NOTE: This Operation Plan was transcribed from COPY NO. 1016, typed 60 years ago. The pages have aged, the type is not always clear, and the text has been amended by hand-written notes (which will be shown in green, although it is not always clear where the hand-written notes are additions, or corrections or simply clarify faint text. Deleted text (strike-thru) is displayed in [grey].

Every reasonable step has been taken to preserve the original formatting, pagination, spelling, etc., but allowances should always be made for the possibility of errors in my transcription.    --HyperWar


  1. SUMMARY OF GENERAL CONDITIONS (26 September 1944)

    1. The occupation by Blue forces of PALAU and MOROTAI together with the neutralization of the airfields in the MOLUCCAS and the Northern CELEBES have made enemy bases and installations in the Southern PHILIPPINES especially vulnerable to air attacks.

    2. Blue air strikes have eliminated to a great extent enemy air forces and shipping in the MINDANAO and VISAYAS Area.

    3. The Japanese have evidenced feverish activity in strengthening the defenses of LUZON and FORMOSA. They have indicated the intention to withdraw their remaining air strength from Southern PHILIPPINES air bases in order to reinforce the LUZON area. Recent reconnaissance of LEYTE revealed no air activity, indicating a complete withdrawal of enemy air forces from that island.

    4. The enemy at present has bases in the Philippines-North Borneo area a sizeable task force consisting of 3 CA, 2 CL, 8 DD and 10 SS. One, and possibly two, BBs, plus perhaps four DDs are at sea to the westward of the PHILIPPINES enroute south, possibly to BRUNEI BAY (05-00N., 115-15E.). A minimum of 60 PT boats are believed to be based in the Central and Southern PHILIPPINES.

    5. While the Japanese have numerous operational air fields in the southern PHILIPPINES, it is to be expected that there will be few planes in any concentrations south of LUZON.


    1. The establishment of air and naval facilities on MOROTAI and the PALAU islands has made it possible to subject practically all enemy air fields in the PHILIPPINES to air attack by land and carrier-based planes.

    2. Air strikes by Blue air forces in the northern PHILIPPINES prior to landing should result in the neutralization of a number of enemy air bases in the LUZON area. However, the LUZON fields are numerous and well dispersed, making it difficult to keep the dromes in an inoperative condition. It thus is possible for reinforcements to be staged in from FORMOSA and the EMPIRE.

    3. Enemy air forces in the MINDANAO and VISAYAN area have withdrawn to the LUZON area.

  3. ESTIMATE OF ENEMY FORCES (26 September 1944)

    1. Naval Forces.

      1. Specific location of opposing fleet units is not certain, but their disposition is estimated as follows:

        Empire and Northern Japan 4 5 5 1 3 7 16 50
        N. Borneo-Philippines Area 1 3 2 8 10
        Singapore-Lingga 4 1 3 8 1 18 5

-- 1 --

      1. No Orange naval reaction has been manifested despite the blows that have fallen within the PALAU, MOROTAI, AND PHILIPPINE areas. Further pressure in the PHILIPPINE area, the theater of current operations, would hasten the division and isolation of the Southwestern Area.

      2. The damage recently dealt Japanese aircraft and the coverage now possible over the PHILIPPINES by Blue reconnaissance planes are believed pressing inducements for the Japanese to withdraw what fleet units were within the Manila Bay sector to safer harbors in the direction of Lingga and the Empire.

      3. It is not believed that major elements of the Japanese fleet will be involved in the present operations.

      4. The possibility exists that a fast task force may strike at our supply lines taking full advantage of darkness, surprise, and land-based air.

    1. Ground Forces.

      1. Combat and Base Defense Troops (equally good infantry fighters) on LEYTE ISLAND are estimated to number 13,000, Additional service personnel might increase the total to 16,000.

