Will be setting up a simulation of this ‘What If?’ from the Battle of Leyte Gulf. There, Japanese battleships and cruisers missed their American counterparts. Here it will happen.
We are setting the Japanese force assuming Kurita’s fleet as attrited in the Sibuyan Sea on the 24th. When the Japanese fleet exits the San Bernardino strait off Samar to attack the American landing operation, instead of running into the unbelievably valiant but hopelessly overmatched Taffy 3 escort carriers and their handful of destroyers and destroyer escorts, now they encounter the American fast battleships of Task Force 34.
In history, Halsey took Task Force 34 with him away from Leyte Gulf on a goose chase after empty Japanese carriers. This left the incredibly brave and determined men of Taffy 3 to stand between Japanese battleships and landing area. If you saw ‘Hunt for Red October’, this is what the Scottish/Russian captain meant when he says to a young and thin Alec Baldwin that Halsey acted foolishly. (Adding to the ‘What If’ mix, Kinkaid now sends Oldendorf’s 77.2 battle line north behind Task Force 34 as a reserve (the old battlewagons had more AP shells than let on)).
Light posting/tweeting Friday night.
The Japanese fleet commander’s state of mind was critical to the American victory. Some overview discussion here. The references to Evan Thomas there are harmless. Kurita’s official post-war de-brief is also interesting between the lines.
Fortunately, it’s a non-issue now. In this simulation, the Center Force is programmed to seek the beach head decisively.