The Battle for Leyte Gulf

By C. Vann Woodward | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The Battle for Leyte Gulf was the greatest naval battle of the Second World War and the largest engagement ever fought on the high seas. It was composed of four separate yet closely interrelated actions, each of which involved forces comparable in size with those engaged in any previous battle of the Pacific War. The four battles, two of them fought simultaneously, were joined in three different bodies of water separated by as much as 500 miles. Yet all four were fought between dawn of one day and dusk of the next, and all were waged in the repulse of a single, huge Japanese operation.

For the Japanese the battle represented the supreme naval effort of the war. They committed to action virtually every operational fighting ship on the lists of the Imperial Navy, which at that time still commanded a formidable surface force. Among the nine enemy battleships present were the two new leviathans of the Yamato class, which were designed as the most powerful warships in the world and far out- weighed our heaviest ships. These forces, organized in three fleets, were hurled at our newly established beachhead in the Philippines from three directions.

They were guided by a master plan drawn up in Tokyo two months before our landing and known by the code name Sho Plan. It was a bold and complicated plan calling for reckless sacrifice and the use of cleverly conceived diversion. As an afterthought the suicidal Kamikaze campaign was inaugurated in connection with the plan. Altogether the operation was the most desperate attempted by any naval power during

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The Battle for Leyte Gulf
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Charts x
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I- Sortie of the Imperial Fleet 7
  • Chapter II- The Battle of the Sibuyan Sea 43
  • Chapter III- The Battle of Surigao Strait 89
  • Chapter IV- The Battle off Cape Engaño 129
  • Chapter V- The Battle off Samar 163
  • Chapter VI- The End of the Naval War 217
  • Appendix Symbols and Abbreviations 236
  • Index 237
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