This year marks the 71st Anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf – the largest naval battle in the Pacific.
The battle ranged over 100,000 square miles of sea over three days as Allied forces returned to liberate Leyte.
The Japanese had been losing ground beginning at the Battle of Midway in June, 1942. Only by the Battle of the Philippines Sea in June, 1944, did the Japanese realise they were in grave danger of losing the battle of the Pacific.
In October 17th, 1944 the Japanese detected a large fleet of Allied forces heading directly towards Leyte. The Japanese reacted by bringing their three Naval forces together in the Philippines to stop the landing of the Americans.
With the help of 3,500 Filipino guerillas, the Americans landed in Leyte on October 20 – three days later the Imperial Japanese and Allied Navy met in battle at Leyte Gulf.
Here the Japanese took desperate measures – they deployed their first ‘organised’ kamikaze suicide unit in Mabalacat, Pampanga. They also deployed the remaining capital ships in a last ditch effort to take victory from their desperate attempt not to fall in defeat.
To read the rest of this amazing story, bit by bit, piece by piece – with maps and other unique detailed outlays, visit the Philippine Presidential Museum and Library website at malacanang.gov.ph/8799-battle-of-leyte-gulf
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