19kilo wrote:Sorry. No. He had a battleship commanders DREAM! Regardless of their being CVEs or CVs he had an enemy carrier task group under his guns with no heavy escort.....EXACTLY as his plan had called for, and HE SCR**D IT UP. To say that he would have done better against the massed fast battleships of the US Navy is so far beyond the pale that until now I couldnt image that anyone could possibly go there.
Sorry, no in return. The plan did not call for facing CVs at all.
Kurita was supposed to target the invasion transports off Leyte. According to the plan the carriers were supposed to be to the north decoyed away by Ozawa, not still guarding San Bernadino.
When he stumbled across TF77 he had no way of knowing - and had you been in his place neither would you - that he wasn't facing the might of the 3rd fleet. 5 years of war (Bismarck/Taranto/Pearl Harbour/Guadalcanal/Philipinnes Sea/Matapan/Crete/ForceZ), including the loss of Musashi the previous day had given him a very good appreciation for the power of airpower, and that of the US carriers in particular.
He was commanding from Yamato which was the second slowest ship in the fleet and having ordered a general chase in the belief that it was 33knot carriers he was chasing, he was left behind as the Kongos and light forces raced ahead. Combined with persistant rain squals and smoke screens he never had good control of his forces or a good appreciation of what he was facing. Given the ferocity of the air assaults, he had to assume the worse that the rest of the 3rd fleet was in the vicinity and to stay without aircover seemed to suggest he was inviting complete distruction without a chance of accomplishing his mission as had happened to Nimishira. Sinking 1 or 2 fleet carriers for the total loss of his force would not really help the Japanese war effort.
Against the fast battleships, at least without air support, he would have kept his fleet concentrated instead of sending his fast forces chasing after what he believed were 30 knot carriers. He would have then had better situational awareness from the Bridge of the Yamato. The big US battleships would have been easier targets to hit a long range than the small fast maneuvering destroyers. The destroyers wouldn't be laying smoke between the battlelines, interferring with Japanese (and their own gunnery). The US battleline wouldn't be running away from the Japanese and thus the Japanese DDs would find it easier, at least from a positional POV to get into position to launch a Torpedo attack. The US ships would have armour to actually detonate the armour piercing shells fired by the Japanese instead of having them pass through the unarmored CVEs. The Japanese ships wouldn't be continuously dodging attacks from aircraft to the negative of their gunnery.
I'm not saying the Japanese wouldn't have lost - which they likely would have given 4 modern US BBs against 1 Yamato and 3 WW1 era ships, I'm saying that without the psychological hurdle of facing US air power the battle would not be quite as one sided as the battle of Samar would suggest and between 4 BB/BCs and 150+ long lances if Kurita presses the attack the US is going to take some damage in return.