Break Neck Ridge Leyte

break-neck-ridge-008Break Neck Ridge – Japanese memorial – Leyte Philippines

ThisĀ  memorial honors the Japanese soldiers that died fighting US and Filipino forces on Break Neck Ridge and nearby Kilay Ridges during the the fight for the liberation of Leyte in World War 2.

It is a peaceful place now, with a beautiful view, but it must have been a horrific struggle to take this ridge from the Japanese.


These ridges were well defended by these Japanese soldiers, fighting fromĀ  an elaborate tunnel and trench fortification.

There were torrential rains and fallen trees and mud slides to increase the difficulty and misery in the fighting. It would be interesting to hear this story from the Japanese viewpoint.

break-neck-ridge-004This battle must have special significance to them because the Japanese made a memorial to their fallen countrymen here – even though there were many other tough battles fought in Leyte (on land and at sea).

I read that there were around 900 dead Japanese and the US Col. Clifford’s attacking forces lost 26 men with 101 wounded and 2 missing. It is an indication to me that the Japanese fought ’till the very end and did not surrender. They were a tough enemy and I do admire their fight to the last man attitude. Never surrender!


break-neck-ridge-009The determination and dedication of the Japanese soldiers has to be noted, even though there were many barbaric things that were done during their occupation.

One of my friend’s father had been on the Bataan Death March. He could never loose his hatred of the Japanese, but I just wonder sometimes, what it was like for the Japanese foot soldier.

break-neck-ridge-012If you are driving the highway from Ormoc to Tacloban someday and see this blue sign, you might want to just pull over and walk the stairs to the top of the ridge.

It is a whole lot easier now, and quiet with a gentle wind and a few birds singing in the trees.

Break Neck WW2 memorial

May 19, 2009

17 responses to “Break Neck Ridge Leyte”

  1. Hi Mr DP we went through here this am, was quite heavy rain but we made it up the stairs OK. Yes as you say must of been terrible conditions for both sides, just hard to imagine what they went through.

    Some of the Japanese signs are no longer there now, may have been destroyed or fallen apart due to weather as seems to get a lot of rain.

    Agree the view is great and being up there gives on time to reflect how fortunate we are to be born at this time….

    The road is good between ormoc and Tacloban. We stay now in the beautiful old Alejandro hotel and since being under new management all the wonderful photos and history of WW2 have been removed. Just cannot imagine why the new management would do such a thing. We have in the past spent many fascinating hours here up stairs reading the various accounts and viewing the photos…Sad to say no longer possible.

  2. Hello Dutch,

    Thanks for a great web site with one of a kind info, and more than a few great photos.

    I’ve been to Ormoc and Tacloban. I hope to explore Samar someday.

    As for your comments about J. foot soldiers: I once met a Japanese fellow in Tokyo who spoke broken English laced with plenty of cuss words — which helped me believe his story. He’d been a POW. To sum things up, he said his American captors treated him better than the Japanese officers.

    Once again, thanks for a great web site.


  3. I just came across this page, cause I noticed the sign while on my way to Tacloban. I am going again tomorrow, and plan to stop at the site. Anyway, for your information, I found a book here in the Philippines, called “the brutal holocaust, and other war atrocities by the Imperial Japanese army”

    That is an extremely interesting book, wish they taught us about this when I was a teenager in school…….

    Thanks for the site, and information…..Anthony

  4. My father fought with the US Army 24th Infantry division at Break Neck Ridge. The 24th division was the same division that was stationed at Shofield Barracks at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese. The several days of fighting brought a great loss of life on both sides but it was the Japanese who started the war.

  5. Looking for any information one the battles involving the 127th Infantry regiment, 32nd Division from late november 1944. My Uncle was in this battle, died of wounds 30 Nov 1944

  6. Barb,
    My father was 24th (Pineapple Div.) also stationed at Shofield who made three landings in the Pacific. First boat, first wave! he always told us..
    He was shot during the rescue of a second fallen comrade and we grew up with these tales! Made the cover of Dec, 1945 Life mag. Can you somehow help me locate the exact battles and where they took place? My dad is failing with Alzheimer’s.
    My dad is out of New Haven, Do you know of any method of contacting any of the 24th?? He built the ‘Reynolds water works’, to give the guys fresh water showers..
    I would enjoy talking with some of those guys.
    Thank you,

  7. @Robert Reynolds- Just google the 24th Infantry Division. You should find plenty of information on that division during World War II.
    Also from Battery should be able to find a copy of there combat history during World War II. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed, and it will give you an idea of what combat your father may have seen during World War II.
    My grandfather served in the US 2d Infantry Division during World War II, and have learned many things about the division he served with, and the history it made during World War II. He spent six months in combat, wounded 3 times, finally taken out of combat in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge, he was 35 years old at the time, married with 2 children. He passed away in 1995 at the age of 86…thank God for our veterans.

    Danny :)

  8. To Robert Reynolds – The 24th formed an Association at Tolomo Beach, Mindanao before the war ended. Suggest you contact the editor of The Taro Leaf, which is the quarterly newsmagazine. His name is Tom Thiel at (Thetaroleaf @ There are two special histories of the 24th which the Division did a few years ago. Falk’s History of the Leyte Campaign is very good also. I made the landing at Leyte on Oct. 20, 1944, and served there, on Lubang, Mindoro, and Mindanao. Hope you can find what you are looking for….James W. Mims, (mimsjm @ I live in Midland, Texas.

  9. On my last long Harley trip in 2009, I walked up to the shrine. As many may know, the Japanese set up shrines in many parts of the Philippines, from Dumaguete’s highlands on southern Negros Island to northern Luzon’s mountains.
    What got me at this shrine, however, was the absolute fruitlessness of taking and holding such a junglebound ridge to keep Allied Forces from recovering the Philippines. The utter futility of all that preparation that would inevitably lead to death or capture!
    How much insanity does it take to guide the heart of a warlord intent on defeating an enemy? A megalomaniac bent on murder and suicide only would want to!

  10. Hi Dutch,Sorry we never got together for those beers. We stayed in BayBay our whole time there this past winter. We had a death in my wife’s family & that put a damper on my travel ideas. We just got back home here in rural Maine after close to 6 months on our yearly trip. I just wanted to mention that we stayed at the Alehandro Hotel in Tacloban before we left & all those Military photos of WW2 are back in place. Great History! Spent time on the different floors reading all of the captions. Hopefully we can have those beers next winter!

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