The War in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

By Harry A. Gailey | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Return to the Philippines

GENERAL MACARTHUR WAS convinced that the Joint Chiefs had ignored the Southwest Pacific theater. He later complained that he had to beg like a rug merchant for the supplies and men he needed. A closer examination, however, reveals that despite the "Germany first" mindset in Washington, MacArthur had been given all that he reasonably could have expected. By mid-1944 he had Krueger's Sixth Army, the powerful Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces, and a small fleet directly under his command. Although Admiral King refused to quit lobbying for an invasion of Formosa, it was a foregone conclusion after the July conference with President Roosevelt in Hawaii that MacArthur's proposed Philippines operation would have first priority. The Marianas landings did not detract from preparation for the Philippines effort because war planners believed that MacArthur, in order to guarantee success, would not mount an invasion there until late in the year.

Preliminary plans called for a stepping-stone approach, first capturing Halmahera in the Moluccas, and then landing at Sarangani Bay on Mindanao, 350 miles distant. These plans were radically altered after intelligence sources reported that the Japanese, who had no intention of giving up their key base in the Moluccas, had stationed some thirty-seven thousand men there. Furthermore, there

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