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    San Pablo Airfield Leyte Province Philippines
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US Army c1944
Location
San Pablo Airfield is located to the north of San Pablo on the eastern coast of Leyte in Leyte Province in the Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) of the Philippines. To the west is Bayug Airfield (Burouen, Burauen) and to the northwest is Buri Airfield.

Construction
Built by the Japanese as a single runway parallel to the road to the south. The runway was oriented roughly east to west with h taxiways on each side.

Wartime History
San Pablo Airfield was use by the Japanese until late October 1944 when the U. S. Army landed on eastern Leyte.

During late October 1944 occupied by American forces and immediatly put back into service as a crash strip. Afterwards repaired with two parallel runways no. 1 and no. 2.

On December 6, 1944 the Japanese launched Operation WA when Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) 3rd Parachute Regiment (Katori Shimpei Force) commanded by Lt Col Tsunehiro Shirai with two regiments made a combat paratrooper jump over San Pablo Airfield and Buri Airfield at roughly 6:00pm.

Operation WA: Japanese Paratrooper Attack on Leyte December 6, 1944
On December 6, 1944 at 6:00pm the paratroopers from the Japanese Army First Airborne Brigade with two regiments jumped on San Pabalo Airfield and Buri Airfield. Although the paratroopers caught the Americans by surprise and some managed to destroy airfield installations. Their attack continued until December 7, 1944 but proved to be disorganized and ineffective. When reinforcements arrived the survivng Japanese were eliminated.

American units based at San Pablo
475th FG, 432nd FS (P-38) circa Novemer 1944 - ?

Although the paratroopers caught the Americans by surprise, the first plane load of paratroopers began leaving their aircraft direct over the Divisional Headquarters roughly 600' short of their objective. Others were strung out well beyond the airstrip in an area of tall trees, where many were entangled. One entire plane load jumped to their deaths when the anchor line which pulls the rip chord failed to open. Those who did reach the airfields were ineffective. The attack proved to be disorganized and an abortive effort.

By later in 1945, the airfield was used as only an emergency crash strip and for limited use by L-5 liason light planes.

Today
Disused since the war.

References
Operation Te-Go Japanese Paratrooper Attack on Leyte December 6-7, 1944

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Last Updated
December 6, 2019

 

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