Hans L Jensen
Ens Jensen first to spot the Japanese Central Force at Leyte Gulf
David Curtis Wright
Department of History
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
(403) 220-6408
Fax (403) 289-8566

David is the nephew of Ens Jensen and has started to research Jensen's service and his roll in the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 Oct 44.  Based on Jensen's Aircraft Action Report, he was the first to spot the Japanese fleet which had slipped through and the escort carriers of the 3 Taffy groups were all that stood in the way of Vice Adm. Takeo Kurita and his Center Force. Jensen's radioman, Don G. Lehman had picked up a large number of ships on his radarscope and Jensen proceeded outside his sector. What they came face to face with is now history and by most historian's accounts, the greatest Naval Battle ever fought!
Jensen proceed 35 miles North and broke out of the clouds at 1500' and spotted the enemy at 2 miles. He came under immediate AA fire.  He made an unsupported attack on a Mogami Class Cruiser. Armed with only 3 350# depth bombs,he released on his target.  Ken Soter noted they hit about 50' off the starboard quarter. As they pulled out, Soter and Lehman strafed the deck.

The AA fire was still inaccurate until they neared the clouds when several violent burst were felt.  Jensen continued to circle and noticed one of the ship had Cataputed a Mitsubishi F1M "Pete", a spotter plane.  He hid in the clouds until the Pete was coming toward him on an opposite course. He was so close,his bullets could not converge on the fuselage but recorded hits on the wing. The turret gunner recorded hits on the wings and fuselage as they passed. When last seen, it was headed back to its ship. The "Pete's" rear gunner return fire but like the AA fire, inaccurate!

He returned to the main force and gave amplifying reports to the Natoma Bay.

He could not land on the CVE-76 and went to Tacloban and refueled and rearmed with 4 250# bombs. But, first Soter had to figure how to rig the Army's bombs to fit on a Navy plane!! He used bailing wire and modified the pods on the TBM. While he was re-rigging, several Japanese planes came in an strafed the field and they all had to dive for cover. Lehman later noted he now knew firsthand what it was like in a "Foxhole"!

After Soter finished, Jensen requested a target but was told to return to his ship. On the way, he encourntered 2 Destroyers and dropped his bombs scoring at least one hit on the bow of one.

For his heroic actions, Ens Jensen was awared  the NAVY CROSS and the AIR MEDAL.  Don Lehman was awared the AIR MEDAL and Ken Soter received a LETTER OF COMMENDATION.
Ens. Hans Lundby Jensen,Jr.
5 Oct 1924.                                                             27 Nov 1944
Donald G. Lehman, ARM3c
Received the Air Medal

Kenneth Soter, AMM3c
Top gunner
Received a Letter of Commendation
Awarded the Navy Cross and  the Air Medal for 25 Oct 44, both posthumously

This page was last updated on: April 25, 2003

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