Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

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boredatwork
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby boredatwork » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:18 am

19kilo wrote:Sorry. No. He had a battleship commanders DREAM! Regardless of their being CVEs or CVs he had an enemy carrier task group under his guns with no heavy escort.....EXACTLY as his plan had called for, and HE SCR**D IT UP. To say that he would have done better against the massed fast battleships of the US Navy is so far beyond the pale that until now I couldnt image that anyone could possibly go there.



Sorry, no in return. The plan did not call for facing CVs at all.

Kurita was supposed to target the invasion transports off Leyte. According to the plan the carriers were supposed to be to the north decoyed away by Ozawa, not still guarding San Bernadino.

When he stumbled across TF77 he had no way of knowing - and had you been in his place neither would you - that he wasn't facing the might of the 3rd fleet. 5 years of war (Bismarck/Taranto/Pearl Harbour/Guadalcanal/Philipinnes Sea/Matapan/Crete/ForceZ), including the loss of Musashi the previous day had given him a very good appreciation for the power of airpower, and that of the US carriers in particular.

He was commanding from Yamato which was the second slowest ship in the fleet and having ordered a general chase in the belief that it was 33knot carriers he was chasing, he was left behind as the Kongos and light forces raced ahead. Combined with persistant rain squals and smoke screens he never had good control of his forces or a good appreciation of what he was facing. Given the ferocity of the air assaults, he had to assume the worse that the rest of the 3rd fleet was in the vicinity and to stay without aircover seemed to suggest he was inviting complete distruction without a chance of accomplishing his mission as had happened to Nimishira. Sinking 1 or 2 fleet carriers for the total loss of his force would not really help the Japanese war effort.

Against the fast battleships, at least without air support, he would have kept his fleet concentrated instead of sending his fast forces chasing after what he believed were 30 knot carriers. He would have then had better situational awareness from the Bridge of the Yamato. The big US battleships would have been easier targets to hit a long range than the small fast maneuvering destroyers. The destroyers wouldn't be laying smoke between the battlelines, interferring with Japanese (and their own gunnery). The US battleline wouldn't be running away from the Japanese and thus the Japanese DDs would find it easier, at least from a positional POV to get into position to launch a Torpedo attack. The US ships would have armour to actually detonate the armour piercing shells fired by the Japanese instead of having them pass through the unarmored CVEs. The Japanese ships wouldn't be continuously dodging attacks from aircraft to the negative of their gunnery.


I'm not saying the Japanese wouldn't have lost - which they likely would have given 4 modern US BBs against 1 Yamato and 3 WW1 era ships, I'm saying that without the psychological hurdle of facing US air power the battle would not be quite as one sided as the battle of Samar would suggest and between 4 BB/BCs and 150+ long lances if Kurita presses the attack the US is going to take some damage in return.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby alecsandros » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:21 am

boredatwork wrote:What heavy cruiser was sunk by carrier gunfire?

Chokai hit and sunk by 127mm shells from USS Kalinin Bay

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Jason01 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:09 am

"During the engagement, the Chōkai was hit amidships, on the starboard side, by torpedoes from the destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts. A series of hits from Roberts's pair of 5-inch guns inflicted damage to her bridge and forward gun turret. Then, a secondary explosion, caused by detonation of the armed and shock-sensitive Type 93 torpedoes on her decks, knocked out her engines and rudder. The Chōkai promptly dropped out of formation, unable to continue.
Within minutes, an American aircraft dropped a 500-lb (227 kg) bomb onto the Chōkai's forward machinery room. Fires began to rage around the cruiser, and she went dead in the water. Later that day she was scuttled by torpedoes from Japanese destroyer Fujinami, which also rescued some of her crew." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_cruiser_Chōkai

The Kalinin Bay didn't hit the Chokai. It was the DE Samuel B. Roberts that hit her. Additionally, the 500 lb bomb did more damage to the Chokai.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby boredatwork » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:06 pm

alecsandros wrote:
boredatwork wrote:What heavy cruiser was sunk by carrier gunfire?

Chokai hit and sunk by 127mm shells from USS Kalinin Bay


response being edited

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby boredatwork » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:52 pm

alecsandros wrote:
boredatwork wrote:What heavy cruiser was sunk by carrier gunfire?

