Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

70th Anniversary Battle off Samar

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by gq_johnnie, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,332
    Likes Received:
    1,484
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Midway...That would be the late launch of the Tone's No. 4 scout plane. I believe that "Shattered Sword" dispute that, and that if the plane had launched on time, she would have missed the Americans completely. I want to say that the authors also argue that one of the other Japanese planes should have sighted the Americans, but it didn't. Been a while since I read the book.
     
  2. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    3,009
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    of course, even with the scouts, the ocean being large,etc, intelligence and timing seem to be big factors.....
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,332
    Likes Received:
    1,484
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    You won't.

    Most of the early escort carriers went to the British under Lend-Lease, and even then, they did not really begin to be commissioned until mid-1942. The US Navy did not begin commissioning their new CVEs until June. If memory serves, they commissioned 1 in June, 3 in August, 4 in September...The USS Charger flip-flopped between the RN and USN, but was used mostly as a training carrier until late '42. So, even though these CVEs had been commissioned, they and their air groups still had to be "worked up" before they were ready to see combat.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,228
    Likes Received:
    2,029
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    For some reason, the heroics of Taffy 3 hold a special place in my heart. Here is a brief summary of the battle and the role of CVEs (Jeep carriers).
    In the Pacific, Jeeps performed less glamorous but no less important duties. Whether providing air cover for amphibious landings, ferrying planes, resupplying the big carriers or performing tactical air strikes in support of ground forces ashore, the little flat tops did whatever work had to be done. With all of their versatility, however, they were never designed to go toe-to-toe with heavy enemy surface units in a running sea battle. They never had to -- until Oct. 25, 1944, off the island of Samar in the Philippines.
    Task Group 77.4 consisted of 16 CVEs organized into three task units: Taffy 1, Taffy 2 and Taffy 3, so named because of their voice radio call signs. These Jeeps were tasked with protecting the transports unloading in Leyte Gulf and supporting troops ashore by striking enemy fortifications and airfields.
    The little escort carriers were preparing for another day when, early in the morning of Oct. 25, lookouts on board ships of Taffy 3 spotted Admiral Takeo Kurita's heavy surface force attempting to enter Leyte Gulf and attack the transports and beachhead. What Taffy 3 faced were four battleships and six heavy cruisers. Outgunned and out manned, the Jeeps and their accompanying destroyers and destroyer escorts did the only thing they could in the face of such overwhelming odds and firepower -- they attacked.
    Taffy 3, which would bear the brunt of the fighting, began launching aircraft and making smoke. Taffy 2 and Taffy 1, further away, began launching their aircraft to come to the aid of Taffy 3. No heavy American surface units or carriers were in the area; the Jeeps were on their own.
    [​IMG]
    Aircraft from the Jeeps attacked and harassed the enemy, bombing and strafing. Pilots then made "dry" runs on the cruisers and battleships when they ran out of ammunition, in the hope of distracting the enemy gunners from shooting at the little carriers. The gutsy little destroyers, completely over matched, bore in and carried out torpedo attacks, and fired at the massive battle wagons and cruisers with their relatively puny 5-inch battery guns. The escort carriers themselves were saved from utter destruction because of excellent maneuvering by their captains, and because, when hit, their thin armor permitted the Japanese shells to pass completely through without exploding.
    Bold tactics on the part of the carriers, their planes and destroyers convinced Kurita that he had encountered a much larger force of heavy American surface ships and carriers. He had no idea that relatively little stood between his ships and the transports now unloading in Leyte Gulf.
    With little knowledge of the situation, and with his ships widely dispersed after fending off the destroyer attacks, Kurita ordered his ships to break off the action and retire from the area. The fight, however, was still not over.
    [​IMG]
    Following Kurita's withdrawal, ships of Taffy 2 and Taffy 3 came under attack from kamikazes, or Japanese suicide pilots. The kamikazes inflicted far greater damage on the little carriers than did Kurita's gunfire, which only managed to account for one carrier, USS Gambier Bay (CVE 73). Hits were scored on Santee, Suwanee, USS Kitkun Bay (CVE 71) and USS St. Lo (CVE 63). Of these four, St. Lo (left) was hit hardest, and she sank as a result.
    This Battle off Samar, which lasted a little over two hours, wrote a glorious chapter in the history of the Jeep carriers. By the time Kurita broke off his attack and the kamikazes had been repulsed, more than 1,100 U.S. sailors were dead or missing. Two escort carriers were lost along with four of the gallant little destroyers. With no support from heavy American surface units or carriers, the Jeeps of Taffy 1, 2 and 3, their air crews and destroyers bravely and successfully defended the landing beaches and transports at Leyte Gulf.
    http://www.navy.mil/navydata/nav_legacy.asp?id=3
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    337
    They were mainly in the role of the Taffies at Leyte Gulf, providing close support to the landing forces and hopefully not engaging the enemy fleet. For example at the Marianas there were eight CVEs covering the landing on Saipan while TF58 fought the big carrier battle. The CVE air groups trained for and practiced close air support and were more effective in that role than the big carriers, but as you say it didn't grab many headlines.

