View Full Version : Battle of Samar Oct. 25 1944

07-30-2005, 05:42 PM
I'm reading a book called "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James D. Horfischer.

Excellent book, great history. The IJN set out to seek a decisive battle against the US over the Phillipines, got beaten back by a huge battlegroup, but that group went chasing off after some Japanese Carriers, and the japanese fleet came back and found a light escort carrier group.



6 heavy cruisers
2 light cruisers
11 destroyers

American forces:
6 escort carriers
3 destroyers
4 destroyer escorts (little destroyers)

Now, the US escort carrier was not an impressive ship. Built as cheaply as possible of a freighter hull, it was slow, lightly armored, and didn't have more than a 5" gun on it.

These six were also carried munitions to arm their bombers for anti-personnel work (they were supporting MacArthur's invasion force).

Destroyers also have 5" guns, and torpedoes.

The Japanese fleet was 20 miles away (just outside range) when they were sighted. It should have been a slaughter within 15 minutes but the destroyers and unarmed aircraft slowed the uncoordinated japanese fleet for a good portion of the day.

Bombers without bomb loads would make false runs to force the enemy ships to change course (away from the carriers). wildcats were straffing them, again often without ammo. One pilot even inverted his avenger over a heavy cruiser and emptied his six-shooter at it. Other pilots were throwing coke bottles and clipboards.

Eventually a pilot landing at a nearby airstrip, saw a pile of 250 pound bombs, held the commander of the airfeild at gunpoint until he agreed to let the navy flyboys take the bombs.

The Johnston (DD-557) charged by itself at the japanese fleet landing 40 5" hits and 3 torpedos on a heavy cruiser, taking it out of the action and then was hit by rounds up to 18" trying to escape (lost a boiler, but as of where I am in the book she's advancing again).

This is truly an amazing story. I recommend this book to everyone.

07-31-2005, 02:42 AM
yeah, Samar was amazing, as was the entire leyte gulf cmpn. lost 2 CVEs to ijn BBs and aircraft. the only pics to show american and ijn ships in the same frame were taken there. those 7 DDs and DEs, along with the half dozen CVEs and their planes, managed to turn back a vastly superior force by sheer gile. amazing...

would maek a good mini cmpn using the CVE and some rusn ships as japanese.