Leyte Gulf

Relief map of Leyte Gulf and surroundings

Leyte Gulf is a somewhat exposed anchorage on the eastern edge of the Philippines, with a small port at Tacloban on Leyte. It was the site of an American invasion in October 1944 that led to a full-scale naval battle between the U.S. and Japanese fleets.

Battle of Leyte Gulf

By 12 September 1944, the Allies were firmly established in the Marianas and western New Guinea and were poised to seize Morotai, Peleliu, Yap, and Ulithi. The Philippines had been chosen over Formosa in July 1944 as the ultimate objective of the Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific counteroffensives, and their liberation would cut the remaining sea lanes between Japan and the resources of the Netherlands East Indies.

MacArthur originally planned to invade Mindanao at Sarangani Bay on 25 October 1944, in order to secure airfields from which to cover the invasion of Leyte on 15 November. However, Halsey encountered very little air opposition during his carrier strikes in the area in mid-September 1944, and a pilot from Hornet who had crashed on Leyte and been spirited out by guerrillas reported that there were few Japanese on the island. Halsey proposed Mindanao be bypassed and Leyte seized with naval air cover alone. This suggestion was adopted at the OCTAGON conference on 15 September 1944, and the invasion date for Leyte was advanced to 20 October 1944. 

The invasion would be a massive operation, supported by most of the naval power of Kinkaid's 7 Fleet and Halsey's 3 Fleet. Unfortunately, command arrangements for the Leyte campaign were muddled, as the Philippines lay close to the theater boundaries for the Southwest Pacific Area, Pacific Ocean Areas, and China-Burma-India theaters. Although MacArthur commanded Kinkaid's 7 Fleet in immediate support of the landing operations, distant cover was provided by the fast carriers of 3 Fleet, which was the main striking force of Pacific Fleet under Nimitz. There was not even a direct communication channel between Halsey and Kinkaid, and messages relayed through Manus sometimes took hours to arrive. This divided command would have important consequences during the battle. In particular, Halsey was under orders to make the destruction of the Japanese Fleet, not the protection of the amphibious forces, his highest priority. 

Another command complication was that the amphibious elements of 3 Fleet were transferred to 7 Fleet for the landings. This left Halsey with little more than Task Force 38 under his command, and Halsey could not resist the temptation to bypass the highly competent Mitscher and issue orders directly to the individual task groups within Task Force 38.

The Japanese anticipated that the next Allied move would likely be against either the Philippines, Formosa, or the Ryukyus and, if successful, would cut off Japan's supply of oil. Faced with this looming disaster, the Japanese prepared a set of contingency plans (Sho Go, "Victory Operation") for committing their entire remaining naval strength against the Allied move. However, the unexpected swiftness of the Allied offensive caught the Japanese off-balance and poorly prepared.

The Japanese contingency plan for the defense of the Philippines, Sho Ichi Go ("Victory Operation One"), was activated on 22 October 1944, when word reached Tokyo that the Americans had begun landings at Leyte. Because of massive attrition at the Battle of the Philippine Sea and over Formosa and a shortage of fuel to complete the training of new pilots, the Japanese had virtually no aircraft or pilots for Ozawa's remaining carriers. However, the Japanese Navy still had powerful surface forces (under Kurita) built around the Yamato and Musashi. These were based at Singapore in order to be close to their fuel supplies, while the carrier forces remained in the Inland Sea to conduct as much pilot training as the fuel supply permitted. In order to give Kurita a chance to reach and destroy the American amphibious force, Ozawa was ordered to deliberately allow his force to be spotted and pursued by Halsey. While Halsey was thus diverted to the north, Kurita was to split his force, taking the main body through San Bernardino Strait north of Leyte Gulf while a detachment under Nishimura would enter Leyte Gulf through Surigao Strait to the south in order to trap the Allied transports between them. Nishimura was  to be joined by Shima, who was coming south with a small force of cruisers and destroyers that had eluded a trap set by Halsey off Formosa. Meanwhile, a small detachment from Kurita's fleet was assigned to transport reinforcements from Manila to Leyte.

Because of their lack of carrier aircraft, the Japanese were forced to rely primarily on land-based aircraft. There were several hundred aircraft scattered throughout the Philippines, but serviceability rates were low and not more than about 200 aircraft participated in the battle. These would be employed primarily in strikes against the American carriers, rather than as air cover for the Japanese naval surface forces, because it was believed that the inexperienced Japanese pilots would have a better chance of protecting the fleet by disabling the American flight decks than by attempting to intercept American air strikes. Postwar, staff officers from 2 Air Fleet claimed that they always kept ten fighters above Kurita's force, but Kurita claimed that he never saw any air cover.

