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

By Harry A. Gailey | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Advance to Luzon

THE LEYTE OPERATION was but a prelude to the larger and much more difficult tasks of invading Luzon and ultimately clearing the Japanese from the dozens of islands in the southern Philippines. Luzon was the major objective. Irregular in shape and approximately 450 miles long from San Bernardino Strait in the south to Babuyan Channel in the north, Luzon was then populated by more than seven million persons. The bulk of the population lived on the flat western coastal plain south of Lingayen Gulf. Midway on the west coast is Manila Bay, one of the finest landlocked harbors in the world. The city of Manila is one of the largest in Asia. Radiating out from Manila was a good road system linking the capital with all the major towns on the island.

Before invading Leyte, General MacArthur issued operational orders for the Luzon and Mindoro landings, assigning the task to the Sixth Army and the Seventh Fleet. By 15 November 1944, General Krueger's staff had completed plans for the initial landings on Luzon. The landing sites chosen were at the base of Lingayen Gulf, very near to where the Japanese had landed at the beginning of the war. An alternate plan to land troops simultaneously at Aparri in the north was given up in favor of concentrating forces in western Luzon with the objective of seizing Manila. A secondary landing

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