Landing ships unloading at Tacloban airstrip

U.S. Army. Via

Tacloban (125.011E 11.222N) had a good harbor with very limited facilities.  It was essentially a fishing village.  The U.S. built a primitive airstrip here just prior to the outbreak of war, which the Japanese were happy to take over when they invaded.

Tacloban was the initial objective of the Leyte invasion on 20 October 1944, from the mistaken belief that the airstrip could be quickly converted into a forward airbase for the Allies. However, the Japanese had done little to improve the field, which was laid out on unstable ground. Although engineers ultimately employed 2800 horsepower (2088 kilowatt) dredging pumps to move crushed coral from offshore, it was not until after two airfield sites were abandoned that the third was finally made operational, on 16 December 1944.

On 4 January 1945 a single Japanese bomber succeeded in destroying eleven Venturas parked on the flight line.


Hastings (2007)

Morison (1959)

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