By Christopher Miskimon
The Battle of Leyte Gulf, while the largest naval battle in history, was composed of four major actions occurring over two days. The Imperial Japanese Navy staked its hopes on the outcome of the war on this fight, marshalling the bulk of its remaining strength in an attempt to defeat the U.S. Navy and prevent the loss of the Philippines, without which the war could not be won. In fact, the Japanese entered the fight with no real hope of success but felt they had to try. At Cape Engano, the Japanese succeeded in luring the main American force north, away from the landing sites on Leyte, but suffered terrible losses for their effort. At Surigao Strait, the opposing forces fought the last battleship action in history.
The author is an acknowledged expert on the Pacific War and the World War II U.S. and Japanese navies. His depth of knowledge and insight figure prominently in this new work, the second in a compact yet thorough account of Leyte Gulf. As is standard with Osprey’s Campaign series, this book is liberally illustrated with photographs and original artwork.
Leyte Gulf 1944 (2): Surigao Strait and Cape Engano (Mark Stille, Osprey Books, Oxford, UK, 2022, 96 pp., maps, photographs, biblio- graphy, index, $24, softcover)