The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Action

Overview

"The Battle of Leyte Gulf was an extremely unusual battle. It was unusual on five separate counts that are so obvious that they are usually missed. It was unusual in that it was a series of actions, not a single battle. It was unusual as a naval battle in that it was fought over five days; historically, naval battles have seldom spread themselves over more than one or two days. It was unusual in terms of its name. This battle involved a series of related actions subsequently grouped together under the name of just one of these engagements, but in ...

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The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Action

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Overview

"The Battle of Leyte Gulf was an extremely unusual battle. It was unusual on five separate counts that are so obvious that they are usually missed. It was unusual in that it was a series of actions, not a single battle. It was unusual as a naval battle in that it was fought over five days; historically, naval battles have seldom spread themselves over more than one or two days. It was unusual in terms of its name. This battle involved a series of related actions subsequently grouped together under the name of just one of these engagements, but in fact none of the actions were fought inside Leyte Gulf.... More importantly, it was unusual in that it was a full-scale fleet action fought after the issue of victory and defeat at sea had been decided,
and it was unusual in that it resulted in clear, overwhelming victory and defeat." —from
Chapter One

The Battle of Leyte Gulf—October 22-28, 1944—was the greatest naval engagement in history. In fact the battle was four separate actions, none of which were fought in the Gulf itself, and the result was the destruction of Japanese naval power in the
Pacific. This book is a detailed and comprehensive account of the fighting from both sides. 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." Using Japanese material never previously noted in western accounts, H.P. Willmott provides new perspectives on the unfolding of the battle and very deliberately seeks to give readers a proper understanding of the importance of this battle for American naval operations in the following month. This careful interrogation of the accounts of "the last fleet action" is a significant contribution to military history.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

International Journal of Maritime History

"... deliciously provocative interpretation of the nature of the conflict and the reasons for American victory." —International Journal of Maritime History

Journal of Military History

"... an outstanding book which can be appreciated by naval historians and those who have a general interest in the subject." —Journal of Military History

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

World War II Quarterly
""... an outstanding contribution to the military and naval history of our times."" — Lisle A. Rose, World War II Quarterly, 2008

— Lisle A. Rose

Paper Wars

"The Battle of Leyte Gulf is an outstanding addition to a Pacific library." —Paper Wars, August 2008

Canadian Naval Review

"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)

World War II Quarterly - Lisle A. Rose

""... an outstanding contribution to the military and naval history of our times."" — Lisle A. Rose, World War II Quarterly, 2008

From the Publisher
"... an 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

International Journal of Maritime History
[A] deliciously provocative interpretation of the nature of the conflict and the reasons for American victory.
Journal of Military History
an outstanding book which can be appreciated by naval historians and those who have a general interest in the subject.
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.
—Jeremy Black
Naval History
. . . Willmott does a very good job examining from both sides the behind-the-scenes activities of the battle... I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the thinking--from both sides--on how to fight a war, as well as in the decisions and maneuvering that led up to and occurred during the battle.
—Samuel Loring Morison
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253345288
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Series: Twentieth-Century Battles Series
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 812,446
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

H. P. Willmott has written extensively on warfare in general and the Second World War in particular. Among his books are Empires in the Balance; The Barrier and the Javelin; The Great
Crusade (a military reinterpretation of the Second World War); Grave of a Dozen Schemes: British
Naval Planning and the War against Japan, 1943–1945; and When Men Lost Faith in Reason:
Reflections on Warfare in the Twentieth Century. He lives in Englefield Green, Egham,
Surrey.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents
List of Maps
List of
Tables
Acknowledgments
1. The Nature of War and Victory
2. The Option of
Difficulties: The American Situation in the Aftermath of the Victory in the Philippine
Sea
3. The Search for Solutions: The Japanese Situation in the Aftermath of Defeat in the
Philippine Sea
4. Preliminaries: 6-18 October 1944
5. Advance and Contact,
18-24 October 1944
6. The Great Day of Wrath: 25 October 1944
7. The Naval
Battle for the Philippines: The Postscript, 26 October-30 November 1944
8. To Pause and
Consider: Blame, Responsibility, and the Verdict of
History.
Appendixes
Notes
Primary Sources
Secondary
Sources
Index

Indiana University Press

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2005

    Wilmott misses the point

    There is really very little new in this long-anticipated book. It hews to the doctrinaire historian line, i.e. that the overarching 'battle' consisted of four 'battles'. When the battle--as defined by the author--ended, the Gulf area was still not secure and the Japanese were continuing to reinforce Leyte. In reality, nothing much had changed except that key units of the Japanese fleet lay at the bottom of the Surigao Strait. But at this point in the war, large gunships counted for little in any event. The Battle really ended with the unheralded Battle of Ormoc Bay (mid-November through mid-December, 1944). At this point the Tokyo Express had been shutdown and MacArthur declared the end of the Battle for the central Philippines.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    This is one of the most poorly written books I have ever read..

    This is one of the most poorly written books I have ever read.. The
    writing is often tediously repetitious and contains numerous solecisms,
    odd word choice and awkward constructions. There are many places where
    the author assumes that the reader knows what he is talking about so he
    leaves out any complete explanation. As an example he writes several
    times about the "famous" message from Nimitz to Halsey but is
    not until p. 193 that he actually quotes the message. This is
    ridiculous. There are other quotes that lack proper attribution, which
    makes them very unhelpful. Willmott is very opinionated: instead of
    merely stating the objective facts and leading the reader to appropriate
    conclusions, he often repeats his very dogmatic and strident opinions
    as though mere repetition will convince anyone. Willmott is often
    insulting to many of the participants and to other historians with
    different views. This is very disturbing in what is supposed to be a
    scholarly work. This book needed substantial editing, and it is
    surprising that this kind of writing could have passed the attention of
    any reasonably competent editor. At best, it was a very difficult read
    as a result, and it certainly added nothing to my knowledge of the
    Battle of Leyte Gulf. This book is a disappointment and a decided waste
    of time. I cannot recommend reading Willmott's The Battle of Leyte Gulf
    to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2005

    An Important Scholarly Work

    H.P. Willmott has once again produced an important addition to the literature of the Second World War. His attention to historical detail combined with a compelling narrative - hallmarks of his previous works as well - make this an essential read for anyone interested in military history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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