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August 14, 1945 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1945-08-14

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History of the War Is
Argument for Peace


(Continued from. Page 3)
President Sergio Osmena establish-
ed the Philippine government on
its own soil again.
Expecting invasion at Mindanao,
the large island to the south, or pos-
sibly at Luzon, the main island to the
north, the Japanese were unprepared
for attack in the central Philippines
where their forces were threatened
-with being cut in two. But they ac-
cepted the challenge.
In a supreme throw they sent the
bulk of their carefully husbanded
fleet into an action that was calcu-
lated to trap the American Navy.
Leyte Gulf
The Battle for Leyte Gulf, unof-
ficially known as the Second Battle
of the Philippine Sea, was the great-
est navjd battle of the war and the
greatest in American naval history.
.ft was the battle upon which Ameri-
can and Japanese strategists had
speculated for years, but it was not
fought the way they had envisaged.
Probably close to 300 warships on
both sides participated in the far-
flung struggle, a battle that was
divided into three separate actions,
spread over an expanse of hundreds
of thousands of square miles of
ocean and extended bver a period of
five days of combat and pursuit.
When it was over the Japanese
Navy, third largest in the world,
had lost more than half its maxi-
mnum strength in the greatest naval
defeat of history'.
Japan was no longer a real naval
power. American admirals counted
58 Japanese ships sunk or crippled,
including four carriers, two battle-
ships, six heavy cruisers and many
lesser warships definitely sunk,
and six battleships and five cruisers

For the victory the United States
paid with the loss of six warships-
the light carrier Princeton, two es-
cort carriers, two destroyers, a de-
stroyer escort-and some lesser craft.
Three enemy fleet forces were
sighted on Oct. 23, a small battlesip
force steaming through the Sulu Sea
from the direction of Singapore to-
ward Suriago Strait south of Levte
with the object of surprising ;ne
Americans from the rear, the main
battleship force heading through the
Sibuyan sea toward San Bernardino
strait north of Leyte with the same
objective, and a carrier force coming
from Formosa through the Philip-
pine Sea.
Kinkaid's escort carriers covering
Leyte Gulf were but lightly protected
and suffered severely, but they turn-
ed back the enemy with almost their
last ounce of strength. Halsey's
heavier task force engaged the main
carrier force off Cape Engano at the
northeastern tip of the Philippines
and drove it off with heavy damage.
Rear Adm. Jesse Oldendorf, draw-
ing a line of pre-Pearl Harbor bat-
tleships across Surgiao Strait, suc-
ceeded in the classic maneuver of
"crossing the T" of the Japanese
force-a strategy which the Japan-
ese had regarded as their specialty
since their victory over the Russians
at Tsishima Strait in 1905. This Ja-
panese force was wiped out complete-
At about this time the Japanese
made the first large-scale use of
their Kamikaze corps-the suicide
fliers who later were so widely ad-
vertised-when about 30 of these
planes dived on Halsey's carriers
off Luzon.
With the naval threat dissipated,
MacArthur forged rapidly ahead and
announced as early as Nov. 3 that
the end of the Leyte compaign was in

