Little Wolf at Leyte: The Story of the Heroic USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) in the Battle of Leyte Gulf During World War II. Unable to continue their advance, the remainder of Nishimura's squadron withdrew south. With Halsey removed, three separate forces would approach from the west to attack and destroy the US landings at Leyte. During World War II, the tide turned in favor of the United States at the Battle of A. Leyte Gulf. The United States lost 1 light carrier, 2 escort carriers, and several other vessels. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. The USS Samuel B. Roberts was assigned to protect Taffy 3’s small escort carriers, which were serving as bases for small bombers and fighters that were supporting the Army ground attack on the island. The Battle of Leyte Gulf, was the biggest naval battle in modern history. Kinkaid was not aware of this as he believed Halsey had left one carrier group to cover the San Bernardino Straight. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Among the ships in the decoy fleet was the Zuikaku, the last surviving carrier to have participated in the Pearl Harbor attack. In the course of this assault USS Melvin hit the battleship Fusō causing it to sink. Question. Directed by Eddie Romero. As the melee was turning in favor of the Japanese, Kurita broke off after realizing that he was not attacking Halsey's carriers and that the longer he lingered the more likely he was to be attacked by American aircraft. Elsewhere that day, the escort carrier USS Princeton (CVL-23) was sunk by land-based bombers as its aircraft attacked Japanese air bases on Luzon. Crippled by their losses, the Battle of Leyte Gulf marked the last time the Imperial Japanese Navy would conduct large-scale operations during the war. On September 24 Mitscher’s planes bombed the central Philippines and conducted photographic reconnaissance of the area around Leyte and Samar, where landings were to take place in October. The Battle of Leyte (Filipino: Labanan sa Leyte; Waray: Gubat ha Leyte; Japanese: レイテの戦い) in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the amphibious invasion of the island of Leyte in the Philippines by American forces and Filipino guerrillas under the overall command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita. Japan’s total losses in the Battle of Leyte Gulf amounted to 3 battleships, 1 large carrier, 3 light carriers, 6 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers. The battle was part of World War II, and happened in the seas near the Philippines island of Leyte.It took place from 23 October to 26 October 1944, between the Allies and the Empire of Japan.The Allies started the battle to cut the way between Japan and its colonies in South East Asia. In the course of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese suffered heavy losses in terms of ships and were unable to mount large-scale operations for the rest of the war. On October 23, 1944, the largest naval battle of World War II — and by some measures, the largest naval battle in recorded history — began in the Leyte Gulf off the coast of the Philippines. Three days after the battle, Nimitz would relate his disappointment in Halsey in a personal message to King: “It never occurred to me that Halsey, knowing the composition of the ships in the Sibuyan Sea, would leave the San Bernardino Strait unguarded…That the San Bernardino detachment of the Japanese Fleet, which included the YAMATO and the MUSASHI, did not completely destroy all of the escort carriers and their accompanying screen is nothing short of special dispensation from the Lord Almighty.” All the men of Taffy 3 were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions off Samar, and Capt. Links. Having been operating in Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands, since 19 October, bombarding and awaiting call fire, at 1515 I, 24 October, 1944, this command received ComTaskFor 77 message, enclosure (A), directing preparation for a night engagement. A complex operation, it called for multiple forces to strike the Allies from several directions. The Princeton was eventually scuttled by a pair of torpedoes from the cruiser USS Reno. With his fleet in disarray and not realizing just how close he had come to shattering the thin defensive screen around the Leyte landing beaches, Kurita opted to retire. Pounding the enemy, the Americans sank the battleship Yamashiro and the heavy cruiser Mogami. Trailing the Japanese armada detected the previous day by USS Darter (SS-227), Japanese heavy cruiser Aoba is torpeoded and damaged by USS Bream (SS-243) off Manila Bay, Philippine Islands. The first of these, Northern Force, was commanded by Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, and was centered on the carrier Zuikaku and the light carriers Zuiho, Chitose, and Chiyoda. Battle of Leyte Gulf – Aftermath: In the fighting at Leyte Gulf, the Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers, 3 battleships, 8 cruisers, and 12 destroyers, as well as 10,000+ killed. