USS St. Lo explodes after being hit by a kamikaze aircraft during Battle of Leyte Gulf
From October 23–26, 1944, the Japanese navy unsuccessfully went up against the U.S. navy off the coast of the Philippines in one of the largest naval battles in history. The Japanese loss at Leyte Gulf would give the Americans unchallenged dominance in the Pacific for the rest of World War II.
Background & Objectives
The Philippines were crucial to the Japanese war effort in Southeast Asia. But in mid-October 1944, General Douglas MacArthur‘s troops invaded the Philippine island of Leyte. So the Japanese sent their dwindling navy (divided into northern, central, and southern forces) to attack the American ships of the Third and Seventh fleets off the east shore of the island, hoping to cut off support to MacArthur’s invasion force.
Battle of Leyte Gulf
However, the Japanese central force was discovered and attacked by American submarines on October 23. Then on October 24 the force was pounded by American naval air power while in the Sibuyan Sea, causing it to temporarily turn around. Meanwhile, the southern Japanese force met its destruction on the night of the 24th–25th, when it attempted to pass through the Surigao Strait.
When the central Japanese force exited the San Bernardino Strait on the 25th, it discovered that the plan for the northern force to draw the Third Fleet away had been successful during the night. It appeared that the Japanese would be able to attack the Seventh Fleet from the north without much trouble. But they soon encountered Taffy 3, the Seventh Fleet’s northernmost escort carrier group.
Although it initially seemed that the small American task force stood no chance, the ships and planes of Taffy 3 (eventually aided by Taffy 2) surprised the Japanese with the pugnacity of their attacks, and the Japanese unexpectedly withdrew.
Casualties & Aftermath
Overall, the casualties for the battle were high: 10,000 Japanese casualties and 3,000 American. The Japanese also lost more ships than the Americans, spelling the end of effective Japanese naval power during the war. The battle was also significant for the use of a new Japanese tactic: kamikaze attacks.
Learn more about the Battle of Leyte Gulf through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Battle of Leyte Gulf
U.S. newspaper front page news of Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 Wed, Oct 25, 1944 – 1 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comCanadian newspaper front page with news and articles about the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944 Wed, Oct 25, 1944 – 1 · The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comNewspaper front page reports "Japan Navy Dealt Its Most Crushing Defeat" at Leyte Gulf Thu, Oct 26, 1944 – 1 · The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) · Newspapers.comExcerpts from official Japanese accounts of Battle of Leyte Gulf Thu, Oct 26, 1944 – 1 · The Winona Daily News (Winona, Minnesota) · Newspapers.comHeadlines report "virtually all" of Japanese fleet "wrecked" at Leyte Gulf; U.S. loses 6 ships Fri, Oct 27, 1944 – 1 · Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Admiral Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet in Battle of Leyte Gulf Thu, Oct 26, 1944 – 1 · The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, commander of the Seventh Fleet during Battle of Leyte Gulf Fri, Oct 27, 1944 – 1 · The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · Newspapers.comImage of the USS Princeton, a light aircraft carrier lost in the Battle of Leyte Gulf Wed, Oct 25, 1944 – Page 1 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.comChronological timeline/map of the Battle of Leyte Gulf Sat, Oct 28, 1944 – 4 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · Newspapers.comEditorial discussing Japanese plans and strategy for the Battle of Leyte Gulf Tue, Oct 31, 1944 – 4 · The Beatrice Times (Beatrice, Nebraska) · Newspapers.comPT boat crew gives firsthand account of the Battle of Leyte Gulf Sat, Nov 4, 1944 – 10 · Daily News (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comText of U.S. Navy's report on the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 Sat, Nov 18, 1944 – 8 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.comNew York Times war analyst writes about the Battle of Leyte Gulf 3 weeks after the conflict Sun, Nov 19, 1944 – Page 33 · The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from naval observer's account of Battle of Leyte Gulf, including the sinking of USS St. Lo Mon, Nov 20, 1944 – 4 · The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Newspapers.comU.S. Navy officially changes "Second Battle of the Philippine Sea" to "Battle of Leyte Gulf" Sun, Feb 4, 1945 – Page 35 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.comArticle describing part of the aerial fight during 1944's Battle of Leyte Gulf Fri, Jun 8, 1945 – 8 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · Newspapers.comAdmirals Thomas C. Kinkaid and William F. (Bull) Halsey dispute events of Battle of Leyte Gulf Sat, Oct 27, 1956 – Page 8 · The Circleville Herald (Circleville, Ohio) · Newspapers.comPicture of Japanese and U.S naval commanders involved in Battle of Leyte Gulf after the war Sun, Nov 23, 1958 – Page 46 · Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) · Newspapers.comAfrican American sailor receives Navy Cross for actions during Battle of Leyte Gulf 52 years later Thu, May 1, 1997 – Page 16 · The Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) · Newspapers.comWorld War II veteran recalls his experiences during the Battle of Leyte Gulf 60 years later Sun, Nov 14, 2004 – 19 · The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com