The Japanese plan was overly complex and went badly from the start. It relied too heavily on close coordination of widely separated forces who communications proved highly unreliable during the battle. Furthermore, the Japanese command structure was  at least as muddled as that of the Allies. Ozawa should have been the overall commander of the operation, but the reduction of his carrier fleet to adecoy force left Kurita as commander of the most crucial fleet element. Nishimura was an unimaginative officer with a death wish who did not get along with Shima, who commanded the weaker force but was slightly senior. This may explain why the plan did not call for Shima and Nishimura to join forces until the last moment. What is harder to understand is why the Japanese did not assign Shima to carry out the transport mission from Manila to Leyte in place of a detachment from Kurita's force.

Kurita's force was discovered off Palawan on 23 October 1944 by submarines Darter and Dace, which sank Atago and Maya and severely damaged Takao. Kurita also detailed two destroyers to escort Takao to safety, which took them out of the battle. The American submarine commanders found their approach simplified by the low speed of Kurita's force, just 16 knots, and by Kurita's failure to station any picket destroyers ahead of his main force. Furthermore, Kurita had chosen a narrow passage west of Palawan that was out of range of Allied airreconnaissance but gave him little room for maneuver. The contact report from the American submarines was the first indication to Allied intelligence that the main strength of the Japanese Navy was coming out to contest the Leyte landings. However, Darter ran aground in the poorly charted reefs of Palawan while maneuvering for a second attack (there had been no opportunity for a navigational fix in over 24 hours) and had to be scuttled, her crew being taken off by Dace.

That same day, submarine Bream spotted and torpedoed Aoba with Sakonju's Transport Force. Only one of the six torpedoes in the salvo hit the cruiser, but this was sufficient to cripple the cruiser, which was never repaired.

On receiving Darter and Dace's contact report, Halsey immediately alerted the fleet and recalled McCain's Task Group 38.1, which was on its way to Ulithi for rest and replenishment. The next four days saw the largest fleet action in history. Historians have generally divided the battle into four major engagements and a number of lesser engagements.

Photograph of Musashi under aerial attack
Naval Historical Center #NH 63432

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea. All through 24 October 1944, Kurita's force was hammered from the air by strikes from Halsey's carriers. The giant battleship Musashi sank after taking 17 bomb hits and 19 torpedo hits. Her commander attempted to beach her, but she capsized at 1935 with the loss of 1,096 of her crew. Battleships Yamato and Nagato each took two bomb hits that inflicted significant damage to their upper works, hindering fire control and communications, and heavy cruiser Myoko took a torpedo hit that damaged two shafts and forced her to withdraw   Fighter protection from land bases was nonexistent, and the Japanese antiaircraft fire, while voluminous, was largely ineffective. Just 18 Allied aircraft were shot down out of 259 sorties against the Japanese force.  At 1600, Kurita finally reverse course while broadcasting pleas for air cover.

Photograph of firefighting efforts on CVL Princeton
National Archives #80-G-270357

The American carriers also came under attack from land-based aircraft and Ozawa's small force of carrier aircraft. While the American combat air patrol was driving off three Japanese strikes of about 50-60 land-based aircraft, a single Judy dive bomber broke through the cloud cover and put its bomb through the flight deck of light carrier Princeton. The blast ignited gasoline in the hangar deck and the flames began detonating torpedoes loaded on TBF Avengers. The crew fought the fire for almost six hours before the flames reached the torpedo magazine and a massive explosion blew up the stern of the ship. There were heavy casualties on cruiser Birmingham, alongside assisting with firefighting, and Princeton was scuttled shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, Ozawa was trying to be detected by the Americans, unaware that his radio transmitter was malfunctioning and preventing his radio traffic from being heard by either friend or foe.  However, he had launched his own strike, which was broken up by the American Hellcats some 45 miles (70 km) northeast of Sherman's task group. This suggested to the the Americans that the Japanese carriers were somewhere to the north, and a search plane finally spotted Ozawa at 1540. Halsey, overestimating the damage to Kurita's force and believing it was retiring for good, took off in hot pursuit of Ozawa with all his forces. Now it was the Americans whose plans were thrown into confusion. Halsey had transmitted a contingency plan for detaching his battle line as Task Force 34 to guard San Bernardino Strait. However, with Kurita seemingly in retreat, Halsey decided this was unnecessary. But the original message was the only one seen by other senior commanders (such as Kinkaid with 7 Fleet in Leyte Gulf), and they were left with the mistaken impression that San Bernardino Strait was being watched.

At 1935 a night reconnaissance flight from Independence found that Kurita's force had returned to a course for San Bernardino Strait. It is unclear why Halsey did not then detach Task Force 34 to cover the strait. Mitscher, possibly smarting from having been bypassed all day by Halsey (who issued orders directly to Mitscher's task group commanders), declined to radio such a recommendation to Halsey. Three of Halsey's task force commanders also wondered at the order, and Bogan went so far as to contact Halsey's staff with the information that the navigation lights in San Bernardino Strait were lit. He was brushed off, and made no further protest. Lee, the battle line commander, correctly deduced that Ozawa's force was a decoy with little striking power, but his signal to Halsey warning that Kurita was likely to come out of San Bernardino Strait was also brushed off. Halsey's failure to guard the strait must be judged one of the great blunders of the Pacific War.

