"... deliciously provocative interpretation of the nature of the conflict and the reasons for American victory." —International Journal of Maritime History
The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Actionby H. P. Willmott
The battle of Leyte Gulf was the greatest naval battle in modern history. This book is a detailed and comprehensive account of the fighting from both sides on 24-25 October 1944. 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," as well as a comprehensive discussion of the events leading up to and following the battle.
Using Japanese material never previously noted in Western accounts, H. P. Willmott provides new perspectives on the unfolding of the battle and deliberately seeks to give readers a proper understanding of the importance of this battle for American naval operations in the following month. The book also deals with such vexed questions as the conduct and decisions of the two fleet commanders, Halsey and Kurita, during this battle and raises questions that are certain to provoke controversy.
By any standard, the battle of Leyte Gulf was an enormous undertaking. The battle was in fact four separate actions, none of which was fought in the Gulf itself. There were more units giving battle than any naval engagement in history with the possible exception of Jutland. The area of deployment was immense, covering an area greater than France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria combined; the area of operations was only slightly smaller than the British Isles. Though the battle was fought after the issue of victory and defeat at sea had been decided, it was nevertheless an overwhelming victory for the American naval forces. So devastating was the Japanese defeat that in the following month the American forces sank more warships and three times the service and merchant shipping than during the battle itself.
For naval historians both professional and amateur, The Battle of Leyte Gulf will serve as a careful interrogation of the accounts of "the last fleet action" and a significant contribution to the naval history of the Second World War.
"... 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
Lisle A. Rose
"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)
""... an outstanding contribution to the military and naval history of our times."" — Lisle A. Rose, World War II Quarterly, 2008
Samuel Loring Morison
"[A]n outstanding book which can be appreciated by naval historians and those who have a general interest in the subject." Journal of Military History
"The Battle of Leyte Gulf is an outstanding addition to a Pacific library." Paper Wars, August 2008
Meet the Author
H. P. Willmott has written extensively on warfare in general and on World War II in particular. Among his books are The Last Century of Sea Power: From Washington to Tokyo, 1922–1945 (IUP, 2010) and The Last Century of Sea Power: From Port Arthur to Chanak, 1894–1922 (IUP, 2009).
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