      2. Enemy ground forces in the immediate vicinity are estimated to be:

        SURIGAO (includes troops on the tip of peninsula and on the LEYTE GULF island) 7,000
        CEBU 5,000
        SAMAR 3,500
        BOHOL 800

      3. Additional enemy troops in adjacent areas:

        LUZON (South of 15-00N) 70,000
        MINDANAO (between 07-30N. and 09-20N.) 18,000
        NEGROS 13,000
        PANAY 5,000
        MASBATE 500
        MINDORO 500

    2. Air Forces.

      1. There are 52 operational air fields within a radius of 360 miles from Tacloban, of which 21 can be classified as major air bases with adequate facilities. These are located as follows: 4 in Davao area, 1 at Zamboanga, 3 in the Cagayan Del Monte area, 1 at Cebu, 3 at Negros, 2 on Panay, 1 at Legaspi, 1 at Batangas and 5 in the Manila area. In addition to the 52 airfields noted above, there are numerous runways which could be utilized for emergency landings and probably staging.

        It is believed that there will not be many large concentrations of aircraft south of the Manila area. However, it is expected that the enemy will attempt to build up garrisons on several of the fields in the Visayas region. The main concentrations should be located at Cebu, Bacolod, Dumaguete, La Carlota and Iloilo. In Mindanao a number of planes will probably be stationed at Zamboanga, partly for a garrison and partly for shipping coverage. Small units may be kept in the Davao area and in the Cagayan Del Monte region.

-- 2 --

      1. Estimated air strength in the immediate area of operations is as follows:

          Fighters Single Eng.
        Twin Eng
        Recco Flying
           Mindanao 18 4 10 6 2 10 50
          *Visayas 28 2 9 8 2 10 59
           Luzon 159 34 79 12 6 12 302
           Menado 4 - 4 - - 4 12
           Kendari/Makassar 35 20 30 - 3 12 100
        Borneo 44 22 64 - - 12 142
        Ambon/Ceram/Boeroe    8    4    6    4    1    6   29
        TOTAL 296 86 202 30 14 66 694
        *Casualties resulting from Blue carrier strikes of 24 September not deducted.

      2. While it will be impossible to neutralize all air fields in the area under consideration, Blue attacks on the major airdromes will lessen the number of planes which can be staged through to attack our shipping, due to a denial of the use of the facilities. The destruction of fuel dumps as a result of recent carrier strikes and the difficulty of building up any large supply because of shipping problems will probably seriously handicap the Japanese in forming large-scale air attacks against Blue forces.


    1. Radar - The approaches to Leyte Gulf are believed protected by radar. There is a probable radar installation on Suluan Island covering the eastern approaches to Surigao Strait. Other radar locations have not been reported but their presence is highly probable.

    2. Mines - All known minefields in PHILIPPINE waters are listed below:
      1. LANUZA BAY - mined.
      2. VERDE ISLAND PASSAGE - western approach possibly mined.
      3. CORREGIDOR ISLAND - passages North and South mined.
      4. LINGAYAN GULF - closed by mines.
      5. NABULAO BAY - mined.
      6. MASIN - approaches mined.
      7. TANDAG - approaches probably mined.
      8. Between Tabinay and Boaya Points.
      9. BABUYAN STRAIT - probably mined. Bashi and Bilantang Straits possibly mined.
      10. MALALAG HARBOR - east entrance mined.
      11. Danger area landward of a line connecting Dijohan and Quinabucasan Points.
      12. DAPITAN BAY - probably mined.
      13. Between JOMLIG and CAMARINES coast - possibly mined.
      14. SUBIC BAY - heavily mined.