Battle of Surigao Strait. Nishimura's force was sighted around 0950 on 24 October, but no strikes were launched against him and no further sightings were made that day. However, Kinkaid correctly guessed Nishimura's intentions to come through Surigao Strait during the night. Thinking his rear was covered, Kinkaid ordered Oldendorf to take the heavy units of 7 Fleet to lay an elaborate trap for Nishimura's force. Nishimura's ships were attacked by waves of PT boatsand destroyers even before coming within range of Oldendorf's waiting battle line. Only one Japanese destroyer escaped out of the original force of two battleships, a cruiser, and four destroyers.  American losses were limited to one PT boat sunk and several damaged and serious damage to destroyer Albert W. Grant, which was caught in the crossfire between the two forces and hit by shells from both sides. Shima, who had already had a destroyer crippled by the PT boats, encountered the shattered remnants of Nishimura's fleet, suffered a collision between Nachi and Mogami, and prudently withdrew.

Battle off Samar. Meanwhile, Kurita had reversed course again and slipped through San Bernardino Strait, albeit seven hours later than the Japanese had originally planned. He found to his surprise that the strait was unguarded. As dawn broke, his lookouts spotted several escort carriers protected by destroyers and destroyer escorts, which he mistook for fleet carriers protected by cruisers and destroyers. The American ships were completely outgunned and at least twelve knots slower than Kurita’s cruisers, but fought fiercely, and American aircraft in the area made repeated passes against Kurita’s ships even after expending whatever munitions they were carrying. Kurita believed he was up against much stronger forces than was the case, and he retreated back through San Bernardino Strait after sinking three destroyers and an escort carrier. He left one of his own cruisers sinking.

At about the same time, land-based air units carried out the first kamikaze attacks of the war, sinking the escort carrier St. Lo and badly damaging two others.

Battle of Cape Engano. Meanwhile, Halsey was in the process of annihilating Ozawa’s force (he had already sunk Chitose and Chiyoda) when a message reached him from Nimitz in Hawaii. The original message was a simple query: “Where is Task Force 34?” However, Nimitz’ communications technician, perhaps sensing a certain urgency in the query, saw fit to slightly strengthen the message. A further gaffe occurred due to a poor choice of padding: Like all coded U.S. messages, the message had been padded at its beginning and end with phrases that were supposed to be nonsense. The end padding sufficiently resembled part of the message that it was left in place by Halsey’s decoders, and the message ultimately handed to Halsey read: “WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE 34 XX THE WORLD WONDERS”. Halsey reportedly threw his hat on the deck and started weeping with rage, then returned with his battleship force and one of his carrier task forces to San Bernardino Strait — too late to catch Kurita, although Halsey's carrier task force was able to sink a cruiser and two destroyers from Kurita's fleeing force. It hardly mattered; the Japanese Navy was practically finished as a fighting fleet. Halsey's other two carrier task groups were able to finish off carriers Zuiho and Zuikaku and sink an additional cruiser and two destroyers from Ozawa's force before they, too, were forced to break off the pursuit.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was a decisive American victory, yet it did not reflect all that well on the Americans, who had overwhelming superiority in numbers. Halsey's blunder (few historians now call it anything else) was the most serious mistake on the American side, but most of the men of 3 Fleet were exhausted from prolonged operations, and it showed. The air strikes against Kurita on 24 October 1944 scored only 45 hits with 259 strike aircraft. On the other hand, the Japanese performance was even worse than that of the Americans. Kurita badly mismanaged the battle off Samar even before giving the command to withdraw, and the Japanese gunfire against the American escort carriers was notably inaccurate. The battle resembled the final round of a heavyweight prize fight, with both boxers exhausted and barely able to remain on their feet.

Japanese order of battle, 18 October 1944

14 Area Army (Yamashita)

35 Army (Suzuki)

16 Division (Makino)

Combined Fleet (Toyoda)

Mobile Force (Ozawa)

Main Body (Northern Force) (Ozawa

Carrier Division 3 (Ozawa) Combined air strength: 80 A6M Zero, 25 B6N Jill, 4 B5N Kate, 7 D4Y Judy

CV Zuikaku
CVL Zuiho
CVL Chitose
CVL Chiyoda
80 A6M Zero
25 B6N "Jill"
4 B5N "Kate"
7 D4Y "Judy"

Carrier Division 4 (Matsuda)

CVBB Hyuga

Destroyer Division 61

DD Hatsuzuki
DD Akitsuki
DD Wakatsuki
DD Shimotsuki

On loan from Destroyer Division 41

Escort Squadron 31 (Edo)

CL Isuzu

Destroyer Division 43

DE Maki
DE Kiri
DE Kuwa
DE Sugi

CL Oyodo
CL Tama


Supply Unit

DD Akikaze

AO Jinei Maru
AO Takane Maru


First Striking Force (Kurita)

Force "A" (Center Force) (Kurita)


First Section (Kurita)

Battleship Division 1 (Ugaki)

