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Battle Of Leyte Gulf Essay

1719 words - 7 pages

Using either the Leyte Gulf operation or the Falkland conflict as an example, select TWO of the Operational Functions listed below and discuss the impact they had on both belligerents during the planning, synchronization and conduct of the operation.
Movement and Maneuver – The discussion should include how both sides conducted maneuver and movement as well as the capabilities each side possessed.

Japanese Movement and Maneuver

The first thing that should be noted was the reason why the Northern Force was used to lure the 3rd Fleet away from the Philippines. Four months earlier in June 1944 the battle of the Philippine sea took place. This was the Japanese attempt to defeat the US Carrier Force with everything they had. The end result was 3 Japanese aircraft carriers sunk and over 600 Japanese aircraft shot down or destroyed. After this engagement, the Japanese carrier force was virtually useless because of the lack of planes and pilots, especially experienced pilots.

Because of the supplies and routes to/from the Philippines, the Japanese command knew that if the Philippines were lost, then the war was lost. The Japanese came up with another plan for an all out battle to destroy the US invasion force just as they tried to do before in the battle of the Philippine sea. This time they took extreme measures that if all worked as planned could possibly destroy the US invasion fleet. They knew that the US regarded aircraft carriers as the most valuable/dangerous targets in the Navy so they used their remaining four carriers to lure the 3rd Fleet away.
Vice Admiral Ozawa, came down from the North and drew off the main American covering force. At the same time, the Central and Southern forces would try to penetrate the Central Philippines and then converge on the invasion shipping in Leyte Gulf.
The Center force would attempt to go through the San Bernadino Strait and then sail down the coast of Samar and attack the American invasion fleet from the north east. The southern force would attempt to go through Surigao Strait just south of Leyte and attack the American invasion fleet from the south.
What I find interesting is that the Japanese knew they were totally and completely outmanned, outgunned and out matched. Although they wanted to lure the third fleet away temporarily, what did they expect to do once the third fleet returned? One would assume they were hoping to eliminate the landing force as a delay tactic until the US could form another one?
Vice Admiral Ozawa’s plan had worked. The 3rd fleet was drawn off and orders were given to the center and southern force to attack. Even though the US Fleets did not communicate with each other, the same can be said for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). If the IJN had better communications and timing, there is a much greater chance that their overly complicated plan could have possibly worked. Instead they attacked in an uncoordinated fashion which led to the overwhelming defeat of the...

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