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The announcement was premature.
A series of typhoons swept over the
island, miring down tanks and guns
and grounding planes, on Nov. 12 the
first of 10 Japanese convoys rushing
reinforcements to Leyte was inter-
cepted. Twenty-seven enemy war-
ships and 41 transports were destroy-
ed by air power.
Although trapped in the Ormoc
Corridor in northwest Leyte, the Ja-
panese succeeded in getting rein-
forcements ashore and in holding the
Americans to slow advances. The
stalemate finally was broken when
the 77th division landed south of Or-
moc, dividing the enemy. The coup
de grace was given on Christmas Day.
MacArthur announced that the Ja-
,panese army had suffered its
kgreatest defeat in history, with
125,000 killed. Sweet revenge for
MacArthur was the destruction of
the Japanese 16th division, perpe-
trators of the Bataan death march.
By forcing Gen. Tomoyuki Yama-
shita, conqueror of Singapore, to
rush reinforcements to ground of
MacArthur's own choosing, the
American general had greatly weak-
ened the Japanese defense of the
main island of Luzon.
At the beginning of 1945. on Jan. 9,
fherefore, MacArthur struck for his
main objective, Manila. Again the
Sixth Army spearheaded the attack,
crossing Lingayen gulf as the point of
Smoking guns of the Seventh Fleet
had pounded the shores for several
iays, and planes of the third and
eventh fleets had scourged the Ja-
anese from the Kuriles and Japan to
Okinawa, Formosa and Manila for a
week. But the 800-ship convoy had
to fight off determined air, submar-
ine and torpedo raids.
Drawn off balance by the previous
occupation of Samar and Mindoro
which had caused them to expect
the attack fromb the south, the Ja-
panese put up only token resistance,
and Kirueger's veterans swept for-
ward easily but cautiously toward Ba-
taan, Corregidor and Manila, 120
miles away.
The rotting, burned ruins and
grass-grown graves of Camp O'Don-
nell, where more than 50,000 of 80,0
Filipino and American prisoners of
war had diedyfrom starvation, disease
and brutality, were overrun on Jan.
On Jan. 30 a daring battalion of
Rangers, with the aid of Filipino
guerrillas, slipped 25 miles behind
Japanese lines and made the first
of a series of thrilling rescues from
eemy prison camps. Striking with
such precision that every stockade
guard was killed, the Rangers freed
513 pathetically happy survivors of
Bataan, Corregidor and Singapore
in one of the most moving episcodes
of the war.
Lt. Gen. Eichelberger's new Eighth '
Army, checkmating any Japanese in-
tention to duplicate MacArthur's feat
of withdrawing into Bataan, made a
surprise landing at Subic Bay. The
11th airborne division executed
another surprise landing south of
Manila at Nasugbu and a parachute
drop on Tagaytay ridge south of Ca-
vite naval base, and closed the trap
on Manila.
On the night of Feb. 3 the First
Cavalry Division broke into Manila
and smashed open the gates for 3,700
gaunt internees in Santo Tomas. The
following days the 37th divisioi from
the north and the 11th airborne divi-
sion from the south drove into the
But for three weeks 20,00 trapped
Japanese burned, ravaged, stabbed
and died slowly in a mad frenzy while
American artillery pounded to pieces
the stones of Intramuros, the old
walled city and the enemy's last re-
fuge. Manila, "the pearl of the Ori-
ent" was hammered into a shambles
before it was liberated Feb. 24.

Already the 38th division had
sprung a landing on the southern tip
of Bataan and on Feb. 17 parachute
troopers pounced on Corregidor, seiz-
ing the rocky fortress island's topside
and sealing the Japanese garrison
in the tunnels beneath.
Work now went forward full blast
toward turning the Philippines into
the vast staging and supply base for
the knockout blow against Japan.
Bloody mopping up remained in an
amazing labyrinth on the watershed