BB Yamato
BB Musashi
BB Nagato


Cruiser Division 4 (Kurita)

CA Atago
CA Takao
CA Chokai
CA Maya
Severely damaged

Cruiser Division 5 (Hashimoto)

CA Myoko
CA Haguro

Destroyer Squadron 2 (Hayakawa)     

CL Noshiro
DD Shimakaze

Destroyer Division 2

DD Hayashimo
DD Akishimo

Destroyer Division 31

DD Kishinami
DD Okinami
DD Naganami
DD Asashimo

Destroyer Division 32

DD Hamanami
DD Fujinami


Second Section (Suzuki)

Battleship Division 3 (Suzuki)

BB Kongo
BB Haruna

Cruiser Division 7 (Shiraishi)

CA Kumano
CA Suzuya
CA Chikuma
CA Tone


Destroyer Squadron 10 (Kimura)     

CL Yahagi
DD Nowaki
DD Kiyoshimo


Destroyer Division 17

DD Urakaze
DD Yukikaze
DD Hamakaze
DD Isokaze

Force "C" (Van of Southern Force) (Nishimura)     

Battleship Division 2 (Nishimura)  

BB Yamashiro
BB Fuso
CA Mogami

Destroyer Division 4

DD Michishio
DD Asagumo
DD Yamagumo
DD Shigure
On loan from Destroyer Squadron 2

Southwest Area Force (Mikawa; at Manila)

Second Striking Force (Rear of Southern Force) (Shima)     

Cruiser Division 21 (Shima)

CA Nachi
CA Ashigara

Destroyer Squadron 1 (Kimura)

CL Abukuma

Destroyer Division 7

DD Akebono
DD Ushio

Destroyer Division 18

DD Kasumi
DD Shiranuhi


Destroyer Division 21

DD Wakaba
DD Hatsushimo
DD Hatsuharu

Troop Transport Unit (Sakonju)

Cruiser Division 16 (Sakonju)

CA Aoba
CL Kinu
DD Uranami
LS T-101
LS T-102
LS T-131
Severely damaged


Fifth Base Air Force and First Air Fleet (Onishi; at Clark)     
Adequate records were never found from which to reconstruct the order of battle for Japanese land-based air forces. Most sources simply speak of several hundred land-based aircraft in the Philippines. During the air battles of 24 October, the American carrier groups were raided by a total of perhaps 200-300 aircraft, but these include Ozawa's carrier aircraft. There were additional kamikaze raids during the Battle of Samar.

6 Fleet (Miwa)

AS Tsukushi Maru

1 Submarine Force (Miwa)

"A" Division

SS I-26
SS I-45
SS I-53
SS I-54
SS I-56


"B" Division

SS I-38
SS I-41
SS I-44
SS I-46
SS Ro-41
SS Ro-43
SS Ro-46

"C" Division

SS Ro-109
SS Ro-112

Ulithi Attack Group

SS I-36
SS I-37
SS I-47


Allied order of battle, 18 October 1944

Southwest Pacific  Area (MacArthur)

6 Army (Krueger; in Wasatch)

X Corps (Sibert; in Blue Ridge)

24 Division (Irving)

1 Cavalry Division (Mudge)

XXIV Corps (Hodge)

7 Division (Arnold)

96 Division (Bradley)

7 Fleet (Kinkaid; in Wasatch)

Task Force 77 (Kinkaid; in Wasatch)

Task Group 77.1 Fleet Flagship Group (Kinkaid; in Wasatch)

AGC Wasatch
CL Nashville
DD Ammen
DD Mullany
DD Abner Read
DD Bush

Task Force 78 Northern Attack Force (Barbey)
Embarking X Corps (Sibert)

Task Group 78.1 Palo Attack Group (Barbey) Embarking 24 Division (Irving) minus 21 Regimental Combat Team

AGC Blue Ridge

Transport Unit

Transport Division 24

APA Du Page
APA Fuller
APA Elmore
APA Wayne
AKA Aquarius
AP John Land
LSD Gunston Hall

Transport Division 6

APA Fayette
APA Ormsby
APA Leedstown
AKA Titania
AK Hercules
LSD Epping Forest
LSD Carter Hall


DD John Rodgers
DD Murray
DD Harrison
DD McKee
3 PC
1 SC
2 LCI(G)
5 LCI(R)
1 FP
AT Apache
AT Quapah

LST Group 20

12 LST

Task Group 78.2 San Ricardo Attack Group (Fechteler)
Embarking 1 Cavalry Division (Mudge)

APA Fremont

Transport Unit

Transport Division 32

APA Harris
APA Barnstable
AP Herald of the Morning
AKA Arneb
LSD White Marsh

Transport Division 20

APA Leonard Wood
APA Pierce
APA James O'Hara
AP La Salle
AKA Electra
LSD Oak Hill

Destroyer Screen

DD Fletcher
DD La Vallette
DD Jenkins
DD Anderson
4 PC
1 SC
2 LCI(G)
6 LCI(R)
AT Sonoma


