24th Dec 1944 U plus 9. there is apparently no counter to enemy aircraft raiding at night. As at Morotai, Black Widow fighters seldom intercept within sight and there are few reports of success, Ack-ack and searchlights have been improving here. The usual 50 or 40 C-47s in this morning and Boston are alleged to be arriving on 26th December 1944. Tomorrow Christmas Dawn but 24 hours work 7 days a week applies here. In this season of goodwill we compare our conditions unfavorably with those in Australia-no leave, no Christmas comforts fund issue, no mail for four weeks, no liquor. This of course is difficult to avoid. Plenty of Lighting and Thunderbolt aircraft about all day. Very little enemy air activity during day and ships unloading peacefully if slowly. Inspected Drome “B” now completed with a hard watered surface. Parallel taxiway commenced. Since U-day roadwork has proceeded continuously. I inspected sugar central-a massive affair-last shipment marked in chalk 15 Feb 43 this is probably a recent addition, machinery generally proofed against corrosion. Many notice exhorting, no smoking, and gentlemanly conduct. The enemy has not used any part of this large installation except to link one of the tractors with a small generator. Railway engines being refitted by Philippine labour under direction of 3ACS personnel. Taxiway “C” Hill Drome almost complete. Experience to date is that is that 90 percent of night-shift time is lost by enemy activity. By U plus 15 there will be at least a dozen excavators working in Bugsanga River, several being of 2-yard capacity. Roads must take gravel trucks at 30 miles per hour loaded. 860th Engineers arriving U plus 15 to build “D” Drome, all weather, this will mean 5 Aviation Battalions.
3ACS is commencing work on “B” taxiway Hill Drome, having completed half “A” and “C” with hardstandings, drainage, etc. By end of month, 130 hardstands to be available with ultimate capacity as follows, Hill Drome 104, “B” 120. Estimated daily production Drome “B” 5 inserts per day, Drome “A” is to be completed by 5th Jan 1945
General Love 5th Air Force, visited for an afternoon conference and wishes to place whole of 5th Air Force on Mindoro. High Officers, U.S Forces are a remarkable type, are young, are in front lines, and are very keen.
General Love very concerned about his a aircraft being damaged, by Paratrooper landing, glider borne troops and suicide gangs, landing on strip from air transport. These latter have been used recently at Leyte using hand grenades. This is difficult to counter by firepower without damaging our aircraft Officer
Commanding paratroop Division appeared very anxious for action and was quite confident his men could deal with intruders.
General Love indicated a wide appreciation of his Engineering needs and the work carried out in airfield construction. He indicated that the present bottleneck in the pacific lies in lighter age and Wharf age difficulties. There are ships everywhere are awaiting unloading. Each aircraft in the Fifth Air Force requires no less than 4 tons daily to keep it operational.
General Love indicates that Leyte would be abandoned as an active operational base owing to engineering difficulties. His force for Mindoro will include fighter command, bomber command, air transport command, armed reconnaissance command, photo, and mapping commands, etc. Included will be two bombardment groups, one being the 380th from Darwin.
Task Force Engineer asked Fifth Air Force to move 7000 pounds of spares from No. 3 ACS from Morotai. General Love undertook to have this done. After much discussion during which General Love stated that he a plethora of aircraft available.
It was confirmed that “C” and “D” Dromes are to be all weather. 2800 tons of planking now lay off shore to be unloaded. General Love is endeavoring to obtain another 1200 tons. Each runway 6,000 long with one an alert area. 800’ x 500’ requires 2000 tons. There is plenty available at Leyte lying off shore but is earmarked for Mike 1. Engineer stores beyond original allotment will be difficult to obtain and already we have been shipped several large Avgas tanks short.
Col. Ellison indicated that maximum airfield accommodation available south of Bugsanga River is four airfields, 500 hardstandings, Gen. Love very anxious to bring in his C-46 combat transport aircraft by
28 Dec 44 if present airfield surfaces can take 4500 lb. aircraft with 8000 1b. Payload. These will presumably pick up 503rd Paratroopers. Japs are assembling 100 speedboats and 40 Q ships for attempt on Mindoro, Fifth Air Force after them now, first rain since landing -possible 1/4 of a point.
