The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
|Previous: Origins of the Pacific War||Table of Contents||Next: Ormsby Class, U.S. Attack Transports|
U.S. Army. Via ibiblio.org
11.009N) was a fishing village on the west coast of Leyte. It had a small harbor
limited facilities, including a concrete and pile pier capable of
berthing a ship with not more than a 16' (5 meter) draft and two
The U.S. built a primitive
airstrip here just prior to the
outbreak of war, which the Japanese
were happy to take over when
invaded. Camp Downes, an important Phillipine Constabulary camp, was located about a mile southeast of the town.
Ormoc became the debarkation port for Japanese reinforcements to Leyte following the American invasion on 20 October
1944. By 1 November 30
and 102 Divisions
had joined 16 Division
on Leyte, brought in on destroyer
reminiscent of the Guadalcanal
campaign. These three divisions
came under the command of 35 Army (Suzuki). Eventually 1, 8, and 26 Divisions would also be
committed to the struggle.
However, the Americans continued to slowly tighten the noose around Leyte. On 11 November 1944, carrier strikes sank four destroyers, a minesweeper, and five transports along with 10,000 troops from a Japanese reinforcement convoy. This disaster ended Japanese efforts to convoy major reinforcements to Leyte, but the troops already on the island continued to resist strongly, even mounting a series of counterattacks beginning on 26 November. Smaller groups of reinforcements continued to come ashore until 19 December.
Faced with a stalemate ashore, Krueger tried an amphibious
end-run using shipping that was awaiting the postposed Mindoro invasion. On 7 December, Struble landed 77 Division just south of Ormoc against negligible opposition. The
Japanese were caught off-balance, with 26 Division having moved south to engage 7 Division, leaving only service troops and a single depleted battalion in the area. The Japanese ordered 12 Independent Regiment,
which had been assembling northeast of Ormoc, to move into the city. A
single battalion of the regiment, which had just arrived in Ormoc, was
to hold the Americans long enough to let the rest of the regiment get
into position. However, while the Japanese put up stubborn resistance
at Camp Downes, they were overwhelmed before 12 Independent Regiment
could arrive, and Ormoc was taken on 10 December. The next day 77
Division joined up with 7 Division coming up from the south. American casualties were 123 killed, 329 wounded, and 13 missing while the Japanese lost about 1513 men, including 7 taken prisoner.
During the landings, a Japanese reinforcement convoy of six transports and seven escorts was spotted approaching the area. This was heavily attacked by 56 P-47 fighter-bombers, which claimed four ships sunk without loss to themselves. The Japanese replied with sixteen separate kamikaze air raids on the American assault shipping. Though about 36 of the 45 to 50 attackers were shot down, those that broke through the fighter cover damaged five ships. Destroyer Mahan and fast transport Ward were so severely damaged that they were later scuttled.
Cannon (1953; accessed 2010-12-31)
Hastings (2007)Marston (2005)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2010 by Kent G. Budge. Index
Comment on this article