1994 29¢ Battle for Leyte Gulf
World War II – 1944: Road to Victory
Issue Date: June 6, 1994
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese had invaded the Philippines, forcing MacArthur to retreat to Bataan Peninsula and then 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 Corregidor.
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. Before the war ended they had sunk or damaged over 300 U.S. ships.
Despite Japan’s new strategy, the battle ended in a major victory for the United States. The Japanese Navy had been crushed, leaving Japan unprotected and exposed to an assault.