Leyte Gulf, Battle of
(Oct. 23–26, 1944) Decisive air and sea battle of World War II that gave the Allies control of the Pacific. After the U.S. amphibious landing on the Philippine island of Leyte (Oct. 20), the Japanese reacted with a plan to decoy the U.S. fleet north while moving three attack forces into Leyte Gulf. The U.S. discovery of one of the forces as it moved into position set off three days of continuous surface and air clashes. In the largest naval battle of the war, U.S. forces crippled the Japanese fleet and forced it to withdraw, allowing the U.S. to complete its invasion of the Philippines.
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