Island Hopping part 2:  THE PHILIPPINES CAMPAIGN: The Battle of Leyte Gulf and Re-taking the Philippines  

    Phillipines landing-ships-tank-beach-Leyte-Island-Philippines-October-1944.jpg




    General Douglas MacArthur was a very, very serious man. When he said “I Shall Return” to the Philippines after being driven out by invading Japanese forces early in the war, he meant business. To make good on his word and achieve the re-capture of the Philippines, the Americans would have to win the biggest naval battle in the history of mankind, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  Not only did this have the short term effect of protecting American landing forces who were about to assault the island, but it was such a huge defeat for the Imperial Japanese navy, that they would never recover from this battle and never have any real offensive naval capability for the rest of the war.  That was just the beginning though-- the Americans also had to win on land, in fierce fighting on Philippine soil.  Today we will look at both of those actions- the naval/air and the land battles that resulted in the US re-capturing the Philippines


    II. SECONDARY SOURCE (with Primary Source Photos)  BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF  (Oct 1944)


    Read this very short article from the United States Defense Department about the Battle of Leyte Gulf. https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Features/Story/Article/1996596/wwii-battle-helped-secure-philippines-75-years-ago/



    1.     What were the American goals leading up to the Battle of Leyte Gulf?

    2.     Why do you think it was it so important for the Americans to control the waters around the Philippines as Marines and other American forces were planning to invade the Philippines?

    3.     What was significant about the Battle of Leyte Gulf in terms of the size and scale of the battle?

    4.     What is significant about the Battle of Leyte Gulf in terms of new strategies used by Imperial Japan?  What did they use for the first time?

    5.     What were the losses for Imperial Japan? What impact did the Battle of Leyte Gulf have on Japanese naval strength for the rest of the war?  Would they ever recover from these losses?

    6.     PRIMARY SOURCE ANALYSIS  in the article it has a picture of General Douglas MacArthur  walking off shore in his return to the Philippines. What do you notice/observe about this photo?   


    What an epic naval battle—the biggest in history!  OK and now for the fighting on the ground….



    Read the article (posted below) and answer the following questions

    click here for Re-taking the Philippines article

    7. What major naval battle was won by the Americans before US forces landed on the Philippine Island of Leyte, which help protect to the US landing forces who landed there?

    8. How many Japanese troops were stationed throughout the Philippines?  How many troops did the US land?

    9. What was the Japanese strategy when Americans landed? To fight them on the beaches, or let them come inland and fight them there?

    10. How did Filipino guerilla fighters help aid Americans?

    11. How fiercely did Japanese forces defend Manilla?  What effect did this have on this city and the people living there?

    12. What other parts of the Philippines did US forces have to fight hard to re-capture?

    13. How many people lost their lives during the re-taking of the Philippines?

    14. What did General MacArthur say when he was driven out of the Philippines during the initial Japanese invasion?    Did he make good on this statement?


    That's it for today!  If you're interested in learning more...

    Optional: If you want to check out a totally sick, off-the-hook true story of something that happened as part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, check out this video. Check it out around the 2 minute mark where it starts to talk about how one American Destroyer went into beast mode and turns to attack a much bigger Japanese force, , rallying US naval and air forces to turn and attack to an American victory that would render the Imperial Japanese navy practically useless for the rest of the war.  Again, optional (you don’t have to do it in case you’re curious about it and want to learn more)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFkAeQI7UuQ&t=10s