October 1944 (3)

Japanese Center Force: Nagato, Musachi & Yamato

Japanese Center Force: Nagato, Musachi & Yamato

Avengers from the Cabot and Intrepid attacked the enemy superbattleship Musashi [the Palace] and she withstood 3 more torpedo hits.  The IJN Myoko was damaged, but the carrier aircraft continued to concentrate on the “Palace.”  Kurita, on the Yamato radioed out:  “URGENT REQUEST LAND-BASED AIR FORCE AND MOBILE FORCE TO MAKE PROMPT ATTACK ON ENEMY CARRIER FORCE IN SIBUYAN SEA.”  This call went unanswered.

The Musachi took 7 more torpedoes, that hit her port quarter and bridge tower, and still she moved at 6 knots.  Kurita ordered the experimental “San shiki” shells to be loaded into the guns. (These were designed to loft fragmentation bombs at low-flying planes.)  But finally, after 17 bombs and 19 torpedoes, the Palace succumbed and sank vertically like a skyscraper.

VAdmiral Toshihira Inoguchi chose to go down with his ship; 1,376 of her 2,399-man crew were rescued. About half of her survivors were evacuated to Japan, and the rest took part in the defense of the Philippines.*

Task Force - 58

Task Force – 58

24→25 October – Adm. Kinkaid ordered Adm. Oldendorf to prepare for a night engagement and to re-position his Task Force-77.  At the entrance to the Suriago Strait he situated double lines consisting of 6 battlewagons, 8 cruisers, 28 destroyers and 39 “expendable” PT boats.

The dual lines caused echoes in the Japanese radar of the Southern Force and between the torpedoes and gun barrages, Nishimura’s force was devastated: 2 battleships, 1 heavy cruiser and 4 destroyers after 2 hours of battle.  Shima’s group had 2 cruisers sunk, 1 battleship damaged and the admiral began a retreat.

25 October – as Halsey and the TF-38 headed north to intercept Ozawa’s Decoy Force, Kurita aimed his Centre Force at the US escort carrier group TG-77.43 “Taffy 3, under Adm. Sprague.  With only 6 small carriers and 6 destroyers, Sprague was all that sailed between the ground invading force and the enemy ships.  In an apparently suicide tactic, the admiral charged Kurita by air and sea.  The enemy thought they were facing the entire Third Fleet.  In maneuvering to avoid the attack, Kurita lost any tactical control.

Sprague suffered heavy losses, but the enemy had the cruisers Kumano, Chokai and Chikuma at the bottom of the sea.  Kurita retreated with the Suzaya, Haguro and sister-ship to the Musachi, the IJN Yamato; all having been hit by aircraft fire.  Sprague was now low on fuel and ammunition.  Kinkaid radioed Halsey: “WHERE IS – REPEAT – WHERE IS TASK FORCE 34?  THE WORLD WONDERS.”

Superbattleship IJN Musachi

Superbattleship IJN Musachi

* In March 2015, the American philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, and his team of researchers located the wreck of Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea using a remotely operated underwater vehicle deployed from the yacht Octopus. The ship lies at a depth of around 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).  The wreck was revealed to be in several pieces with most of the hull amidships appearing to have been blown apart after leaving the surface.  The bow section from the number one barbette forward is upright on the sea floor while the stern is upside down. The forward superstructure and funnel is detached from the rest of the ship and lies on its port side.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wilfred Adams – No.Battleford, CAN; RC Army, WWII, RTO

Chester Bingaman – Huntsville, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Mississippi and LSM-183maxresdefault

Michael Francuck – Holly, MI; US Navy, WWII

Walter Haas – Brn: GER, FL; US Army

John Hogg – Sacramento, CA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Howard Kelly, Miami, FL; US Army, WWII

Arnold Keuneke – IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., Signal Corps

David Plotkin – Massapequa, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWI, PTO, pilot

Richard Roether – Cincinnatti, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Robert Trpinc – Millsboro, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on February 23, 2017, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. Being torpedoed must be a horrible experience for all Seamen, or even the thought of being torpedoed. Reminds me of my Father in Law, worked on a Merchant ship, he was working in the boiler room. and he stated it was the worst place to be caught when torpedoed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GP Cox
    Thanks so much for the information and I will check all of this out. I was pretty sure my memory didn’t fail me about the nuns. You asked his home town, he was raised and lived in Clifton Heights, Pa and after he married my mother he lived in Folsom, Pa., until his passing. One of the few items I have is the formal picture/portrait of his unit. I assume this was taken before they shipped over. I will check out those books and see if I can locate copies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot to include this link that has the photos from the 1943 yearbook of the 11th Airborne, the original members are all in here.
      Thank you for returning and giving the town he grew up in. Mr. Russell will be in Monday’s post in the Farewell Salutes.
      Good Luck in your searches. Don’t be a stranger, let me know if I can help you any further.

