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December 07, 2017

Remember Pearl Harbor



Dave In Texas used to do the war remembrance threads. He was good at it. I'm not, and I don't have much knowledge about WWII at all.

A friend told me about one of the most famous naval battles of WWII -- yes, I confess, I didn't know about it; I know WWII battles like I know shelving -- and I thought I'd post about that.

This has nothing to do with Pearl Harbor, except it was a major sea battle that came about due to Pearl Harbor. This happened in 1944.

Most of you guys are well-acquainted with the Battle of Leyte Gulf and Taffy 3's heroic David vs. Goliath stand, but here's the gist of it.

The Battle off Samar was the centermost action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, which took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, in the Philippines on October 25, 1944. As the only major action in the larger battle where the Americans were largely unprepared against the opposing forces, it has been cited by historians as one of the greatest military mismatches in naval history.

Adm. William Halsey, Jr. was lured into taking his powerful 3rd Fleet after a decoy fleet, leaving only three escort carrier groups of the 7th Fleet. The escort carriers and destroyer escorts which had been designed to protect slow convoys from submarine attack had been repurposed to attack ground targets, and had few torpedoes as they could normally rely on Halsey's fleet to protect them from any threats from armored warships. A Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers, battered earlier in the larger battle and thought to have been in retreat, instead turned around unobserved and encountered the northernmost of the three groups, Task Unit 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3"), commanded by Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. Taffy 3's seven destroyers and destroyer escorts possessed neither the firepower nor armor to effectively oppose the 23 ships of the Japanese force, but nevertheless desperately attacked with 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal guns and torpedoes to cover the retreat of their slow "jeep" carriers.

So it was a colossal mismatch. Not only did the Americans have fewer ships, but their ships were positively dinky compared to the well-armored and heavily armed Japanese fleet.

And yet... Sometimes audacity, aggression, guts, and couple of lucky breaks may actually back down a much bigger opponent.


That's a short take (15 minutes). I believe this link is to the full 45 minute History channel episode about the engagement.

digg this
posted by Ace at 06:03 PM

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