U.S. Army. Via ibiblio.org
Legaspi (Legazpi City; 123.758E
13.144N) was founded in 1636 as Albay and renamed in
1925. It was a
commercial center for rice,
coconuts, and hemp and had a small
airstrip in 1941.
The port was
captured on 12 December
1941 by 2500 men of the Kimura Detachment supported by 575 men of 1 Kure SNLF supported by aircraft from Ryujo. There was no opposition: The nearest Allied troops, from 51 Philippine Division (Jones), were 150 miles (240 km) away.
Legaspi was recaptured by the Americans on 1 April 1945 in order to clear San Bernardino Strait and provide a shorter convoy route from Leyte Gulf to Manila. The strait was swept by four minesweepers on 31 March and Legaspi itself on 1 April, and 158 Regimental Combat Team was landed by LCI Flotilla 7. Opposition from the 1600 defenders from 35 Naval Guard Force and 26 Independent Mixed Regiment was initially slight, since the defenders made no attempt to hold the port and were deployed instead to block the Allied advance up the Bicol Peninsula. The few Japanese troops holding the Sorsogon Peninsula commanding San Bernardino Strait were driven out on 16 April.
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