Leyte Gulf order of battle

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, generally considered to be the largest naval combat in history, was fought 24–25 October 1944 in the waters of the Philippine Islands by elements of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Combined Fleet and the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet. Of the five separate engagements that made up the battle as a whole, the forces involved in the three principal ones are listed here.

US Seventh and Third Fleet Commanders
Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid
Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.

IJ Combined Fleet and US Pacific Fleet Commanders
Adm. Soemu Toyoda (HQ at Tokyo)
Adm. Chester W. Nimitz (HQ at Pearl Harbor)

Since the Japanese assumed the tactical initiative in all three actions, their forces are listed first in each section.

Losses in these three actions
IJN: 1 fleet carrier, 3 light carriers, 2 old battleships, 3 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers, 9 destroyers, 1 oiler
USN: 2 escort carriers, 3 destroyers

24-25 Oct – Battle of Surigao Strait

Japanese Forces

Southern Force
Vice Admiral Shōji Nishimura (killed during battle)

Force C (sortied from Brunei Bay 22 Oct)
Vice Adm. Nishimura (KIA)
Battleship Division 2 (Vice Adm. Nishimura – KIA):

  • 2 old battleships:
    • Fuso (12 x 14-in. main battery) (sunk by gunfire 25 Oct)
    • Yamashiro (12 x 14-in. main battery) (sunk by gunfire 25 Oct)
  • 1 heavy cruiser:
    • Mogami (10 x 8-in. main battery) (scuttled 25 Oct)

Destroyer Division 4 (Capt. K. Takahashi):

Second Striking Force[lower-alpha 1] (sortied from Pescadores, Formosa 22 Oct)
Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima
Cruiser Division 21 (Vice Admiral Shima):

Destroyer Squadron 1 (Rear Adm. Masatomi Kimura):

American Forces

Southern Attack Force and Surigao Strait Commanders
Vice Adm. Theodore S. Wilkinson
Rear Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf

Seventh Fleet
Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid in amphibious command ship Wasatch
Task Force 79 (Southern Attack Force)
Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson in amphibious command ship Mount Olympus

Left Flank (Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf):

Battle Line (Rear Adm. George L. Weyler):

Right Flank (Rear Adm. Russell S. Berkey):

25 Oct – Battle off Samar

Japanese Forces

Centre Force ('Force A') (sortied from Brunei Bay 22 Oct)

1st Section
Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita
Battleship Division 1 (Vice Adm. Matome Ugaki):

Cruiser Division 4 (Vice Adm. Kurita):

Cruiser Division 5 (Vice Adm. Shintaro Hashimoto):

Destroyer Squadron 2 (Rear Adm. Mikio Hayakawa):

2nd Section
Vice Admiral Yoshio Suzuki
Battleship Division 3 (Vice Adm. Matome Ugaki):

Cruiser Division 7 (Vice Adm. Kazutaka Shiraishi):

Destroyer Squadron 10 (Rear Adm. Susumu Kimura):

American Forces

Escort Carrier and Taffy 3 Commanders
Rear Adm. Thomas L. Sprague
Rear Adm. Clifton A.F. Sprague

Seventh Fleet
Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid in amphibious command ship Wasatch
Task Group 77.4 (Escort Carrier Group)
Rear Admiral Thomas L. Sprague

Task Group 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3")
Rear Admiral Clifton A.F. Sprague
6 escort carriers:

  • Fanshaw Bay (Capt. D.P. Johnson)
    • Composite Squadron 68 (Lt. Cmdr. R.S. Rogers):
  • St. Lo (Capt. F.J. McKenna) (sunk 1125 hrs.)
    • Composite Squadron 65 (Lt. Cmdr. R.M. Jones):
  • White Plains (Capt. D.J. Sullivan)
    • Composite Squadron 4 (Lt. E.R. Fickenscher):
  • Kalinin Bay (Capt. T.B. Williamson)
    • Composite Squadron 3 (Lt. W.H. Keighley):
      • 16 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
      •   1 TBF, 11 TBM Avenger torpedo bombers
  • Carrier Division 26 (Rear Adm. Ralph A. Ofstie)
    • Kitkun Bay (Capt. J.P. Whitney)
      • Composite Squadron 5 (Cmdr. R.L. Fowler):
    • Gambier Bay (Capt. W.V.R. Vieweg) (sunk 0907 hrs.)
      • Composite Squadron 10 (Lt. Cmdr. E.J. Huxtable):

Screen:

Taffy 2 Commander
Rear Adm. Felix B. Stump

Task Group 77.4.2 ("Taffy 2")
Rear Adm. Felix B. Stump
6 escort carriers:

  • Natoma Bay (Capt. A.K. Morehouse)
    • Composite Squadron 81 (Lt. Cmdr. R.C. Barnes):
  • Manila Bay (Capt. Fitzhugh Lee, III)
    • Composite Squadron 80 (Lt. Cmdr. H.K. Stubbs):
  • Carrier Division 27 (Rear Adm. William D. Sample)
    • Marcus Island (Capt. C.F. Greber)
      • Composite Squadron 21 (Lt. Cmdr T.O. Murray):
    • Kadashan Bay (Capt. R.N. Hunter)
      • Composite Squadron 20 (Lt. Cmdr. J.R. Dale):
    • Savo Island (Capt. C.E. Ekstrom)
      • Composite Squadron 27 (Lt. Cmdr. P.W. Jackson):
    • Ommaney Bay (Capt. H.L. Young)
      • Composite Squadron 75 (Lt. Cmdr. A.W. Smith):

Screen:

25 Oct – Battle off Cape Engaño

Japanese Forces

Northern Force ('Main Body') (sortied from Japanese Home Islands 20 Oct)
Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa
Carrier Division 3 (Vice Adm. Ozawa):

Carrier Division 4 (Rear Adm. Chiaki Matsuda):

Screen:

Supply Unit:

  • 2 oilers: Jinei Maru (sunk), Takane Maru
  • 1 destroyer: Akikaze
  • 6 escort vessels: CD-22, CD-29, CD-31, CD-33, CD-43, CD-132

American Forces

Fast Carrier and TG 38.1 Commanders
Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher
Vice Adm. John S. McCain, Sr.

Third Fleet
Admiral William F. Halsey in battleship New Jersey
Task Force 38 (Fast Carrier Force)
Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher in fleet carrier Lexington

Task Group 38.1 (Task Group One)
Vice Adm. John S. McCain, Sr.
2 fleet carriers:

2 light carriers:

  • Monterey (Capt. S.H. Ingersoll)
    • Air Group 28 (Lt. Cmdr. R.W. Mehle):
      • 22 F6F Hellcat fighters
      •   9 TBM Avenger torpedo bombers
  • Cowpens (Capt. H.W. Taylor)
    • Air Group 22 (Lt. Cmdr. T.H. Jenkins):
      • 26 F6F Hellcat fighters
      •   9 TBM Avenger torpedo bombers

Cruiser Division 6 (Rear Adm. C. Turner Joy):

  • 1 heavy cruiser

Cruiser Division 10 (Rear Adm. Lloyd J. Wiltse):

  • 1 heavy cruiser

Cruiser Division 5 (Rear Adm. Allan E. Smith):

Screen:

Notes

  1. Shima arrived in Surigao Strait after the devastation of Force C. Unable to make contact with Nishimura, who was dead by that time, Shima made a perfunctory attack and retired. "Shima had unusual discretion for a Japanese admiral." (Morison 1958, p. 233)
  2. Damaged by friendly fire

References

  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). Leyte, June 1944 - January 1945: Volume XII of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 0-7858-1313-6.
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