Sounds reasonable They certainly would be easy prey and would have been even worse for the wear had it not for the leadership of Ziggy Sprague and the heroics of Evans, Copeland, Hathaway & Kintberger and their stalwart crews. However, I would be remiss to not mention that Taffy 3's carriers would not have been fighting for their lives had Lee's battleships and Davidson's carriers not been sent off by Halsey to chase down Ozawa. Task Force 77.4 was not where they were to fight heavy Japanese surface units, but to support the ground fighting on nearby Samar. I'm not even sure that the carriers carried AP bombs for the aircraft (someone else can address that), but I do not that the initial aircraft attacks on the Japanese ships by TF 77.4 S aircraft were made by HE and antipersonnel bombs that did little more than scatter the topside crew on the Japanese ships. I think that smaller carriers made good sense, considering the number of smaller hulls that could be produced by various yards that lacked slips large enough to handle the bigger hulls of the fleet carriers. There simply were not enough shipyards with the capability to build large hulled ships in the numbers needed. As it was, the Essex class ships were not produced fast enough for that reason and battleship construction was limited (among other reasons), also. Three small ships now, to support actions that do not require great speed or aircraft capacity, sure beats waiting on shipbuilding space availability to build one big boy.