LST Flotilla 7

14 LST

Fire Support Unit North (Weyler)

BB Mississippi
BB Maryland
BB West Virginia
DD Cony
DD Aulick
DD Sigourney

Task Group 78.3 Panaon Attack Group (Struble)
Embarking 21 Regimental Combat Team, 24 Division

DD Hughes
LSI Kanimbla
LSI Manoora
LSI Westralia
CM Ariadne


DD Schroeder
DD Sigsbee
DD Ringgold
DD Dashiell

Control and Support Unit

2 PC
2 LCI(G)
2 LCI(R)
1 LCI(D)

Task Group 78.4 Dinagat Attack Group (Struble)
Embarking 6 Ranger Battalion and Company B, 21 Regiment

APD Kilty
APD Schley
APD Ward
APD Herbert
APD Crosby
AT Chickasaw


DD Lang
DD Stack
PF Gallup
DE Bisbee

Task Group 78.6 Reinforcement Group One
Arriving 22 October 1944

APA Crescent City
APA Warren
APA Windsor
APA Callaway
APA Leon
APA Sumter
AP Storm King
AK Jupiter
ARL Achilles
4 other AK
12 LCI

LST Flotilla 8

32 LST


Destroyer Squadron 2

DD Morris
DD Howorth
DD Stevens
DD Mustin
PF Carson City
PF Burlington

Task Group 78.7 Reinforcement Group Two
Arriving 24 October 1944

LST Flotilla 14

33 LST

24 cargo ships, mostly Liberty Ships

Destroyer Squadron 21

DD Nicholas
DD O'Bannon
DD Hopewell
DD Taylor
PF Muskogee
PF San Pedro

Task Group 78.8 Reinforcement Group Three
Arriving 29 October 1944

19 Liberty and Victory ships

Destroyer Squadron 5

DD Flusser
DD Mahan
DD Drayton
DD Smith
DD Lamson
PF Eugene
PF El Paso
PF Van Buren
PF Orange

Task Force 79 Souther Task Force (Wilkinson)
Embarking XXIV Corps (Hodge)

AGC Mount Olympus

Task Group 79.1 Attack Group "Able" (Conolly)
Embarking 7 Division (Arnold)

AGC Appalachian

Task Group 79.3 Transport Group "Able"

Transport Division 7

APA Cavalier
APA J. Franklin Bell
APA Feland
AP Golden City
AKA Thuban
LSD Lindenwald

Transport Division 30

APA Knox
APA Calvert
APA Custer
APH Rixey
AKA Chara
LSD Ashland

Transport Division 38

APA Lamar
APA Alpine
APA Heywood
AP Starlight
AP Monitor
AK Alshain

Transport Division "X-Ray"

APA George Clymer
APA President Hayes
AK Mercury


Destroyer Squadron 48

DD Erben
DD Walker
DD Hale
DD Abbot
DD Black
DD Chauncey
DD Braine
DD Gansevoort

Task Group 79.5 LST Flotilla 16

31 LST

Task Group 79.11 Destroyer Screen for LST and LCI of "Able" and "Baker"

Destroyer Squadron 54

DD Remey
DD Mertz
DD Monssen
DD McDermut
DD McGowan
DD McNair
DD Melvin

3 PCE(R)

Control Vessels

DD Stembel
3 PC
3 PC(S)
3 SC

LCI Gunboat Unit

18 LCI(G)

Salvage and Firefighting Unit

2 LCI(L)

LCT Unit

12 LCT

Task Group 79.2 Attack Group "Baker" (Royal)
Embarking 96 Division (Bradley)

AGC Rocky Mount

Task Group 79.4 Transport Group "Baker"

Transport Division 10

APA Clay
APA Arthur Middleton
APA Baxter
APA William P. Biddle
APA George F. Elliott
AKA Capricornus
Vehicle Landing Ship Catskill

Transport Division 18

APA Cambria
APA Monrovia
APA Frederick Funston
AP War Hawk
AKA Alcyone
LSD Casa Grande
LSD Rushmore

Transport Division 28

APA Bolivar
APA Sheridan
APA Doyen
AP Comet
AKA Almaack
AK Auriga
LSD Belle Grove

Destroyer Screen

Destroyer Squadron 49

DD Picking
DD Sproston
DD Fletcher
DD Isherwood
DD Charles J. Badger
DD Halligan
DD Haraden
DD Twiggs
DD MacDonough

LST Flotilla 3

DD Luce
24 LST

Control Unit

3 PC
4 SC

LCI Flotilla 14

4 LCI(M)
4 LCI(E)
9 LCI(G)
2 LCI(L)

LSM Unit


LCT Unit

11 LCT

Fire Support Unit South (Oldendorf; in Louisville)

Battleship Division 2 (Chandler)

BB Tennessee
BB California
BB Pennsylvania

Cruiser Division 4 (Oldendorf)

CA Louisville
CA Portland
CA Minneapolis

Cruiser Division 9 (Ainsworth)

