Halsey and Kurita at Leyte Gulf

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by XBe02Drvr, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. XBe02Drvr

    XBe02Drvr Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    VT
    Just finished reading "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James Hornfischer, and it leaves me with the following question:

    Who committed the greater dereliction of duty, Halsey by leaving the beach head undefended to chase Ozawa's decoy aircaft carriers, or Kurita by retiring from the scene when victory was within his grasp?
    Come on scholars, what think ye?
     
  2. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2016
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Gender:
    Male
    #2 pinehilljoe, Oct 26, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
    Even in hindsight it is hard to be kind to ADM Halsey. Several times during the late hours of the 24th, Allied intelligence assets spotted the Japanese in the San Bernardino Strait. More than once messages were sent to Halsey in regards to the sightings, but for whatever reason he pressed on in pursuit of the elusive Japanese carriers to the north. He could have formed VADM Lee's TF-34 and detached it to guard the straights. Spruance had formed and detached Lee's force at the Philippine Sea. He could have divided TF-38, to guard the straight and hunt Ozawa. Halsey had the forces to do both. The 3rd Fleets mission was to protect the landings. With Leyte, and the two Hurricanes, Halsey did not end his career on high note. He was personally liked by King and Nimitz, had Congressional support and got the 5th star that Spruance also deserved.

    Had Kurita encountered TF-34, I think he would have retreated. If he had pressed, the RFC of the TF-34 would have had the same results as the engagement in the Suriago Straight. VADM Lee understood how to fight with RFC as well as anyone, even in daylight the RFC would have been key.
     
  3. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,903
    Likes Received:
    639
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    I think Kurita. What was his mission? Stop the landing I believe. I have to assume that the whole operation from the standpoint of the Japanese was a gamble. If that was the case, when not see it through to the end? Sure you took a beating earlier, but what are you saving your ships for? So you can fight on the doorstep of Japan itself? Didn't even the most diehard Japanese admiral really know that they were just fighting for time? Then was not the time for half measures.
     
  4. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2016
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Gender:
    Male
    #4 pinehilljoe, Oct 30, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
    I just started reading James Hornfischer's new book, The Fleet at Flood Tide. He spends time on the exchange between Spruance, Mitscher and Lee regarding TF-34 being used for a night engagement. On 17 June, Mitscher recommended to Spruance that at 1800 Task Force 58 steam on course 270°: due west. He felt that a night surface action could occur and that a daylight carrier strike would follow. Mitscher queried Vice Admiral Willis Lee, the battle line commander, "Do you desire a night engagement? It may be we can make air contact late this afternoon and attack tonight. Otherwise we should retire to the eastward tonight." Lee replied, "Do not, repeat, not believe we should seek night engagement. Possible advantages of radar more than offset by difficulties of communications and lack of training in fleet tactics at night." This has been well documented, Morrison recounts the exchange in Vol 8.

    Lee knew first hand from the Second Battle of Guadalcanal how a surface night action can turn into a bar brawl, and how effective even 8" shells were against a battleship at a close range.

    Hornfischer implies that Lee's restraint in the Phillipine Sea, "raises the intriguing prospect that Halsey's refusal, four months later at Leyte, to turn Lee's TF 34 to confront the Japanese battleships coming through the San Bernadino Straight might have had the same taproot."

    I've never read a historian making the connection. Hornfischer's new book is a good one.
     
Loading...

Share This Page