October 20th 1944, Philippines Begin to Be Liberated

General MacArthur landing
On October 20th, 1944, American forces commanded by General MacArthur began their return to the Philippines by landing on Leyte. The Japanese were overwhelmed by the superior American forces and its ever-expanding air support. On December 15, 1944, US troops landed on the beaches of Mindoro. On January 9, 1945, the Americans landed on the main island of Luzon. After a bitter battle, they reached the capital, Manila, on February 2nd. The Japanese lost 170,000 men in the Philippines, compared to American casualties of 8,000.

Allied planners argued on whether it was necessary to recapture the Philippines. The decision was made to go ahead both because the Philippines had been closely connected to America and the fact that the Philippines would make an excellent base for the attack on the Japanese home islands.

The decision was made to attack the Island of Leyte first. The first landing took place on October 20, 1944. The Japanese hoped to stop the American landing with naval forces but had severely underestimated the strength of the American troops who in a series of battles called the Battle of Leyte Gulf, totally defeated the Japanese forces so decisively that the Japanese navy was never again able to take part in a major naval battle. The landing was successful, and the US Sixth Army moved inward and captured the island. The Filipino guerrillas did their part harassing the Japanese troops and capturing key bridges. The US made another landing at Ormoc Bay and thus cut off Japanese troops.

On December 15th American forces made a landing on Mindoro. The island was lightly defended, and despite Kamikaze attacks on the landing zone, the Americans with Philippine help quickly captured the island and established an important air base there.

Allied forces landed on the south of Lingayen Gulf on the island of Luzon on January 9, 1945. Over 175,000 troops landed and quickly moved inward and captured Clarke Field. Forces landed on the Bataan Peninsula while a second group parachuted south of Manila. On February 3, 1945, troops entered the city of Manila. The Japanese fought back stubbornly, and despite overwhelming force, it took until March 3rd for the city of Manila to be freed.