-- 3 --

      1. Danger area enclosed by: Rungus, Sialat, Binorong, Atalaya, Balicuatro, and Padang Points.
      2. Sulu Archipelago Passages mined except:
        1. Basilan Strait north of Great Santa Cruz Island.
        2. Sibutu Passage.
        3. Channel immediately west of Pulo Gaia and Pulo Puan.
        4. Probably between Manungut and Bitinan Island.
      3. BALIBAC STRAIT - all passages mined except the main channel south of Mangsee Great Reef.
      4. SAN BERNARDINO STRAIT - probably mined.
      5. Shore from Tibungco to Daliao possibly mined.
      6. Mines between Bongao and Sangasiapu, also between Loran and Tabawan Island. Safe channels probably just south of Bongao and between Laa and Sangasiapu Island.
      7. Mined between Candolu and Suluan Island, Homonhon and Dinigat Island, North Mindanao and South Dinigat Island. Also possible mines between Suluan and Homonhon Island.
      8. Danger area enclosed by: Binit, Bilaa, Cauit, Tuason Points, Suluan Island, Sungi, Capines, and Vigia Points.
      9. TACLOBAN - approaches possibly mined.
      10. ILOILO STRAIT - mined north of Iloilo.
      11. Danger area: Guimaras Strait north of Unisan Island, south of Pan de Azucar Island, and west of Cadiz.
      12. CAPIZ BAY - Mined, also offshore west of Olutaya Island, to north of Nipa Point.
      13. CAMPOMANES BAY - possibly mined.
      14. BILIRAN STRAIT - possibly mined between Matuntun and Talairan Points.
      15. NORTH BALIBAC STRAIT - probably mined between 07-58, 08-10N., and 117-05 and 117-20E., approximately.
      16. BALER BAY - mines laid in front of beach defenses.
      17. SURIGAO - approaches probably mined.
      18. ALABAT ISLAND - approaches possibly mined.
      19. APARRI, ABULAG and CLAVERIA - possibly mined.
      20. CAGAYAN - possibly mined.
      21. SARANGANI and MALITA - possibly mined.
      22. CARABAO ISLAND - possibly mined.
      23. CORON BAY - Southeast entrance mined.
      24. BACUAG PORT - probably mined.
      25. HANIGAD PT. (DINIGAT ID.) to SURIGAO PORT - mined.
      26. PORT PILAR - mined.
      27. PORT SIBONGA - mined.
      28. Plan (execution unknown) placed number of mines in Leyte Gulf at 600. Standard depth for single-row fields was 2 fathoms (4 metres); in double-row fields second row set to 8 fathoms (15 metres).

    1. Coastal Defenses

      1. The principal defended areas on the eastern shore of Leyte Gulf are in the vicinity of Tacloban, Dulag and Abuyog. Extensive weapon pits, trench systems and probable bunkers are located in these areas. Isolated small trenches and weapon pits are present along the coast between the main defended areas.

      2. An anti-tank ditch extends from near the south end of the Tacloban air strip to the Palo river. A system of anti-tank trenches in depth is being constructed in the Dulag area.

      3. Four heavy, probably dual purpose AA guns are located in San Jose village. Four large coastal gun pits are under construction on the east side of Tacloban town.

-- 4 --

      1. No scullies or underwater obstructions are visible in existing photographic coverage.

      2. Land mines may be expected in the defended areas.


    Tacloban is the only port on the east coast of Leyte known to be in use by Japanese shipping. Small tonnages have been noted stopping there in the recent past. The normal shipping route to Tacloban (through Surigao Strait) will be cut off by our Leyte beachhead. The only other approach is a very hazardous one through San Juanico Strait, between Leyte and Samar. It is considered doubtful whether anything except small craft will attempt to navigate it.

    Other ports in the near vicinity, both of them infrequently used, include Ormoc, on the west coast of Leyte, and Surigao, on the northernmost tip of Mindanao. Our landings should isolate Surigao, but it is possible that the Japanese may attempt to utilize Ormoc as a port for reinforcements and/or evacuation.

    The port of Cebu, which is only 60 miles southwest of Ormoc, is a well developed Japanese shipping center and has handled substantial tonnages until the recent Blue carrier strikes on it. It is the logical Orange advance shipping base for use in opposing our occupation of Leyte, but further blue air strikes may be expected to neutralize it to a large extent by the time of our landings. Guimaras, Bacolod and Iloilo, about 854 miles farther to the west, and Bulan, about 125 miles to the northwest, are only slightly less vulnerable to air attack, but Orange shipping will probably attempt to use all four ports as long as possible.

    Refuge anchorages heretofore used by shipping in the immediate area of these operations are as follows:

      Schutan Bay (west coast of Bucas Grande)
      Canigao Channel (10-15N., 124-45E.)
      Panaon Island (09-55N., 125-17E).
      Dapa (09-46N., 126-03E.)
      Bislig Bay (08-15N., 126-20E.)