      Like

  3. For Crew and Country is on the book shelve and next, right now I’m reading “The Heart of Hell’, about LCI(G)-449 by Mitch Weiss. CO of LCI(G)-449 won “the Medal” for his action at Iwo.
    Thanks again for your articles.
    Dolph Eley

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A frightening account to read. So many lives lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great story and “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors is a good read. I wanted to mention that there were also DE’s in Taffy Three, most notably the USS Samuel B. Roberts. “the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship”. I look forward to your articles each day.
    Thank you.
    Dolph Eley
    CWO 3 (retired)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A bit of insight into the two Japanese super battleships: despite their size, armor and armament (the main batteries had 18″ guns vs. 16″ on the U.S. Iowa class battleships), the Japanese super battleships were underpowered, exceedingly fuel-thirsty and considerably slower than the Iowa-class U.S. battleships. As a result, the IJN used them mostly as a “fleet in being” rather than sending them into combat.

    Like

    • Excellent point, thank you for adding that information. I love how people have taken such an interest in re-learning about this part of the war and help to make this site a part of them too by contributing.

      Like

  7. A fine snapshot of that important battle! Halsey’s taking the bait that pulled him away from the main action diminished him considerably with the Navy. Many of the Admirals that fought in our Navy have a class of ship named after them, to wit the Nimitz Class carriers. There has never been a Halsey class of anything …
    I wrote about the heroic Taffy 3 here: https://56packardman.com/2016/07/17/steamship-sunday-the-jeep-carriers-and-the-battle-of-samar/

    Like

  8. Thank you so much for teaching and sharing.

    Like

  9. Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer is a really, really good book if anyone wants to read more about Taffy 3.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The Musashi going down must have been quite a sight!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am new to your amazing website and my father rarely spoke about his time in the Army. I’ve managed to stumbled onto a few articles that I can connect with him. All these men and women who served are the real hero’s.

    My father was, Russell,George 11th Airborne C-152nd Artillery Served (Yrs 1943-1946) Deceased 12-30-1980. Sadly he survived the war but he life was ended way too early at the age of 56. I know he was in the Philippines and that his unit help with a rescue of American nuns (but I could be incorrect on that). I would love if you could honor him in adding his name to Farewell Salutes. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Most definitely. Can you tell me his hometown, maybe where he grew up and would have mentioned to his fellow troopers? I will also notify the 11th Airborne Association of his passing, in the event you have not done so already? Yes, the 11th A/B did liberate nuns when they went behind enemy lines to Los Banos and brought back over 2,000 people. I will re-visit that event when this blog reaches the Philippines again, but in the meantime, here is the link to my original post
      https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/los-banos-raid-2/

      Like

    • Sandra, You might enjoy reading further with books by Lt. General E.M. Flanagan. He was not only commander of the 457th Field Artillery/11th Airborne, but he wrote several terrific books on the subject such as “The Angel: A History of the 11th Airborne Division” and “The Los Banos Raid.” They can sometimes be difficult to locate, so try on-line used books stores to find them.

      Like

  12. “39 “expendable” PT boats.” All war is hell. ~~dru~~

    Liked by 1 person

    • In this battle the boats’ prime mission was intelligence, but they sure could buzz the heck out of the enemy. Unfortunately ‘expendable’ was pretty much what the higher echelon thought.

      Like

  13. Another peace of interesting history!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. These huge sea battles must have been a sight to see indeed. So many sailors lost on each ship though. Like losing an whole infantry regiment in one engagement.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Wünsche dir auch schöne Tage lieber Gruß und Umarmung Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It was good to see the Intrepid mentioned. I’ve been to the Intrepid Museum in New York many times. I am always impressed and I always wonder what it must have been like to be on that ship during a battle. This brings me a little closer to understanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thank you for your loyal reading here.

    Like

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