21 July 2016
The battle involved 15 American aircraft carriers deploying some 900 aircraft on one side and nine Japanese flat-tops with about 450 planes on the other. When the smoke had cleared, three Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) carriers had been sunk (two by U.S. submarines, the other by carrier aircraft), with barely over 30 aircraft left on the decks on the remaining six flat-tops . In stark contrast, the U.S. Navy did not have a single flat-top sunk or damaged and suffered combat losses of 30-odd planes.
The Battle of the Philippine Sea is one of the largest naval encounters of World War II, but has often been overshadowed by other more illustrious fleet-on-fleet clashes of that particular conflict, especially the Midway and Guadalcanal campaigns preceding it, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf following it. The June 19-20, 1944 engagement is the last of the five carrier-versus-carrier clashes of the Pacific War, and it came about as the IJN sallied forth to contest Operation Forager – the American amphibious assault on the Mariana island of Saipan on June 15.
… Ben Ho Wan Beng is a Senior Analyst with the Military Studies Programme at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and has published with the likes of The Diplomat, USNI News, and The National Interest. While contemporary naval affairs are Ben’s main research interests, World War Two naval history will always have a special place in his heart as it reminds him of his childhood days reading up on, among others, the Battles of the Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz, Cape Esperance, and Bismarck Sea.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 21/07/2016