On strip C-47s actually following graders up taxiways as work proceeds. Constant raids from dusk onwards. 1874th camp received 30 or 40 anti-personnel bombs: one mess building demolished and a water tanker damaged. Rang Bomb Disposal Unit and requested 24 attendance on strip where 3 ACS plant is working,
25th Dec. 1944. U plus 10 Christmas morning. Two raids between 6 and 7 a.m., one C-47 and one Lightning received direct hits. Bombs fell in midst of 3 ACS plant. On visit to strip with CO 3 ACS bombs fell without warning and Tojo at 100’ took pass at jeep and dropped bombs between taxiway. 5 Lightnings circled at 500’ above strip at this time. Total results appeared one oil line, and a 3ACS HD-14 dozer and shrapnel through 3 ACS water tanker. Toes sliced off stray gunner. Bombs were instantaneous fuse, with considerable blast, with craters 18’ across and 6’ deep. Second enemy aircraft shot down by ack-ack immediately after dropping bombs. Enemy now appears to have made strip and aircraft primary target. Unloaded ships lying off shore not attacked indicates partial acceptance of our residence here. Manilla getting a thorough bashing from us too, and had a thrashing yesterday. 50 enemy airfields on Luzon so finality difficult to achieve. C-47 pilots are always anxious to get away quickly and don’t like stopping
overnight. Lightings returning from Luzon with many victory rolls.
Unsatisfactory position with Bomb Disposal Unit away this morning collecting Japanese torpedoes (18”) dropped in naval Base. Unexploded bombs still visible in 3 ACS working area at 1440 hours. 3 ACS operators undeterred. Major difficulty is distillate supply from ships. All squadrons in future should bring nested tanks. Drome “B” parallel, taxiway with 16 handstands must be completed by noon 28 Dec’ 44. Task Force Engineer indicated that 3 ACS would have to farm out tippers if RAAF drivers not available for 24-hours operations.
Eighth Army takes over Leyte 28 Dec and Mindoro 1 Jan 45.
Road Sections throughout to be 28’-wide with 4”-crown and 6” gravel.
Great enemy air activity after Dusk. One shot down immediately above strip from 200’ after dropping bombs. Twin-engine bomber dropped heavy stick immediately after. Stream of single enemy aircraft operating. Amid great cheering red alert given five minutes after action joined. Fire merrily blazing on strip is our first and only Avgas storage tank just completed this afternoon, and hit by enemy aircraft that was shot down. More aircraft burning on strip as strafing continues. Loud cheering from adjacent ack-ack crew who has got a direct hit at range of two miles. Very nice work. Raids continue all night. Unfortunately one Black Widow crashed and burnt taking off. St Staff Officer Ordnance telephoned to query my instruction to Bomb Disposal Unit. it, is apparent that CO Bomb Disposal Unit is dealing direct with US authorities as at Leyte although under this command. Pressure however is great and as WVTF Headquarters must determine priority I have agreed to discuss the matter with Chief of Staff in morning.
26 Dec.44. U Plus 11. Boxing day, Interviewed Deputy Chief of Staff with c0 3ACS and 0rdnance Officer. Amicable discussion decided to send the following signal.
“T0 61 ACW 1 TAF RAAF WVTF 5 BDU 3 ACS AT REQUEST OF CHIEF 0F STAFF
WVTF HG 5 BDU ATTACHED WVTF FOR DIRECTIONS QUARTERS ADMINISTRATION AS FROM 26’ DEC. 5 BDU WILL RETURN TO 1ST TAF RAAF MOROTAI WHEN TACTICAL SITUATION PERMITS OR CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS RECEIVED.
This supersedes my written Instruction to Bomb Disposal stating their first priority was coverage of 3ACS,
The absence of an operation order from 1st TAF covering 3 ACS, 5BDU, and Forward Echelon for this operation has proved embarrassing more than once,
7O anti personnel bombs dropped last night and large number of H.E. Two enemy aircraft shot down by Black Widow. 3 P-38s burnt and Jap Christmas greetings dropped on strip, In last ten days 62 aircraft been shot down over San Jose area.