CL Honolulu

Cruiser Division 12 (Hayler)

CL Denver
CL Columbia

Destroyer Screen

Destroyer Squadron 56

DD Leutze
DD Newcomb
DD Bennion
DD Heywood L. Edwards
DD Richard P. Leary

Destroyer Division 112

DD Robinson
DD Ross
DD Albert W. Grant
DD Bryant
DD Halford
DD Claxton
DD Thorn
DD Welles

Severely damaged by friendly fire

Task Group 77.4 Escort Carrier Group (T.L. Sprague)

"Taffy 1" (T.L. Sprague)

CVE Sangamon

Air Group 37:
12 F6F-3 Hellcat, 5 F6F-5 Hellcat
9 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Sangamon

Air Group 60:
22 F6F-3 Hellcat
9 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Sangamon

Air Group 35:
22 F6F-3 Hellcat
9 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Santee

Air Group 26:
24 FM-2 Wildcat
6 TBF-1C Avenger, 3 TBM-1C Avenger

Carrier Division 28 (Henderson)

CVE Saginaw Bay

VC-78: 15 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Petrof Bay

VC-76: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 10 TBM-1C Avenger


DD McCord
DD Trathen
DD Hazelwood
DE Edmonds
DE Richard S. Bull
DE Richard M. Rowell
DE Eversole
DE Coolbaugh


"Taffy 2" (Stump)

CVE Natoma Bay

VC-81: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Manila Bay

VC-80: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

Carrier Division 27 (Sample)

CVE Marcus Island

VC-21: 12 FM-2 Wildcat, 11 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Kadashan Bay

VC-20: 15 FM-2 Wildcat, 11 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Savo Island

VC-27: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Ommaney Bay

VC-75: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 11 TBM-1C Avenger


DD Haggard
DD Franks
DD Hailey
DE Richard W. Suesens
DE Abercrombie
DE Oberrender
DE LeRay Wilson
DE Walter C. Wann

"Taffy 3" (C.A.F. Sprague)

CVE Kadashan Bay

VC-68: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE St. Lo

VC-65: 17 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE White Plains

VC-4: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Kalinin Bay

VC-3: 16 FM-2 Wildcat, 1 TBF-1C Avenger, 11 TBM-1C Avenger

Carrier Division 26 (Ofstie)

CVE Kitkun Bay

VC-4: 14 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger

CVE Gambier Bay Sunk

VC-10: 18 FM-2 Wildcat, 12 TBM-1C Avenger


DD Hoel
DD Heermann
DD Johnston
DE Dennis
DE John C. Butler
DE Raymond
DE Samuel B. Roberts



Task Group 77.3 Close Covering Group (Berkey)

CL Phoenix
CL Boise
CA Australia
CA Shropshire

Destroyer Screen

Destroyer Squadron 24

DD Hutchins
DD Bache
DD Beale
DD Daly
DD Killen
DD Arunta
DD Warramunga

Task Group 77.5 Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group

DMS Hovey
DM Preble
DM Breese
APD Sands
AM Token
AM Tumult
AM Velocity
AM Zeal
AM Requisite
AM Pursuit
AM Revenge
AM Sage
AM Salute
AM Saunter
AM Scout
AM Scrimmage
AM Sentry
DMS Southard
DMS Chandler
DMS Long
DMS Hamilton
DMS Howard
DMS Palmer
26 YMS
PF Gascoyne

Task Group 77.6 Beach Demolition Group

APD Talbot
APD Manley
APD Goldsborough
APD Kane
APD Brooks
APD Belknap
APD Overton
APD Humphreys
APD Rathburne
APD George E. Badger
APD Clemson
Embarking UDT 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10

Task Group 73.7 Seaplane Tenders, San Pedro Bay

AVP San Carlos
AVP Half Moon

Patrol Squadron 34

12 PBY-5 Catalina

Task Group 70.1 Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Seventh Fleet

AGP Oyster Bay
AGP Wachapreague
AGP Willoughby
39 PT deployed in 13 sections

One sunk

Task Group 77.7 Service Force (Glover)

Fueling at Sea Unit

AO Saranac
AO Ashtabula
AO Salamonie
AO Suamico
AOG Kishwaukee
AO Schuylkill
AO Tallulah
AE Mazama
AE Durham Victory
AE Iran Victory
AE Bluefield Victory
AE Canada Victory

Escort Unit

DE Whitehurst
DE Witter
DE Bowers

Kossol Roads Unit

AO Chepachet
2 merchant AO
DE Willmarth

Leyte Gulf Unit

IX Arethusa
IX Caribou
IX Mink
IX Panda
IX Porcupine
AO Bishopdale
AW Severn
AKN Indus
AN Teak
AN Silverbell
AN Satinleaf
ARL Achilles
ARS Cable
ARB Midas
AE Murzim
AE Poyang
AE Yunnan
AF Arequipa
AF Calamaries
AF Mizar
AF Octans
AK Crux
AK Ganymede
AK Triangulum
AKS Pollux
AKS Acubens
AK Merkur
AH Mercy
AH Comfort