    The first American CVEs in combat were the four Sangamon class, converted from fleet oilers (eight sister ships were felt to be more needed as oilers). They and Ranger (CV-4) formed the carrier force for the invasion of Morocco in November 1942*. Two of these were in the South Pacific for the battle of Rennell Island in January 1943, and the original CVE Long Island had earlier made an important contribution by flying aircraft in to Guadalcanal. AFAIK the first major CVE action in the Pacific was the Tarawa/Makin operation in November 1943 which included seven of them; IIRC two were ferrying aircraft to land on the newly captured airfields.

    Starting in mid-1943 several CVEs were in action in the Atlantic in their original intended role fighting U-boats. After "Black May" 1943 Donitz shifted his U-boats from the North to the Central Atlantic, largely to get out of the area covered by Allied land-based aircraft. Unfortunately for him this was just when the CVEs in hunter-killer groups began coming into service.

    * also three of the first US-built CVEs in British service supported the landings in Algeria
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    3,009
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    yes, not that I think about it, I remember more pictures of CVEs in the European-Med theater more so,and on anti-sub duty pre-Samar....much thanks again, good reading/new info for me
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,730
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Location:
    Michigan
  8. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    132
    Two books on CVE's that should be in every WWII library: Hunter Killer and The Little Giants, both by William T. Y'Blood.
     
  9. Dracula

    Dracula Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2014
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    6
    This site hasn't been mentioned in this thread but I think that you will find it overflowing with information, especially the online book.

    BOSAMAR.com
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,332
    Likes Received:
    1,484
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    That's a first...

    That site is always mentioned at least once in every Leyte Gulf thread that I have seen. Usually several times.
     
  11. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Florida
    Evans did receive a posthumous Medal of Honor so I don't know it's accurate to say he's "unrecognized". Perhaps not the household name that Chris Kyle is, but it was 70 years ago.
     
  12. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    20
    but a battleship needs to get lucky only once! why the heck did kurita turn tail????
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,730
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Location:
    Michigan
    Initially he turned away from torpedoes. He was also under pretty much constant air assault and his forces were scattered. I suspect that the Dengu(sp?) fever had a significant impact as well having to spend some significant time in the water and changing flagships under stressful circumstances shortly before couldn't have helped either (and may have significantly agrevated the fever).
     
  14. gq_johnnie

    gq_johnnie recruit

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    72nd Anniversary today. RIP dad!
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,730
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Location:
    Michigan
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    9,328
    Likes Received:
    1,336
    Tell it to Gunther Prien.
     
  17. LoriAnn

    LoriAnn Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    42
    Location:
    Illinois
  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,051
    Likes Received:
    1,915
    Location:
    Alabama
    LoriAnn, The BOS is a well respected engagement by most members of this site. Of the all the fights in the PTO, it interests me the most and the valor shown by the crews of the Hoel, Johnston, Heerman, and Samuel B. Roberts are legendary. Unfortunately, it is an often overlooked battle, I think because it did not involve the more "glamorous" ships of the navy.

    There are several good books on the battle if you want to learn more about it. Two that come to mind are The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (Hornfischer) and The Men of the Gambier Bay (Hoyt). They are outstanding works and I am certain the guys here can come up with some more titles if you are interested.
     
  19. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,228
    Likes Received:
    2,029
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I agree with Jeff. I've read both of those books and they are excellent. The Battle off Samar drew me into the study of the Pacific War. It should get more attention than it does. The approach of these men toward danger should be celebrated.They were willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

    [​IMG]

    I haven't read this, but it seems to fill the bill.
     
  20. LoriAnn

    LoriAnn Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    42
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate the book suggestions.

    I'm happy I found this thread and was able to locate some videos on the subject.
     

Share This Page