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The US Navy's Greatest Battle...Leyte Gulf

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  • #31
    As you have already mentioned the Japanese loved elaborate plans and to create diversions. So from their point of view what they did no doubt seems logical while not so much to us. I'm sure part of their thinking was how to even up the odds given the strength of American forces compared to theirs.

    So given that Nishimura sails from Brunei and Shima from the Ryukyus to link the Northern Force with the Southern Force. Kurita had already alerted Nishimura that his Central Force wouldn't engage till the next morning after turning back around. Shima was now 90 minutes behind Nishimura at the time. Nishimura had to decide whether to slow down and enter Surigao Strait in the morning to coincide with Kurita. He decided not to but instead make a dash through the Strait thinking that once through he could engage the Americans in a night battle on the other side. He felt that a night battle played to his strength while a daylight battle to the Americans. Of course, Nishimura had no idea their plans were now bupkis. Consequently he didn't slow down, which would allowed him to meet up with Shima, and he plowed through to his defeat.

    Some blame Shima for this debacle but what about Nishimura's part in deciding to sail through the Strait at night despite Kurita's message? In the end if they had come through together, in daylight, the results would have been the same given that air power could be used along with Olendorf's ships at the same time.


    • #32
      Yes I can see all that and obviously even if Shima and Nishimura has successfully linked up it wouldn't have changed their tactical situation one iota.

      What puzzles me is why they had separate starting positions to begin with. It's not as if Shima's force was so powerful on it's own that it could have been interpreted as an existential threat to US plans on its own. (I.E. a potential 4th Japanese 'task force'.) Hell it was basically no more powerful than some convoy escorts of the period.

      So why not have it sail to Brunei days before the offensive and start the op with Nishimura? Wouldn't change the outcome but it would have ensured Shima arrived 'on time on target' rather than stumbling in late like a drunk at a wedding as he did.
      Last edited by Monash; 29 Jan 20,, 06:11.
      If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.


      • #33
        Maybe the only way to truly know is that we would either have to be Japanese at the time or have been a fly on the wall when they designed the plan. Other than that I don't think anyone will truly know.


        • #34
          Southern Force makes perfect sense to me. Do recall that there were actions long before both TFs even left their respective ports. The chances of an American intercept were high. Leaving from two ports gives a better oppertunity that a strong force could be assembled in open seas.