As I understand it, Admiral Halsey was dupped into believing that the Japanese force was headed north in a retreat, not realizing that it was a ruse, so that; I Think that Kurita's force could sneak in and create havoc for the landings on the beachhead. His force being a Battle Force, (no Carriers). Thanks to the DD's and DE's, along with the Jeep Carriers, which by the way suffered heavy losses, Kurita was dupped into reatreating, thinking he had run into a much larger force. I also think it was this battle that Admiral Nimitz radioed the famous message " The world wonders" Where is the Third Fleet??