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Communiqué No. 936 30 October 1944 from G.H.Q. Southwest Pacific Area


Released to the press at 0700 hours 30 October 1944

G.H.Q. Southwest Pacific Area
Communiqué No. 936 30 October 1944

PHILIPPINES

Leyte: Our ground forces continued their drive through Leyte Valley. The 24th Division in a three-pronged attack made gains up to four miles capturing Alangalang, Cavite, Santa Cruz and Tingib. Forward units of the 7th Division entered Dagami, and with elements of the 96th Division are advancing rapidly on Pastrana to effect a junction with the X Corps. Patrols are moving toward the west coast from Abuyog. All organized resistance in Leyte Valley region has ceased. We control all important road junctions and communication routes. For all practical purposes the important Leyte Valley region is ours. We now control roughly two thirds of the island of Leyte, an area of approximately 1800 square miles. The coastline now in our hands stretches 212 miles from Carigara on the north to include Panaon Island on the south. The combined efforts of our guerrilla forces, and the 21st Infantry Regiment, which landed at Sogod Bay on the south coast on October 20, have resulted in the conquest of the lower third of Leyte Island, south and west of Abuyog. Enemy garrisons and outposts in the coastal sectors have been liquidated. On Samar, the small garrisons are helpless and can be destroyed at will. The liberation of a million and a half Filipino people on the islands of Leyte and Samar is virtually accomplished.

On Sunday all churches of whatever denomination were opened throughout the liberated areas and divine service was attended by the free population.

Intermittent enemy air raids of a harassing nature continued throughout the day and night against shipping and shore installations. Thirteen enemy planes were shot down by local fighter cover and antiaircraft defenses. We sustained light damage and casualties.

Further details of the naval engagement off Samar Island on 25 October between our Seventh Fleet escort carrier groups and a numerically superior enemy force of four battleships, seven heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and twelve destroyers have been received. Our forces, attacking against seemingly overwhelmingly odds, sank one enemy heavy cruiser and one destroyer and severely damaged three battleships or cruisers and a destroyer. Three other enemy heavy fleet units and three destroyers were probably sunk by the combined air attacks of our planes and those of a Third Fleet carrier group which came up. We lost two of our escort carriers, two destroyers and one destroyer escort, and sustained considerable casualties.

Palawan: Our heavy units in adverse weather struck the airdrome at Puerta Princesa with 72 tons of bombs. hits with 1,000 pound bombs destroyed 33 parked planes, cratered the runway and caused large fires with smoke to 40,000 feet. Other planes at low level strafed and destroyed three float planes in the harbor while patrol planes bombed San Soque airdrome at Zamboanga.

BORNEO:
Patrol planes fired a small freighter.

CELEBES:
Air patrols bombed Menado Township and scored a direct hit on a 1,000 tom freighter. Near Makassar, our fighters destroyed a coastal vessel.


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