3000 troops, 100 speedboats, 45 Q boats, collected at enemy base Betangas this morning. Task Force
Engineer has arranged for vehicle tankers from ships. Oil and ammunition ship is deserted at night as being exceedingly dangerous. As from today, shovels and trucks are to work 24 hours irrespective of enemy activity. Sections of taxiways and strips still soft underneath and many tricycle wheels have collapsed, it is being found that servicing of vehicles and plant at dusk and dawn during shift changes is difficult as this
period of greatest enemy activity and no lights can be used. Task force Engineer is not satisfied with Bomb. Disposal Unit arrangements and will advise further. Everyone must know passwords at 1800 hours daily. GOC will fine officers 10 dollars per man under their command where men are found without helmets and arms, He has circularized units three times now and points to recent instance of a few Jap paratroopers on Leyte collecting a large number of Americans without arms at Dulag.
Practice “Able One” 1830. Practice “Able Two” 1850 hrs. completed 1840.All clear 1845 back to camp area 1850. Ten trucks sent out urgently to collect bombs as, attack in progress on approaching Japanese Naval. Task Force.
Genuine “Able One” 1855. Convoy of 18 ships with Naval escort of battleships now off coast. This is bloody beautiful. Green line to be .manned immediately. At 2000 “Able Two”, camp area to be evacuated, in case site is pin pointed for Naval bombardment. All P-40s are taking off to attack. Jap ¬fleet, two battleships 4 cruisers, 8 destroyers, steaming at 30 knots and action expected to be joined in 60 minutes. Transport convoys in vicinity and assembling for landing. Tracer and strafing, bombs right along beachhead. Constant stream, of our aircraft circling with lights on and enemy aircraft dropping anti personnel bombs in process. Much confused air to air gunnery 5 Black Widows in formation standing off, 2015 hours torpedo boat off shore 9 miles engaging enemy. Report ceased. Air Force attacking with: heavy bombs. Naval star shells and enemy flares along beach. Enemy aircraft strafing and dropping anti-personnel bombs along beach. Fighter sector must be having same difficulty in controlling all these aircraft.
Enemy Naval star shells, possibly in clusters. Phosphorus now bursting over strip “A” Heavy guns opening up with H.E.
Each of these disturbing phases is occupying an hour each. It will read quickly but is being unpleasantly prolonged. Little attention now being paid to bursting of enemy bombs although the near ones make us all crawl. on our faces.
Enemy now shelling shipping off Margarin Bay and probably Naval Base. Score of shells (star type) bursting over strip near camp. Stick of heavy bombs now dropped across camp. area, leaving 2 unexploded between tents and one very large crater in equipment area 20’ from large trailer. Damage not yet assessed. Reports coming now, now claim 2 enemies, destroyers sunk and one cruiser damaged.
Next phase, very heavy she11s phosphorus clusters, star, and H.E. now bursting over San Jose and strip “B”. Very heavy reverberations. The whole evening performance is developing quite an alarming affair. Behavior of 3ACS personnel is excellent. 3 or 4 have passed out but this is very normal in the circumstances. Isolated gun posts and combat lines at night are unpleasant at the best of times.
Shelling cease activity 0100 hours 27th Dec. All standing by now in dead silence; Aerial activity and most of our aircraft returning to Leyte. At 2000 hours Command Post informed that Jap fleet moving out and no large personnel convoy yet within Immediate striking distance. Remained in state of readiness until the cold dawn. Night shift left early as strip had to be operational by dawn. Very little sleep had by any personnel and diary cannot convey suspense.
In that the defence arrangements worked well, I asked CO 3ACS to prepare full report for the benefit of other Squadrons,
27th Dec 44. At dawn Naval and land based aircraft have appeared over the area, (see later diary notes) Attention must be called to the fact that a large number of volunteers manned
3ACS trucks and proceeded to Blue Beach to pick up. Bombs during action, bring them to aircraft, and to transfer beach infantry to battle stations, these had many narrow escapes in the strafing and bombing,
The Operators standing by on the strip during the night’s activities displayed fortitude.
