Diary October 24, 1944

US escort carrier St Lo explodes
US escort carrier St Lo explodes after bombardment by the Japanese battle fleet off Samar.
War Diary for Tuesday, October 24, 1944:

Sea War

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 ForcesJapanese LossesUS ForcesUS Losses
Planes916500?over 200
Men 42,800 10,000 killed 143,668 2,803 killed

Russian Front

Russians capture Augusto, near East Prussia-Poland border.

Western Front

2nd US Army captures Hertogenbosch.
Hitler tells his generals he intends to launch surprise counteroffensive against the weakest point (the Ardennes) in Allied line.

Burma and China

Stilwell’s CHI command split into ‘India-Burma Theater’ and ‘China Theater’, under Generals Sultan and Wede­meyer, resp.

Home Fronts

France: Death of Louis Renault, automobile manufacture; aged 62.

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