Admiral Halsey’s pilot reported that four of Kurita’s battleships had been severely damaged, that nine cruisers and destroyers had been sunk or heavily damaged, and that the remains of the armada were retreating westward. Halsey assumed that the Center Force was no longer a threat. On the contrary, air attacks by Halsey’s carriers, though damaging to the Japanese fleet, were not the knockout blows reported by the pilots.
Admiral Ozawa artfully coaxed Halsey to chase him. Desperate to lure the
Americans, Ozawa directed his pair of ships that were half-battleship and
half-carrier, the Ise and the Hyuga, to run south and find the
hostile fleet. U.S. planes scouring the area finally spotted the pair around
4:00 pm on Oct. 24.
about 5:30 pm, one spotted the carriers of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa’s Northern
Force 300 miles to the north of San Bernardino Strait. Now, Halsey regarded the
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