Surigao Strait from Leyte Gulf.

The track charts below show movements preceding the battle.

Northern Force approaches, Halsey closes Center Force transits San Bernardino Str Kurita's intent Contact
Dawn of 25 October 1944 found Taffy 3 east of Samar steaming north as the Northern Air Support Group. Taffy 2 was in the central position patrolling off the entrance to Leyte Gulf, and Taffy 1 covered the Southern approaches to the Gulf some 130 miles to the southeast.

At 0645 Taffy 3’s lookouts observed antiaircraft fire to the northward.

Within three minutes, Taffy 3 was under heavy fire from Japanese Admiral Kurita’s powerful Center Force of four battleships, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and 11 destroyers. The only chance for survival of the American ships lay in slowing the advances of the enemy warships while withdrawing toward Leyte Gulf and the prospect of assistance. The carriers promptly launched their planes to attack the Japanese vessels and the escorts promptly set to work generating smoke to hide the American ships.