Chokai hit and sunk by 127mm shells from USS Kalinin Bay


What is your source?


To make a long post... not so long..., Given that none of Chokai's crew survived the battle to report, that statement is at best an unproven theory. Many of the accounts of the battle are contridactory - and in some cases the damage listed by one article sounds suspiciously identical to the damage inflicted by the same ship on a different target, or a different ship (or aircraft) on the same target, or a different ship on a different target altogether in another account.

1) It's not clear what damaged was caused from what source
2) It's not clear that the damage inflicted by the US was fatal


1) I've read a couple of dozen accounts of Chokai's damage now and most of them differ in the details. Where two or more agree it's freequently because they list the same secondary source in their reference.

The Wikipedia article for Samar lists Kalinin Bay as **likely** hitting Chokai with her sole 5" gun and causing the detonation of her tubes. Confusingly though, neither the articles on the Kalinin Bay or the Chokai themselves mention such an event???

The Kalinin Bay article and the Samar article do list a similar event - the ship hitting a "Nachi class cruiser" on her No.2 turret with her single 5" gun @16,000yrd(!) range at 0825, destroying the turret and forcing her to temporarily retire. Perhaps the Author of the Samar article is confusing the 2 events? However the book Japanese cruisers of the Pacific war state Haguro (a Nachi class cruiser) was hit by a 110lbs aircraft bomb at exactly the same time (0825) exactly on the same turret (no.2), achieving exactly the same effect (knocking it out.)???


The combined fleet gives credit to "probably White Plains" instead of Kalinin Bay. Again the White Plains article on wikipedia makes no mention.

Most articles however, including all the relavent wikipedia ones credit the Destroyer Escort Samual B Roberts with engaging the Chokai close enough to rake her superstructure with light AA.

Even the paragraph in the Wiki article crediting Kalinin Bay acknowledges other ships were firing on Chokai and only claims the CVE hit as likely the one to ignite the Torpedoes. Most articles, including the one on Samar also credit Roberts with 1 probable torpedo hit at around this time. Was it a Torpedo hit in additon to the explosion of the cruiser's torpedoes caused by carrier or DD gunfire - or was the torpedo hit the cause of the cruiser's torpedoes detonating or was the explosion of the cruisers own torpedoes mistaken for a torpedo hit?

At some point around this time, either before or after the secondary explosion depending on which source you believe 4 Avengers likely from Kitkun Bay attack with bombs. Most sources agree they obtain at least 1 hit with 500lbs, possibly more. Some sources suggest the bombs hit the stern and that was the cause of the ship slowing down. Other claim the bomb hit the forward engine room. Others suggest that there was no bomb hit in the forward engine room only that the source of the torpedo explosion damage had been misreported in the signal to the Yamato.





2) What all the sources available do agree on is that the Chokai was scuttled by Torpedoes from the DD Fujinami.

Again given that all the Chokai survivors perished when Fujinami herself was sunk with all hands 2 days later by planes from Essex, there is no way of knowing what state Chokai was in when she was scuttled or even when she was scuttled. Was the damage inflicted by the US invariably fatal and scuttling only hastened her end? Or was she still reasonably watertight but being in some way immobilised and/or unmaneuverable with little chance against further US attacks was she like HMS Manchester scuttled so that the men could be saved.

If the damage itself was fatal was it detonation of the cruisers own torpedoes that was possibly caused by the CVE's gunfire that was fatal? Or the assumed Roberts Torpedo hit? Or the assumed plane hit? Or a combination of all 3?

The signal at 9:18 to Yamato implied that efforts were underway to repair the damage to the engine room and Fujinami was ordered by Kurita to escort the Chokai at ~10:00. The signal from Fujinami to the effect she had scuttled Chokai wasn't sent until 9:48 PM. When exactly did she scuttle her? The ship was potentially afloat for up to 12 hours. Unless she scuttled around noon and just didn't report it for 10 hours it might suggest that the damage wasn't sufficiently severe for the crew to abandone all hope of saving her.






