Battle of Surigao Strait

Battle of Surigao Strait

Anthony P. Tully
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Format: Paperback 21 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00971-5
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Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands was the scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Because the battle was fought at night and had few survivors on the Japanese side, the events of that naval engagement have been passed down in garbled accounts. Anthony P. Tully pulls together all of the existing documentary material, including newly discovered accounts and a careful analysis of U.S. Navy action reports, to create a new and more detailed description of the action. In several respects, Tully's narrative differs radically from the received versions and represents an important historical corrective. Also included in the book are a number of previously unpublished photographs and charts that bring a fresh perspective to the battle.

Author Bio

Anthony P. Tully is an independent scholar and historian of the Imperial Japanese Navy. He is author (with Jon Parshall) of Shattered Sword, a study of the Battle of Midway. He lives in Dallas, Texas.


“The scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Surigao Strait was fought at night with few Japanese survivors, creating garbled historical accounts. Here, Tully creates a description differing radically from the original and representing an important historical corrective.”

“Aims to sort out the discrepancies that have crept in over time to standard accounts of the battle . . . a confused and complex night action. Of special interest is Tully's exploitation of fresh source materials.”
 — Malcolm Muir, Jr., author of Black Shoes and Blue Water: Surface Warfare in the United States Navy, 1945–1975

“If the vibrant international community of experts who study the Pacific War and discuss and debate it online can be seen as a mafia, then Anthony Tully is its consigliore. Whenever a question arises about the battle history of World War II in the Pacific--what really happened after the fleets collided, dive-bombers entered their dives, and shot met plate--he is the indispensable man. In this book he paints Admiral Nishimura's high-speed run into history with an entirely fresh palette of detail, from the command decisions to the after-action reports. It offers naval history buffs something fresh and easy to relish on almost every page”
 — James D. Hornfischer, author of Ship of Ghosts and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

“Anthony Tully has managed to trace the complicated flow of and reason for events . . . with a skill and aplomb that forces one to reconsider previously held views.”
 — Naval History

“Tully's narrative is clear and clarifies a confused night battle in restricted waters. He disputes several perceived truths about the battle by giving the reader a complete record of what each ship was doing at each stage of the battle.”
 — Military Review

“With copious endnotes, an extensive and interesting bibliography and thorough index, this book is worth buying by serious students of the Pacific War and for institutional libraries with a strong military history focus.”
 — The Journal of Naval History

“The skillful incorporation of personal testimony from those involved is what really elevates this work above run-of-the-mill naval history and turns it into something special.”
 — Warship

“By giving a fuller view of the Japanese side, Tully's work forces a substantial revision of the traditional picture of the battle. Battle of Surigao Strait is not only military history based on scrupulous use of a plethora of new source materials, but is a spanking good read. Highly recommended. ”
 — War in History

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Table of Contents

List of Maps
Prologue: "Retiring towards the enemy."
1. "I have returned."
2. "Bah. We will do our best."
3. "We are going to participate in a surface special attack."
4. "It is deemed advisable for 2YB to storm into Leyte Gulf."
5. "He gallantly came to a stop and started rescue work."
6. "Everybody aboard thought a BB could force a narrow strait."
7. "Make all ready for night battle."
8. "A most tragic dispatch."
9. "Take out the searchlight."
10. "He wished them to know he was penetrating alone."
11. "Just scored a big flare on 1 of them."
12. "You are to proceed independently and attack all ships!"
13. "At 0345 observed battleship burning."
14. "This has to be quick. Standby your torpedoes."
15. "An awfully gruesome sound, which passed from left to right."
16. "We proceed till totally annihilated."
17. "We have arrived at battle site."
18. "In God's name, where's the doctor?"
19. "The chances of success are nil."
20. "It was the kind of naval battle you dream about."
Epilogue: "A thing repeated will happen a third time."

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