Task Force 71

Task Group 71.1 Supporting Submarines Seventh Fleet

SS Darter
SS Dace
SS Angler
SS Bluegill
SS Bream
SS Raton
SS Guitarro
Scuttled after grounding

Pacific Fleet (Nimitz)

3 Fleet (Halsey; on BB New Jersey)     

Task Force 38 Fast Carrier Force (Mitscher; on CV Lexington)

Task Group 38.1 (McCain)

CV Wasp

VF-14: 30 F6F-3 Hellcat, 3 F6F-3N Hellcat, 2 F6F-3P Hellcat, 7 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5N Hellcat
VB-14: 3 F6F-3 Hellcat, 7 F6F-5 Hellcat, 25 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-14: 5 TBF-1C Avenger, 1 TBF-1D Avenger, 11 TBM-1C Avenger, 1 TBM-1D Avenger

CV Hornet

VF-11: 11 F6F-3 Hellcat, 2 F6F-3N Hellcat, 1 F6F-3P Hellcat, 21 F6F-5 Hellcat, 2 F6F-5N Hellcat, 3 F6F-5P Hellcat
VB-11: 25 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-11: 1 TBM-1C Avenger, 17 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL Monterey

VF-28: 21 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5P Hellcat
VT-28: 9 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL Cowpens

VF-22: 25 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5P Hellcat
VT-22: 9 TBM-1C Avenger

Cruiser Division 6 (Joy)

CA Wichita

Cruiser Division 10 (Wiltse)

CA Boston

Cruiser Division 5 (Smith)

CA Chester
CA Pensacola
CA Salt Lake City


Destroyer Squadron 46

DD Izard
DD Charrette
DD Conner
DD Bell
DD Burns

Destroyer Division 100

DD Cogswell
DD Caperton
DD Ingersoll
DD Knapp

Destroyer Division 92

DD Boyd
DD Cowell

Destroyer Squadron 12

DD McCalla
DD Grayson
DD Brown
DD Woodworth

Destroyer Squadron 4

DD Dunlap
DD Fanning
DD Case
DD Cummings
DD Cassin
DD Downes

Task Group 38.2 (Bogan)

CV Intrepid

VF-18: 5 F6F-3N Hellcat, 36 F6F-5 Hellcat, 3 F6F-5P Hellcat
VB-18: 28 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-18: 18 TBM-1C Avenger

CV Hancock

VF-7: 37 F6F-5 Hellcat, 4 F6F-5N Hellcat
VB-7: 30 SB2C-3 Helldiver, 12 SB2C-3E Helldiver
VT-7: 18 TBM-1C Avenger

CV Bunker Hill

VF-8: 27 F6F-3 Hellcat, 14 F6F-5 Hellcat, 4 F6F-3N Hellcat, 4 F6F-5N Hellcat
VB-8: 17 SB2C-1C Helldiver, 3 SBF-1 Helldiver, 4 SBW-1 Helldiver
VT-8: 17 TBM-1C Avenger, 2 TBM-1D Avenger

CVL Cowpens

VF-29: 3 F6F-3 Hellcat, 18 F6F-5 Hellcat
VT-29: 1 TBF-1C Avenger, 8 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL Independence Night air group carrier

VF-41: 3 F6F-3 Hellcat, 2 F6F-5 Hellcat, 14 F6F-5N Hellcat
VT-41: 8 TBM-1D Avenger

Battleship Division 7 (Badger)

BB Iowa
BB New Jersey

Cruiser Division 14 (Whiting)

CL Vincennes
CL Miami
CLAA San Diego
CLAA Oakland


Destroyer Squadron 52

DD Miller
DD The Sullivans
DD Stephen Potter
DD Tingey

Destroyer Division 104

DD Hickox
DD Hunt
DD Lewis Hancock
DD Marshall

Destroyer Squadron 50

DD Halsey Powell
DD Cushing
DD Colahan
DD Uhlmann
DD Benham

Destroyer Division 106

DD Stockham
DD Wedderburn
DD Twining
DD Yarnall

Task Group 38.3 (Sherman)

CV Essex

VF-15: 22 F6F-3 Hellcat, 3 F6F-3N Hellcat, 2 F6F-3P Hellcat, 23 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5N Hellcat
VB-15: 25 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-15: 15 TBF-1C Avenger, 5 TBM-1C Avenger

CV Lexington

VF-19: 14 F6F-3 Hellcat, 2 F6F-3N Hellcat, 1 F6F-3P Hellcat, 22 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5N Hellcat, 1 F6F-5P Hellcat      
VB-19: 30 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-19: 18 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL Princeton Sunk

VF-27: 18 F6F-3 Hellcat, 7 F6F-5 Hellcat
VT-27: 9 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL Langley

VF-44: 19 F6F-3 Hellcat, 6 F6F-5 Hellcat
VT-44: 9 TBM-1C Avenger

Battleships, Pacific Fleet (Lee)