Wing CO 3ACS, I intend making the strongest representation that these men and others engaged in the Squadron activities should receive some adequate acknowledgement of their outstanding service. So far
Work Squadrons have been ignored to all purposes in the making of awards and I know all Commanding Officers are dissatisfied with the present position. These Squadrons are now from line units,-
D-plus 12, various red alerts but no enemy air activity yet visible. 0230 hrs.
Col. Ryder, Chief of Staff WVTF visited camp to enquire as to conditions and casualties last night. He remarked that Bomb Disposal. Unit was now working in 3ACS camp delousing those large bombs left unexploded. His appreciation of the present position is as follows: -
1.Jap fleet still proceeding north under air attack. 2.3 Direct hits on battleships and cruisers, 3 destroyers sunk. 3.Our shipping was dispersed at 1800 hrs, but one Liberty, ship was probably lost, 4.Little damage and little causality. 5.Small enemy forces landed north and south of San. Jose but we are well able to contain them,
6. No paratroops landed,
7.Attack may have been diversionary to our next main attack to cover transport movements off Luzon,
One company of infantry is permanently stationed at each Drome for protection, Ditcher cut ditches caving in below four feet water table, 3ACS dozer work usually ahead of carryall accommodation, as HD 14 cannot push 12 yd. pans. All construction work must proceed irrespective of enemy activity.
Very large craters in camp area. Unexploded being, sandbagged and immediate vicinity evacuated. Equipment checking losses. 1700hrs. Have just presented my appreciation of situation to CO 3ACS verbally; that the enemy with his unparalleled facility for self deception will have received reports from his navy and his Air Force that each, separately and individually, have annihilated the WVTF and that accordingly we can expect a quiet evening.
The CO 3ACS considers this wistful thinking. U.S, Navy Task Force believed to be coming in; Pacific strategy could not now permit failure here. Three 30” Japanese torpedoes ran ashore last night being dealt with by Bomb Disposal. Of the 8 serviceable PT boats, 4 went north last night but were picked up by Jap Naval Force radar, and escaped under smoke screen with, bomb damage to one, 4 went south but 2 went around maneuvering under air attack. These can be no matches for major naval units fitted with radar and multiple Chicago pianos. To refute my appreciation, at 1830 hours two enemy aircraft just dropped, a string of anti personnel bombs in command post area just across railway. It looked and sounded as though they had a “Black widow on their tail; don’t look around now I think we are being followed. 8 separate raids, each of 2 or 3 enemy aircraft before midnight. Searchlights excellent, famous last words, “They’ve got him in the light now”. Ack-ack very close and heavy bombs dropped. Sunken bed very, successful, others being up and down with curses. Heavy shrapnel uncomfortable close.
28th Dec 44 U plus 13 the name of the Fifth Air Force General is Hutchinson, he is the officer Commanding Fighter command. Col Ellison has allocated new bridge culvert for 3ACS.
He informed us he was writing to Group Captain Rooney expressing appreciation of our work. He also appears desirous of informing the press to cover all local activities from which our men are drawn. Number of minor raids between dawn and 1500 hours.
860th Engineers arrive on 30th Dec. and will build “D” Drome (7000’)near White Beach On 1st Jan
On 1st Jan 45 3ACS are to take over Hill Field entirely including ditches. Task Force Engineers will arrange for swap of. 3 ACS 12-yd. pans for 8-yds, 3ACs dozers being farmed but over whole area. Job orders are to be retuned complete with plant hours
C47s coming, now with two large wing tanks (l50-gals each) and one flat belly tank. BBC just confirmed Chief of Staff statement of Jap Naval losses. “Tokyo Rose” has just stated that the Jap Navy shelled airfields ammunition dumps, Avgas dumps and installation and left the place a sea of flame. This could be scarcely be called an understatement as although the spectacle was spectacular and alarming little damage was done. Four raids up to midnight both heavy and fragmentation bombs being dropped,
29 Dec, 1944, U plus 14.twin engine enemy bomber just shot down by Lightning over Drone “B” 0900 hrs The 5 Liberty. ships plus 7 convoy, unloading very slowly with the 6th still burnings. 1110 hrs. 2 enemy aircraft came, in under, our fighter cover and one-from each end strafed airfield “B” and there hopped
it for the lick of their lives, cannonading first indications. Military burial ground of adjacent to ancient cemetery on little: knoll overlooking San Jose. Knoll is grass and rolls down to the river flats and cane fields, The old graves are in a little wood of low bushy trees, like an’ orchard and there is frangipani there, LAC BARHAM is to be buried tomorrow, and will lie beside his American comrades of Navy, Army and Air Force. American nation will tend in perpetuity.
