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    Leyte Island  Philippines

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USN Oct 20, 1944

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US Army Oct 20, 1944

Location
Leyte Island is part of the eastern Visayas Islands in the southeastern portion of the Philippines. Borders Samar Island to the northeast and Mindanao Island to the south, and San Pedro Bay and Leyte Gulf to the east and the Surigao Strait to the southeast.

Wartime History
Leyte was the first island in the Philippine archipelago to be liberated by American forces. Filipino guerrilla leader, Ruperto Kawgleon's organized forces were part of the reason that MacArthur planned to invade Leyte as the first foothold in the Philippines. On October 20, 1944 by the US Army 7th Division, and the 96th, Infantry Division "The Deadeyes" landed. Intense land, sea and air battles took place over the island. The island included seven airfields. Six built by the Japanese, one by American forces.

  Battle of Leyte Gulf
  Capital of Leyte, objective of the liberation
  Coastal village to the south of Tacloban
  Red Beach, site of initial American landing
  Town outside Tacloban, American airfield
  Japanese built airstrip north of Bayug
  Site of initial American landings October 20, 44
  City and bay on the west coast of Leyte
  Located inland from the western coast Bayug
  Japanese airfield used until the American landing

Battle of Baluarte Marker
Located at Baluarte, Bgy. Minuhang Barugo. Site of the historic battle between Filipino guerrillas and Japanese Imperial Forces at dawn of August 24, 1944. Significant because there was no Filipino casualty while all the Japanese except one were killed in the encounter; beautiful and symbolic monument made up of three stairs: at the topmost stand 3 rifles each crowned by a helmet: measuring 3.5 x 3.5 meters. This concrete structure is fenced by big silver-colored chains; on one side area 3 flagpoles which look like bayonets.

Japanese War Memorial Cemetery
Located at Bgy. San Diego (Buraueun) Site of one of the fiercest battles fought in Leyte for the liberation; Japanese cemetery frequently visited by memorial tour groups.

Buga-Buga Hills
Located in Villaba - Mountain stronghold of General Suzuki where thousands of Japanese soldiers died defending the area and hundreds of American lives were sacrificed in the assault to capture this hill during World War II; frequently by big Japanese memorial tour groups and bone hunting expedition and object of pilgrimage by domestic and foreign tourists.

Breakneck Ridge (Hill 1525)
Located to the north of Leyte near Carigara Bay. Defended by the Japanese 1st Division and assaulted by 32nd Infantry Division. An eight day battle that resulted in 2,800 KIA and 9,500 WIA.

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Last Updated
January 8, 2014

 

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