BB Washington

Battleship Division 8 (Davis)

BB Massachusetts

Battleship Division 9 (Hanson)

BB South Dakota
BB Alabama

Cruiser Division 13 (DuBose)

CL Santa Fe
CL Mobile
CL Birmingham



Destroyer Squadron 50

DD Clarence K. Bronson
DD Cotten
DD Dortch
DD Healy

Destroyer Squadron 55

DD Porterfield
DD Callaghan
DD Cassin Young
DD Irwin
DD Preston

Destroyer Division 110

DD Laws
DD Longshaw
DD Morrison
DD Pritchett

Task Group 38.4 (Davison)

CV Franklin

VF-13: 1 F6F-3 Hellcat, 3 F6F-3N Hellcat, 30 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5N Hellcat, 4 F6F-5P Hellcat      
VB-13: 31 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-13: 18 TBM-1C Avenger

CV Enterprise

VF-20: 4 F6F-3N Hellcat, 36 F6F-5 Hellcat
VB-20: 34 SB2C-3 Helldiver
VT-20: 19 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL San Jacinto

VF-51: 24 F6F-3 Hellcat, 5 F6F-5 Hellcat
VT-51: 5 TBM-1C Avenger

CVL Belleau Wood

VF-21: 24 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5P Hellcat
VT-21: 9 TBM-1C Avenger

CA New Orleans
CL Biloxi


Destroyer Squadron 6

DD Gridley
DD Helm
DD McCall

Destroyer Division 12

DD Mugford
DD Bagley
DD Patterson
DD Ralph Talbot

Destroyer Division 24

DD Wilkes
DD Nicholson
DD Swanson

TG 30.8 At Sea Logistics Group Third Fleet

AO Atascosa
AO Aucilla
AO Cache
AO Caliente
AO Chicopee
AO Chikaskia
AO Cimarron
AO Escambia
AO Guadalupe
AO Kankakee
AO Kaskaskia
AO Kennebago
AO Lackawanna
AO Manatee
AO Marias
AO Mascoma
AO Merrimack
AO Millicoma
AO Mississinewa
AO Tappahannock
AO Nantahala
AO Neches
AO Neosho
AO Niobrara
AO Pamanset
AO Patuxent
AO Pecos
AO Platte
AO Sabine
AO Saugatuck
AO Sebec
AO Taluga
AO Monongahela
AO Tomahawk
CVE Altamaha
CVE Barnes
CVE Sitkoh Bay
CVE Cape Esperance
CVE Nassau
CVE Kwajalein
CVE Shipley Bay
CVE Steamer Bay
CVE Nehenta Bay
CVE Sargent Bay
CVE Rudyerd Bay



Destroyer Division 102

DD Aylwin
DD Capps
DD Dale
DD David W. Taylor

Destroyer Squadron 1

DD Dewey
DD Dyson
DD Evans
DD Farragut
DD Hailey

Destroyer Squadron 51

DD Hall
DD Hobby
DD Hull
DD John D. Henley
DD Monaghan
DD Paul Hamilton
DD Thatcher
DD Thorn
DD Welles

Destroyer Escorts

DE Acree
DE Bangust
DE Crowley
DE Donaldson
DE Elden
DE Halloran
DE Hilbert
DE Kyne
DE Lake
DE Lamons
DE Levy
DE Lyman
DE McConnell
DE Mitchell
DE O'Neill
DE Osterhaus
DE Parks
DE Rall
DE Reynolds
DE Riddle
DE Samuel S. Miles
DE Stern
DE Swearer
DE Waterman
DE Weaver
DE Wesson

Fleet Tugs

AT Hitchiti
AT Jicarilla
AT Mataco
AT Menominee
AT Molala
AT Munsee
AT Pawnee
AT Sioux
AT Tekesta
AT Zuni

Ammunition Ships

AE Mount Hood
AE Sangay
AE Mauna Loa
AK Australia Victory
AE Shasta
AE Lassen
Exploded from unknown causes during the operation

December echelon

AK Provo Victory
AK Elmira Victory
AK Boulder Victory
AE Ranier
AE Mount Baker
AE Nitro
AK Alamosa

Task Force 17 Supporting Submarines Pacific Fleet (Lockwood)

SS Tang
SS Sterlet
SS Barbel
SS Snook

"Clarey's Crushers"

SS Pintado
SS Jallao
SS Atule

"Roach's Raiders"

SS Haddock
SS Halibut
SS Tuna

"Banister's Beagles"

SS Sawfish
SS Drum
SS Icefish

"Blakely's Behemoths"

SS Shark
SS Blackfish
SS Seadragon

"Coye's Coyotes"

SS Silversides
SS Salmon
SS Trigger

"Wogan's Wolves"

SS Besugo
SS Ronquil
SS Gabilan


Cutler (1994)

Hastings (2007)

Hornfischer (2004)
Morison (1958)

Naval War College (accessed 2012-11-2)

Spector (1985)

Thomas (2006)

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