The determining factors in the Battle for Leyte Gulf were superb skill, heroism, and aggressiveness, but confusion, surprise, and faulty assumptions also played significant roles. The Japanese Centre Force, comprising more than half of Japan's naval gunfire, steamed undetected into gun range and caught the Seventh Fleet completely by surprise. The Japanese made no use of this wonderful opportunity, however, imagining the enemy to be manifold the strength that it was. The Allied victory at Leyte enabled the U.S. Navy to transport troops and base long-range bomber planes in positions so close to Japan that victory was all but assured.
Morison's account includes the key engagements surrounding the taking of Leyte: the U.S. Navy's extraordinary display of"gallantry, guts, and gumption" at the Battle of Samar and the perfect timing and almost faultless execution achieved in the Battle of Surigao Strait, the last naval battle in which air power played no part.
About the Author
Samuel Eliot Morison, an eminent Harvard professor, was appointed by close friend Franklin D. Roosevelt to write the history of U.S. naval operations during World War II after convincing the president that too many wartime histories were written after the fact or from a distance. Morison called his classic work a"shooting history" of World War II, because it was documented by historical observation during each specific naval operation in the Atlantic and Pacific. Hailed for its accuracy, narrative pace, and detail, this monumental work presents a complete record of the US Navy's war at sea, covering the strategic planning, battle tactics, and technological advances, as well as the heroic actions of American sailors.