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Kurita turned his fleet around to get out of range of the aircraft, passing the crippled Musashi as his force retreated.
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A second wave from Intrepid, Essex and Lexington later attacked, with VB-15 Helldivers and VF-15 Hellcats from Essex, scoring another 10 hits on Musashi.
As she withdrew, listing to port, a third wave from Enterprise and Franklin hit her with an additional 11 bombs and eight torpedoes.
The Japanese counterattacked in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. However, Nimitz and Mac Arthur initially had opposing plans, with Nimitz's plan centered on an invasion of Formosa, since that could also cut the supply lines to Southeast Asia.
Formosa could also serve as a base for an invasion of mainland China, which Mac Arthur felt was unnecessary.
If it should remain in southern waters, it could not receive supplies of ammunition and arms.
There would be no sense in saving the fleet at the expense of the loss of the Philippines.
A meeting between Mac Arthur, Nimitz, and President Roosevelt helped confirm the Philippines as a strategic target, but had less to do with the final decision to invade the Philippines than is sometimes claimed. This was more land power than the Americans could muster in the whole Pacific Ocean area at that time, and the entire Australian Army was engaged in the Solomon Islands, on New Guinea, in the Dutch East Indies, and on various other Pacific islands. Halsey, Jr., with Task Force 38 (TF 38, the Fast Carrier Task Force, commanded by Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher) as its main component—would provide more distant cover and support for the invasion.
It was also estimated that an invasion of Formosa would require about 12 divisions of U. The invasion of Formosa would require much larger ground forces than were available in the Pacific in late 1944, and would not have been feasible until the defeat of Germany freed the necessary manpower. A fundamental defect in this plan was there would be no single American naval admiral in overall command.
Darter and Dace traveled on the surface at full power for several hours and gained a position ahead of Kurita's formation, with the intention of making a submerged attack at first light. At , Darter fired a blast of six torpedoes, at least four of which hit Kurita's flagship, the heavy cruiser Atago.
Ten minutes later, Darter made two hits on Atago Takao turned back to Brunei, escorted by two destroyers—and was followed by the two submarines.
Despite its great strength, 3rd Fleet was not well-placed to deal with the threat.