Battle of Leyte Gulf Facts

Battle of Leyte Gulf Facts
The Battle of Leyte Gulf took place from October 23 to 26, 1944 in the Leyte Gulf of the Philippines near the islands of Leyte, Samar, and Luzon between the United States and its Australian allies and Japan. It was the largest naval battle in World War II and was important for both sides: the Allies wanted to separate Japan from its southeast Asian possessions in order to starve her, while Japan needed a decisive victory to get back into the war. The Allies had an overwhelming numerical superiority in terms of ships, with over 300 against just over seventy for the Japanese, but the Japanese had the advantage of land based aircraft, including its first wave of kamikaze pilots. After four separate engagements, the Allies scored a decisive victory, all but destroying the Japanese navy and clearing the way for the liberation of the Philippines.
Interesting Battle of Leyte Gulf Facts:
The Japanese had to rely on land based airpower because they had lost three aircraft carriers in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June of that year. The Imperial Japanese Navy only had one fleet carrier and three light carriers versus eight fleet carriers and eight light carriers for the Americans at Leyte Gulf.
Both the American and Japanese navies were led by multiple admirals, but neither force had a unified command, which led to problems for both.
The American Seventh Fleet was commanded by Admiral Thomas Kinkaid (1888-1972). He also had command of Royal Australian Navy forces during the battle.
The Allies suffered a fairly high casualty count at around 3,000, but the Japanese count was well over 12,000.
The United States only lost seven warships, while the Japanese lost twenty-six.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was actually four separate battles or engagements: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea (October 24); the Battle of Surigao Strait (October 25); the Battle of Samar (October 25); and the Battle of Cape Engano (October 25-26).
Vice Admiral John C. McCain led a carrier group in the battle under Admiral William Halsey of the 3rd Fleet. McCain was the grandfather of the late Senator John McCain from Arizona.
Several American ships that were damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, including the following battleships: West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, California, and Pennsylvania.
The first kamikaze attack was a lone one on an Australian cruiser on October 21. The first organized kamikaze wave attack took place on October 25 during the Battle of Samar.
Although the effectiveness of the kamikaze attacks was questionable, even to the Japanese high command, it was all they had left after the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Attempts by the Japanese to reinforce their land forces in the Philippines led to the Battle of Ormoc Bay (November 11-21, 1944), which was another decisive American victory.
Admiral Halsey faced severe criticism after the battle for ordering a task force to pursue fleeing Japanese ships instead of supporting 7th Fleet ships that were in trouble.

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