RAAF have aircraft in at 1430 hrs, with mail to great delight of Squadron. Pilot anxious to return as quickly as possible and said he was unable to take anything with him. Watched Lightning have one engine cut out halfway down strip, he dumped his petrol tanks and held her off but gradually lost height after taking off; a flamer.
G-2 reports still stressing enemy landing. The 100 speedboats have been located hidden between the houses in Batangas. Combat troops standing by, and complete black out imposed. Drome “B” now called Hammond Field. Pop, commanding railway round houses, from 3ACS, compound fracture of the left leg when railway crane turned over. Four enemy aircraft down hero today. Continuous enemy air activity as from 2200 hrs, with scattered heavy bombing and strafing.
30th Dec 1944, U plus 15. Usual heavy gunfire at sea preceded the arrival of the dawn and a beaut new convoy. Watched flamer go in during shaving. Visited beachhead with CO 3ACS to find one liberty ship sinking, with, our airfield planking. Bombs had hit it last night and Naval forces, sunk, hit another Liberty. Each had a portion of its stern protruding. Nearly 100 ships in new convoy including more than 20 LST’s and some Liberty ship. Only intermitted attacks during unloading. Lack of concentrated attacks here over last two nights due to activity over incoming convoy. Two Liberty ships sunk last night at sea, one carrying ammunition exploding, swamping and sinking an LST following it. 15 enemy aircraft shot down.. B-25s and B-26s taking off from Hammond Field on first big bash. Scores of C-47s in and out of Hill Field. These with escorting fighters take off and land at less that 15’ second. intervals. meaning three on strip concurrent, one commencing run, one midway, and one almost airborne. Fifth Air Force requires 412 hardstands with accompanying taxiways for 768 aircraft. 3ACS has to complete 60 by today (107 already completed) and a total of 124 by 13 Jan 45.
All scheduled work listed for U plus 15 has been completed this day, Guard at military funeral this day illustrated urgent need in RAAF of properly trained SNCO’s; present system is faulty in practice although. perhaps correct in theory. Men generally are willing, but immediate direction by NCOs is almost always poor. there is also insufficient segregation between SNCO’s and men and this tends for undue familiarity. Permanent nucleus may be partial solution.
Task Force Engineers meeting broke up with a certain amount of confusion with dogfight overhead, one between a Lightning and another by a Kittyhawk, to the subsequent annoyance of the pilot of the. P.40, which, received one wing and one tail plane damaged; and by 3” Naval shells just clearing the ridgepole of Task Force Engineer’s office. These exploded 150-yds, away against taxiway startling F/Lt Langley and his merry men working thereon. Much enthusiastic ack-ack falling. One suicide dive into shipping but missed; another flamer. At 1800 hrs more enemy aircraft overhead strafing and although plenty of fighter cover, one got on suicide dive into a liberty this is apparently full of 100 octane, and during the evening developed into a terrifying sight with a million gallons going up amid minor explosions. Enemy aircraft flitting to and fro during the evening with heavy ack-ack barrage. It is quite apparent that between 10 and 20 percent of total tonnage can be written off on an operation like this, with attendant causalities. Received warning of Probable heavy naval shellfire; U.S. Naval Task Force to be engaged on exercises during night. Deep-bed trench. String of anti personnel, bombs dropped during night along railway line at camp perimeter 860th landed safely.
31 Dec 44
U plus 16. Relative quiet night, only. 3 or 4 raids since midnight. Some anti-personnel bombs dropped on camp perimeter, and some heavies dropped within the camp area, two leaving very large caters in the transport and equipment sections some unexploded. Some U.S. Mustang Fighters came in last night Naval fuel ship containing Avgas for PT. boats and fuel oil still burning.