    1. The first phase of the operation will probably be subjected to heavy enemy strikes by LUZON-based planes; however, soon after the initial landing, as our air control increases in effect, it is considered likely that the enemy will be forced to resort to night strikes employing small numbers of planes.

    2. When the location of the objective areas is clearly indicated to the enemy, it is probable that he will endeavor to strike our attack or reinforcement units with a fast task force of cruisers and destroyers. In addition, he will endeavor to concentrate his PT and inshore patrol craft and use them against our landing craft and transports. Attacks by enemy submarines on targets of opportunity may be expected. Participation of Orange BB's in defense of Eastern Philippines areas is not considered probable.

-- 5 --

    1. Enemy ground forces remaining on LEYTE may be expected to offer stubborn resistance. They will more than likely employ the usual tactics of retreating to the hills during the initial bombardment and then staging subsequent counter-attacks. It is not believed feasible for the enemy to reinforce substantially the LEYTE garrison other than from SAMAR, due to the paucity of his shipping.

    2. Blue carrier-based air strikes have further reduced the enemy's first-line plane strength. Because of an anticipated scarcity of both planes and crews, it is to be expected that the Japanese will not be able to react with large numbers of planes to Blue landings.

      As has been the case in the past, they will send small flights, staging through Visayas fields to harass our shipping and beachheads by night attacks. The enemy retains the ability to mount large-scale air attacks for several days or nights, though it is expected that he will conserve his strength for the defense of Luzon.


    1. Prisoners of war, captured documents and material will be handled in accordance with Commander Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, Confidential letter Serial 02129 of 26 October 1943 and Commander Allied Naval Forces Letter 1L-44 of January 31, 1944 (attached).

    2. Particular attention will be directed to the preservation intact of all captured enemy equipment, especially that pertaining to radio and radar, in order that subsequent study thereof may be possible for provision of appropriate countermeasures. Guards will be posted as necessary to prevent stripping by souvenir hunters.

    3. Task Force Commanders will, prior to departure from bases for the objectives, designate the vessels that are to be used for Prisoner-of-War ships.

    4. Japanese language personnel will be available at the ratio of one per transport division for assignment by Attack Force Commanders to designated Prisoner-of-War ships, to expedite handling of prisoners, and to accompany them when evacuated to the rear areas. The duties of these personnel will be to facilitate:

      1. Organizing and controlling POW's on board ship.
      2. Interpreting for doctors, billeting officers and mess officers.
      3. Processing POW's enroute to rear areas.

    5. Officers, non-commissioned officers, other ranks, and civilian prisoners of war will be kept segregated.

    6. Prior to the arrival of POW ships in a rear area, Commanding Officers of these ships will, as soon as practicable, with consideration for the requirements of radio silence, furnish the Commander in CHief, Southwest Pacific Area, and Commander Seventh Fleet Rear Echelon with the following information: (1) Number of officer prisoners, Japanese; (b) Number of enlisted prisoners, Japanese; (c) Number of stretcher-case prisoners; (d) Number of civilian prisoners, Japanese; and (3) Number of non-Japanese prisoners by nationality or race.

-- 7 --

Serial: 407   January 31, 1944
From: The Commander Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area.
To: The Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area.
Subject: Captured Enemy Documents or material in possession of Naval Personnel.
Reference: (a) Commander Allied Naval Forces Conf. serial 02129 of October 26, 1943.
  1. Reference (a) set forth the general principles to be observed in the handling of prisoners of war, captured documents and material, and the reasons therefor.

  2. It is desired to emphasize that all enemy documents or material of whatever sort possesses potential information value of great importance. Furthermore, experience has shown that the full intelligence value of subject material can be gained only as a result of thorough examination by specialized personnel skilled in the examination of enemy material and documents. It is essential therefore that all items of subject documents and material be kept intact and, whether in the possession of individuals or of organizations, that they be sent with the least practicable delay to those units charged with the duty of extracting intelligence therefrom.

