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155,000 Men Made The Landing


Fri. Oct. 20, 1944

Dearest Darling :

600 transports, L.S.T. ‘s, L.C.I. ‘s, etc. from the Admirality Islands, arrived with the 6th Army. Landed the 6th Army at 10:01 (one minute behind schedule) on Leyte Island. The 10th Corps, landed on White Beach and Lacloband. The 24th Corps, landed on Red Beach.

LST is short of “Landing Ship, Tank”.  They are large landing craft designed to deposit tanks and men directly on shore.

LCI is short for “Landing Craft Infantry”.  These ships were smaller, but could still land 200 troops at a time.

The landing force of about 155,000 men made the landing in several different waves.

We continured to fire on the enemy with our 5-inch battery. Air attack at twilight repulsed by Air Combat Patrol and Southern Forces.

5" guns in action at Leyte


Casualities were very light, one L.S.T. sunk and several L.C.I. ‘s sunk and damaged.

It is reported that the enemy is bringing in reserves from Lamar.

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Cruiser Honolulu Torpedoed

Sat. Oct. 21, 1944

Dearest Kay:

Weather very hot today about 110 (degrees).

Air attack at daybreak repulsed by Air Combat Patrol. Patrol reported shooting down 2 planes.

Spot bombarded the Beach with 5-inch guns.

Air attack at twilight, Cruiser Honolulu, torpedoed. I was a bit shakey and it made you think.

USS Honolulu

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Shot Down A Plane

Sun. Oct. 22, 1944

My Dearest:

Air attack before daybreak. Shot down a plane. The plane dived at our superstructure, missed, then doved into an Austrailian Cruiser. T’he whole area was lit up by the explosion. Parts of the plane were still burning while in the water. The very top of the Cruiser was in flames.

That plane flew directly over our gun mount and I was so afraid it was going to bomb us. I still don’t see why we didn’t get the bomb.

The casualties on the Cruiser were very heavy, especially among the officers.

Listened to Tokyo Rose, she claims the Japs sunk the West Virginia. (Woe is us.)

Air attack at twilight, repulsed by Combat Patrol. Air Combat Patrol reports bagging  36 planes with a loss of two of ours.

Weather recorded at 123°.

The firing key on our Quad VI jambed this morning and did not fire a shot. We decided to rename the quad. The Liberty Hound has been changed to the Virgin.


A 40 mm Quad Gun on the USS West Virginia, as would have been manned by Dale Ritchie Rogers

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Temperature recorded at 122°

Mon. Oct. 23, 1944

Kay Darling:

Air attack at daybreak repulsed. Air Combat Patrol, reports shooting down 16 planes. GOOD! Air defense sounded about 20 times today. The Japs are sure pesty people.

Temperature recorded at 122°. This is too hot, I am roasting.

USS Cony laying smoke screen near USS West Virginia, off Leyte

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Three Cheers For The Air Combat Patrol!

Tues. Oct. 24, 1944

Kay Honey:

Air attack at daybreak repulsed by Air Combat Patrol. Ho Hum, getting monotonous.

See Bees, sank a damaged L.S.T. and made an improvised drydock for the U.S.S. Honolulu.

Sea Bees are Naval Engineers.  Sea Bees could create bridges in hours and air fields in days. They were universally respected for their efficiency, bravery and ingenuity in the South Pacific during WWII.

Air defense about umpteen times today I sure am losing my patience with those Japs.
Temperature about 100° , slight breeze.

Listened to Tokyo Rose. She claims that half of our fleet has been sunk and the rest damaged – Ho Hum.

Air attack about sunset. Air Combat Patrol repulsed them. Combat Patrol reports shooting down 6 planes. Without Air Combat Patrol those Japs would give us a bad time.

F4U Corsairs Were the main carrier based fighter plane during this time.

Three cheers for the Air Combat Patrol.

The Jap Fleet was reported attacking our Carriers at Mindano.We are to intercept them. – Action ahead.

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Battle of Surigao Strait: So Many 8″, 14″ & 16″ Salvos In The Air, It Looked Like A.A. Fire

Wed. Oct. 25, 1944

Darling Mine:

Shortly after 03 :45 our radar picked up the Jap Task Force, steaming down Surigao Strait. At 03 :53 we fired our first salvo (4-inch salvo) no change – no change, reported. We continued to fire. The Cruisers then opened up with their 8-inch. All guns opened up with all gun salvos. There was so much firing and so many 8-inch, 14-inch, and l6-inch salvos in the air it looked like A.A. machine gun fire.

USS West Virginia in the Battle of Surigao Strait

When we turned from Starboard to Port to fire, Air Defense lookouts saw the salvos for the first time and reported it as A.A. fire.

Explosions occasionally illuminated the horizon. We are hitting something what ever it is.

We headed back to Leyte Gulf, approximately 15 minutes after our first salvo. I wonder what we were hitting. What ever it was it fired back but its aim was very poor.

Air defense at daybreak. Attack repulsed by Air Combat Patrol. Combat Patrol reports shooting down 6 planes. Air defense at sunset, repulsed by Air Combat Patrol.

The Japanese Battleship Fuso was blown apart during the action.

Here we have a first hand account of what historians count as one of the great naval battles of the second World War.  This battle changed the nature of naval warfare due to the technology used.  The USS West Virginia had been upgraded with the Mark 8 Fire Control Radar (FCR) during its retrofit.  This allowed the USS West Virginia to fire over the horizon.  This American technology was vastly superior to anything the Japanese had at the time.

The Japanese were planning on driving the American fleet away from the landing beaches by using a pincer attack.  If the American fleet could be drawn away from the landing beaches, the Japanese could have isolated McArthur’s forces, resulting in their annihilation.

The new radar picked up the large naval force coming from the south to attack, and 3 battleships with the new Mark 8 FCR (the West Virginia, California, and Tennessee) were able to start firing at ranges previously unheard of (especially during the night).  The Japanese expected to get in close, and have a toe to toe fight, but the American technology stopped the Japanese from afar.

The battle was incredibly one sided.  The West Virginia was responsible for much of the damage done to the Japanese navy that night.  The West Virginia also supplied much of the rest of the fleet with firing solutions. Many Japanese destroyers, cruisers, and the battleship “Fuso” were destroyed during the action.

The Battle of Surigao Strait was the last time that battleships ever went head to head against each other.  It was the end of an era that included Nelson’s ships of the line crossing the T to victory.  The sheer size and firepower of the battleships that saw action in Surigao Strait would be replaced by stealth and precision in later eras.

Read more about this terrific battle here or here.

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We Only Have 12 Rounds per Barrell (16″)

Thurs. Oct. 26, 1944

My Kay Darling:

Air attack at daybreak repulsed by Air Combat Patrol. Almost every morning or evening a plane slips through the Air Combat Patrol and then we all turn to on it. Some Fun.

Walsh informed me today, that we only have 12 rounds per barrell (l6-inch) of armopr piercing ammunition. A tickelish position in case we have to come to blows with the Jap Fleet again.

A destroyer shot down one of our own planes today. I guess they got too excited. The plane crashed about a thousand yards to our starboard. The pilot was picked up by a destroyer .

Weather hot today about 110°.

Tokyo Rose, says that at Surgos Strait, the Japs forced us to use all our ammunition. She says we are trapped here in Leyte Gulf.

I wonder? We are supposed to get ammunition tomorrow.

Air attack at sunrise repulsed.

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