Online Library of Selected Images:
-- JAPANESE NAVY SHIPS --

Yamato (Battleship, 1941-1945) --
in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, 22-26 October 1944

On 20 October 1944, U.S. Forces landed on the Island of Leyte, the first of the Japanese-held Philippine Islands to be invaded. In response, the Japanese Navy activated the complex "Sho-Go" Operation, in which several different surface and air forces would converge on the Philippines to try and drive off the Americans. As part of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Center Force, Yamato moved up to Brunei Bay, Borneo, to refuel and then steamed toward the operational area in company with four other battleships, ten heavy cruisers and numerous other warships. On 23 October, while west of the Philippines, the Center Force was attacked by the U.S. submarines Darter (SS-227) and Dace (SS-247). Three heavy cruisers were torpedoed and two sunk, including Kurita's flagship, Atago. The Admiral then moved to Yamato, which served as his flagship for the rest of the operation.

The next day, 24 October, as the Center Force steamed through the Philippines' central Sibuyan Sea, it was repeatedly attacked by planes from U.S. aircraft carriers. Battleship Musashi was sunk and a heavy cruiser forced to retire. Yamato and several other ships were hit but remained battleworthy. The Americans thought the entire Center Force had retreated, but it transited the San Bernardino Strait under cover of darkness and entered the Pacific.

In the morning of 25 October, while off Samar, Kurita's Center Force encountered a U.S. Navy escort aircraft carrier task group. In a long running battle, in which Yamato fired her big guns at enemy ships for the only time in her career, one U.S. carrier and three destroyers were sunk. Fiercely opposed by the escort carriers' planes and the destroyers' guns and torpedoes, Vice Admiral Kurita lost three heavy cruisers, and his nerve. Though the way was almost clear to move onward to Leyte Gulf, where a climactic battleship gunnery duel would have certainly resulted, he ordered his force to withdraw and return to Brunei Bay. That ended Yamato's participation in the last great naval battle of World War II, and marked the end of the Japanese Fleet as a major threat to Allied offensive operations in the Western Pacific.

This page features all our images of the Japanese battleship Yamato during the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf.

For more views of the battleship Yamato, see: Yamato (Japanese Battleship, 1941-1945).

Click the photograph for a larger image.

The following photographs show Yamato as she prepared for participation in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Photo #: NH 73090

Japanese Battleships at Brunei, Borneo, October 1944


Photographed just prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Ships are, from left to right: Musashi, Yamato, a cruiser and Nagato.

Courtesy of Mr. Kazutoshi Hando, 1970.

Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 120KB; 740 x 550 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 63435

Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944


The Japanese "Center Force" leaves Brunei Bay, Borneo, on 22 October 1944, en route to the Philippines.
Ships are, from right to left: battleships Nagato, Musashi and Yamato; heavy cruisers Maya, Chokai, Takao, Atago, Haguro and Myoko.

Courtesy of Lieutenant Tobei Shiraishi.

Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 173KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 


The following photographs show Yamato (or what may be Yamato) during the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944:

Photo #: 80-G-46986

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944


Japanese battleship Yamato (lower center) and other ships maneuver while under attack by U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft in the Sibuyan Sea.
The shadow of one plane is visible on a cloud in lower right center.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 101KB; 660 x 675 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-325953

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944


Japanese battleship Yamato in action with U.S. carrier planes, as she transited the Sibuyan Sea.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 123KB; 740 x 550 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-325952

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944


Japanese battleship Yamato is hit by a bomb near her forward 460mm gun turret, during attacks by U.S. carrier planes as she transited the Sibuyan Sea.
This hit did not produce serious damage.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 106KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-272550

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944


A Japanese battleship (at left--either Yamato or Musashi) and other warships maneuver while under attack by U.S. carrier planes in the Sibuyan Sea. Ship in lower left and the two at the extreme right are heavy cruisers.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 137KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives

 


The following photographs show Yamato during the Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944:

Photo #: 80-G-48888

Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944


Japanese battleship Yamato (right) in action with U.S. carrier planes off Samar. Another battleship is in the left distance, steaming in the opposite direction.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 66KB; 740 x 615 pixels

Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives

 
Photo #: 80-G-378525

Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944


Japanese battleship Yamato (foreground) and a heavy cruiser in action during the Battle off Samar.
The cruiser appears to be either Tone or Chikuma.
Photographed from a USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80) plane.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 155KB; 740 x 615 pixels

Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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