The Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Last Fleet Action
H. P. Willmott
Distribution: World
Publication date: 7/29/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-00351-5
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Description

Winner, Society for Military history Distinguished Book Award 2006
“The Battle of Leyte Gulf was an extremely unusual battle. It was unusual on five separate counts that are so obvious that they are usually missed. It was unusual in that it was a series of actions, not a single battle. It was unusual as a naval battle in that it was fought over five days; historically, naval battles have seldom spread themselves over more than one or two days. It was unusual in terms of its name. This battle involved a series of related actions subsequently grouped together under the name of just one of these engagements, but in fact none of the actions were fought inside Leyte Gulf. . . . More importantly, it was unusual in that it was a full-scale fleet action fought after the issue of victory and defeat at sea had been decided, and it was unusual in that it resulted in clear, overwhelming victory and defeat.” —from Chapter One

The Battle of Leyte Gulf—October 22-28, 1944—was the greatest naval engagement in history. In fact the battle was four separate actions, none of which were fought in the Gulf itself, and the result was the destruction of Japanese naval power in the Pacific. This book is a detailed and comprehensive account of the fighting from both sides. It provides the context of the battle, most obviously in terms of Japanese calculations and the search for "a fitting place to die" and "the chance to bloom as flowers of death." Using Japanese material never previously noted in western accounts, H.P. Willmott provides new perspectives on the unfolding of the battle and very deliberately seeks to give readers a proper understanding of the importance of this battle for American naval operations in the following month. This careful interrogation of the accounts of "the last fleet action" is a significant contribution to military history.

Author Bio

H. P. Willmott has written extensively on warfare in general and the Second World War in particular. Among his books are Empires in the Balance; The Barrier and the Javelin; The Great Crusade (a military reinterpretation of the Second World War); Grave of a Dozen Schemes: British Naval Planning and the War against Japan, 1943–1945; and When Men Lost Faith in Reason: Reflections on Warfare in the Twentieth Century. He lives in Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey.

Reviews

". . . deliciously provocative interpretation of the nature of the conflict and the reasons for American victory." —International Journal of Maritime History

". . . an outstanding book which can be appreciated by naval historians and those who have a general interest in the subject." —Journal of Military History

". . . supported by clear and helpful maps, helpful appendices, and lengthy footnotes that underline the scholarship involved. It is good value as a hardback and will contribute to Indiana's reputation for publishing first-rate military history." —History

""... an outstanding contribution to the military and naval history of our times."" — Lisle A. Rose, World War II Quarterly , 2008

"
The Battle of Leyte Gulf is an outstanding addition to a Pacific library." —Paper Wars , August 2008

"These pages provide the reader a veritable wealth of information. The book is a valuable addition in the historiography of the Battle of Leyte Gulf specifically and to naval history and World War Two in general. It will certainly become a classic." —
Canadian Naval Review , Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter 2011)

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Table of Contents

Contents
List of Maps
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
1. The Nature of War and Victory
2. The Option of Difficulties: The American Situation in the Aftermath of the Victory in the Philippine Sea
3. The Search for Solutions: The Japanese Situation in the Aftermath of Defeat in the Philippine Sea
4. Preliminaries: 6-18 October 1944
5. Advance and Contact, 18-24 October 1944
6. The Great Day of Wrath: 25 October 1944
7. The Naval Battle for the Philippines: The Postscript, 26 October-30 November 1944
8. To Pause and Consider: Blame, Responsibility, and the Verdict of History.
Appendixes
Notes
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Index