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Battle of Leyte Gulf

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", with over 200,000 naval personnel involved. It was fought in waters near the Philippine islands of Leyte and Luzon, from 23–26 October 1944, between combined American and Australian forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy, as 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. By the time of the battle, Japan had fewer capital ships left than the Allied forces had total aircraft carriers, underscoring the disparity in force strength at this point in the war. Regardless, the IJN mobilized nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels in an attempt to defeat the Allied invasion, but it was repulsed by the U. S. Navy's Seventh fleets; the battle consisted of four main separate engagements: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle off Cape Engaño and the Battle off Samar, as well as lesser actions.

This was the first battle in which Japanese aircraft carried out organized kamikaze attacks, the last naval battle between battleships in history. The IJN suffered heavy losses and never sailed in comparable force thereafter, stranded for lack of fuel in their bases for the rest of the war, were unable to affect the successful Allied invasion of Leyte; the campaigns of August 1942 to early 1944 had driven Japanese forces from many of their island bases in the south and the central Pacific Ocean, while isolating many of their other bases, in June 1944, a series of American amphibious landings supported by the Fifth Fleet's Fast Carrier Task Force captured most of the Mariana Islands. This offensive breached Japan's strategic inner defense ring and gave the Americans a base from which long-range Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers could attack the Japanese home islands; the Japanese counterattacked in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The U. S. Navy destroyed three Japanese aircraft carriers, damaged other ships, shot down 600 Japanese aircraft, leaving the IJN with little carrier-borne air power and few experienced pilots.

However, the considerable land based air power the Japanese had amassed in the Philippines was thought too dangerous to bypass by many high-ranking officers outside the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Admiral Chester Nimitz. The next logical step was to cut Japan's supply lines to Southeast Asia, depriving them of fuel and other necessities of war, but there were two different plans for doing so. Admiral Ernest J. King, other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Nimitz favored blockading Japanese forces in the Philippines and invading Formosa, while U. S. Army General Douglas MacArthur, wanting to make good on his famous 1942 promise "I shall return", championed an invasion of the Philippines. While Formosa could serve as a base for an invasion of mainland China, which MacArthur felt was unnecessary, it was estimated that it would require about 12 divisions from the Army and Marines. Meanwhile, the entire Australian Army was engaged in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea in the Dutch East Indies and on various other Pacific islands, so an invasion of Formosa would require much larger ground forces than were available in the Pacific in late 1944 until the defeat of Germany freed the necessary manpower.

A meeting between MacArthur and President Roosevelt helped confirm the Philippines as a strategic target but did not reach a decision, the debate continued for two months. Nimitz changed his mind and agreed to MacArthur's plan, it was decided that MacArthur's forces would invade the island of Leyte in the central Philippines. Amphibious forces and close naval support would be provided by the Seventh Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid; the Seventh Fleet at this time contained units of the U. S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. Before the major naval actions in Leyte Gulf had begun, HMAS Australia and USS Honolulu were damaged by air attacks; the U. S. 3rd Fleet, commanded by Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. with Task Force 38, as its main component would provide more distant cover and support for the invasion. A fundamental defect in this plan was there would be no single American naval admiral in overall command. Kinkaid fell under MacArthur as Supreme Allied Commander Southwest Pacific, whereas Halsey's Third Fleet reported to Nimitz as C-in-C Pacific Ocean Areas.

This lack of unity of command, along with failures in communication, was to produce a crisis and nearly a strategic disaster for the American forces. By coincidence, the Japanese plan, using three separate fleets lacked an overall commander; the American options were apparent to the IJN. Combined Fleet Chief Soemu Toyoda prepared four "victory" plans: Shō-Gō 1 was a major naval operation in the Philippines, while Shō-Gō 2, Shō-Gō 3 and Shō-Gō 4 were responses to attacks on Formosa, the Ryukyu Islands, the Kurile Islands, respectively; the plans were for complex offensive operations committing nearly all available forces to a decisive battle, despite depleting Japan's slender reserves of fuel oil. On 12 October 1944, Halsey began a series of

Freebooters F.C.

Freebooters F. C was an association football club from Sandymount, Ireland, their highest achievement was reaching the Irish Cup final, staged at the City and County Grounds, Jones Road, now Croke Park. They lost to Cliftonville F. C. in the first Irish Cup final to be played outside Belfast. Freebooters had beaten Linfield F. C. 2-1 in the semi final at the Jones Road venue. The club lost 1-0 in the 1900 Leinster Senior Cup final to local rivals Shelbourne F. C.. Freebooters' ground was on the Sandymount Road in Dublin, between the Star of the Sea Church and Ringsend, it was leased by the Catholic University Medical School. The club was made up of a number of players, to public school in England, such families as the O'Reilly's, McCanns, Meldons, they were keen cricket players. In 1906 Shelbourne F. C. began playing their home games on this ground. Irish Cup runners-up: 11901Leinster Senior Cup runners-up: 11900 Freebooters players represented Ireland at international level in the British Home Championship.

Harry O'Reilly James V. Nolan-Whelan BL J. Mansfield Other soccer clubs have adopted the name Freebooters, in Cork and in Kilkenny. Freebooters came runners-up in the FAI Intermediate Cup in 1949 played in the Cork Business and Shipping League, Freebooters was formed in 1950 by workers from the Post Office, one of the players had moved from Freebooters in Cork and so they chose the name

Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve

The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is a 1,416-square-mile dark-sky preserve near the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, in the U. S. state of Idaho. It was designated on December 18, 2017 and is the first gold-tier dark sky preserve in the United States; the area was designated by International Dark-Sky Association. The area includes the city of Ketchum, Idaho, separately designated a "Dark Sky Community" in 2017. Idaho State Highway 75 in the Sawtooth Valley between Redfish Lake and Pettit Lake traverses the reserve's "core areas". Several sky quality meters are installed along State Highway 75 in this area. Local communities and federal authorities collaborated in the designation; the U. S. Forest Service, which manages much of the land in the area, will post informational signs about the dark sky reserve, has said it will reduce light pollution from its buildings. Another dark sky certification effort was under way in 2017 about 80 miles away at Bruneau Dunes State Park, which hosts a public astronomical observatory.

Official website Todd Zwillich, "U. S. Gets its First International Dark Sky Reserve in Idaho", The Takeaway, Public Radio International and WNYC