A large Japanese convoy with replacement troops and supplies was spotted headed for the Ormoc Bay and the 38th was alerted to make a maximum effort to halt the convoy. The battle was to cause the greatest loss of life that the 38th suffered in any one day of combat. The 822nd was decimated and only the 71st came through without losing a plane.
DISTINGUISHED UNIT CITATION # 4 ORMOC BAY
The 38th Bombardment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 10 November 1944. On 9 November 1944 a large enemy convoy was reported proceding to Leyte, Philippine Islands to reinforce the Japanese army which was being rapidly reduced by our ground forces. To The 38th Bombardment Group (M) was assigned the mission of attacking the enemy naval forces to prevent the landing of troops and supplies. As the successful defense of the Philippines depended on holding Leyte, it was of vital importance to the Japanese to land these reinforcements. After the ground element of the group working with tireless efficiency, had readied the aircraft for this strike, thirty B-25s took off for Ormoc bay,Leyte, where the convoy had assembled. Reaching the target late in the morning of 10 November, the crews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) discovered one of the largest and most strongly defended convoys ever to be attacked by a single group in the southwest pacific area. It consisted of 21 to 30 vessels, including 13 to 17 warships. Splitting into two aircraft elements and flying in the face of murdrerous anti-aircraft fire from the freighters, as well as the destroyers, the B-25s attacked at masthead level. Dropping ninty-one 500 pound demolition bombs and expending 41,000 rounds of 50 caliber machine gun ammunition, the airplanes of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) sank 3 destroyers, 1 destoyer escort, and at least 5 freighter-transports, totaling 48,000 to 50,000 tons of shipping, and seriously damaged 3 transports and 1 destroyer, aggregating 22,000 to 25,000 tons. Fierce anti-aircraft fire knocked down 5 of the B-25s and forced two to crash land on the sea. The aggresiveness and gallantry of the crews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) in pressing home the attack through the concentrated fire of the entire enemy armada not only crushed the Japanese attempt to send more ground forces against our ground forces, but also inflicted a severe loss on enemy shipping. The exceptional devotion to duty demonstrated by all personnel of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) upholds the highest traditions of the armed forces of the United States.
WD GO 76, 1945