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Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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Battle of Leyte Gulf

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Kamikazes: Battle of Leyte Gulf

In the Battle off Samar on October 25, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the first organized Kamikaze attacks occured.  Focusing on U.S. Navy escort aircraft carriers, the pilots hit USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71), USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70), USS Sangamon (CVE-26), USS Santee (CVE-29), USS St. Lo (CVE-63), USS Suwannee (CVE-27), and USS White Plains (CVE-66), amongst others.  Though confronted with this new problem, the U.S. Navy did not realize Kamikazes were the beginning of a distinctly unpleasant tactic. 

Collage of images:  80-G-288881-82 and 86:  Battle of Leyte Gulf, Battle off Samar, October 25, 1944.  Japanese "Zeke" fighter attempting a kamikaze attack on USS White Plains (CVE-66).  Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.