War Diary for Tuesday, October 24, 1944:
Pacific: BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF (October 24-26): 2 Japanese fleets converge on Leyte in desperate bid to destroy US invasion fleet by surface bombardment; 4 carriers are to be sacrificed as decoys (due to lack of pilots and planes). The plan almost succeeds – but heroic resistance of US TF 77 (6 escort carriers, 7 destroyers) prevents Admiral Kurita‘s 1st Striking Force from entering the Gulf (Action off Samar). Kamikaze planes later hit 5 escort carriers. Seven Hellcat fighters from USS Essex, led by Commodore McCampbell, shoot down 14 A6M Reisen fighters and 9 bombers, north of Philippines.
Battle of Surigao Strait (night October 24-25): 6 old US battleships (rebuilt after Pearl Harbor raid) with cruisers, destroyers and PT boats destroy 2 Japanese battleships and heavy cruiser Mogami approaching Leyte Gulf from south – last battleship-vs-battleship action of war.
Leyte Gulf Forces and Losses:
|Japanese Forces||Japanese Losses||US Forces||US Losses|
|Men||42,800||10,000 killed||143,668||2,803 killed|
Russians capture Augusto, near East Prussia-Poland border.
Burma and China
Stilwell’s CHI command split into ‘India-Burma Theater’ and ‘China Theater’, under Generals Sultan and Wedemeyer, resp.
France: Death of Louis Renault, automobile manufacture; aged 62.