Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Lingayen Gulf Landing

Gulf on northern Luzon, bordering Pangasinan to the south and west, and La Union province to the east. Site of both the Japanese (1941) and American (1945) landings.

Japanese Occupation Landing

Japanese General Homma's 14th Army landings on December 22, 1941 on the eastern side of the gulf, at Agoo, Caba, Santiago and Bauang.

American Liberation Landing

The massive US Army amphibious landing of the 6th Army occurred on January 9, 1945 when 68,000 troops landed on the first day alone and a and a total of 203,608 in subsequent landings along a 20-mile beachhead, stretching from Saul, Lingayen and Dagupan (XIV Corps) to the west, and San Fabian (I Corps) in to the east.

Once ashore MacArthur commanded over 280,000 men,more than Eisenhower in Europe. During the assault group's trip to Lingayen from January 4 - 12th a total of 24 ships were sunk and 67 damaged by kamikazie attacks. Damaged was the USS Mississippi BB-41, and light cruiser USS Colombia. The USS Colorado was accidentally hit by friendly fire and damaged.

Why the Americans chose Lingayen Gulf?

A look at a map of the Philippines shows why Lingayen Gulf was chosen for the initial landings. It offered a ‘protected’ anchorage, well-removed from the heavy concentration of forces and fortifications around Manila Bay, yet connected to Manila some 117 miles away by a river-level valley between two mountain chains. Plus, the roads to Manila lead through lands heavily populated by friendly Filipinos. Lingayen Gulf was, in effect, a perfect ‘back door’ to Manila for its would be liberators.