Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

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Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by alecsandros » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:07 pm

I just finished this one.

It's a good book, though it seems excessively long for the information it provides.

However, I find pg 190-220 to be extremely interesting and important, as they show the sinking of the Yamashiro based on both Japanese survivors accounts and official American reports.
In short, the Japanese BB mantained good fire (dozens of main salvo fired in about 20 minutes) and maanged to damage on US destroyer (Grant) despite the fact that over 100x14" and 16" radar-guided shells had been fired against it from 20km away (not to mention hundreds of 203 and 127mm shells). Moreover, the ship was still capable of combat when she was torpedoed (4-6 torpedoes hit her).

The book makes precise descriptions that the heavy shells did not pierced the vitals and that, although with her superstructure ablaze, she was still manouvering, and firing good. In fact, it was going to leave the combat zone (retreating) if it weren't for the last 2 torpedoes.

The ship was under main battery fire for about 7 minutes, during which she recorded "tens of hits". This seems to me as extremely interesting, given the relatively thin armour of this class (305mm belt), and the potential damage the Mk5 406mm guns were capable of delivering.

Any ideas?

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by Bgile » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:06 pm

I haven't read the book yet, so no. It doesn't seem unreasonable though. Sounds like she held up pretty well to gunfire, and it's definitely hard to sink a battleship with gunfire alone.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by RNfanDan » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:24 pm

That would be Anthony TuLLy, not Tunny, for those who wish to use one of the Internet search engines.
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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by lwd » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:33 pm

Not as revolutionary as Shattered Sword but definitly worth reading. The reliance on Japanese documents and insights into the Japanese command simply aren't available in any other English language source that I know of (with the possible exception of Tully's forum or the IJN board. It was interesting reading this not long after Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:15 am

I have read Willmott`s book on Leyte, which I found comprehensive and very well researched. He is very hard with Kurita, Nishimura and Halsey (specially over this American holy cow). Obviously the battle of Surigao is an important part of it but it goes a lot into the strategic thinking on it and the tactical performance that leaves the Japanese in very bad terms.

Let´s remember that Surigao was not a very fair fight (before someone comes forth saying that "fair" is not a warlike characteristic, we already know that but the comment stands by itself), anyway: two Japanese old battleships trying to break a numerical superior US BB force that has positional advantage and, in addition, the US PT boats and destroyers in advance creating a hell of a situation for Nishimura.

Will be very good to read Tully`s because it´s interesting this issue of the shell penetration.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by lwd » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:48 am

Actually Tully rather made the point that while not in so many words the purpose of the southern force was to clear the US battle line from Leyte gulf. This they did.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:05 am

It is interesting that the old bathtubs battleline expended almost all the amunition and fuel fighting Nishimura. When Kurita appeared on the North Oldendorf was not in a good position to give much help to Kinkaid. The big "if" is there: what IF Kurita had pressed his attack against Kinkaid`s covering forces and Oldendorf get there, late and with lack of fuel and amunition?
Anyway, that was not what happened...
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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by alecsandros » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:59 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:It is interesting that the old bathtubs battleline expended almost all the amunition and fuel fighting Nishimura. When Kurita appeared on the North Oldendorf was not in a good position to give much help to Kinkaid. The big "if" is there: what IF Kurita had pressed his attack against Kinkaid`s covering forces and Oldendorf get there, late and with lack of fuel and amunition?
Anyway, that was not what happened...
Hello dear friend,

Indeed, the light shed upon Nishimura was very negative through the years. However, Tully's book is very thoroughly researched AND benefits from eye-witness reports from most of the 20 survivors of Yamashiro and Fuso (by the way, I had no idea that some of them managed to escape the battle, only to be killed and eaten by some Filipinos tribe. Gruesome).
From this book it would seem that Nishimura took a calculated risk, hoping to cause as much damage as possible, and thus softening the target for further attacks.

It is interesting to see that, despite the huge numbers of torpedoes launched by the PTs/DDs, they were all spotted, and would have missed their targets if it weren't for Nishimura's order to return to course (that's when he lost 3 DDs and Fuso). Nevertheless, Yamashiro managed to dodge them all (the early strike I mean), and put up a great fight.
And actualy, the US battleline was in disaray after Yamashiro+Mogami+Shigure opened fire. Mogami launched 6 torpedoes against the battleship line, which broke into evasive manouvres, anyway being very low on AP rounds (that because they only had 13% load of AP shells, them being preapred for shore bombardment, not a naval fight)

In such a situation, had Shima's force been closer to Nishimura (2CA, 1CL, 8DD), the outcome may have been different (in terms of losses; the IJN would have lost that battle anyway)

