66 Years Ago Today: The Battle Off Samar

October 25th, 2010 by xformed

The anniversary of one of the most significant battles in US Naval history took place on Oct 25th, 1944, near the island of Leyte in the Philippines.

Monument to Taffy 3, lead by RADM Sprague, USN (click to enlarge)

The story of Taffy 3 at the Battle Off Samar has been the subject of many books, one that I particularly enjoyed was the “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” by James Hornfischer.  Beyond the strategic and tactical discussions, it was filled with interviews of the men who survived, making it a very personal look at such a battle.  I have found this more than interesting, as my computer instructor was CAPT Amos T Hathaway, USN, and I served on the USS CARR (FFG-52), which was named after GM2 Paul Henry Carr, the MT 52 Gun Captain.  It was also the day an American Indian, CDR Ernest Evans, CO of USS JOHNSTON (DD_557), earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

While I enjoy the history of “Black Shoes” fighting to the end in a war that became dominated by carrier warfare between opposing naval units, the aviators of Taffy 3 displayed the same courage, attacking Japanese battleships, and cruisers with the .50 and .30 caliber machine guns and in many cases, empty bomb and torpedo racks. They did so to add to the confusion of the Japanese crews, to help keep any effective volumes of fire from being focused on but a few targets.

In 2004, I did an extensive post on the battle.  You can read it here.  It was the final battle between surface combatants, and the story of desperate times, which crew rose to the challenge.

Category: Geo-Political, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on 66 Years Ago Today: The Battle Off Samar

10/25/1944: The Last Great Naval Battle

October 25th, 2009 by xformed

I have posted many times about not only this specific day, but 10/25 in military history.

Let’s begin with my post the day the “Small Boys” put on full rudder, flank speed and headed into the midst of 4 Japanese battleships, 21 cruisers and many destroyers, including IJNS YAMATO, carrying the largest naval guns put to sea in all of history: 18.1″, at the Battle Off Samar. The largest US Naval guns there to oppose the Japanese force were 5″/38 caliber guns, firing a 54 lb projectile against massive steel plated ships. Lopsided as it was, the American sailors and their aviators overhead attacked back like they could win the day, and they did.

The best book I have read on this topic is appropriately named “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” by James Hornfischer. Not only was it an excellent book, which brought many first person accounts to light, it is a well written report of the battle that day at the tactical and strategic levels.

I had the honor of spending an afternoon with Richard Rhode, who had been a Radioman aboard USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (DE-413) a few years ago.

I had the honor of serving aboard a ship named for GM2 Paul Henry Carr, USN, the Mount Captain for MT 52 aboard the “Sammie B” that day. He died, fighting to the end, and he did give his last full measure.

Beyond the Battle Off Samar, I have found Oct 25th is a day across history of several significant battles, all connected to well known stories of heroism.

Please click on the links to my prior postings and read of a day when sailors did their duty and men rose to a challenge against odds that were impossible, and became a part of the history of the US Navy, the US Armed Forces and the spirit of those who serve the cause of freedom.

And don’t forget the heroes of today, who have also sacrified for us, as the sailors did on 10/25/1944 and please consider supporting the Soaldier’s Angels Project VALOur-IT. Details on how to donate, beginning 10/26/2009 are here. You can donate to the project through the widegt in the upper left of this blog, too (the one that looks like a big thermometer

Category: Charities, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Valour-IT | 2 Comments »

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