In 1942, the Japanese invaded and occupied the Philippines. Two years later, United States forces began their liberation. This was known as the Battle of the Philippines, and it began with the landing of the US Sixth Amy on the beaches called Tacloban and Dulag, on the island of Leyte in the north–east of the big southern island of the Philippines, on October 20, 1944.
The Sixth Army was supported by the power of the U.S Navy, and the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked. But the Japanese seriously underestimated the strength of the US Navy, and their own navy was defeated at the Battle of Leyte Gulf over four days, from October 23 to October 26. The Imperial Navy lost four aircraft carriers, many cruisers, battleships, and destroyers. It was so weakened that it never fought a major battle again.
The Sixth Army advanced east, supported by the Fifth Air Force, and the Japanese rushed reinforcements to the island. It was the rainy season. It was very hot and humid, and the terrain was difficult. Philippine guerilla forces, under Ruperto Kangleon, helped the American forces.
They attacked enemy patrols, blew up bridges, sabotaged supplies and ammunition depots, kept roads clear for American troops, and kept the Americans informed about Japanese troop movements.
After terrible fighting, the Sixth Army crossed Leyte Island and was ready to invade the larger island of Samar, just to the north. Fierce fighting continued for months on Leyte, but the Americans cut off reinforcements to the enemy troops at the Battle of Ormoc Bay in December, and they remained firmly in control. In 1945 the whole of the Philippines was under American control.
This remarkable video – in color – shows the landing on Leyte Island.