Battle of Cape Engaño

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The Battle of the Cape Engaño on October 25, 1994, was part of the battle for Leyte Gulf between the Japanese and American forces in the Philippines. American Admiral Halsey led the US fleet to engage Japanese Vice Admiral Ozawa's force.

The Battle

US Forces headed by Admiral Halsey consisted of Task Force 38, the Third Fleet, led by Vice Admiral Mitscher, and Task Force 34 led by Vice Admiral Lee. While the Japanese Mobile Force, part of the Northern Force, was under the command of Vice-Admiral Ozawa. However, Ozawa was intended to distract only the Americans as the Japanese took on their other advance.

The battle commenced when Admiral Halsey launched an attack against the Japanese Northern Force at midnight of October 24. He sent three aircraft-carrier ships to strike the enemies at daybreak. By four in the morning Vice Admiral Mitscher ordered his carriers to arm and be ready to launch aircraft. He launched the first attack group, 180 aircraft, to go ahead of his other carriers while he waited for the Japanese forces to be located.

At eight o'clock, attacks on Ozawa's ships began and it continued until evening. Little opposition was received from the Japanese forces. Mitscher's 527 aircrafts sunk Ozawa's flagship Zuikaku, the last one of those that attacked Pearl Harbor. Two light carriers and a destroyer also sank and other remaining ships were severely damaged.

Towards the middle of the day, signals were received by American officials that the Japanese forces were attacking the Seventh Fleet off Samar and were in desperate need of help from the Third Fleet. However, it was Vice Admiral Lee's Task Force 34 that was pulled out of Cape Engano before noon and sent to aid the Seventh Fleet. They, unfortunately, came too late. As a result, the Japanese Central Force under Vice Admiral Kurita managed to escape with its four battleships and five heavy cruisers.

Before midnight, the US submarine Jallao sank Ozawa's light cruiser Tama. This ended the Battle off Cape Engano and as the Japanese retreated on October 26, ended also the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

References

  • Summary of the Leyte Gulf Battle (Accessed on December 24, 2009)
  • Order of Battle: The Battle Off Cape Engaño (Accessed on December 24, 2009)
  • Battle of Cape Engaño October 25, 1944, in Maps of World War II (Accessed on December 24, 2009)

Citation

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