BLUFThis article argues that although the WW2 Battle at Leyte Gulf effectively ended the Japanese Navy’s ability to influence the course of the war, lessons shouldn’t be carved in stone but rather be subject to time, technology and warmaking methods.
This article by James Holmes, writing for the National Interest, makes the following points:
- The last great naval battle of World War II that forced the Japanese Navy to take desperate (including kamakazi) actions.
- Part of General MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign towards Japan.
- Really 4 naval engagements, all won by Australia and the US.
- Included 11 RAN vessels.
- Control of the Philippines would destroy Japan’s innermost defence perimeter and isolate Japanese controlled, resource-rich, Southeast Asia.
- The Philippines would be a base for sea and air assaults against the Ryukyu Islands (including Okinawa) and the Japanese home islands.
- The Japanese Navy’s flying corps had just about ceased to exist so its aircraft carriers, with few planes or pilots, were used as a decoy.
- Before the battle, fuel shortages forced the Japanese to disperse assets, reducing their combat power.
Issues worth thinking about:
- How do you measure the size of a battle?
- Tonnage engaged, geographic space covered or firepower?
- Was Leyte history’s last ever major fleet engagement
- Is major sea combat likely ever again?
- If not, why invest in large surface combatants?
- Should Navies be reconfigured with swarms of small, lightly armed craft?
Worth noting and remembering the following:
- Naval battles come along so seldom that it’s perilous to draw too confident conclusions from them.
- We can gain faulty lessons from reviewing battles whose outcomes were far from certain.
- Acts of heroism can colour our judgement of events.
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- Pearl Harbour: The Day of Infamy, 7 December 1941 | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- Attack on Pearl Harbor—1941 | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- "The Most Complete Naval Victory": How America Smashed Japan at Midway | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- The Battle of the Coral Sea 1942: The First Aircraft Carrier Battle in History | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
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References from the Web:
- OCT 2014 8 Facts about the Battle of Leyte Gulf that Will Blow Your Mind | FAQ.ph
- APR 2016 28 Most Amazing Battle of Leyte Gulf Pictures You Have Not Seen Before! | War History on Line
- SEP 2016 The Battles for Leyte Gulf: where Australian ships fought in one of the greatest battles in naval history | Naval Historical Society of Australia
- OCT 2019 Australia's part in greatest naval battle | 7NEWS.com.au
- BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF | Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic
- Australians honoured at Philippine WWII memorial site |Australian Embassy Philippines
- Lingayen Gulf Fight for the Philippines, 1945 | AWM LONDON
Source Information The National Interest:
- Article Source: The National Interest
- Media Check: The National Interest (Center for the National Interest) |mediabiasfactcheck.com
- LEARNING OUTCOMES—RUNWAY | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)