THE END OF THE NAVAL WAR
Since about 1630 on the afternoon of the 25th Admiral Halsey had been steaming southward at twenty-eight knots in a dash for the entrance to San Bernardino Strait, where he hoped to intercept Kurita's fleet. Leaving behind with Bogan's carrier group four of his battleships and the bulk of the supporting ships of Task Force 34, Halsey took with him only the two fastest battleships, Iowa and New Jersey, the three light cruisers Vincennes, Miami, and Biloxi, and eight destroyers. His plan was to arrive at the earliest possible time off the entrance to the strait, then sweep eastward along the northern coast of Samar, destroying any forces encountered, and steam south off the eastern coast of the island as far as Leyte Gulf in search of stragglers and cripples.
The "time-honored principle of concentration," in the name of which the decision had been made the night before to leave San Bernardino Strait unguarded, had now gone by the board under the exigencies of battle and high strategy. Twenty-four hours after the historic decision was made, the component parts of the Third Fleet which had gone northward concentrated as one force were scattered over 200 miles of sea off the eastern coast of Luzon, while Admiral McCain's task group was still more than 300 miles to the eastward of San Bernardino Strait. Admiral Mitscher, with two carrier groups, was about 250 miles east of the northern tip of Luzon; Admiral Halsey, with his small force, was more than 200 miles to the southwest of Mitscher, while Bogan's carrier