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Battle of Leyte Gulf

Battle Map - Click on image for a larger viewLeyte Gulf commemorates the largest naval battle in modern history, fought 23-26 October 1944 in the Philippines, this battle virtually ended the Japanese Navy's capacity to fight as an organized force.

The battle marked the end of centuries of naval warfare tradition in that it was the last sea battle between forces employing battleships. It also marked the last time surface ships employed the classic maneuver of "crossing the T," when the Japanese ships attempted to enter the Gulf through Surigao Strait early on 23 October.

The battle was showcased by three separate primary engagements: The Battle of Surigao Straits, the Battle off Samar Island, and the Battle of Cape Engano. Called the last of the great sea battles, the Battle of Leyte Gulf used every known weapon of naval war, except mines, and in shear destruction the battle has no rival in naval history.

The battle was noteworthy in another sense in that it saw the first attacks by Kamikaze planes, when on 25 October, five planes swooped down upon escort carriers on the U.S. Seventh Fleet. The Kamikazes might justifiably be considered the forerunners of modern cruise missiles and, therefore, form the historic rationale for anti-air missile systems. Thus, the genesis of the AEGIS Weapon System has its root in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

No previous U.S. Navy ship has borne this name although three prior Navy ships carried the name LEYTE to sea.