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Battle of ORmoc bay

The Battle of Ormoc Bay was a series of air-sea battles between Imperial Japan
and the United States in the Camotes Sea in the Philippines from 11 November-21
December 1944, part of the Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II.
The battles resulted from Japanese operations to reinforce and resupply their forces
on Leyte and U.S. attempts to interdict them.

After gaining naval control over the Western Pacific in mid-1944, the Allies attacked the
Philippines in October, landing troops at Leyte Gulf on the east side of Leyte on 20 October
1944. The island of Leyte was defended by about 20,000 Japanese; American General Douglas
MacArthur thought that the occupation of Leyte would be only a prelude to the major
engagement on Luzon. For the Japanese, maintaining control of the Philippines was essential
because their loss would enable the Allies to sever their oil supply lines from Borneo and
The Imperial Japanese Navy responded to this attack with a combined fleet attack that led to the
Battle of Leyte Gulf from 2326 October. In this massive naval engagement, the Japanese Navy
was destroyed as a strategic force. However, this was not at first clear, and the Japanese
commander in the Philippines, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, believed that the United States
Navy had suffered severe casualties and that the Allied land forces might be vulnerable.
Accordingly, he began to reinforce and resupply the garrisons on Leyte; over the course of the
battle the Japanese ran nine convoys to the island, landing around 34,000 troops from the 1st,
8th, 26th, 30th, and 102nd divisions. Ormoc City at the head of Ormoc Bay on the west side of
Leyte was the main port on the island and the main destination of the convoys.
Decryption of messages sent using the PURPLE cipher alerted the Allies to the concentration of
Japanese shipping around Leyte, but they initially interpreted this as an evacuation. However, by
the first week of November the picture was clear, and the Allies began to interdict the convoys.[1]

TA-3 and TA-4 (Japanese)

On 89 November, the Japanese dispatched two convoys from Manila to Ormoc Bay.[2] The
convoys were spaced one day apart so that the destroyers escorting the first convoy could double
back and escort the second. However, the convoys were spotted on November 9 and attacked by
land-based aircraft of the Fifth Air Force. On 10 November the 38th Bomb Group, based on
Morotai, sent 32 B-25 Mitchells escorted by 37 P-47 Thunderbolts to attack TA-4 near Ponson
Island. Reaching the convoy just before noon, the B-25s attacked at minimum altitude in pairs,
sinking the two largest transports, Takatsu Maru and Kashii Maru, disabling a third, and sinking
two of the patrol craft escorts at a cost of seven bombers, for which the group was awarded the

Distinguished Unit Citation. But the Japanese transports had been able to put ashore the 10,000
soldiers they had been carrying, be it with only a fraction of the supplies.
On 11 November, U.S. 3rd Fleet commander Admiral William F. Halsey ordered an attack by
350 planes of Task Force 38 on the combined convoys.
Four destroyers Shimakaze, Wakatsuki, Hamanami and Naganami and four transports
Mikasa Maru, Taizan Maru, Seiho Maru and Tensho Maru were sunk, with many of the 4,000
soldiers on board killed.[3] Rear Admiral Mikio Hayakawa went down with Shimakaze, and some
1,000 sailors from the 8 ships were killed.[4]
TA-5 (Japanese)
Convoy TA-5 left Manila on 23 November for Port Cataingan and Port Balancan. Of the six
transports, five were sunk by air attack (T-111, T-141, T-160, T-6 and T-10) .[2]
U.S. destroyer sweeps
Bad weather in late November made air interdiction less effective, and the U.S. Navy began to
send destroyers into Ormoc Bay. Canigao Channel was swept for mines by the minesweepers
Pursuit and Revenge, and the four destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 22 (DesRon 22) under the
command of Captain Robert Smith (Waller, Pringle, Renshaw and Saufley) entered the bay on 27
Nov., where they shelled the docks at Ormoc City.[5]:176177
An Allied patrol plane radioed a message to the division noting that a surfaced Japanese
submarine (I-46) was south of Pacijan Island and heading for Ormoc Bay. The division headed
south to intercept; and, at 01:27 on 28 November, Waller's radar picked up the target just off the
northeast coast of Ponson Island.[5]:177 Waller disabled I-46 with her first shots and, unable to
submerge, she could only return fire with her deck guns until she sank at 01:45.[6]
TA-6 (Japanese)
Two transports, Shinsho Maru and Shinetsu Maru, escorted by three patrol vessels, Subchasers
Nos. 45 and 53 and Patrol Boat No. 105, left Manila on 27 November. They were attacked by
American PT boats in Ormoc Bay on the night of 28 November and by air attack as the survivors
left the area. All five ships were sunk, but not before they were able to unload most of its badlyneeded supplies to the troops on Leyte.[2]
Another U.S. destroyer sweep on the night of 2930 November in search of a reported convoy
resulted only in the destruction of a few barges.
TA-7 (Japanese)
A convoy of three transports departed Manila on 1 December, escorted by destroyers Take and
Kuwa under the command of Lieutenant Commander Masamichi Yamashita. Two groups of
transport submarines also took part in the operation.[7]

