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leyte gulf alternate scenario

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by steverodgers801, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    What might have been Halseys response to the carrier force if he had not yet heard about the surface force coming in. I wonder if he would have left his BB's behind and still gone after the carriers.
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I'm not a big fan of "What if's", but this needs more expansion. Steve, you should give your opinion and explanation for it. For the rest of you, have at it.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I am a fan of "What-if's" but Lou is right this needs greater explanation and for you to present your case for what you think might be the outcome. Look into the Alternate History guidelines pinned to the top of the sub-forum to clarify the requirements for a What-if.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Second both of the above. I'm not even sure what exactly you mean in the first sentence. Halsey had heard that the middle force was coming then that it turned around after that he went after the carriers (he hadn't heard that it had turned around again).
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    He would certainly still have gone after the carriers, but what would be his motivation for leaving the BBs behind if there was no indication of a hostile surface force? Historically he assumed that Kurita's Center Force had been sufficientlly battered that he did not need to make further provisions to deal with it - no Japanese surface at all is even less of a threat.

    It's curious that Halsey's idea of a carrier battle included closing in to finish the enemy by gunfire. That would take all of TF38 a couple of hundred miles further from the landing area - more if the Japanese were retiring. I wonder if this was influenced because he himself was riding New Jersey?

    Your scenario would be the Japanese ideal; Ozawa was trying to get himself spotted earlier and get Halsey completely out of Kurita's way. That would have allowed Kurita to pass through San Bernardino Strait several hours earlier, make the transit down the coast of Samar in darkness, and arrive off Leyte Gulf around dawn. He might have missed contact with Taffy 3, or there might have been a night surface battle, which could be another interesting speculation.
     
  6. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The basic idea is would Halsey have just gone after the carriers regardless of protecting the transports or would he have been prudent and leave forces to help cover the transports. Halsey was very mindful of the criticism of Spruance for not finishing off the Japanese carriers earlier, so Im certain he would have taken all his carriers. I don't think Halsey was so reckless that he would have left the transports without any protection, he did honestly believe that the force he attacked earlier was retreating and he did believe that the Japanese carriers were still a legitimate threat.
     
  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    That is a tough one as we must get inside the head of Halsey and none of us can truly say we know beyond any possibility of a doubt what the truth must be.

    First I will defend Halsey and his operating orders. Until the US engaged a Japanese Carrier group it could not know absolutely if it contained a full air group or if its pilots were anything but rookies. Yes previous battles had them trending down and this engagement only supported that impression, but so long as they could put carriers to sea there still existed the possibility that they might have scratched together both a full compliment of planes and enough veterans (or properly trained rookies) that it was a effective and dangerous air group.

    Hence the orders to destroy them if practicable.

    That being said, Halsey wanted those Carriers. Sinking carriers was the measure by which battles were seen as decisive in his mind and he did not wish to see them escape. Not unlike Nelson who turned his blind eye to signal flags he didn't wish to "see", Halsey allowed himself a bit of self delusion as well. Since no one had seen Kurita's main force, and the last time they were seen they were retreating, ipso facto, they could not be there.

    But he did acknowledge that they could be there when he told his subordinates that McCain's Task Force could act as support to Kincaid (?) as it resupplied. This of course was a bit of a fiction since to resupply they would be too far away to effective aid the Invasion Group if the Japanese appeared within a certain window of time.

    Halsey gambled that Kurita would not be as bold as he, always a serious mistake.

    Had there been absolute proof Halsey would have defended the Invasion group and allowed the Carrier group to escape (or chased it with a much smaller portion of his carrier group), but that proof would have to had been incontrovertible.
     
  8. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    As Nimitz's son pointed out to his father when blame was being discussed," you allowed him the freedom to chase the carriers."
     
  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The big change in WWII was carriers supplanting battleships as the arbiters of sea power, so it is ironic that Halsey is chastised for concentrating on the Japanese carriers rather than their battle force.

    Doubly ironic that his idea of a carrier battle included closing in to finish off the enemy with gunfire.
     
  10. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    Like others, I don't blame him for wanting to get the enemy carriers. When he got the report that they were there, that's ENEMY CARRIERS. He had no way of knowing the things about their readiness that we know in hindsight.

    However, Halsey could have divided his force in two, and either half would have been more powerful than the entire IJN in existence at that time. There is no excuse or reasonable explanation for his actions at Leyte Gulf. He did not deserve a 5th star.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Dividing his force was not Halsey's style. This was, after all, the same person, that attacked Rabual by using all the aircraft from the carriers Saratoga and Princeton, and relying on USAAF fighter cover for their protection. The loss of the USS Princeton, the day before, would also be a factor against dividing his forces.

    Depending on what author you read, Halsey had several reasonable explanations.
     
  12. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    still, a good commander, will consider all possibilities....like chess....
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Halsey was a good commander when task forces were small, composed of one or two carriers. However, he was out of his element commanding TF 38, with multiple task groups of several carriers each. His command style just did not lend itself well to complicated multi-group formations.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    interesting, about Halsey....I take it [ obviously ] he thought the BB group had turned back/was hit hard AND would not come toward the landing area??? I thought usually, after action reports by pilots were overblown? ...did they/he think about this?
     
  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Halsey heard pretty much what he wanted to hear.
     

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