Destroyer damaged yesterday by suicide dive, now lying abandoned off White Beach listing with back apparently broken, aft fuel and structure looking very drunk. Speeds to be below 25-miles per hour as serious shortage of fuel now exists with loss of ships. The Fifth Engineering Battalions, at work, use 175 drums a day. 860th is to commence base of 10,000 barrels Avgas tank (1/2-million gallons) During bombing last night Liberty ship containing all engineer stores slipped anchor, went to sea, and has not yet been heard of at 1530 hrs today. Two-knot current travelling south along this coast has taken a number of empty fuel barges. These are to be guarded in. future. 3ACS, first priority job is to keep Hill Field operational at all times using own Judgment.
Taxiways are to be paved and oil shot to maximum width of 50’. New Years night and a quiet celebration under ack-ack fire with 240th Coy, medical alcohol, warm grape fruit juice, water and enemy aircraft. Arrived back at camp 2355 hrs, in time for serenade of 3ACS personnel for CO. somewhat marred by presence of enemy aircraft. Generally the quietest day of the operation.
1 Jan 1945.
U plus 17. Relatively quiet night from midnight on, with only half a dozen raids to 0600 hrs when midst dropping of bombs and strafing of airfields G/Cpt. Rooney arrived in C-46. Ack-ack promptly opened up on his aircraft when, caught in searchlight and noticing other aircraft, including a pass by Zero, pilot turned away with some alacrity to wait an hour for day light and recognition. C-46 spent the hour circling around nearby gullies, which, unknown to the pilot and passengers at the time, comprised main route in and out for enemy aircraft. In the course of these emigrations, the C-46 was caught in an. ever rising; ever narrowing gulch and it was only by concerted sunmunal evacuation that sufficient lift was, obtained to clear the aircraft over the f1mal ledge.
C-46 with G/Capt. Rooney and new Task Engineer, Lt./Col. Smith breakfasted at WVTF Headquarters. Further to various inspections accomplished with an aura of self congratulation and admiration, discussed position of Forward Echelon with G/Capt. Rooney and gave my reasons for its dissolution generally as follows.
1.It is not listed in any operation order and. consequently can have no official status with WVTF HQ.
2. If it functions as it should then all liaison with the Task Force Engineer and
WVTF HQ. Should be made by it. This is impracticable and unnecessary for one
Squadron, as individual directions are given to all Commanding Officers at daily
conference at 1500 hrs.
3.In the above circumstances, it is not possible to avoid embarrassing situations,
No. 3AOS is to station 20 personne1 for Post duties as from 2 Jan. Blackout
driving is not to exceed 15 mph, and must be a minimum of 100 ft clearance to
minimize damage by bombing and strafing. MP’s are to be stationed at suitable
intervals to inform drivers by word of mouth when enemy aircraft are overhead.
The specification of all weather airfield “D” at White Beach is as’ follows:-.
(a). Graded. width 60’ taxiways with centre line of 3/5 of a foot high. Ditches are to be first out as for first jobs.
(b). Taxiways and strip are to be finished in compacted dimensions as follows.
2-inches of red clay, 5-inches of gravel, with surface of red clay scarified in, watered and rolled.
Heavy tanker to be in Jan 5th and remaining one day only. Avgas jetty must be completed so that ship can be bled dry. Liberty ship which went out during raid last night ran onto a reef at mouth of Illin Island and now stands there with a prop out of water, a fine show with the skipper paid a thousand dollars per month nett. Large numbers of
B-26s out on another bash off Manilla. Formation very noisy. Very peaceful day since arrival of G/Cap. Rooney. Peaceful evening also until midnight. From then until dawn everybody up and down except myself in my sunken bed. Enemy air activities nearly
continuous for 6 hours with up to 6 aircraft over at the same time. One . large slow flash and heavy explosion marked a direct hit on another Liberty. Both heavy and light anti-personnel bombs dropped on strip.
2nd Jan 45.