The convoy was docked at Ormoc City when it was engaged at 00:09 on 3 December by three
ships of U.S. Destroyer Division 120 (DesDiv 120) under the command of Commander John C.
Zahm (Allen M. Sumner, Cooper and Moale).[5]:179
The U.S. ships sank the transports as they were unloading but came under heavy attack from
Yokosuka P1Y "Frances" bombers, shore batteries, submarines that were known to be in the
harbor, and the Japanese destroyers. Kuwa was sunk and Commander Yamashita was killed. Take
attacked Cooper with torpedoes and escaped, though with some damage. Cooper sank at about
00:15 with the loss of 191 lives (168 sailors were rescued from the water on 4 December by
Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats). At 00:33, the two surviving U.S. destroyers were
ordered to leave the bay, and the victorious Japanese successfully resupplied Ormoc Bay once
more. This phase of the Battle of Ormoc Bay has gone down in history as the only naval
engagement during the war in which the enemy brought to bear every type of weapon: naval
gunnery, naval torpedoes, air attack, submarine attack, shore gunnery, and mines.[8]
Ormoc Bay U.S. troop landings

Lamson on fire in Ormoc Bay on 7 December 1944, after she was hit by a kamikaze.
The tug assisting with firefighting is probably ATR-31.

On 7 December, the 77th Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Andrew D. Bruce,
made an amphibious landing at Albuera, 3.5 mi (5.6 km) south of Ormoc City. The 77th
Division's 305th, 306th, and 307th Infantry Regiments came ashore unopposed, but naval
shipping was subjected to kamikaze attacks, resulting in the loss of destroyers Ward and Mahan.

TA-8 (Japanese)
This convoy carried 4,000 troops destined for Ormoc Bay, but which were unloaded at San
Isidro, 30 miles north of Ormoc, after receiving news of the U.S. troop landings near Ormoc. All
five transports, Akagisan Maru, Hakuba Maru, Shinsei Maru No. 5, Nichiyo Maru and T-7 were
sunk on 7 December by air attack, and the escorting destroyers Ume and Sugi were damaged.
Some 350 sailors were killed.[9]

TA-9 (Japanese)
Convoy TA-9 landed some 4,000 troops at Palompon, but escorting destroyers entered the bay on
11 December where two, Yzuki (by air attacks) and Uzuki (by PT boats), were sunk and the
third, Kiri, was damaged.[2]
File:USS Lamson (DD-367) at Ormoc Bay.jpg

Official Seal

Physical Features

Religious and culture

The people of Ormoc are called Ormocanons. Ormocanons are predominantly Cebuano-speaking
(or Kana, as Cebuano-speakers in Leyte and Southern Leyte are often called) together with the
whole western part of Leyte island. The people relate more to neighboring towns and Cebu than
to eastern Leyte itself.
Like most Filipinos, Ormocanons, being predominantly Roman Catholic, celebrate the annual
city fiesta for the patron saints Peter and Paul on June 28 and 29. Catholic religious festivals are
observed throughout the year.

Economic Sector