LEYTE: THE RETURN TO THE PHILIPPINES. By M. Hamlin Cannon. (1954, 1987; 420 pages, 5 tables, 3 charts, 23 maps, 70 illustrations, 2 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 5-9.)

In this narrative, the Sixth Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, emerges from the series of island-hopping, bypassing operations described in CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul and in The Approach to the Philippines and engages a Japanese army on a land area of 2,785 square miles in a war of maneuver. The Sixth Army landed on Leyte on 20 October 1944 with the support of the fleets of the Pacific Ocean Areas and the Southwest Pacific Area, and these, in the famous Battle of Leyte Gulf on 24 October, blocked the desperate attempt of the Japanese Navy to destroy the expedition. U. S. Army troops were engaged in greater numbers than ever before assembled in the Pacific and were supported by naval and air forces of corresponding size. The Sixth Army had to overcome Japanese forces of greater magnitude than any previously encountered. On 25 December 1944, the island was declared secure, and General MacArthur returned in triumph to the Philippines. The breach in Japan's line of communications with Southeast Asia that had been effected by U.S. submarines was now permanent and its last hope of victory destroyed.

The Sixth Army accomplished its task on Leyte by executing a gigantic double envelopment coupled with an amphibious landing in the enemy's rear area. Throughout the campaign Krueger's army was aided by strategic and tactical air cover and support from its old companion, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney's Fifth Air Force, and the Navy's air arm, and enjoyed the cooperation of guerrilla forces. The roles of supporting forces and strategic prospects and plans affecting the campaign are described to the extent necessary to explain the Army's plans and performance.

Leyte deals systematically with both American and Japanese operations. It gives an account of the plans and countermoves of the enemy, derived from Japanese sources. On the American side two corps and nine divisions were committed, and the study approaches operations from a corps and division level, but it amplifies the action of smaller units when those activities were particularly decisive or when available source material and space allowed the author to highlight the nature of the small-unit operations conducted.

The Leyte Campaign lasted longer than originally planned. In setting forth the circumstances of this delay Leyte illustrates the interdependence of ground and air forces. Although General Krueger officially assumed responsibility for the delay, the difficulty in constructing adequate airfields was the immediate culprit. The air forces were, for a considerable period, unable to seal off the battlefield, and the Japanese were able to funnel in reinforcements because the air bases on Leyte were not ready on time and were unsatisfactory when ready-a condition blamed on the soil, drainage, and climate of Leyte.

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