Leyte Gulf

Being there . . . . in late October of 1944, the heart of the Philippine archipelago, Leyte Gulf. The
world’s greatest sea battle is about to begin. With almost eight decades of accumulated
historical combat literature commingling with the most recent nautical archaeology news, all
aided by a stunning, nay, riveting narration, you are in the best of all positions, once and for all,
to finally know and grasp what happened out there, warts and myths be damned. Japan was
failing all over the Pacific. Since March of that year, our B-29s had hovered over the nation,
their precision bombing destroying her industrial and military capacities. On the night of March
9–10, 1944, hundreds had dropped 1,665 tons of incendiaries over Tokyo alone. A quarter of
the capital was destroyed in the resulting firestorm. A million Japanese were left homeless.
More than 83,000 died in what our enemy termed “The raid of fire wind”. Nagoya, Osaka, and
Kobe suffered as such in rapid order. In a single week, B-29s had seared a 40-square-mile
swarth across Japan. The once proud nation, military, and people were in the middle phase of
being strangled or burned to death. Even the army, air force, and especially the navy knew the
cause was hopeless. Yet, they fought on, preferring starvation or self-sacrifice to surrender. The
closer the Americans came to the home islands, the more desperate the fighting. Iwo Jima, a
volcanic peak in a bloodier and bloodier ocean less than 750 miles from the Tokyo proved that.
Iwo cost us 6,000 dead Marines; of the 20,000 Japanese defenders, 218 exited caves alive, after
30 days of excruciatingly painful fighting. No, this war had to end, and quickly. God help
America’s boys if we were compelled to invade the homeland. Without realizing it at the time,
the opportunity for such a massive blow would come in a three-day sea battle in an area the
size of France off the western coast of central Japan. Partly by sheer luck, our navy wound up
defeating theirs’s for good, although surrender was still ten months away.
Just arrived, and highly, highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“LEYTE GULF – – A New History of the World’s Largest Sea Battle”, by Mark E. Stille. OSPREY
PUBLISHING – Bloomsbury Publishing Plc: 2023, 320 pages, 6 ¼” x 9 ½”, hardcover; $30. Visit,
Creditable authors who praise it best: Jon Parshall, co-author, “SHATTERED SWORD: The Untold
Story of the Battle of Midway”, “Masterful, debunks most myths, a worthy read for all!”;
Richard B. Frank, author, “DOWNFALL: End of Japanese Empire,”, “No other work compares!”;
Anthony P. Tully, co-author, “Shattered Sword”, “Incorporates latest revelations, especially
from nautical archaeology, and all in one accessible accurate account”.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf is the last battle to take place between major fleets. In sheer size, it
has no rival. Imagine 235 of our USN surface combatants and 1,500 USAF aircraft participating
in the same battle, and at sea no less! Our enemy dispatched all its remaining strength, 69 ships
and 375 aircraft, mostly land based. Four major engagements and several lesser actions were
fought in just one monstrous fight a little under 72 hours.
So much of the accepted wisdom of the battle developed from the many myths that to this
day surround it. In Mark’s new study, a fresh, insightful analysis to key aspects of the battle is
presented. As one of our nation’s leading Pacific War experts, he carefully, authoritatively,

strips the misconceptions around the actions and performances of the two critical
commanders, William Halsey, Admiral of the U.S. Third Fleet, and controversial Vice Admiral
Takeo Kurita, while reappraising the “lost victory” of the Japanese “banzai”, “May you live!”,
charge into Leyte Gulf that really never happened! Incidentally, with this read, you’ll certainly, if
not already, become an admiring fan of Mark E. Stille, truly an incomparable historian and
author. He recently concluded a 40-year career in the intelligence community. He is the author
of “PACIFIC CARRIER WAR – – Carrier Combat from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa” and “THE

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