With the airfields on Mindoro operational, the assault at Lingayen Gulf could now proceed.
In early January 1945, Australian warships took part in their next big naval action of the campaign when allied forces landed at Lingayen Gulf for the invasion of Luzon Island. Their objective was the capital, Manila.
On 9 January, HMA Ships Australia, Shropshire, Arunta and Warramunga, and the rest of the bombardment and fire support group, protected the troop carrying ships, including Manoora, Kanimbla and Westralia, for a successful landing at Lingayen.
The Lingayen invasion force was subjected to a fierce onslaught by Japanese kamikaze suicide pilots who extracted a heavy toll on Australian sailors. The gunners on all ships – although nerves were frayed by the extraordinary form of attack – kept up constant barrages that downed many kamikazes even though HMAS Australia was struck several times during the battle.
Image: Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, 1945-01-09. HMAS Australia showing damage incurred from attacks by Japanese Kamikaze aircraft in Lingayen Gulf during the Luzon campaign. This photograph was taken from the USS West Virginia. (US National Archives Neg. No BB48-0272)