Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied and Japanese Plans, Preparations, and Execution

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied and Japanese Plans, Preparations, and Execution

Article excerpt

Vego, Milan. The Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied and Japanese Plans, Preparations, and Execution. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2006. 479pp. $55

There have been many books published about the battle for Leyte Gulf. This book, however, is unique, because it is not only a narrative but also a critical analysis of the planning, preparation, and execution of that famous battle as viewed by both the Americans and the Japanese. Milan Vego, professor of military operations at the Naval War College and author of a textbook on operational warfare, is also a former merchant marine officer. He has tackled the subject of this work with much vigor and depicts the battle with clarity and in great depth.

The book is organized into eleven chapters. Chapters 1 through 5 show how both sides planned and organized for the battle, and chapter 6 discusses the background and operations just before the engagement. However, the heart and soul of the book are in the final section that depicts the battle itself.

Vego begins by noting that in the early days of the Pacific War the Americans split their command arrangements, with General Douglas MacArthur in charge of the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and Admiral Chester Nimitz commanding the Pacific Ocean Area (POA). This scheme worked well enough until the Leyte operation, when it produced much confusion over command relationships, leading to problems between Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey and Vice Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, Commander Allied Naval Forces that almost lost them the battle. …

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