Kurita, Admiral Takeo, 1889-1977

Kurita commanded the Close Support Force at Midway but his major engagement was the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. Here he commanded the formidable First Striking Force. On his way to Leyte Gulf, he was spotted by US forces, attacked and forced to take evasive action losing the Musashi. He therefore arrived at Leyte six hours late, but he still took the heavily outnumbered US transports and escorts completely by surprise. Kurita’s cruisers went into battle and sank three destroyers and an escort carrier; however when they finally gained the upper hand in the two-hour battle Kurita decided to withdraw. Although his ships might have been able to sink more US ships they would still not have scored the decisive victory required by the weak and outnumbered Japanese Navy.

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