Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time - We Are The Mighty
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Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The World War II Battle of Leyte Gulf, a decisive Allied victory that decimated the Japanese Navy, began on Oct. 23, 1944, 74 years ago.

And it’s considered to be the largest naval battle of all-time.

A few days before the battle began, the Allies (and even General Douglas MacArthur himself) had landed on Leyte island to begin liberating the Phillippines, which the Japanese were intent on stopping.

The result was a horrific three-day battle (which was actually several smaller battles, namely the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle off Samar, and the Battle of Cape Engaño) that involved several hundred ships.

In the end, the US had lost three aircraft carriers, two destroyers, several hundred aircraft, took about 3,000 casualties. But the Japanese Navy had lost four carriers, three battleships, six heavy cruisers, nine destroyers, took about 10,000-12,000 casualties, among other losses.

Check out some of the intense photos from the battle.


Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The Princeton’s flight deck after getting struck during the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea on Oct. 24, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

USS Gambier Bay (CVE 73) and another escort carrier, and two destroyer escorts smoke from battle damage during the Battle off Samar on Oct. 25, 1944.

The USS Gambier Bay billowing smoke after likely getting struck by Japanese cruisers, which are credited with sinking the US escort carrier.

Read more about escort carriers here.

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The USS St. Lo (CV 63) burning during the Battle off Samar on Oct. 25, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The US escort carrier USS Kitkun Bay prepares to launch Grumman FM-2 Wildcat fighters during the Battle of Samar on 25 October 1944. In the distance, Japanese shells are splashing near the USS White Plains.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The Zuikaku under attack during the Battle of Cape Engaño on Oct. 25th, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The Zuikaku under attack during the Battle of Cape Engaño on Oct. 25th, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

US cruisers fire salvoes on Japanese ships during the Battle of Surigao Strait on Oct. 25, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The Fusō under air attack just hours before the Battle of Surigao Strait on Oct. 25, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

Intense photos show the largest naval battle of all-time

The Yamashiro or Fusō under air attack by US aircraft hours before the Battle of Surigao Strait on Oct. 25, 1944.

(US Navy photo)

And here’s a view directly on top of either the Fusō or Yamashiro as it’s bombed by US aircraft from above, some of which were launched by the famed aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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