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by lwd » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:08 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:It is interesting that the old bathtubs battleline expended almost all the amunition and fuel fighting Nishimura. When Kurita appeared on the North Oldendorf was not in a good position to give much help to Kinkaid. The big "if" is there: what IF Kurita had pressed his attack against Kinkaid`s covering forces and Oldendorf get there, late and with lack of fuel and amunition?
Anyway, that was not what happened...
That's rather an overstatement now isn't it?
Take a look at: http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-079.htm
West Virginia was in the worse shape AP ammo wise and she had used less than half (93 of 200). Of course vs Yamato they might have been better off using HE anyway.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:01 pm

Lee:
West Virginia was in the worse shape AP ammo wise and she had used less than half (93 of 200). Of course vs Yamato they might have been better off using HE anyway.
Correct. Well... with Yamato they have been better off lowering their life rafts...
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by RF » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:38 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
Correct. Well... with Yamato they have been better off lowering their life rafts...
Yes indeed Karl.....
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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by yellowtail3 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:23 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Lee:
West Virginia was in the worse shape AP ammo wise and she had used less than half (93 of 200). Of course vs Yamato they might have been better off using HE anyway.
Correct. Well... with Yamato they have been better off lowering their life rafts...
I dunno... Yamato & Co. got fought off by DEs and strafing F4Fs; up against six battleships and eight cruisers - and a bunch of destroyers? - they probably wouldn't have done any better.

Looking at the ammo chart on the link above... looks to me like Oldendorf's ships probably had enough ammo left to take care what whatever would have been left of the Yamato gang, had they pushed on into Leyte Gulf instead of fleeing the tin cans.
Shift Colors... underway.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:44 am

yellowtail:
Looking at the ammo chart on the link above... looks to me like Oldendorf's ships probably had enough ammo left to take care what whatever would have been left of the Yamato gang, had they pushed on into Leyte Gulf instead of fleeing the tin cans.
Well, in war anything can happen though, but the odds, according to the authors that have written on that episode is that Oldendorf was lacking, by then, fuel and ammo, which I do believe will be critical is they are going to face the surprise attack from the north. We can suppose, also if you wish, that the overall IJN performance given this hypothetical encouter could be as poor as historical, with Kurita`s mind lost somewhere but in the battlefield... we can also come that they formed well and fight off in a professional manner. Anyway, Yamato could be sacrificed by the IJN (a proper place to die philosophy) but could take some ships with her before going down. The underating that is generally given to any non USA military device could be deceptive.

Anyway, best regards,
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by lwd » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:40 pm

It would depend a lot on when Oldendorf turns north. If he does it in time he can to a large extent repeat Surigao with the Japanese having to enter the gulf through a fairly narrow channel. Not much inthe way of PT boats around but a lot of DDs and a fair number of planes. The US had practiced firing through smoke as well under radar control I believe so they could have taken advantage of this. Shells from Oldendorf's big guns aren't going to sink Yamato and probably won't sink Nagato either but can render them incapable of escaping the torpedoes from US DDs or if necessary those carried by Hallsey's planes.

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Re: Battle of Surigao Strait by Anthony P. Tunny

Post by yellowtail3 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:01 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:yellowtail:
Looking at the ammo chart on the link above... looks to me like Oldendorf's ships probably had enough ammo left to take care what whatever would have been left of the Yamato gang, had they pushed on into Leyte Gulf instead of fleeing the tin cans.
Well, in war anything can happen though, but the odds, according to the authors that have written on that episode is that Oldendorf was lacking, by then, fuel and ammo, which I do believe will be critical is they are going to face the surprise attack from the north. We can suppose, also if you wish, that the overall IJN performance given this hypothetical encouter could be as poor as historical, with Kurita`s mind lost somewhere but in the battlefield... we can also come that they formed well and fight off in a professional manner. Anyway, Yamato could be sacrificed by the IJN (a proper place to die philosophy) but could take some ships with her before going down.
I'm sure she would try, just as she tried as Samar.
Karl Heidenreich wrote:The underating that is generally given to any non USA military device could be deceptive.
You're seeing something I'm not saying (I know you're sensitive, here). Nothing underrated; just a counting up of what would be brought to the fight. On the USN side you've got six battleships, three of them very recently modernized to a standard far surpassing the Japanese ships, Yamato possibly excepted. Add in eight cruisers, plus twice as many destroyers as Kurita has. None of the USN ships are damaged, apart from a DD or two (?) This assumes Oldendorf brings everyone along.

Against them will be an hard-ridden Japanese force of four battleships, three of which have been damaged. Kurita is down to five cruisers (three damaged), having lost three others at Samar - and all his ships, too, have been buring fuel and ammo all day long.

Oldendorf vs Kurita? Oldendorf wins, mostly likely - and likely none of the Japanese ships make it home.
Shift Colors... underway.

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