The Battle for the Layte Gulf in 1944 Loaded with Lessons
"SEA OF THUNDER" by Evan Thomas is now ranked the 27th in the list of hard-cover nonfictions by The New York Times.
It depicts the Pacific War between the Empire of Japan and the U.S. from 1941 to 1945.
It is a little surprise that this kind of theme has still some impacts on some sorts of people in the U.S., though millions of people there have had any associations with U.S. defense directly or indirectly.
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The last year a Japanese film maker released a movie featuring the battleship Yamato, the largest and the strongest warship ever built by human beings, at least before the age of aircraft carrier's dominance.
This year Mr. Clint Eastwood's movies on the Battle of Iwo-jima, fought in February and March in 1945, were released in Japan and the U.S..
Yamato was destroyed and sunk under U.S. air attacks during its Kamikaze mission to the Battle of Okinawa in April, 1945.
However, I would rather honor the Imperial Navy in a different manner.
The greatest naval war ever fought by human beings is called the Battle for the Layte Gulf, the Philippines, in October 1944 in which the Imperial Navy lost not only another Yamato-class battleship Musashi that was fatally damaged by 20 torpedoes shot by U.S. war planes but also the substantial capability to deal with the massive U.S. military advancement to the mainland of Imperial Japan.
After this great naval battle, the Battle of Iwo-jima and the Battle of Okinawa were fought without a hope of changing a tide or recovering a loss or ultimately achieving an advantageous armistice with the Allied.
The two super-warships Yamato and Musashi, with several 46cm big guns equipped on each, might have blown off any ambitions of General Douglas MacArthur and the U.S. Seventh Fleet in and around the Layte Gulf.
But the history was different: the age of air battles over the ocean had already begun.
What is worse, in order to support the fleet, the Imperial Navy ordered an air squadron to conduct Kamikaze air-attacks, which was the first of a long series of this kind of suicide attacks that ensued until the end of the Pacific War in August, 1945.
The Battle for the Layte Gulf should be remembered most significantly as the last full-dress naval battle for the Imperial Navy with even a slight chance of winning as well as the onset of the Kamikaze attacks which should have been also the last and final or only once.
US Strength around Leyte Gulf, the Philippines:
8 fleet carriers
8 light carriers
18 escort carriers
141 destroyers and destroyer escorts
Many PT boats, submarines, and fleet auxiliaries
About 1,500 planes
Empire of Japan's Strength toward Leyte Gulf, the Philippines:
1 fleet carrier
3 light carriers
14 heavy cruisers
6 light cruisers
300+ planes (including land-based aircraft)
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Now, Japan has other types of Yamato and Musashi in various fields of its modern industries.
But, where has the Kamikaze spirit gone?
It is one of my worries.
It should have gone to the highest sky over the Pacific Ocean forever.
Not to anywhere on the earth.
"THE SEEDS THE PEACEMAKERS PLANT IN THE PEACE"