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall had proposed skipping both the Philippines and Formosa and proceeding directly to an assault on southern Honshu. Related Links About World War 2 WWII Timelines Early in the day, a 550-pound (220-kg) bomb from a Japanese dive-bomber penetrated the flight deck of the light carrier USS Princeton and ignited a series of fires on the decks below. On the night of October 24/25, part of the Southern Force, led by Nishimura entered the Surigao Straight where they were initially attacked by Allied PT boats. The engagement, fought in waters near the Phillipoine islands of Leyte, Luzon, and Samar, took place from October 23-26. Under increasingly intense air attacks, Kurita reversed his course and retreated. At the end of the strait, the USS California, USS Maryland, USS Mississippi, USS Pennsylvania, USS Tennessee, and USS West Virginia were arrayed in a line of battle under the command of Rear Adm. Jesse Oldendorf. Battle of Leyte Gulf, (October 23–26, 1944), decisive air and sea battle of World War II that crippled the Japanese Combined Fleet, permitted U.S. invasion of the Philippines, and reinforced the Allies’ control of the Pacific. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was fought October 23-26, 1944, during World War II (1939-1945) and is considered the conflict's largest naval engagement. Of the five separate engagements that made up the battle as a whole, the forces involved in the three principal ones are listed here. U.S. troops landing on Leyte Island in the Philippines during World War II. Entering the strait, Shima encountered the wrecks of Nishimura's ships and elected to retreat. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan stirred up a storm surge in Leyte Gulf, resulting in massive loss of lives, agricultural land and property along Leyte's shores. sacha. A short time later, Dace hit the heavy cruiser Maya with four torpedoes. On October 23, 1944, the World War II Battle of Leyte Gulf began, resulting in a major Allied victory against Japanese forces. On October 24 Third Fleet carrier planes located and attacked the central force in the Sibuyan Sea and the southern force in the Sulu Sea. In the first three, Allied forces won clear victories. November 1, 2020 Topic: History Region: Asia. The effect was devastating. The Allied victory secured the beachhead on Leyte and opened the door for the liberation of the Philippines. At 4:40 PM on the 24th, Halsey's scouts located Ozawa's Northern Force. With the exception of the Mississippi, each of these battleships had been damaged during the Pearl Harbor attack and subsequently returned to service. The Western Pacific, New Guinea, and the Philippine Islands The Invasion of Leyte (King II) October 17-20, 1944 The Battle of Leyte Gulf October 23-26, 1944. U.S. soldier and his war dog in a foxhole on Leyte Island, October 1944. Not Answered. The Allied offensive in the Pacific in 1944 was to climax with the Allied invasion of the Philippines. Subsequent strikes saw Musashi crippled and drop from Kurita's formation. Field, James A. The largest of these was Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Center Force, which contained five battleships (including the "super" battleships Yamato and Musashi) and ten heavy cruisers. On September 21 Manila was struck by U.S. carrier planes for the first time, and Luzon was hit the following day. Shima’s Second Attack Force had entered the strait some distance behind C Force, and the Mogami collided with Shima’s flagship, the cruiser Nachi, in its attempt to escape. The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The History and Legacy of World War II’s Largest Naval Battle - Kindle edition by Charles River Editors. Just before 3:30 pm a massive explosion ripped through the Princeton, and hundreds of sailors on the light cruiser USS Birmingham, which was preparing to take the Princeton under tow, were killed. The action at Surigao Strait was one of the few naval battles of the Pacific War in which aircraft did not play a significant role. Lacking sufficient pilots and aircraft for battle, Toyoda intended for Ozawa's ships to serve as bait to lure Halsey away from Leyte. It had originally been planned to attack the Philippines at a somewhat later date, but the air strikes revealed an unexpected weakness in the Japanese defense of the islands. This plan called for the bulk of Japan's remaining naval strength to put to sea in four separate forces. The American Joint Chiefs of Staff, acting with necessary haste, moved to capitalize on the situation. …forces seized offshore islets in Leyte Gulf, and on October 20 they landed four divisions on the east coast of Leyte.