  3. On the other hand, the Commander Allied Naval Forces is sensible of the very understandable desire on the part of naval personnel and units to retain as trophies of war items of enemy material and documents that may be captured or recovered by them; and it is his intention to authorize the retention by nits and individuals of such trophies of war as may be practicable subject first to having derived therefrom all possible information.

  4. In view of the foregoing it is directed that he following procedure be followed in the handling of subject documents and material:

    1. Take steps to insure that all captured documents and material are maintained intact insofar as practicable.

    2. The stripping of name plates and parts from captured enemy material is prohibited unless such action is necessary to further immediate combat operations.

    3. Require all personnel to turn over to the Commanding Officer All enemy documents or material captured or otherwise acquired.

    4. Segregate documents or other matter containing writing from material.

    5. Make up the documents and other written matter into bundles of convenient size; each bundle to contain a list of its contents

-- 1 --

      together with notation as to which items are desired returned as trophies, and forward the bundles as directed by paragraph (b)(4) of reference (a). Where practicable, and when the desired document is of no further military of naval value, it may be expected that it will be returned to the originating command with a certificate as follows:

        "Released as being of no further military value".
        "For the A.C. of S., G-2, G.H.Q., S.W.P.A.
        __________Date     __________Initials"

      Upon the return of any document as above, the Commanding Officer is authorized in his discretion to issue it to the person originally recovering it or to such other person as may be deemed appropriate together with a certificate as follows:

        "U.S.S. __________ NPO No. __________
        The bearer of this certificate is entitled to retain
        in his possession or to mail the following:
           (Description of article)
        (Ship's Seal) Signed Joe FYFE,
        Lieut., USN, Comdg.

    1. A list of the material will be made with notation as to any items it is desired to returned as trophies. The material accompanied by this list will be forwarded to the nearest Base or Section Base as provided for in paragraphs (b)(5) and (6) of reference (a).

    2. Bases and Section Bases will be provided with a list of items that can be returned at once. Items of material not immediately returnable will be forwarded by the Base or Section Base to Commander Allied Naval Forces, HOLLANDIA, for further examination. These latter items of material may be returned if feasible to the commands making original recovery when they have served their purpose.

    3. The Base or Section Base Commander or higher authority will attach a certificate as follows to each item of returned material:
        "U.S. Naval Base Poppy     NPO No. _____
        Date __________
        The following items of material are of no further military or naval value: (Description of items).
          SIgned Josephus GISH,
        Comdr., USN, Commanding."

    4. Upon return of the material accompanied by certificate as provided for above, Commanding Officers are authorized to issue items of the material to such persons as may be deemed proper.

-- 2 --

      Each item of material issued to an individual will be accompanied by a certificate as follows:

        "U.S.S. __________     NPO No. _____
        Date __________
        The bearer of this certificate is entitled to retain
        in his possession or to mail the following:
             (Description of material)

        (Ship's Seal) Signed W.T. DOORE,
        Lt. Cdr., USN

    1. Commanding Officers and higher authority are authorized in their discretion to authorize the signing of the required certificates by subordinates "by direction", provided that the delegation of this authority is limited to commissioned officers. It should be the aim to restrict the number of officers authorized to sign these certificates to the minimum number consistent with sound administration.

    2. Attention is invited to the following:

      1. Each document or item of material mailed as above must be accompanied by two copies of the final certificate.

      2. Items containing explosives or dangerous or noxious liquids are not mailable and will not be certified for mailing.

      3. Unless accompanied by certificates as noted above, items will be confiscated by mail censors or by customs officials upon arrival at a United States port.

    Copy to: OpNav
    CinC, SWPA (3)
    C.G., USAFFE (3)
    Com 3rd Flt
    C.G., Allied Land Forces, SWPA
    C.G., Allied Air Forces, SWPA
    C.E. VAN HOOK,

    /s/       F. J. DeCELLES,
    Asst. Flag Secretary.

  Serial: 02129  
  October 26, 1943.

SECRET (British)

From: The Commander Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area.
To: Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area.
Subject: Prisoners of War, Captured Documents and Material-Handling of.

