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Sarangani Bay

Sarangani Bay (125.21E 6.09N) is located on the southern coast of Mindanao. Facilities were virtually nonexistent in 1941, but there is ample flat ground for airfields near the bay, and the Japanese had constructed some airstrips by late 1944. These were struck by Halsey's carrier forces on 9-10 September 1944.

The bay figured in early plans for the Allied invasion of the Philippines in 1944. The Japanese airstrips here were to be captured and used to cover the invasion of Leyte. However, Halsey was so unimpressed with Japanese air strength in the Philippines during his September 1944 strikes that he recommended that Mindanao be bypassed and Leyte seized using naval air cover alone. This suggestion was adopted on 15 September 1944 at the OCTAGON conference and Sarangani Bay was temporarily bypasssed.

By July 1945 the Japanese garrison at Sarangani consisted of about 2000 troops, which were organized into the ad hoc Sarangani District Unit. These set up their main defenses about ten miles inland in an area with sufficient agricultural resources to keep the men fed. They were contained by 116 Regiment, 106 Division of the Filipino guerrillas until 4 July 1945, when the guerrillas and elements of X Corps began converging on the Japanese. Contact was made on 13 July and the Japanese force was shattered by 25 July. The operation cost the Allies 13 killed and 13 wounded and the Japanese about 450 killed. This was the final active operation in the Philippines during the war.

References

Morison (1958)

Smith (1951; accessed 2011-5-1)



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