Battle of Surigao Strait

Battle of Surigao Strait

Battle of Surigao Strait

Battle of Surigao Strait


Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands was the scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Because the battle was fought at night and had few survivors on the Japanese side, the events of that naval engagement have been passed down in garbled accounts. Anthony P. Tully pulls together all of the existing documentary material, including newly discovered accounts and a careful analysis of U.S. Navy action reports, to create a new and more detailed description of the action. In several respects, Tully's narrative differs radically from the received versions and represents an important historical corrective. Also included in the book are a number of previously unpublished photographs and charts that bring a fresh perspective to the battle.


The battle of Surigao Strait was one of four major actions that compose the larger grand naval battle known collectively as the battle of Leyte Gulf. the four battles grouped under that name are the battles of the Sibuyan Sea, Cape Engano, Samar, and Surigao Strait. the last battle and its associated operations are the subject of this volume. the battle of Surigao Strait is significant as the last surface battle between capital ships in wwii, and indeed, to date. As such, Surigao Strait seems an appropriate volume for the Twentieth Century Battles series.

Although we are now more than sixty years removed from events, there has been no comprehensive treatment of the Surigao action since the Naval War College Analysis of 1958 of R. W. Bates and the closely intertwined volume 12, Leyte, of S. E. Morison’s History of U.S. Naval Operations in ww ii. There is a group of excellent accounts of the battle of Leyte Gulf itself, particularly the battle of Samar, but Surigao is not among them. Such a treatment is both warranted and necessary, particularly at the operational level. the received record is in need of fundamental revision. in key places, it simply is not factually correct or sound in ways that extend beyond simple minutiae.

The present book had its beginnings when online articles I wrote in 1997 and 1999 to address recurring errors in the record spurred interest in the persisting mysteries, contradictions, and unanswered questions of the accepted account. These articles documented in detail how the conventional record has come down to us, and noted its weaknesses as well as its contradictions. in the interval, inspired by these articles, the diving community, and particularly John Bennett Deep Ocean Research International and the Discovery Channel, began in late 2000 to investigate some of these mysteries with a plan to locate and film the wrecks of the underwater battlefield of Surigao. I served as a historical consultant and fact-checker.

Like many such long-term endeavors, the diving project has stopped and restarted and stopped again several times over the years since 2000. in the . . .

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