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Indiana Soldiers & Sailors

1944

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04 Feb 1944

US forces take Kwajalein Island in Marshall's, losing 486 killed and 1,495 wounded, but inflicting 8,386 casualties on the Japanese.

 

14 Feb 1944

The Americans announce that the Japanese remaining in Solomon's are now trapped.

 

22 Feb 1944

Heavy Japanese losses as the U.S. Navy bombard the Marianas in the Pacific.

 

27 Feb 1944

About 60,000 Japanese are reported to be trapped in New Britain and New Ireland, in the South West Pacific.

 

29 Mar 1944

The U.S. Navy bombards the Palau Islands to the East of the Philippines, destroying 150 planes, six naval vessels and 100,000 tons of shipping.

 

11 Apr 1944

The majority of New Britain is now held by the Allies.

 

22 Apr 1944

The allies land unopposed at Hollandia, on the northern coast of New Guinea.

 

24 Apr 1944

U.S. troops secure Hollandia and Aitape in New Guinea inflicting 9,000 Japanese casualties, while only suffering 450 dead themselves. Australians troops enter Madang in New Guinea.

 

27 Apr 1944

The U.S. Army completes their capture of Hollandia's airfields and isolates 200,000 Japanese for the duration of war.

 

19 May 1944

Wake is Island secured, during which 800 Japanese are killed.

 

27 May 1944

12,000 U.S. troops land on Biak in the Schouten Island Group, 350 miles West of Hollandia. MacArthur says, 'this marks the strategic end of the New Guinea campaign'.

 

16 Jun 1944

U.S. Marines meet strong opposition to their Saipan Island landing despite the heavy bombardment of the Marianas islands during past week. USAAF B-29s from China pound the Yawata steel works in the first land based air attack on Japan.

 

19 Jun 1944

The 'Battle of the Philippine Sea' begins.

 

09 Jul 1944

U.S. Marines defeat the Japanese on Saipan after a final Banzai charge. 27,000 Japanese and 3,116 Americans were killed on Saipan.

 

21 Jul 1944

U.S. Marines land on Guam, establishing beach-heads up to a mile inland.

 

24 Jul 1944

The U.S. 4th Marine Division (15,000 men) lands on Tinian.

 

25 Jul 1944

1,246 Japanese are killed in a Banzai charge in Tinian, another 3,000 die on Guam.

 

01 Aug 1944

U.S. Marines complete the capture of Tinian Island losing 389 killed for 9,000 Japanese.

 

10 Aug 1944

Organized Japanese resistance on Guam finally ends with them suffering 18,250 killed and the U.S. more than 1,744 killed.

 

18 Aug 1944

A Japanese escort carrier is sunk by a U.S. submarine off northwestern Luzon, Philippine Is. A Japanese cruiser is sunk by a U.S. submarine east of Samar, Philippine Is.

 

31 Aug 1944

Aircraft from a U.S. carrier force (Task Force 38) commence a 3-day attack on Iwo Jima and the Bonin Island in the western Caroline's and Visayas Archipelago, which is the next step to the Philippines.

 

03 Sep 1944

Wake Island and other strategic targets in Pacific are strafed by U.S. Navy aircraft for two days, during which 13 Japanese ships are reported

sunk.

 

07 Sep 1944

The Shinyo Maru POW an unmarked Japanese ship carrying 750 Allied prisoners is sunk by U.S. off Sindangan Point in Northern Zamboanga

 

 

 and only eighty-two survived.

 

10 Sep 1944

The U.S. Navy begins a two-day bombardment of the Palau Islands in the Pacific.

 

21 Sep 1944

U.S. planes hit Manila in the Philippines destroying 357 aircraft.

 

10 Oct 1944

U.S. B29 Superfortresses pound Formosa and Okinawa. The Formosa bombardment lasts seven days, during which over 650 Japanese planes are reported as destroyed.

 

16 Oct 1944

U.S. Rangers land on islands in an approach to Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines.

 

20 Oct 1944

The U.S. Sixth Army under cover of the Seventh Fleet lands on the East Coast of Leyte in the Philippines, but the 60,000 men sent ashore encounter stiff Japanese resistance. Japanese decided to risk a major sea battle to destroy the American forces. Three Japanese fleets were concentrated for the”Battle For Leyte Gulf”. The first moved toward Leyte from its base near Singapore proceeding south of Palawan through the Sulu Sea. The second naval group was already attacking Americans at Leyte Gulf. The third was the northern force which included the Japanese main carrier strength that was protecting home waters near Japan. The 7th Division of the WWIV Corps on the left took the Dulag Airfield then drove west and south. The 96th Division captured San Jose and moved against the enemy to the northwest. The 24th Division of the X Corps on the right, overcoming strong resistance on the beaches, fought its way inland. The 1st Cavalry Division on the right flank seized Tacloban and its airfield, then advanced north in coordinated amphibious and land operations secured San Juanico Strait, the west coast of Samar and the shore of Caragara Bay on the northern coast of Leyte. Japanese rushed reinforcements from neighboring islands from the Asiatic mainland the U.S. 5th Air Force pounded them at Ormoc Bay but was able to concentrate strong positions in the Ormoc Valley.

