The second stage of the battle occurred when a Japanese force led by admiral Kurita of battleships and cruisers came upon a force of escort carriersof task force Tafy 3 commanded by Rear Admiral AF Sprague, off Samar. The escort carriers were hit repeatedly by the guns of the Japanese force. However, daring attacks by three American destroyers, as well as desperate attacks by all of the carriers planes succeeded in driving off the superior Japanese force. The Americans lost only the escort carriers Gambier Bay and St Lo. Two destroyers and a destroyer escort that had gallantly attacked the Japanese battleships were also lost. The invasion fleet however, was safe.
The final act in the battle occurred when US aircraft attacked the Northern Japanese force. Three Japanese carriers were sunk as well as a cruiser and destroyer. Most of the remaining vessels were heavily damaged.