b. Battle/campaign objectives well presented
c. Opposing forces description (focus on Air Components)
d. Brief account of events
e. Key phases of the campaign and tactical outcomes
f. Effect of the battle on the subsequent course of war
The Battle of Leyte Gulf
a. What is the battle/campaign all about?
The Battle of Leyte Gulf raged from October 23 through 25, 1944. It was the largest naval battle ever fought ending in the eclipse of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and its last sortie in force. Leyte Gulf also was the scene of the first organized use of Kamikaze (suicide) aircraft by the Japanese. The Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia was hit on October 21, and suicide attacks by the "Special Attack Force" began on October 25th.
The primary purpose of the the Leyte Campaign or otherwise known as the KING II Operation was to establish an air and logistical base in the Leyte area in order to support operations in the Luzon-Formosa-China coast area and particularly to nullify Japanese strength in Luzon. Leyte is one of the Visayan Island which constitute the geographical hearth of the Philippines. It was hoped that the fertile Leyte Valley, broad and flat could be utilized for major airfields and base sites from which large-scale operation could be launched against the rest of the Philippines.
On 20 September 1944, Gen. MacArthur issues his final plan for the occupation of Leyte. It was based on the assumption that American forces were or would be established along the Marianas-Ulithi-Palaus-Morotai line and that the Japanese land and air forces in the Philippines and Formosa would have been seriously crippled and that the Japanese Fleet would elect to remain in the Empire waters with only light forces remaining in the vicinity of the Philippines.
The command organization was as follows:
Gen. MacArthur as the Supreme Commander of the SouthWest Pacific Area. Under his command is Lt....