While it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that a lucky hit from Kalinin Bay (or White Plains) might have detonated the Chokai's Torpedoes and that explosion fataly damaged her and directly led to her loss - I would say in the absence of any really persuasive evidence to confirm that possibility I would only say the CVEs might have contributed to her sinking with gunfire, not that their gunfire was the primary cause of her sinking as your statements imply.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Rick Rather » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:18 am

Does anyone here know what time the Center Force cleared the SB strait and turned south? If it was pre-dawn, TF34 would have been silhouetted against the morning twilight, which would have helped Japanese optical sensors and FC. After sunrise, however, the sun (and its big, bright reflection on the water) would have been right in the eyes of the Japanese gunners. The Americans could have maneuvered to make this advantage last as long as possible.
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby 19kilo » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:25 am

boredatwork wrote:
19kilo wrote:Sorry. No. He had a battleship commanders DREAM! Regardless of their being CVEs or CVs he had an enemy carrier task group under his guns with no heavy escort.....EXACTLY as his plan had called for, and HE SCR**D IT UP. To say that he would have done better against the massed fast battleships of the US Navy is so far beyond the pale that until now I couldnt image that anyone could possibly go there.



Sorry, no in return. The plan did not call for facing CVs at all.

Kurita was supposed to target the invasion transports off Leyte. According to the plan the carriers were supposed to be to the north decoyed away by Ozawa, not still guarding San Bernadino.

When he stumbled across TF77 he had no way of knowing - and had you been in his place neither would you - that he wasn't facing the might of the 3rd fleet. 5 years of war (Bismarck/Taranto/Pearl Harbour/Guadalcanal/Philipinnes Sea/Matapan/Crete/ForceZ), including the loss of Musashi the previous day had given him a very good appreciation for the power of airpower, and that of the US carriers in particular.

He was commanding from Yamato which was the second slowest ship in the fleet and having ordered a general chase in the belief that it was 33knot carriers he was chasing, he was left behind as the Kongos and light forces raced ahead. Combined with persistant rain squals and smoke screens he never had good control of his forces or a good appreciation of what he was facing. Given the ferocity of the air assaults, he had to assume the worse that the rest of the 3rd fleet was in the vicinity and to stay without aircover seemed to suggest he was inviting complete distruction without a chance of accomplishing his mission as had happened to Nimishira. Sinking 1 or 2 fleet carriers for the total loss of his force would not really help the Japanese war effort.

Against the fast battleships, at least without air support, he would have kept his fleet concentrated instead of sending his fast forces chasing after what he believed were 30 knot carriers. He would have then had better situational awareness from the Bridge of the Yamato. The big US battleships would have been easier targets to hit a long range than the small fast maneuvering destroyers. The destroyers wouldn't be laying smoke between the battlelines, interferring with Japanese (and their own gunnery). The US battleline wouldn't be running away from the Japanese and thus the Japanese DDs would find it easier, at least from a positional POV to get into position to launch a Torpedo attack. The US ships would have armour to actually detonate the armour piercing shells fired by the Japanese instead of having them pass through the unarmored CVEs. The Japanese ships wouldn't be continuously dodging attacks from aircraft to the negative of their gunnery.


I'm not saying the Japanese wouldn't have lost - which they likely would have given 4 modern US BBs against 1 Yamato and 3 WW1 era ships, I'm saying that without the psychological hurdle of facing US air power the battle would not be quite as one sided as the battle of Samar would suggest and between 4 BB/BCs and 150+ long lances if Kurita presses the attack the US is going to take some damage in return.

You have NO idea what you are talking about.......no credibility whatsoever. Everything you have supposed has flown in the face of ACTUAL IJN compace performance. You can continue to live in this fantasy world that you try to foist on me, but I'm not buying into it. This was where the Japanes should have thrown it all on the table, they were doing what they had set out to do......and they choked. They turned and withdrew. They withdrew away from a few DDs and some mightily pi$$ed CVE planes. I'm sorry, you just cannout expect anyone to believe that they would have done any better against TF 34's BBs had they have been formed.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby alecsandros » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:05 am

boredatwork wrote:While it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that a lucky hit from Kalinin Bay (or White Plains) might have detonated the Chokai's Torpedoes and that explosion fataly damaged her and directly led to her loss - I would say in the absence of any really persuasive evidence to confirm that possibility I would only say the CVEs might have contributed to her sinking with gunfire, not that their gunfire was the primary cause of her sinking as your statements imply.

But can you imagine the embarassment if this was the case ? :D (Chokai crippled by CVE gunfire)

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby tommy303 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:54 pm

I think such a hit would have been enormously 'lucky' if it occurred at all, given that 16,000 yards is very near the absolute maximum range of the 5-in/38 and well over what one would expect to be the gun's effective range against a surface target.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Rick Rather » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:01 am

Anyone who's read Pratchett knows that million-to-one shots work 9 times out of 10. The trick is adjusting the odds to exactly one million to one.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby alecsandros » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:39 am

tommy303 wrote:I think such a hit would have been enormously 'lucky' if it occurred at all, given that 16,000 yards is very near the absolute maximum range of the 5-in/38 and well over what one would expect to be the gun's effective range against a surface target.

The same article mentions "CVE St Lo claiming 3x130mm hits on a Tone class cruiser". May have been Tone or Chikuma.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Rick Rather » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:27 pm

Rick Rather wrote:Does anyone here know what time the Center Force cleared the SB strait and turned south? If it was pre-dawn, TF34 would have been silhouetted against the morning twilight, which would have helped Japanese optical sensors and FC. After sunrise, however, the sun (and its big, bright reflection on the water) would have been right in the eyes of the Japanese gunners. The Americans could have maneuvered to make this advantage last as long as possible.


I found the answer: The Center Force cleared the Strait in single-file by 0035 and headed for the open ocean 10 miles off of Samar. At 0400 they changed course to 150 and were anticipating entering Leyte gulf around 1000. Sunrise was at 0614. They spotted the Americans 30 minutes later, at 0644.

If TF34 had been guarding San Bernardino Strait, There would have been a night action with the Americans crossing the Japanese T. Kurita expected this. Whether this mental preparation would have steeled his nerve, no one can say - but it was certainly the sort of engagement for which the Japanese amply trained.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Keith Enge » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:16 pm

First of all, kudos to Rick Rather for the Terry Pratchett reference.

I would like to propose an even more balanced action during this time. Instead of TF34 meeting the Japanese early, how about TF34.5 meeting the survivors of the battle off Samar later. Historically, Halsey finally sent back TF34 from the battle off Engano. Along the way, TF34 split in two with the faster ships forming TF34.5 and went out ahead. They were still too late, Kurita had already passed through the San Bernardino Strait, leaving only Nowaki behind. If Halsey had made an earlier decision, TF34.5 might have arrived in time. The two sides would have been:

Yamato, Nagato, Kongo, Haruna
Haguro, Tone
Noshiro, Yahagi
Kishinami, Okinami, Asashimo, Hamanami, Fujinami, Shimakaze, Hayashimo, Urakaze, Yukikaze, Isokaze, Nowaki

Iowa, New Jersey
Biloxi, Miami, Vincennes
Hickox, Hunt, Lewis Hancock, Marshall, Miller, Owen, Stephen Potter, The Sullivans, Tingey

This is a very balanced battle. I include it in my database as a "what if?". My database's power calculation gives the Japanese a 10% advantage.

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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Rick Rather » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:18 am

Now THAT is a neat match-up!

No question of Kurita chickening-out here - He has got to go through TF34.5 to get home.

This is a classic duel of firepower versus fire control. The Japanese have a problem if the US DDs lay a smokescreen. The American "blindfire"- capable FC radar could shoot almost as well without visual contact as with.

Did your 10% advantage calculation include battle-damage to the Japanese? IIRC Nagato lost a main battery turret in the Sibuyan Sea, and Tone & Yamato were bombed.
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Re: Task Force 34 vs. Kurita's Center Force

Postby Keith Enge » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:08 pm

Rick Rather -

Sorry that it took me so long to reply but I've been offline since last Saturday. No, the power calculations don't take into consideration prior damage. Maybe more important than that, they also don't take into consideration prior ammunition expenditure; the Japanese did quite a bit of long range gunfire at the CVEs off Samar (and some closer range gunfire against the DDs and DEs that tried to fend them off). Of course, some of the US ships expended some ammo too in the Cape Engano battle. One thing that the Japanese side did have going for it was that no Japanese ship used up any of their long lance torpedoes off Samar so all of those torpedoes and reloads would have been available for this battle.

Keith


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