Leyte: The Return to the Philippines

Leyte: The Return to the Philippines

Leyte: The Return to the Philippines

Leyte: The Return to the Philippines

Excerpt

The landing of the American forces on Leyte on 20 October 1944 brought to fruition the long-cherished desire of General Douglas MacArthur to return to the Philippine Islands and avenge the humiliating reverses suffered in the early days of World War II. The successful conclusion of the campaign separated the Japanese-held Philippine Archipelago into two parts, with a strong American force between them. More important, it completed the severance of the Japanese mainland from the stolen southern empire in the Netherlands Indies from which oil, the lifeblood of modern warfare, had come.

The Leyte Campaign, like other campaigns in the Pacific, was waged on the land, in the air, and on and under the sea. In this operation all branches of the American armed forces played significant roles. Therefore, although the emphasis in this volume is placed upon the deeds of the United States Army ground soldier, the endeavors of the aviator, the sailor, the marine and the Filipino guerrilla have been integrated as far as possible into the story in order to make the campaign understandable in its entirety. At the same time, every effort has been made to give the Japanese side of the story.

Obviously, to include every exploit of every branch of the armed forces, of the Filipinos, and of the Japanese would be far beyond the compass of a single volume. A careful selectivity was necessary throughout in order to avoid the Scylla of omission while skirting the Charybdis of oversimplification. Despite these precautions, because of the nature of the available documentary evidence, I may have unwittingly fallen into some of the very pitfalls that I tried to avoid.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to the many people who have given fully of their time and talents in the preparation of this volume.

Especial thanks are due to Dr. John Miller, jr., who, during his tenure as Chief of the Pacific Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, carefully reviewed the final draft of the manuscript. His sound advice and constructive criticism eliminated many a roadblock. I wish, also, to thank Dr. Louis Morton, Chief of the Pacific Section, under whose direction this volume was started; he made constructive criticism of several of the chapters. Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian, Department of the Army, devoted much time and effort to reviewing the manuscript and his many penetrating comments on the various chapters were invaluable.

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