“Sept 23 – PT’s. sink Jap boats trying to land on Moratai. Were only 300 miles from Philippines, we’ll be their soon.”
Alright so Mike wrote “PT’s. sink Jap boats trying to land on Moratai.” Starting off, a PT is a boat, more formally known as a Patrol Torpedo Boat. Below is an image of what one looked like during WWII:
Here is a diagram of one:
So as you can see they are fairly small in size, which was intentional. It allowed them to have more speed and maneuverability. It is also fairly cheap to create when in comparison to other naval vessels at the time, which meant they could be mass produced much quicker.
So Mike wrote that they sank Japanese boats ; now how many? That I can not be certain of, I would imagine a decent amount, as Morotai Island was a key location in the Pacific Area. This also means there is a possibility he was in combat that day, and the other days he was here, but once again, there is no way to tell to for certain.
We then get to the final sentence, where he says “Were only 300 miles from the Philippines, we’ll be their soon.” This is extremely important, as this was one of the key locations in the Pacific Front of the war. Before I get into the importance of the Philippines, I would like to show geographically where this country actually is.
The above image is a very zoomed out view of where it is in comparison to other countries. It is very close to Vietnam, China and Japan.
The above image shows where Mike was at the time of writing this, in comparison to the Philippines. The red marker is where Mike was, as you can see it is fairly close to the Philippines.
So now that the geography is out of the way, let’s get into why this is so important. The Philippines is only 1,905 miles away from Japan, which really is not that far. Especially to travel by ship. Japan was one of three Axis powers in WWII, along with Germany and Italy. Most of the fighting Japan did during the war took place in the Pacific Theater, which is where Mike was stationed. The reason the Philippines was so vital, is because of how close it was to Australia, which was an allied power, and how close it was to mainland Europe. If the Japanese were to control it the whole span of the war it could’ve caused the axis powers to win. It gave them very strategic potions for air and naval assaults and just overall made it easier for them to do these things. Hopefully that makes sense as to why it was important.
The Mike and other soldiers were headed there is because at the time the Japanese controlled it. They actually took it fairly early on in the war, around May of 1942. So at the point when Mike was headed there they were controlling it for almost two years. Meaning in order for the war to end, the Allied Forces had to take back the Philippines which would give them a strategic position to invade mainland Japan. This plan became known as Operation Downfall, but that’s a discussion for another time.
As you know that never happened, we dropped the atomic bombs instead. But that was the initial reasoning for the Allied Forces wanting to take it over, encase we decided to go through with the invasion.
Anyways I got off track, Mike and the other soldiers were headed there because in twenty-seven days after he wrote this the Allied Forces would invade the Philippines, which would become known as the Philippines Campaign. All I will say for now is that is the reason Mike is headed there, and he will arrive at island called Leyte.