…. The beliigerents were American and Australian forces against the Imperial Japanese Navy. Returning to the Philippines, Allied forces began landing on Leyte on October 20. The subsequent battles from October 23 to October 26 resulted in the greatest naval battle of World War II. Beginning on October 23, the Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four primary meetings between Allied and Japanese forces. Despite having already lost most of his fleet, Nishimura pressed onward. The Japanese Navy’s “Victory Operation” not only failed to disrupt the Leyte landings, it resulted in serious losses to what remained of Japan’s surface fleet. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Ernest J. In doing so, he had left the American amphibious forces on Leyte woefully unprotected. With the bulk of the Seventh Fleet engaged with Nishimura at Surigao Strait, all that stood between Kurita and the landing beaches were the ships of Taffy 3—a naval task force that consisted of just six escort carriers, three destroyers, and four destroyer escorts under the command of Rear Adm. Clifton Sprague. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was fought October 23-26, 1944, during World War II (1939-1945) and is considered the conflict's largest naval engagement. World War II: Fleet Admiral William Halsey Jr. World War II and the Battle of the Java Sea, World War II: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. The plan for the ground operations in the capture of Leyte comprised four main phases. In its opening salvo the Darter sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Atago, Kurita’s flagship, and proceeded to seriously damage the cruiser Takao. To support Kurita, two smaller fleets, under Vice Admirals Shoji Nishimura and Kiyohide Shima, together forming Southern Force, would move up from the south through the Surigao Strait. The battle marked the first significant use of kamikaze aircraft in combat. This plan had to overcome significant resistance from within the American high command, however. Second World War at Sea: Leyte Gulf. With no aerial reconnaissance of his own to determine the makeup of the enemy fleet, and unaware that Halsey had taken the bait and moved his ships away from Leyte, Kurita believed that he had engaged a significant portion of the Third Fleet. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Ernest Evans of the destroyer USS Johnston was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Phase One covered minor preliminary landings to secure the small islands lying across the entrance to Leyte Gulf. The fighting in the Surigao Strait was the last time two battleship forces would duel. Although the Darter ran aground and was eventually destroyed by Japanese aircraft after its crew had safely transferred to the Dace, the two submarines had inflicted serious damage on the Japanese fleet as well as robbing it of the element of surprise. Battle for Leyte Gulf - Index Page _____ Main source for the above data - Samuel Eliot Morison's "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II" (Little, Brown & Co., Boston) Moving forward, the two sides clashed in four distinct engagements as part of the larger battle: Sibuyan Sea, Surigao Strait, Cape Engaño, and Samar. The Japanese battleship Fuso was sunk, as were the destroyers Asagumo, Michishio, and Yamagumo. Preparatory and diversionary carrier strikes preceded the landings: the Ryukyu Islands (including Okinawa) were attacked on October 9–10, northern Luzon on October 11, and Formosa and the Pescadores on October 12–13. From Wikipedia: Battle of Leyte Gulf - Wikipedia This includes the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle of Cape Engaño and the Battle off Samar, as well as other actions. Kurita’s First Attack Force, having passed through the San Bernardino Strait, moved southward along the coast of Samar. Off Samar (just north of Leyte), Kurita's force encountered the 7th Fleet's escort carriers and destroyers. Four U.S. destroyers and two cruisers hastily converged on the Princeton in an attempt to save the stricken carrier and its crew. Credits Courtesy of the United States Military Academy Department of History. In the fighting at Leyte Gulf, the Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers, 3 battleships, 8 cruisers, and 12 destroyers, as well as 10,000+ killed. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was fought from October 23-26 1944 and was the largest naval battle of World War II. This, of course, was entirely the point. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was the largest naval engagement of World War II. By Ozawa drawing away Halsey's carriers, the path through the San Bernardino Straight was left open for Kurita's Center Force to pass through to attack the landings. During the night of October 24–25 Halsey had moved the three battle groups of the Third Fleet north to meet the Japanese decoy force. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... U.S. landing ships, tanks (LSTs), on the beach at Leyte Island in the Philippines, October 1944. Breaking off his attacks, Halsey began steaming south at full speed. To assist this amphibious operation, the US 7th Fleet, under Vice Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, would provide close support, while Admiral William "Bull" Halsey's 3rd Fleet, containing Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force (TF38), stood further out to sea to provide cover. Overwhelming the enemy fighter defense, the attacks continued through the day and ultimately sank all four of Ozawa's carriers in what became known as the Battle of Cape Engaño. Allied losses were much lighter and included 1,500 killed as well as 1 light aircraft carrier, 2 escort carriers, 2 destroyers, and 1 destroyer escort sunk. Off Samar, the Japanese, having been successful in luring away the carriers, failed to press their advantage and withdrew. Brought under attack by aircraft from 3rd Fleet's carriers, the Japanese quickly took hits to the battleships Nagato, Yamato, and Musashi and saw the heavy cruiser Myōkō badly damaged. Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944 Japanese battleship Yamato is hit by a bomb near her forward 460mm gun turret, during attacks by U.S. carrier planes as she transited the Sibuyan Sea. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. While Atago and Maya both sank quickly, Takao, badly damaged, withdrew to Brunei with two destroyers as escorts. A team is put together to try to rescue him. Beginning at about 8:00 am and continuting for several hours, waves of Halsey’s planes descended on the Japanese carriers, and in short order, all four —Chitose, Chiyoda, Zuiho, and Zuikaku—had been sunk. The only Japanese carriers involved in the battle were in the northern decoy force. Afternoon of the Rising Sun: the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Rescue and repair efforts continued throughout the day. Halsey deployed a total of 5 fleet carriers, 5 light carriers, 6 battleships, 8 cruisers, and 41 destroyers against Ozawa’s force, which consisted of a single fleet carrier, 3 light carriers, a pair of obsolete carrier-battleship hybrids, 5 destroyers, 4 destroyer escorts, and 3 cruisers. Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: The Battle Of Leyte Gulf Leyte Gulf U.S. Navy America Imperial Japan World War II Why the Battle of Leyte Gulf … D. Midway. Toyoda's plan had worked. Such was the ferocity of Taffy 3’s attack that the Japanese identified the handful of U.S. destroyers as heavy cruisers and escort carriers were taken to be fleet carriers. Just after midnight on October 23, Kurita’s First Attack Force was discovered off Palawan by the U.S. submarines Darter and Dace. At 10:00 am Nimitz himself sent what would become one of the most famous radio messages of the entire war: “WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS.” The last three words were meant to serve as meaningless padding to deter Japanese code breakers and should have been stripped from the final message, but they were included in the printout that was given to Halsey. Shortly thereafter, CTG 77.2 message, enclosure (B), giving his battle plan, was received. With little more than a token combat air patrol to defend it, the Japanese fleet quickly became prey to U.S. bombs and torpedoes. Central to the plan was luring away the American carrier groups that would be protecting the landings. The Battle for Leyte Gulf: The Incredible Story of World War II's Largest Naval Battle Showing no desire to fall into the same trap that had decimated C Force, Shima reversed course and withdrew. It may well be regarded as the largest naval battle in military history. Illustrating. Returning to the Philippines, Allied forces began landing on Leyte on October 20. McCampbell and his wingman attacked a Japanese force of 60 aircraft. Believing that Kurita was retreating, Halsey signaled Admiral Kinkaid that he was moving north to pursue the Japanese carriers. During World War II, the tide turned in favor of the United States at the Battle of Midway. Press, 1947. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. It was the centremost part of the large-scale naval/air battle for the Leyte Gulf, which lasted from 23rd to 26th of the October, 1944. Displaying an aggression that sharply belied their underdog status, the three U.S. destroyers, led by the USS Johnston, launched an audacious torpedo attack that damaged the heavy cruiser Kumano and caused the Yamato to take evasive maneuvers that carried Kurita away from the battle. Eager to make good on a promise he had made after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines—“I shall return”—MacArthur had pressed for the reconquest of the whole of the Philippines as a goal in itself. As the battle was concluding, Halsey was informed that the situation off Leyte was critical. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Leyte-Gulf, United States History - Battle of Leyte Gulf. This final stage of the Battle of Leyte Gulf has been derisively termed “Bull’s Run.”