The Battle of Leyte Gulf is also known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea. It is considered as the biggest battle in the World War II. According to other criteria, it is the biggest naval battle in history. Other, great naval battles in history were: Battle of Salamis (480 BCE) and the Battle of Red Cliffs (208CE). The Battle of Leyte Gulf was fought near Philippine islands of Leyte (Luzon and Samar). It lasted from 23 to 26 October 1944, between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the combined forces of Australian and American forces.
United States invaded the island of Leyte on 20th October. This was a strategy to isolate Japan from territories they conquered in Southeast Asia. It should also prevent Japan from using oil supplies from those territories. For the Battle of Leyte Gulf, almost entire Imperial Japanese Navy was mobilized. They wanted to defeat Allied forces. The Imperial Japanese Navy failed its main objective. They suffered heavy losses from the U.S. Navy’s 3rd and 7th fleets. Ships and vessels that survived the battle, stayed in bases during the rest of the Pacific War.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of: the Battle of Cape Engaño, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle off Samar and the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea. The American and Australian forces consisted of: 8 fleet carrier, 8 light carriers, 18 escort carriers, 12 battleships, 24 cruisers, 166 destroyers and 1.500 planes. The Imperial Japanese Navy had at its disposal: 1 fleet carrier, 3 light carriers, 9 battleships, 14 heavy cruisers, 6 light cruisers, 35 destroyers and more than 300 planes.