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World War II
Battle of Leyte



Battle of Leyte
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.87

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    recapture, invasion, decoy, shores, naval, wounded, command, lasted, superior, beginning, battle, threat, navy, aircraft, actual, advantage
     content words:    Philippine Sea, Philippine Islands, Bataan Death March, General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral William F., American Third Fleet, General MacArthur, Seventh Fleet, Sixth Army, United States


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Battle of Leyte
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The Japanese were hurting. The battle that had taken place in the Philippine Sea in June of 1944 had devastated their air force and naval fleet. What had once been the force in the Pacific to be reckoned with was slowly becoming a shadow of its former self. The Philippine Islands now became the center of attention. The Japanese knew they had to hold onto these islands. They depended on the Philippines for supplies. They also used the sea routes through the islands to transport the oil they needed to fuel their ships.
 
2     The Philippines had a different importance to the Americans. Two years earlier, the Japanese had taken control of the islands. They had defeated the Americans trying to protect them. They had captured and killed many soldiers in the Bataan Death March. General Douglas MacArthur had left the Philippines in a hurry. He had vowed to return some day to take them back. Taking control of the Philippines would be a matter of national pride for the soldiers who had fought so hard. In the middle of 1944, the American leaders decided that the time to recapture the Philippines had come.
 
3     The oil the Japanese depended on was all but gone. The Japanese naval air force was all but gone. Their naval carriers were hardly in working order. The one use they could be was to act as a decoy. If the Americans believed that the ships were still ready to fight, perhaps they could fool the American fleet into following them instead of being a part of an invasion of the Philippines. Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey was in command of the American Third Fleet. He wanted nothing more than to erase the Japanese navy from the Pacific. The Japanese knew this and planned to use it to their advantage. They would engage the American navy in one last battle. They knew this would be an all or nothing battle. If they lost, there would be no more Japanese navy.

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