About Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial
The Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial in California, United States, commemorates what is generally known as the biggest historic naval battle of World War Two. Fought in the seas around the Philippines in October 1944 between US and Japanese fleets, the Battle of Leyte Gulf is famed not just for its grand scale but also as a pivotal point in the Pacific campaign.
Indeed, this decisive US victory opened the way for recapturing the Philippines from the Japanese and gaining general control of the Pacific theatre.
Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial history
The operation – codenamed ‘King Two’ – launched the Philippines campaign from 1944 to recapture the entire archipelago and end three years of Japanese occupation in the region. The Japanese presence in the Philippines allowed them to control sea routes to Borneo and Sumatra (where they made rubber and petrol).
Because of the island of Leyte’s natural features, that allowed the US Army to land strategically, and the locals’ support of guerrilla forces against the Japanese, it became the site of the concluding battle. The US were attacked by an almost overwhelming force of Japanese battleships. Yet Admiral Sprague coolly directed his naval and air forces to repulse the Japanese attack.
Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial today
Today, you can visit the monument memorialising the conflict, also known as the Taffy 3 Memorial, consisting of 13 polished black granite panels (one for each ship) standing 5 feet high. The centrepiece is the bronze bust of Admiral Sprague, surrounded by historical information about the ships and battle manoeuvres inscribed into the pedestal. Inside the memorial museum you can also see period artefacts such as a Japanese Type 91 torpedo.
For another important memorial connected to the Battle of Leyte Gulf located in the Philippines, there is the Leyte Landing Memorial, which is in aid of the related Battle of Leyte.
Getting to the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial
Located in San Diego, California, along Tuna Wharf and North Harbor Drive, the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial is easily found on foot for those exploring the city. For those using public transport, take the coaster train to Santa Fe Depot or the SF bus to Bakersfield.