U Plus 18. Watched our last Liberty ship hit last night being beached where at least some supplies may be salvaged, G/Cap. Rooney approved closing Forward Echelon. Visited Chief of Staff and General. Officer Commanding to. introduce G/Capt, Rooney and bade farewell to them both myself. First a brief C.O’s parade, men being addressed on the importance of defence training. G/Capt. Rooney remarked of his pride in the Units work.
In interview with Chief of Staff, he indicated that the convoys for Mike 1 passing Mindoro would attract the greatest assembly of enemy aircraft yet seen in the Pacific. The importance of Love Three as an offensive base cannot be stressed too highly.
Yamshito, General Commanding Luzon Forces has just returned from Japan and interviews with Emperor Hirohito. It is believed that he has recommended that all first line troops be moved back to Formosa and Japan leaving specially selected suicide squads for sea, airborne and ground operations, and leaving second-class troops to do what they can as expendables. It appears today that Love Three operation was thrown out as bait. We had always thought this.
In the dusk a close watch is kept for enemy aircraft intruding into landing circle.
3rd Jan 45,
U plus 19. Raids as from coming up of moon prior to midnight, with phosphorus
anti-personnel and a few heavy bombs. Raids did not cease until after daybreak. Raids mainly confined to enemy aircrafts in pairs. One bomb left the largest crater I have ever seen in an insert on Hill Field. Crater must have been 45’ feet across and 20’ deep. Clods of earth were scattered everywhere over aircraft hundreds of feet away, and of the three aircraft in the insert itself; one was smashed to smithereens, a second was crumbled like a concertina, and the third apparently only slightly damaged. It
appears that bombs must have penetrated crust before exploding. Two aircraft burnt on Hammond Field after last night’s activity. Took off at 1145 hours and’ arrived at Tacloban, Leyte at 1415_hrs, after having crossed the Ormoc at low level. Evidence is there of plenty of activity. Noticed small combat landing craft convoys proceeding west and north about Visayan Islands, presumably feints covering major operations.
Leyte Gulf remarkable sight as usual, with three to four hundred ships of various sizes. P/0, Beavis counted 300 or more 3 days ago. New Airstrip and inserts completed at Tanuma. Plenty of aircraft everywhere taking off, and landing at. Tacloban at a maximum of 15 seconds interval during our period of stay there. This appears to be maximum capacity for one-way strip, although some hundreds of aircraft where, checked on, Morotai at 13 second, intervals. Left 1500 hrs for Morotai in company with two other C-47s. Navigators are supplied at the rate of one in three aircraft. Burning fragments of three aircraft being pushed off Tacloban alert strip by bulldozers. Leyte probably raided last night. Farewell to Leyte and Mindoro. Arrived at Morotai in darkness about 2100 hrs.
Recapitulation first 20 days activity at Mindoro,
1, No member of 3 ACS fired a shot at the enemy,
2. No. 3 ACS lost one man killed, one man broken back, one man badly burnt,
1 man broken leg and several men with minor burns and injured.
3.No. 3 ACS lost some minor equipment and had some plant slightly damaged, all by bombing.
4.The follow gives some indication of general losses: -
a.One LCD, out of each hundred, b.Up to 10% smaller craft, c.A minimum of one LST in ten d.10 PT boats out of initial 18, including two ashore under action. e.8 Liberty ships out of 9 it is unlikely the 9th would survive another night as the one that ran ashore received 2 torpedoes and 2 suicide dives during previous night. f.Minimum of 2 destroyers against 3 of the enemy. g.One cruiser damaged against one battleship and one cruiser of the enemy. h.Relatively heavy Naval and sea going personnel losses,
i. Minimum of 100 enemy aircraft destroyed over strips, much, heavier losses outside perimeter, our aircraft losses probably 30 of which 25 were either pranged on the ground or came in on a forced landing and were destroyed,
In all future landings when opposed, all ships must beach immediately irrespective of clearance of beachhead. It is reasonable to expect that any Airfield construction. Squadron moving by LST’s will lose 25% of its plant and. 10% of its personnel.
(Sgd) A.B. Overbend
No. 61 A.C.W. Forward Echelon.