On December 7, 1941, the Japanese had invaded
the Philippines, forcing MacArthur tot retreat to Bataan Peninsula and
the Corregidor where he finally surrendered. But by 1944, campaigns in
New Guinea and the central Pacific had brought his forces within
striking distance of the Philippines.
Expecting fierce fighting from the Japanese, the Allies assembled
the largest landing force ever used in a Pacific campaign - more than
750 ships participated in the invasion. Fulfilling his promise "I shall
return," MacArthur waded ashore at Palo beach on October 20, 1944.
It had taken MacArthur more than two and a half
years and many brutal battles to keep his pledge made at
The Battle for Leyte Gulf was the greatest naval battle in history.
In a desperate last effort to win the war, the Japanese unleashed a
terrifying new weapon - kamikazes - suicide pilots who would
crash planes filled with explosives onto Allied warships. Befoe
the war ended hey had sunk or damaged over 300 U.S. ships.
Despite Japan's new strategy, the battle ended in a major victory
for the Unite states. The Japanese Navy had been crushed, leaving
Japan unprotected and exposed to an assault.
World war II began, aviation experts claimed the long-range bomber was
the most advanced weapon in the world, capable of wiping out cities and
destroying an enemy's ability to continue fighting. By the end of
the war. their theory had been proven true.
Relying on the cover of darkness to evade the enemy's fire, Great
Britain favored "area bombing" - heavily bombing an area in hopes of
hitting a target- a campaign that was both costly and ineffective.
In 1942, the United States joined the air war against Germany.
Favoring day raids on specific targets. the U.S. used the popular B17 to
carry out its bombing campaign. Fitted
with heavy armor and
numerous guns, these "Flying Fortresses", as B17s came to e called, were
able to withstand fierce fighter opposition.
A year later the U.S. and Great Britain launched a bombing campaign
against Germany that lasted until the end of the war. after heavy
initial losses however, it soon became apparent that for the raids to be
truly successful, long-range escort fighters such as the P51 Mustang
were necessary. By the end of the war the U.S. army Air Force had
dropped more than 2 million short tons of bombs and destroyed over
40,000 enemy planes.