strong army presence.
Korea is 140 miles northwest of Chugoku and is a pensila from Manchuria, they bound the Sea of Japan. On the western side of Korea is the Yellow Sea.
Ryukyus (Okinawa) are islands south of Japan towards Formosa.
Formosa is another 330 miles further on and with the Philippines bound the South China Sea. The Sakishima Islands are towards Japan.
Other islands of naval interest to the middle war period.
The Gilbert Islands (Tarawa, Makin) in the central
Pacific had been taken in late 1943 to puncture the Japanese defensive parameter.
The Marshalls (Kwajalein) were taken soon after in January 1944, followed by Eniwetok in February.
The big step is to the western Pacific island chain of the Marianas
(Saipan, Tinian, Roto, Guam). These were taken that summer of 1944 and isolated major enemy bases Truk and Rabaul.
The western Carolinas (Palau, Ulithi, Yap) were taken in the fall 1944 completing
the sweep through the central Pacific and laying open the Philippines.
There were at least four areas of naval activity.
Philippines in support of MacArthur's ground troops, October 1944, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Indo-China, Formosa, and South China Sea to protect the flanks and disrupt supplies to Japan
The Bonins (Iwo Jima, Feb'45) taken as a rescue base for B-29's, escort fighter base, and, later, bomber bases.
Ryukyus (Okinawa, April'45) preparatory for invading Kyushu of the Japanese home islands in the fall. From Iwo Jima and Okinawa, central Japan and Korea could be reached to disrupt airfield, industry, shipping and the link with the Imperial Army in Manchuria.
The Kurils, islands north of Japan, were given harassment from Alaska late in the war
1945. Iwo Jima supports bombing of Japanese industry. Okinawa taken as a base for the invasion of Japan in the Fall.
Kamikazes show increasing resistance as the home islands are approached.
The remaining Japanese fleet is destroyed in the shipyards.
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Oct - Dec , 1946
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