The Battle of Leyte Gulf is considered to have been the largest naval battle of World War II and is, by some criteria, a contender for the title "largest naval battle in history". It was fought in waters near the Philippine islands of Leyte, Samar, and Luzon from 23–26 October 1944, between combined American and Australian forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy. The battle was part of the invasion of Leyte, which aimed to isolate Japan from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia which were a vital source of industrial and oil supplies. (ref. Wikipedia) The battle involved more than 800 ships, 1,800 aircraft, and 200,000 combined military combatants and was the first time that organized kamikaze attacks were utilized by the Japanese.
From October 1944 and into 1945, many Philippine islands, including Leyte, were cleared of Japanese soldiers. During the campaign, the Imperial Japanese Army conducted a suicidal defense of the islands. It took 67 days to subdue, with the loss of more than 55,000 Japanese soldiers during the worst two months of battle, and approximately another 25,000 dead during mopping up pockets of resistance in early 1945. The U.S. forces lost about 3,500.
Despite the date commonly applied to the battle's end (October 26, 1944), when Tony disembarked from the S.S. Matthew P. Deady on November 1, the fighting was still in progress. On November 2 the S.S. Deady was hit by a kamikaze plane and 27 of the men aboard were killed.
Burial at sea