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IJ Combined Fleet and US Pacific Fleet Commanders

Adm. Soemu Toyoda (HQ at Tokyo)
Adm. Chester W. Nimitz (HQ at Pearl Harbor)

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.

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

24-25 Oct – Battle of Surigao Strait

Vice Adm. Shoji Nishimura (KIA)

Japanese Forces

Southern Force
Vice Admiral Shōji Nishimura (killed during battle) Force C (sortied from Brunei Bay 22 Oct)
Vice Adm. Nishimura

  • Battleship Division 2 (Vice Adm. Nishimura):
    • BB Fuso (sunk by gunfire 25 Oct)
    • BB Yamashiro (sunk by gunfire 25 Oct)
    • CA Mogami (scuttled 25 Oct)
  • Destroyer Division 4 (Capt. K. Takahashi):

Second Striking Force (sortied from Pescadores, Formosa 22 Oct)
Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima

  • Cruiser Division 21 (Vice Admiral Shima):
  • Destroyer Squadron 1 (Rear Adm. Masatomi Kimura):
    • CL Abukuma (sunk by air attack 26 Oct)
    • Destroyer Division 7 (Cmdr. J. Iwagami):
    • Destroyer Division 18 (Capt. Yoshio Inoue):
    • Destroyer Division 21 (Cmdr. Hisashi Ishii†):

Seventh Fleet and Southern Attack Force Commanders

Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid
Vice Adm. Theodore S. Wilkinson

American Forces

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

Rear Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf

Fire Support Unit South
Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf in heavy cruiser Louisville

25 Oct – Battle off Samar

Vice Adm. Takeo Kurita

Japanese Forces

Centre Force ('Force A') (sortied from Brunei Bay 22 Oct) 1st Section
Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita

2nd Section
Vice Admiral Yoshio Suzuki

Seventh Fleet and Escort Carrier Commanders

Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid
Rear Adm. Thomas L. Sprague

American Forces

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

Taffy 3 Commander

Rear Adm. Clifton A.F. Sprague

Task Group 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3")
Rear Admiral Clifton A.F. Sprague

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

Taffy 2 Commander

Rear Adm. Felix B. Stump

Task Group 77.4.2 ("Taffy 2")
Rear Adm. Felix B. Stump

  • CVE Natoma Bay (Capt. A.K. Morehouse)
    • Composite Squadron 81 (Lt. Cmdr. R.C. Barnes):
      • 16 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
      • 12 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers
  • CVE Manila Bay (Capt. Fitzhugh Lee, III)
    • Composite Squadron 80 (Lt. Cmdr. H.K. Stubbs):
      • 16 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
      • 12 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers
  • Carrier Division 27 (Rear Adm. William D. Sample)
    • CVE Marcus Island (Capt. C.F. Greber)
      • Composite Squadron 21 (Lt. Cmdr T.O. Murray):
        • 12 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
        • 11 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers
    • CVE Kadashan Bay (Capt. R.N. Hunter)
      • Composite Squadron 20 (Lt. Cmdr. J.R. Dale):
        • 15 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
        • 11 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers
    • CVE Savo Island (Capt. C.E. Ekstrom)
      • Composite Squadron 27 (Lt. Cmdr. P.W. Jackson):
        • 16 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
        • 12 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers
    • CVE Ommaney Bay (Capt. H.L. Young)
      • Composite Squadron 75 (Lt. Cmdr. A.W. Smith):
        • 16 FM-2 Wildcat fighters
        • 11 TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bombers
  • Screen

25 Oct – Battle off Cape Engaño

Vice Adm. Jisaburo Ozawa

Japanese Forces

Northern Force ('Main Body') (sortied from Japanese Home Islands 20 Oct)
Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa

  • Carrier Division 3 (Vice Adm. Ozawa):
    • CV Zuikaku (sunk by air attack 24 Oct)
    • CVL Zuiho (sunk by air attack 25 Oct)
    • CVL Chitose (sunk by air attack, gunfire and torpedoes 25 Oct)
    • CVL Chiyoda (sunk by air attack, gunfire and torpedoes 25 Oct)
  • Carrier Division 4 (Rear Adm. Chiaki Matsuda):
    • BB Ise
    • BB Hyuga
      • Combined Air Group for this operation: none
  • Destroyer Division 61 (Capt. S. Amano†):
  • Escort Squadron 31 (Rear Adm. Heitaro Edo):
  • 2 Light Crusiers:
  • Supply Unit:
    • AO Jinei Maru (sunk)
    • AO Takane Maru
    • DD Akikaze
    • 6 escort vessels

Third Fleet and Fast Carrier Commanders

Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.
Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher

American Forces

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

Vice Adm. John S. McCain, Sr.

Task Group 38.1 (Task Group One)
Vice Adm. John S. McCain, Sr.

  • 2 Fleet Carriers
    • CV Wasp (Capt. O.A. Weller)
      • Air Group 14 (Cmdr. W.C. Wingard):
        • 30 F6F-3 Hellcat, 3 F6F-3N Hellcat, 2 F6F-3P Hellcat, 7 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5N Hellcat
        • 3 F6F-3 Hellcat, 7 F6F-5 Hellcat, 25 SB2C-3 Helldiver
        • 5 TBF-1C Avenger, 1 TBF-1D Avenger, 11 TBM-1C Avenger, 1 TBM-1D Avenger
    • CV Hornet (Capt. A.K. Doyle)
      • Air Group 14 (Cmdr. F.R. Schrader):
        • 11 F6F-3 Hellcat, 2 F6F-3N Hellcat, 1 F6F-3P Hellcat, 21 F6F-5 Hellcat, 2 F6F-5N Hellcat, 3 F6F-5P Hellcat
        • 25 SB2C-3 Helldiver
        • 1 TBM-1C Avenger, 17 TBM-1C Avenger
  • 2 Light Carriers
    • CVL Monterey (Capt. S.H. Ingersoll)
      • Air Group 28 (Lt. Cmdr. R.W. Mehle):
        • 21 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5P Hellcat
        • 9 TBM-1C Avenger
    • CVL Cowpens (Capt. H.W. Taylor)
      • Air Group 22 (Lt. Cmdr. T.H. Jenkins):
        • 25 F6F-5 Hellcat, 1 F6F-5P Hellcat
        • 9 TBM-1C Avenger
  • Cruiser Division 6 (Rear Adm. C. Turner Joy)
  • Cruiser Division 10 (Rear Adm. Lloyd J. Wiltse)
    • CA Boston (Capt. E.E. Herrmann)
  • Cruiser Division 5 (Rear Adm. Allan E. Smith)
  • Screen

Notes

  1. Detached from DesRon 2
  2. Damaged by friendly fire
  3. Detached from DesDiv 41

Reference

  • 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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