Takeo Kurita (b. 28 April 1889—19 December 1977) was a Vice Admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, and, with the famous super-battleship Yamato as his flagship, the commander of arguably the most powerful fleet in human history.
 Historical person
Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita is best known for being Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd IJN Fleet from 1943 on, which included the Yamato and her sister ship, Musashi (famous for being the heaviest battleships ever constructed), 3 other battleships, 10 cruisers and 13 destroyers (but no aircraft carriers). After his flagship, the cruiser Atago, was sunk by an American submarine six days prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf, forcing Kurita to swim for his life, he transferred his flag to the Yamato.
In the Battle off Samar (central part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf), Kurita's fleet ran into American task force "Taffy 3", composed of escort carriers and destroyers, 30 minutes after dawn. Believing he had chanced upon the carriers of the enemy 3rd Fleet, Vice Admiral Kurita ordered an immediate general attack although his ships were just in the process of changing their steaming formation from nighttime to air defense formation. His vastly superior force thus attacked in an uncoordinated fashion, exacerbated by the flagship Yamato falling far behind while avoiding an aerial torpedo attack. Kurita effectively lost tactical control of the battle. Facing dogged resistance from Taffy 3 (with additional air support from Taffy 2), Kurita mauled Taffy 3 but suffered relatively high losses in return and ordered his forces to regroup after about two and a half hours. Upon learning of the destruction of other nearby IJN forces, he decided to retreat.
After the war, he found work as a scrivener and masseur. It was not until late in his life that he talked about the war; he told his biographer that he withdrew because he felt the war was lost, and did not believe in wasting the lives of his men for a futile effort.
 See also
- Wikipedia article on Takeo Kurita