 

MacArthur wades ashore in the Philippines

On October 20, 1944, a few hours after his troops landed, MacArthur waded ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte. That day, he made a radio broadcast in which he declared, "People of the Philippines, I have returned!"

Carl Mydans of Life took the dramatic photograph of General Douglas MacArthur and staff coming ashore at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, in the Philippines on January 9, 1945. MacArthur was commander of the United States forces in the Pacific. When the United States lost the Philippines, he promised to return. Here’s Mydans’ description of that event:

"Luck is forever at play in a photographer’s life. It is part of his intellectual training to know where luck is most likely to lie and to take advantage of it. In January 1945 I was the only press photographer aboard General Douglas MacArthur’s command ship as he prepared to invade Luzon, in the Philippines. I was invited to go ashore with him. As our landing craft neared the beach, I saw the Seabees had got there before us and had laid a pontoon walkway out from the beach. As we headed for it, I climbed the boat’s ramp and jumped on to the pontoons so that I could photograph MacArthur as he stepped ashore. But I suddenly heard the boat’s engines reversing and saw the boat rapidly backing away. I raced to the beach, ran some hundred yards along it and stood waiting for the boat to come to me. When it did, it dropped its ramp in knee-deep water, and I photographed MacArthur wading ashore."

 

23 Oct 1944

The decisive three-day Battle of Leyte Gulf begins. American submarines, PT Boats, destroyers and gunfire from heavier ships hit their mark as Japanese lose four carriers, three battleships, six heavy and four light cruisers, 11 destroyers, one submarine and some 500 planes, with approximately 10,000 sailors killed. The first organized use of Kamikaze's by the Japanese are reported.

 

24 Oct 1944

Battle of Leyte Gulf – The Arisan Maru sunk 200 miles off the coast of China with 1,790 prisoners. Five prisoners survived. Nearby Japanese destroyers saw the POWs in the water and pushed them away when they came near.

 

25 Oct

Battle of Leyte Gulf

 

05 Nov 1944

U.S. planes pound the harbor at Manila in the Philippines and also destroy 249 Japanese aircraft.

 

07 Nov 1944

Japanese defy U.S. troops in the Ormoc Valley and organized strong resistance in the mountains to the east. The terrain was rugged and torrential rains slowed the Americans advance.

 

24 Nov 1944

USAAF B29s from Saipan Island in Pacific, bomb Tokyo for first time, but has little effect.

 

25 Nov 1944

The last Japanese resistance in Peleliu ends. 14,000 Japanese are killed or captured for 9,300 U.S. casualties.

 

27 Nov 1944

B29 bombers from Saipan again pound Tokyo, but this time the Japanese reply with raids against the U.S. airbases on Saipan.

 

Dec 1944

The Navy’s Third and Seventh Fleets and the Air Forces continue to bombard the western coast of Luzon with tremendous accuracy hitting airfields, supply centers and transportation systems. Japanese withdraw their main forces from the beaches and concentrate defensive positions in mountainous areas of the interior.

 

08 Dec 1944

A second Japanese airborne counter-attack on Leyte achieves some success against US airfields. The USAAF begins a 72-day bombardment of Iwo Jima Island 700 miles to the South of Japan.

 

10 Dec 1944

The U.S. 77th Infantry Division captures Ormoc on Leyte after a landing earlier along the east coast of Ormoc Bay in the rear of the Japanese. Japanese make their last seaborne reinforcement of Leyte.

 

13 Dec 1944

The Oryoku Maru a prisoner of war ship sunk with 1,619 POWs; 1300 survived. Also the USAAF make the first damaging raid on Japanese industrial targets.

 

14 Dec 1944

U.S. troops capture an important Japanese supply post on Leyte, at the southern tip of the ‘Yamashita defense line’.

 

15 Dec 1944

A U.S. task force of the 6th Army convoyed by the 7th Fleet land on Mindoro Island in the western Philippines without loss. Also a third Japanese prison ship is mistakenly sunk by US planes off the Philippines, with less than half of POWs surviving, to be recaptured.

 

17 Dec 1944

U.S. troops capture San Jose airbase on Mindoro enabling American Forces to establish bases and airfields for close support for an impending Luzon operation.

 

20 Dec 1944

First airstrip in Mindoro completed in five days to enable US Forces to bomb Manila and Luzon.

 

21 Dec 1944

In the Carigara Bay area to the north the X Corps fought through the mountainous terrain near Limon and drove southward to unite with the XXIV Corps advancing up the valley. Troops break through opposing lines and met near Kananga and isolating the Japanese to the east.

 

25 Dec 1944

The last Japanese port on Leyte is captured and MacArthur proclaims that Leyte is secure. Isolated Japanese escaped to the north and west to join other enemy units. Severe fighting continued against the 8th Army now in control.

 

28 Dec 1944

Construction of a second airstrip is complete in Mindoro to enable bombing of Manila and Luzon.