“Oct 25 – Had raid about 9 P.M. Three Jap Task Forces headed towards Leyte to cut off our troops. Big naval battle in progress.”
This entry starts off in a very similar way to the previous entries, with Mike writing
“Had raid about 9 P.M.”
The next part is very interesting and different. Mike wrote “Three Jap Task Forces headed towards Leyte to cut off our troops.” To start this part off, I figured I should probably explain what a task force is in terms of it’s military significance. A task force , abbreviated as TF , is a smaller unit / formation created to complete one single task, and only that task. After it is complete they can be sent out to complete another specific task or disbanded.
For example, let’s say the Japanese have a weapons supply cache at the Northern side on an island, inside a cave, and the American soldiers want to destroy it. In order to do that they could create a “Task Force” comprised of ten, hand picked soldiers, to complete that task. Once finished the task force will be disbanded and the ten soldiers will return to their standard units.
Hopefully that example gives you a better picture of what a military task force is and how it works. If you’re still confused feel free to leave a comment below and I will happily responded to you as soon as I can.
Alright, let’s get back to the journal entry. Mike mentioned how the “Three Jap Task Forces” are “headed towards Leyte to cut off our troops.” In Entry #79 I explained the geography of Leyte Island, and where in the world / Philippines it actually is. I also explained the significance of it during WWII and talked about the major battle that took place there. If you don’t know too much about Leyte, I strongly recommend going back and reading through that entry, as it will also help you understand the following entries. You can do so by clicking on this.
This is very crucial information for the allies to know, as they might be able to prevent the Japanese soldiers from doing so. I do not know exactly what island Mike was on or near when he wrote this, as he typically does not write these sort of things down. I have read this whole journal, so without spoiling too much, I can tell you he is not currently at Leyte Island, but will be there soon.
The final part of this entry, although short is very crucial information, in terms of historical significance. Mike finished this entry off by writing “Big naval battle in progress.”
The battle he is most likely referring to is the Battle of Samar. Which historically is accurate, as this battle did occur on Wednesday, October 25th 1944, the same day Mike wrote this. The rest of this entry will not directly have to do with Mike, but instead the Battle of Samar. Since he wrote it down, I feel it’s important to bring attention to it and talk about it’s significance.
The Battle of Samar was no ordinary naval battle, it was / is one of the most important naval battles to have ever taken place. To give a little more context, it was part of the much larger naval battle occurring at this time, known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. As previously mentioned I discussed this in a previous entry so I will not being going into too much detail on it. Overall, the Battle of Leyte Gulf is ranked as one of the largest naval battles to have ever taken place, by many historians.
The Battle of Samar was a battle that took place within the overall campaign for Leyte Gulf. It was actually the most important, and largest single fight of that whole campaign, being the center of most of the fighting. It is ranked by many historians as one of greatest, most mismatched battles in military history. As the American soldiers were very under-prepared and under-armed compared to the Japanese soldiers. This battle ultimately led to the defeat of the Japanese Navy during WWII, making it incredibly important and interesting.
Below will be a link to this amazing website I found going into immense detail about the Battle of Samar. It explains the exact events that occurred during this battle, almost hour by hour, and does a much greater job at explaining it’s importance than I do. The website also has some incredible photographs from this battle. I highly recommend going there if you’re interested in this battle and would like to learn more about it: