WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

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aurora
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WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby aurora » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:41 pm

ADMIRAL KUTITA'S TURN AWAY

While Kurita headed north at 1300,just as McCain's aircraft came in for their final attack and although they inflicted little damage they did confirm Kurita;s decision to avoid Leyte Gulf but he did continue his search for the American carriers-to thisend he haf called up every aircraft from Luzon but still drew a blank.BY this time his destroyers were low on fuel and Kurita and his staff were utterly exhausted.

Kurita saw retirement from the field of battle as his only alternative.Towards dusk hid Centre Force headed for San Bernardino Strait,which he entered at 21.30.That night they steamed at best possible speed across the Sibuyan Sea. Kurita had escaped with 4BB's,2 heavy cruisers and 1 light cruise along with 7 destroyers-a powerful force for a offensive action.Even though an answer is given above for his action -there is the nagging thought-was that the real reason????

Because there was no enemy to the north, at least nowhere close by. Halsey was still 200 miles away, racing back-too late to try to catch the Japanese. Shortly before dusk, Kurita turned his fleet to the west and passed back through the San Bernardino Strait. The fleet was attacked again the next day (at his post on the bridge wing, Koitabashi was badly wounded by shrapnel; during our interview, he took off his shoe and sock so I could feel the hard piece of metal,a memento of the Yanwn, still under his skin.) Kurita's fleet,halved in size, limped back to Lingaan. The Japanese Imperial Navy was effectively finished as a sea-fighting force.

Second-guessing started right away. In his battle report, Kurita justified his tum away from Leyte to the north on the morning of 25 October, writing he had received a telegram from an airbase at Manila that said a U.S. fleet had been sighted at 0945, 1 10 miles north of the lighthouse at the entrance to Leyte Gulf. That was the enemy fleet Kurita had turned to attack-but there was no U.S. fleet.Naval experts later guessed that a reconnaissance plane from Manila had spotted stragglers from Kurita's own fleet at 0945, which would mean that by circling back to attack,Kurita had in effect been chasing his own tail. No one in Japan has been able to find any record of the actual telegram. Some critics of Kurita suspect he and his staff concocted the telegram as an excuse.

Others wonder if it was a clever ruse by the Americans, who had broken the Japanese code and were capable of sending a false message. Had Halsey, who liked gambits (and whose staff was proudly nicknamed"the Department of Dirty Tlicks"), tried to cover his mistake in leaving the San Bemardino Strait unguarded by sending a false signal to confuse the Japanese? If so,one would think that Halsey's men would have bragged about it after the war; this is a mystery that warrants further investigation.
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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:00 pm

It is doubtful that any fake message was sent. According to Nimitz's Intel officer, Eddie Layton, the Japanese had made a major change to their codes just prior to the battle and US code breakers could not read or send messages in the proper IJN codes at that time.

In any case it would require the correct cipher machine with the correct setting or the enemy would immediantly know there was something wrong.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby aurora » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:06 pm

Thanks for that Dave-what is your opinion vis a vis Kurita's retirement from the scene of action?????

Kurita saw retirement from the field of battle as his only alternative.Towards dusk hid Centre Force headed for San Bernardino Strait,which he entered at 21.30.That night they steamed at best possible speed across the Sibuyan Sea. Kurita had escaped with 4BB's,2 heavy cruisers and 1 light cruise along with 7 destroyers-a powerful force for a offensive action.Even though an answer is given above for his action -there is the nagging thought-was that the real reason????
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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:14 pm

I'm not sure Kurita had his witts about him at that point. He had had his flagship sunk out from underneath him, had seen the Musashi destroyed, and had not slept for days. He did not have a crear situational awareness, and had received no reliable inteligence about the enemy forces and dispositions , nor the other IJN forces.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby aurora » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:27 pm

I think you are very close Dave-the Japanese temperament is prone to black despondency and fits of despair- when all is far from well-indeed Harakiri is a way out of all that.However I do believe that the three days of incessant attacks with significant losses had drained him to the point as you put -he had lost his wits but not his will to live-so he went home with the remainder of his fleet. :( :(
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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Mostlyharmless » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:00 pm

I have not read Robert Lundgren's “The World Wonder'd: What Really Happened Off Samar” but one point that came up in discussions elsewhere was that Kurita had not received any message telling him about the attacks on Ozawa's carriers when he turned away. He did not know that Halsey had taken the bait and therefore believed that he was being attacked by aircraft from the main American fleet. Also as he did not know about Ozawa's loses, he may have believed that the same gambit could be tried again later and might give his battleships another chance of inflicting loses on the enemy.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby aurora » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:57 am

Many thanks for your interest and input "mostlyharmless"-there are so many factors that are relevant to this unusual event and I am sure that they all had some bearing on what Kurita thought and ultimately did; and that "secret"died with him-
Kurita himself tried to be stoical and closed-mouth after the war. Living in burned-out Tokyo, the once-powerful fleet admiral had to sell his family kimonos and work as a
scrivener and a masseur just to survive, He generally rejected interview requests and drank prodigiously. When books and magazine articles accused him of cowardice, "he
suffered," his daughter, Shigeko Terada, said over tea one morning in Tokyo. But he never complained-except once,when tackled by a journalist -he said cryptically: "I want to go somewhere else"

http://www.ww2hc.org/articles/kuritaschoice.pdf
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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Dod Grile » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:49 pm

Kurita Takeo had already established a reputation among his fellow IJN officers as being overly cautious--long before Samar. He (& his staff) were involved in contentious squabbles during the early phase of the war. In the assault on Java he commanded Sentai 7 (four MOGAMI-class cruisers) and argued with, even disregarding, some instructions because he felt they put his ships in harm's way unnecessarily. (His primary foe in that nonsense was RADM Hara Kenzaburo who was commanding the Screening/Escort force bringing the Western Invasion convoy into Java.) This type of behavior was repeated later in the Solomons campaign, as well. After the war his stock naturally fell even lower, but I believe there is some truth in the reading that suggests he did not wish to throw away lives unnecessarily. We should bear in mind the stress he was under at Samar, after previous assaults by submarines & very severe air attacks, & the mistaken belief that he was facing much heavier foes than in fact opposed him.

At the same time, some elements in the IJN will always compare him unfavorably with Nishimura Shoji who drove his command into oblivion (like a good Samurai) at Surigao Strait.

In my view the entire point is a moot one. There was not the slightest chance that Center Force would have stopped our invasion, especially given the huge amounts of ordnance they would have had to expend just to fight their way in...Surface forces weren't going to destroy all of those transports. Gunfire was by far the least efficient means for achieving such results...so the whole argument strikes me as pointless.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby aurora » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:40 am

Quote Dod Grile
"In my view the entire point is a moot one. There was not the slightest chance that Center Force would have stopped our invasion, especially given the huge amounts of ordnance they would have had to expend just to fight their way in...Surface forces weren't going to destroy all of those transports. Gunfire was by far the least efficient means for achieving such results...so the whole argument strikes me as pointless.

I have highlighted about the argument being pointless-which argument would that be Dod-the use of Centre Force in the battle against the transports or Kurita's decision to retire from the scene of action.Of course the topic is moot -I have seen it times many; but I do believe in getting as much opinion as possible- for that very reason.My thanks for your interest and contribution.
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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:43 pm

Reading Hornfischer he mentions Sprague's oral report to Nimitz:

I told Nimitz that the main reason they turned north was that they were receiving too much damage to continue, and I am still of that opinion, and cold analysis will eventually confirm it.


Hornfischer points out that the firepower being concentrated on Kurita by 10:00 hours from the jeep carriers combined with the Tacloban airfield was equal to 4 to 5 fleet carriers. To put that into perspective that is the firepower of Nagumo's Kito Butia carrier stike force from Pearl Harbor through early 1942, or more. Kurita had no aircover against this air assualt. Kurita did a good job getting out of there without losing his entire force.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Steve Crandell » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:19 am

Dave Saxton wrote:Reading Hornfischer he mentions Sprague's oral report to Nimitz:

I told Nimitz that the main reason they turned north was that they were receiving too much damage to continue, and I am still of that opinion, and cold analysis will eventually confirm it.


Hornfischer points out that the firepower being concentrated on Kurita by 10:00 hours from the jeep carriers combined with the Tacloban airfield was equal to 4 to 5 fleet carriers. To put that into perspective that is the firepower of Nagumo's Kito Butia carrier stike force from Pearl Harbor through early 1942, or more. Kurita had no aircover against this air assualt. Kurita did a good job getting out of there without losing his entire force.


I don't think the aircraft had much available in the way of anti-ship ordinance. For example, weren't there just a few torpedoes available on the CVE's? I think there were a lot of fake attacks and strafing runs.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby aurora » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:12 am

He got it into his head that he was up against a full Task Force; by the way the light cruisers (DDs and DEs) had fearlessly harried him like a pack of wolves-as Dave Saxton said-he did not have all wits about him,as well as being known for his caution. :?: :?:
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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:47 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:I don't think the aircraft had much available in the way of anti-ship ordinance. For example, weren't there just a few torpedoes available on the CVE's? I think there were a lot of fake attacks and strafing runs.

That's true of the first counter air strikes up to about 0900 hours. However, begining at 0900 airstrikes from the other Taffys began to come in armed with torpedoes and armour piercing bombs. These are what did in the IJN heavy cruisers. Chikuma had its stern blown off by an air launched torpedo at 0920, and about at the same time the Chokai was hit by 4 anti-ship bombs resulting a delayed magazine explosion. 2 minutes later Kurita ordered the turn away. This was 2 1/2 hours after the first shots had been fired.

Kurita also received news of Nishimura's failure and radio Intel told him that another 3rd Fleet Carrier Task Force had cut short refueling and was on the way from the east.

The other Taffy's were now stepping up their attacks and as Kurita withdrew he found his command under continuous and rather heavy air attack.

Taffy 2 recorded 204 sorties flown expending 49 torpedoes and 286 500 lb anti-ship bombs after 0900.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: WHY DID KURITA TURN AWAY

Postby Steve Crandell » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:50 pm

That episode wasn't as one-sided as commonly believed.


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