Battle Off Samar

The Battle off Samar was the centermost action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, which took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, in the Philippines on 25 October 1944. As the only major action in the larger battle where the Americans were largely unprepared against the opposing forces, it has been cited by historians as one of the greatest military mismatches in naval history.

In no engagement of its entire history has the United States Navy shown more gallantry, guts and gumption than in those two morning hours between 0730 and 0930 off Samar

Adm. William Halsey, Jr. was lured into taking his powerful 3rd Fleet after a decoy fleet, leaving only three escort carrier groups of the 7th Fleet in the area. A Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers, battered earlier in the larger battle and thought to have been in retreat, instead turned around unobserved and stumbled upon the northernmost of the three groups, Task Unit 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3"), commanded by Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. Taffy 3's few destroyers and slower destroyer escorts possessed neither the firepower nor armor to effectively oppose the Japanese force, but nevertheless desperately attacked with 5 in (130 mm)/38 cal guns and torpedoes to cover the retreat of their slow "jeep" carriers. Aircraft from the carriers of Taffy 1, 2, and 3, including FM-2 Wildcats, F6F Hellcats and TBM Avengers, strafed, bombed, torpedoed, rocketed, depth-charged, fired at least one .38 caliber handgun and made numerous "dry" runs at the attacking force when they ran out of ammunition.

Sprague's task unit lost two escort carriers, two destroyers, a destroyer escort and dozens of aircraft. Over a thousand Americans died, comparable to the combined losses of men and ships at the better known Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. But in exchange for the heavy losses for such a small force, they sank or disabled three Japanese cruisers and caused enough confusion to persuade the Japanese commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to regroup and ultimately withdraw, rather than advancing to sink troop and supply ships at Leyte Gulf. In the combined Battle of Leyte Gulf, 10,000 Japanese sailors and 3,000 Americans died. Although the battleship Yamato and the remaining force returned to Japan, the battles marked the final defeat of the Japanese Navy, as the ships would remain in port for most of the rest of the war and cease to be an effective naval force.

Read more about Battle Off Samar:  Background, Battle Summary, The Forces, Battle, Oldendorf's Task Group, Aftermath, Criticism of Halsey, Presidential Unit Citation, Legacy

Other articles related to "battle off samar, battle, samar":

Battle Off Samar - Legacy
... A number of ships were named after participants in the battle, and ships from that battle, including USS Copeland (FFG-25), USS Evans (DE-1023), USS Clifton Sprague (FFG-16), and USS Carr (FFG-52) ... While the battle is frequently included in historical accounts of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the duels between the destroyer and destroyer escorts and Yamato and the Japanese force was the subject of a Dogfights ...
USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) - Service History - World War II - Battle Off Samar
... carriers of "Taffy 3" as the only ships guarding the area around Samar ... commanders were unaware of nighttime movement of the Japanese Center Force toward Samar ... slipped undetected through San Bernardino Strait and down the fog-shrouded coast of Samar, bound for Leyte Gulf ...
Destroyer Escort - Battle Off Samar
... and battleships, but that is what happened in the Battle off Samar ... The battle continued for an hour, and the Roberts fired over 600 5-inch shells, and hit the upper works with 40 mm Bofors and 20 mm anti-aircraft guns at close range ... After the battle the Roberts became known as "the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship" ...
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - Monuments and Memorials - Battle Off Samar
... Several monuments have been erected in memory of the sailors lost in the Battle off Samar, October 25, 1944, a part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf (Philippines), and in subsequent ...

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