Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12, 1945; BATTLE RAGING OFF CHINA COAST

THIS WAS REPORTED TODAY, JANUARY 12, 1945:



BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, FRIDAY EVENING, JANUARY 12, 1945


BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, FRIDAY EVENING, JANUARY 12, 1945
Swarms of  3rd Fleet
Carrier Planes
Nip Naval Stronghold
By MAC R. JOHNSON
A. P. War Correspondent
PEARL HARBOR, Jan. 12.—
The Third Fleet hurled hundreds of carrier planes against, Japanese "forces off the coast of French Indo-China today, and there were inflictions that the biggest naval engagement since the battle of the Philippines last October was imminent or under way.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz disclosed in a 22-word communique
last night that Admiral William F. Halsey's rampaging'  third fleet sailed nearly
800 miles west of embattled Luzon in the deepest American penetration
yet of the South China Sea to challenge the enemy again in his own strongholds.
"Carrier aircraft of the Pacific Fleet are now attacking the enemy off the coast of French Indo China between Saigon and Camranh Bay," the communique said. It was one of the briefest of 230 communiques issued by his headquarters
since the start of the Pacific War.
GOOD HARBOR
Use of the phrase "off the coast" clearly indicated that Japanese ships were under attack , but whether part of- the Japanese fleet had been brought to bay or a reinforcement convoy bound for the Philippines had been intercepted awaited further news from the scene.
However, Camranh Bay is considered the fourth best natural harbor in the world with protected anchorages for a large number of capital ships, cruisers and destroyers, while Saigon, 60 miles to the southwest, before the war was French Indo-China's first seaport and a naval base.
Naval observers speculated that Japanese fleet units may have sought refuge for repairs or regrouping at Camranh Bay or Saigon after their disastrous defeat
in the second battle of the Philippines last Oct. 22-27, when 24 Japanese
warships were sunk, 13 probably sunk and 21 damaged.
Japan was known to have several battleships and aircraft carriers, as well as numerous cruisers and destroyers, in fighting condition and it long has been thought that an American landing on Luzon would force the reluctant Japanese
fleet into action again.

War Today-
Drive on Japan
May Hit Climax
By End of Year
By LOUIS F. KEEMLE
U. P. War Editor
Not only the Luzon invasion,  but events toward the China coast and on the Asiatic mainland show that the Allies are stepping up the war against Japan to a tempo which might bring it close to a climax before the year ends.
The final battles and invasion of the Japanese home islands can scarcely be expected until many months after Germany has been defeated and the main Allied effort now concentrated on Europe turned in full blast to the east.
Nevertheless it seems increasingly probable that Allied forces from the Pacific will be in China before the year is out. that would mark the beginning of the decisive battle to crush Japan's powerful land army, her remaining bulwark of strength
now that her sea and air forces have been reduced to hopeless inferiority.
DEPENDS ON LUZON
The Allied time table depends largely on how long it takes Gen. Douglas MacArthur to smash the Japanese on Luzon. The Japanese there have been caught at a tactical disadvantage by the diversion of a large part of their forces to the region south of Manila, due to MacArthur's threat, real or feinted, from Mindoro and Marinduque.
The campaign may be over with surprising speed if the enemy is unable to cover Manila quickly enough.
The Allied command meanwhile  evidently is proceeding on the strategic assumption that Luzon  shortly will be reconquered, which means that a sea and air bridge to the China coast will have been established and the vital Japanese supply line to and from the south severed.
DOUBLE IMPACT
The cutting of that sea route will have a double impact. In the first place, it will cripple Japan's ability to supply and reinforce her positions in southeastern Asia, the Malay Peninsula, and the East Indies.
Secondly, it will seriously interrupt or almost dry up the flow to Japan of the food, oil, rubber and other essential material needed from t h e stolen empire to the south.
The Japanese are making frantic preparations to meet the developing
situation by trying to improve their position in China and the potential land route through French Indo-China and Thailand

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