. The St. The Japanese at Leyte Gulf: The Sho Operation. The Japanese C Force entered the Surigao Strait in the early hours of October 25 and was annihilated in a night engagement with destroyers and battleships of the U.S. Kurita was to move through the Sibuyan Sea and the San Bernardino Strait, before launching his attack. In the Sibuyan Sea action, several Japanese ships were damaged, and the super battleship Musashi was sunk after repeated strikes from American aircraft. After supporting the American landings in the western Caroline Islands throughout early September 1944, Adm. Marc Mitscher’s fast carrier task force began launching attacks against Japanese positions in the Philippines. Japanese offensives are represented by black arrows, and American offensives are represented by white arrows. In the first engagement on October 23-24, the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, Kurita's Center Force was attacked by the American submarines USS Darter and USS Dace as well as Halsey's aircraft. Leyte had a free undefended approach from the east and adequate anchorages, as well as good access to the other islands in the archipelago. Love Battle 360? The invasion timetable was revised, and preparations were made for an amphibious assault on Leyte Island in the central Philippines on October 20. Bosun Mate 1st Class John E. Brandau hoisting the American flag on Leyte Island during the invasion of the Philippines, October 20, 1944. Invasion of Leyte and Battle of Leyte Gulf: October 1944 In response to the Allied Invasion to reclaim the Philippine Islands on October 20, 1944, the Japanese sent an armada to the islands. B. the Coral Sea. To Halsey the Japanese carriers represented a target too inviting to ignore. Having been battered by U.S. aircraft and submarines, Kurita initially appeared to be retiring to the west, but he soon resumed course, and the Japanese central force pushed doggedly onward toward the San Bernardino Strait and Leyte. Japanese battleships at Brunei, Borneo, in October 1944, photographed just prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Battle of Leyte Gulf: Submarine Activity: October 23, 1944. Responding, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched plan Sho-Go 1. Leyte Gulf - a brief narrative of the battle The Battle of the Philippine Sea, 19-20 June 1944. Despite winning the largest naval engagement in history, Halsey was criticized after the battle for racing north to attack Ozawa without leaving cover for the invasion fleet off Leyte. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Carrier aircraft and naval gunnery also claimed several destroyers and escort ships throughout the morning and early afternoon, but Halsey soon became aware of the drama unfolding some 400 miles (over 640 km) to his south. On October 24, 1944, in the initial phase of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines, he became the only American airman to achieve "ace in a day" status twice. Responding, the … As the Japanese ships sailed north through the narrow strait, they were subjected to torpedo attacks from U.S. PT boats and destroyers. World War II: Battle of the Philippine Sea, World War II: Battle of the Eastern Solomons. As the Battle of the Philippine Sea had resulted not only in the sinking of three Japanese carriers but also in the virtual destruction of the air groups of three carrier divisions, the fleet had been reorganized for surface action. The change in territorial control, along with the enormous increase in U.S. and British naval power in the theatre, had made the Pacific an Allied “mare nostrum.”. Updates? The Japanese responded to the American landings with Sho-Go (Victory Operation), a plan to decoy the U.S. Third Fleet north, away from the San Bernardino Strait, while converging three forces on Leyte Gulf to attack the landing; the First Attack Force, under Vice Adm. Kurita Takeo, was to move from the north across the Sibuyan Sea through the San Bernardino Strait, with the Second Attack Force, under Vice Adm. Shima Kiyohide, and C Force, under Vice Adm. Nishimura Shōji, moving from the south across the Mindanao Sea through the Surigao Strait. The assault on Leyte marked the joining of the two major advances on Japan—the central Pacific offensive commanded by Nimitz and the southern Pacific approach under MacArthur. The Dace struck a mortal blow to the heavy cruiser Maya, which sank in less than five minutes with great loss of life. The Imperial Japanese Navy had all but ceased to exist as an offensive force. Oldendorf “crossed the T” on Nishimura’s formation, meaning that his ships were able to deliver a full broadsides attack with all of their big guns while Nishimura could only employ his forward weapons. Lo was struck by a kamikaze and sank shortly after the main engagement had ended. King advocated bypassing the Philippines and attacking Formosa directly, while other naval officers, such as Adm. Chester Nimitz, favoured limited operations in the Philippines as a prelude to the Formosa offensive. Famous WWII naval battle in the Philippines. 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