  1. The following will be used as a guide in the handling of prisoners of war, captured documents and material:

    1. Prisoners of War

      1. Prisoners of War are a useful source of information concerning enemy forces, disposition and general conditions.

      2. Prisoners will be handled as follows, insofar as practicable, and the exigencies of the situation permit.

        1. Treatment - Prisoners will be treated humanely, and in compliance with the Geneva Convention of 1929. Their personal honor will be respected and they will not be photographed or fingerprinted except for purpose of official record.

        2. Interrogation - Questioning at the scene of capture, in the field, or on board ship should be strictly limited to matters of immediate tactical concern to the unit making the capture. It frequently occurs that overzealousness and interrogation by personnel not specially trained in this art result in the loss of much valuable information. Facilities exist for the reasonably rapid interrogation of prisoners by skilled personnel and the rapid dissemination of intelligence gained.

        3. Identification and Segregation

          1. Obtain the name, rank, unit, service number of each prisoner. Note place, time and date of capture, and other pertinent details.

          2. Segregate prisoners according to rank and allow no conversation. It is important that officers or non-commissioned officers are not allowed to mix with or hold conversation with their enlisted men.

          3. Thoroughly search each prisoner, removing all clothing if necessary, confiscating all documents and weapons of whatever nature, and making these up into separate bundles marked with the prisoner's name.

-- 1 --

          1. Tag each prisoner with the Prisoner of War Tag (already distributed).

        1. Dispersal

          1. Upon return to port or as soon as practicable after capture, all prisoners of war, together with their effects, will be turned over to friendly Land Forces (U.S. or Australian) for custody and further disposition, accompanied by information as to names, unit, place, date and time of capture, and by whom, and such other information available as may indicate relative priority and importance of interrogation or may be of assistant [sic] in conducting the interrogation.

          2. Where practicable, obtain a receipt from Land Forces for prisoners transferred to them.

          3. Forward one copy of the report mentioned in (d) (1) above to Commander Allied Naval Forces (Commander Seventh Fleet), noting thereon the date and to whom the prisoners were transferred.

    1. Captured Documents and Material

      1. Enemy documents and material are most valuable and fruitful sources of information. Every effort should be made to secure all enemy documents and material intact. In this connection, souvenir hunting and the stripping of name plates, parts, etc., from captured material is strictly prohibited.

      2. Enemy Documents will be quickly examined with a view to gaining information of immediate tactical advantage and determining their relative importance.

      3. Documents of apparent importance will be forwarded by the most expeditious means available to the Task Force Commander who will, after cursory examination, forward them by the most rapid available means to Advanced Echelon A.T.I.S. or to the Commander Allied Naval Forces (Commander Seventh Fleet) who will transmit them to A.T.I.S., Brisbane.

      4. Captured documents will be made up into bundles of convenient size, containing a statement as to place, date and time of capture, and identification of enemy unit from whom captured, together with a report of any attendant circumstances that may be of assistance in translating and evaluating the documents.

-- 2 --

      1. Captured material and equipment should be quickly examined and any novel or unusual features that appear to be of immediate value should be reported by despatch to the Task Force Commander and to Commander Allied Naval Forces (Commander Seventh Fleet).

      2. Captured material and equipment will be carefully tagged with a tag showing place, date and time, by whom and from what enemy unit captured, and forwarded to the nearest base for further transportation to Brisbane for more complete examination. After complete examination and tests, items may be returned to individuals or units making the capture if desired.

      3. Specially trained personnel skilled in the examination of enemy material and equipment are available upon request to the Task Force Commander or Commander Allied Naval Forces (Commander Seventh Fleet), for the purpose of making investigations on the spot of material too large or cumbersome to move, novel devices, or giving advice regarding which material and equipment it is desirable to forward for further examination.

Chief of Staff.

Allied Naval Forces, S.W.P.A.
Opnav (ONI)

Flag Secretary.

Philippine Island Summary Minechart

Airfields in Visayan Area

Estimated Enemy Ground Strength

Estimated Enemy Air Strength

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