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Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied And Japanese Plans, Preparations, And Execution by Milan N. Vego
ISBN: 1557508852
ISBN13: 978-1557508850
Author: Milan N. Vego
Book title: Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied And Japanese Plans, Preparations, And Execution
Other Formats: txt lit lrf azw
Pages: 479 pages
Publisher: Naval Institute Press (March 13, 2006)
Language: English
Size PDF version: 1974 kb
Size ePub version: 1385 kb
Size fb2 version: 1727 kb
Category: Military


Books reviews
Per its title, this book describes the plans, preparations and execution of Allied and Japanese forces in the battle for Leyte. Unlike the many authors nowadays who rely heavily on "human interest" anecdotes, Vego describes in great detail not only the thoughts and decisions of the officers directing the various actions of the battle, and what happened as a result, but also the geographical, meteorological, logistical, organizational, and intelligence- and communication-systems contexts.

To give a few examples, Vego relates that 35 inches of rain fell in the 40 days of the main actions, saturating the soil so as to seriously hinder American airfield and road construction and movement of supplies and heavy equipment, and that Japanese possession of weather stations out to the west enabled them to accurately predict movement of fronts in the area and bring reinforcements and supplies in under cloud cover. He also describes in detail the situation existing in the American radio message handling networks, providing vital context as to why communications among the commanders were so poor.

The description and analysis of the controversial decisions by Halsey, Kinkaid and Kurita in the naval battle, in particular, surpass in depth and detail those in any of the many other books I've read over the years.

Note, however, that the depth and detail are in regard to the thoughts, actions and informational and cognitive context of those directing the planning, preparation and execution, and of the resulting outcomes from the viewpoints of those providing that direction.

There are no stirring, blow-by-blow narratives of the actual combat.
I haven't not finished it yet but I am plodding through. Tons of acronyms and jargon and more detail than I ever wanted to know but it is covering the subject well. Be prepared for a real slog of a read!
The battle for Leyte was one of the big ones. It was one of the few where Nimitz and MacArthur worked together to come up with the forces needed to begin taking back the Phillipines. In this book Mr. Vego shows an extraordinary amount of research in what both the Allies (mostly American) and the Japanese were doing to prepare for and fight the battle.

The most famous part of the battle was Halsey's decision to take virtually all of his carrier force north to fight the Japanese northern decoy force. This, of course, left the naval forces around Leyte very weak. This event again shows the careful research that characterizes the book.

Years later Halsey still defended his actions saying, 'given the same circumstances and the same information ..., I would make it again.' The author's conclusion, 'no decision can be considered sound if the commander does exactly what the enemy wants him to do.'

Writing many years after the battle Mr. Vego has the ability to draw a whole series of conclusions about the battle (too many to go into here) and his final chapters are a masterpiece of conclusions and lessons learned.
One of the few books dedicated to the Battle of Leyte in detail. My father won 3 bronze stars at Leyte, but never really told us much of the detail as was common of the WWII vets that saw too much. Glad to have this perspective and detail to understand what he went through.
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