east of Manila, in the rugged Cagay-
an valley of northern Luzon and in
the hundreds of other islands. But
Eichelberger's forces set off a string
of firecracker invasions of Palawan,
Mindano, Basilan, Cebu, Panay, Ne-
gros and other smaller islands. The
clearing of Mindanao was particul-
arly slow and difficult, but on July 5
MacArthur announced that "the en-
tire Philippine Islands, this great
land mass of 115,600 square miles
with a population of 17,000,000, is
now freed of the invader."
Against an army of 23 Japanese
divisions he had thrown only 17
American divisions who had killed'
432764 of the enemy and suffered
54,000 casualties in 250 days. Fewer
than 11,000 Japanese prisoners had
been taken and 30,000 remained scat-
tered in the islands.
Iwo Jima
The volcanic citadel of Iwo Jima,
destined to become the bloodiest bat-
tlefield in Marine Corps history, was
attacked on Feb. 19 while the Battle
of Manila still raged.
Sixty-orn thousand Marines of the
Third, Fou th and Fifth Divisions
were thrown into the struggle for this
tiny dot in the Pacific '750 mile:; from
Tokyo. In 26 days the Marines killed
more than 23,000 Japs and suffer-
cd 32.6 per cent casualties-the high-
^st of any Pacific battle. Graves for
4,189 Marines are marked there.
This black, ugly little island five
miles long had been ponded repeat-
dely by task forces and blasted by
bcmbs for 74 consecutive days before
the invasion, but when the Marines
plunged into its ankle-deep volcanic
ash at the only possible landing spot
they were caught in a murderous
cross-fire from Mount Suribachi to
the south and Motoyama heights to
the north.
By sheer grit they clung to their
waterless scoop of shell-raked land,
fought across the island and then
turned -orth and south to dig the
Japancse out of their cemented case-
ments and interlocking; caves. Aftar
four days of battle the Japanese were
driven from Suribachi and the Stars
and Stripes hoisted on the lip of the
[extinct volcano. Even more bitter
fighting took place to the north.
Before the island was secured,, how-
ever, crippled B- 29's were landing
at this rescue base on their return
from bombing Japan. Iwo Jima
sftonbecame a formidable fighter
A fortnight after the finish of the
Iwo battle and a week after Eisen-
hower s forces had crossed the Rhine
and started the last phase of the war
in Europe, the Americans struck even
closer to Tokyo with an invasion of
Okinawa. This island in the Ryu-
kyus, 325 miles from the enemy home-
land, was the most costly in ships
of any in the Pacific up to that time.
Kamikaze saicide fliers and piloted
Baka bombs were committed full-
scale against the transports, landing
boats, destroyer screens and carriers

which were forced to stand by for
long periods of time.
Nearly 100 ships were lost or da-
maged-33 being announced as sunk.
The carriers Franklin and Bunker
Hill were badly crippled with heavy
loss of life. But the 45,000-ton Ya-
mato, largest surviving Japanese
warship, was sunk and more than 4,-
00 enemy planes were destroyed in
the flaming 82-day contest.
The tenth army oi' Lt. Gen. Simon
Bolivr Buckner, Jr., landed from a
1,400-ship convoy on .Easter Sunday,
April 1. while a British task forve at-
tacked the Sakishima Islands to the
incountering unexpectedly light
opposition, the troops sliced across the
65-mile long island and overran the
northern part. But when they turned
south against the Naha-Shuri-Yo-
nabaru line they were forced into
tlmiporary stalemate. Such key ob-
jectives as Chocolate Drop Hill, and
Sugar Loaf Hill had to be fought for
over and over.
Gen. Buckner, who took the unus-
ual step of issuing a surrender ulti-
matum on June 11, was killed by a
,hell. In the last days, the Japanese
ngagcd in an orgy of suicide. But
Japanese surrenders were the most
nuierous yet. Nearly 10,000 gave
theirselves up while 111,351 were
killed. Therc were more than 46,900-
American casualties, including 11,897I
killed and missing. Gen. Joseph W.
Stilwell succeeded Buckner on the
;day that the campaign was officially
The rising tempo of war every-
where tn the surrounding horizon
now clearly doomed Japan and her
The Land of the Rising Sun was
fighting alone, V-pay in Europe
come wlile Americans were 'fight-
ing on Okinawa and1in the Pilip-
ipines, anl just after the British
had finishedi retaking the strategic
.parts cf Burma.
Burma Road
Realizing the plan of the indomi-
table Stilwell, Chinese and Ameri-
cans, including the famed Merrill
Marauders, had bulldozed a road
across the razor humps .of Northern
Burma. ,Fighting from 1943 through
1944, they had joined with the Chin-
ese. from the Salween, reaching Lash-
io, terminal of the old Burma Road
on March 8, .1945, and completed a
new road to China.
Carefully schooled air commandos.
springing something new in warfare,
had established a series of "jungle
heads", or isolated strong points,
across Japanese communications.
Air Forces had taken over .the entire
task of supplying the British army in
Burmafi lBy such means the British
fought off an abortive Japanese in-
vasion of Manipur state in India in
early 1944 and fought-back into Man-
dalay the day after the capture of
Lashio. Rangoon fell May 4, just
three days before Qermany surrend
ered unconditionally..
The way was now open for attack

on Singapore. Trucks, fuel and sup-
plies now streamed into China by
road, plane and pipeline.
The Chinese, who, beginning in
June, 1944, had yielded Changsha and
a whole string of U.S. airbases to a
Japanese drive which had forced a
corridor from the Yangtze to Canton
and Indo-China, haid bounced back.
Foochow, Wenchow and a 400-mile
stretch of Chinese coast were now
open to possible American invasion.
Clearly recognizing the crisis
facing their empire as the result of
Russia's denunciation of the neu-
trality pact with Tokyo on April 5,
1945, the Japanese again changed
governments, discarding Kiso for
Adm. Kantaro Suzuki.
The first American soldiers from
the ,German front by the Nazi sur-
render arrived in Manila on July 22,
while Australians were unlocking
Borneo and its oil riches.
The whole Asiatic coast from Indo-
china to Itorea and the Japanese is-
lands from the Xurilesx to Kyushu
and assorted blows of aircraft, big
now felt the thunder of carrier strikes
and littl.e American naval forces
penetrated the K uriles screen infto
the sea of Okhotsk off Siberia on
Japan's far northern flank. MacAr-
thur's Far Eastern Air Force had
Shangai's ai'fields and shipping as
regular targets. From Okinawa,, Lt.
Gen. James H. Doolittle's Eighth Air
Force, swinging into action from Eu-
rope, was ravaging the enemy home-
land. From .the Marianas, home of
the 20th Air force, the fearsome mis-
sions of B-29's rose daily. A new
super-warplane, the B-32, joined the
assault which promised to be more
terrible than that against Germany.
The Americans began to call their
shots in a terrific war of nerves, tell-
ing the Japanese just what cities
were to be bombed next. On August 2',
1945, the Supeofort bomb load drop-
ped on Japan in one day reached 6,000
tons-up to that time the greatest
load of destruction ever dropped in
one raid.
Jap Mainland fit
Beginning July 10-on the first day
of the Big Three meeting in Potsdam
and five days 'after the end of the

114 So. 4th Ave.

Ph. 5888

Philippines campaign -- Halsey's
swarm of flattops jampacked with
planes and a British fleet had begun
the historic weeks-long scorching of
the homeland of the 75,000.000 war-
like people who claimed to be divine-
ly descended from a sun goddess.
For the first time American war-
ships lashed the coast of the enemy
on July 14 with their 16-inch rifles.
While the United States, Britain and
China, in an ultimatum from Pots-
dam, called upon Japan to surrender
or die, American warships splashed
inside the entrance of Tokyo Bay,
and Vice-Admiral John S. McCain's
carrier planes turned the vaunted in-
land sea into a graveyard for the
hiding remnants of the Japanese
navy. Along a 400-mile arc of coast,
the fliers chose destruction of such
targets as brought the fall of Ger-
AA Halsey said, "This is the final
plunge into the heart of the Japan-
ese empire."
Atomic Bomb
The atomic bomb, the revolution-
ary weapon which released the forces
of the universe, and the atomic
bombshell of giant Russia's entry' into
the war against her grudge enemy,
smashed Japan's military clique who
had boasted they would lead their
country to national suicide after
the new weapons of global warfare
forged in America had swept to the
very doorstep of the island empire.
The end was foreshadowed with
dramatic suddenness on Aug. 10
when the Japanese offered to sur-
render with the sole condition that
their emperor, whose legend of divin-
ity is the cornerstone of her unique
culture, be allowed to remain.
Thus the Japanese militarists ad-
mitted defeat - Japan's first major
defeat in her 2,605 years of recorded
or mythical history.

Ph 58

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