What Happened October 20th – 26th: The Battle of Leyte Gulf (Part 3)

John T. Ryan US Navy

John T. Ryan US Navy

Originally posted on my other blog USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story

October 1944 continues and my father, Seaman First Class, John Thomas Ryan is still serving on the USS Hornet (CV-12).

20-26 Oct 1944 – Strikes on Leyte supporting invasion of the Philippines as stated in the ships log for the USS Hornet (CV-12).

In my previous post I wrote about the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea (Leyte Gulf). The Battle of Leyte Gulf, also called the Battles for Leyte Gulf, and formerly known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history. Since the Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four separate engagements between the opposing forces: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle of Cape Engaño and the Battle off Samar, as well as other actions, I decided to break the story into multiple parts. In Part 1, I covered the background and the submarine action in Palawan passage on October 23, 1944. In Part 2, I wrote about the Battle of Sibuyan Sea. During my research for the previous post, I discovered a part of the separate story that needs a separate posting so for part 3, I write about Admiral Halsey’s decisions and the San Bernardino Strait. This post can be summed up in one phrase “Communication Breakdown.”

Leyte Assault, 20-25 October 1944

Leyte Assault, 20-25 October 1944

Task Force 34 / San Bernardino Strait

After the Japanese Southern and Center forces had been detected, but before Ozawa’s carriers had been located, Halsey and the staff of 3rd Fleet, aboard the battleship New Jersey, prepared a contingency plan to deal with the threat from Kurita’s Center Force.

USS New Jersey (BB 62)

USS New Jersey (BB 62)

Their intention was to cover the San Bernardino Strait with a powerful task force of fast battleships supported by two of the 3rd Fleet’s equally swift carrier groups. The battleship force was to be designated Task Force 34 (TF 34) and to consist of four battleships, five cruisers and 14 destroyers under the command of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee.

Vice Admiral Willis A Lee

Vice Admiral Willis A Lee

Rear Admiral Ralph E. Davison of TG 38.4 was to be in overall command of the supporting carrier groups.

Rear Admiral Ralph E. Davison

Rear Admiral Ralph E. Davison

At 15:12 on 24 October, Halsey sent an ambiguously worded telegraphic radio message to his subordinate task group commanders, giving details of this contingency plan:

BATDIV 7 MIAMI, VINCENNES, BILOXI, DESRON 52 LESS STEVEN POTTER, FROM TG 38.2 AND WASHINGTON, ALABAMA, WICHITA, NEW ORLEANS, DESDIV 100, PATTERSON, BAGLEY FROM TG 38.4 WILL BE FORMED AS TASK FORCE 34 UNDER VICE ADMIRAL LEE, COMMANDER BATTLE LINE. TF 34 TO ENGAGE DECISIVELY AT LONG RANGES. CTG 38.4 CONDUCT CARRIERS OF TG 38.2 AND TG 38.4 CLEAR OF SURFACE FIGHTING. INSTRUCTIONS FOR TG 38.3 AND TG 38.1 LATER. HALSEY, OTC IN NEW JERSEY.

—Morison (1956)

Halsey sent information copies of this message to Admiral Nimitz at Pacific Fleet headquarters and Admiral King in Washington; however he did not include Admiral Kinkaid (7th Fleet) as information addressee. The message was picked up by 7th Fleet, anyway, as it was common for admirals to direct radiomen to copy all message traffic they detected, whether intended for them or not. As Halsey intended TF 34 as a contingency to be formed and detached when he ordered it, when he wrote “will be formed” he meant the future tense; but he neglected to say ‘when’ TF 34 would be formed, or under what circumstances. This omission led Admiral Kinkaid of 7th Fleet to believe Halsey was speaking in the imperative, not the future tense, so he concluded TF 34 had been formed and would take station off the San Bernardino Strait. Admiral Nimitz, in Pearl Harbor, reached exactly the same conclusion. Halsey did send out a second message at 17:10 clarifying his intentions in regard to TF 34:

IF THE ENEMY SORTIES (THROUGH SAN BERNADINO STRAIT) TF 34 WILL BE FORMED WHEN DIRECTED BY ME.

—T.J. Cutler (1994)

Unfortunately, Halsey sent this second message by voice radio, so 7th Fleet did not intercept it, and Halsey did not follow up with a telegraphic message to Nimitz or King. The serious misunderstanding caused by Halsey’s ambiguous wording of his first message and his failure to notify Nimitz, King, or Kinkaid of his second clarifying message was to have a profound influence on the subsequent course of the battle.

Halsey’s decision (24 October 1944)

The 3rd Fleet’s aircraft failed to locate Ozawa’s Northern (decoy) force until 16:40 on 24 October. This was largely because 3rd Fleet had been preoccupied with attacking Kurita’s Centre force and defending itself against the Japanese air strikes from Luzon. Thus, ironically, the one Japanese force that wanted to be discovered was the only force the Americans had not been able to find. On the evening of 24 October, Ozawa intercepted a (mistaken) American communication describing Kurita’s withdrawal; he therefore began to withdraw, too. However, at 20:00, Soemu Toyoda ordered all his forces to attack “counting on divine assistance.” Trying to draw 3rd Fleet’s attention to his decoy force, Ozawa reversed course again and headed southwards towards Leyte.

Halsey was convinced the Northern Force constituted the main Japanese threat, and he was determined to seize what he saw as a golden opportunity to destroy Japan’s last remaining carrier strength. Believing the Center Force had been neutralized by 3rd Fleet’s air strikes earlier in the day in the Sibuyan Sea, and its remnants were retiring, Halsey radioed (to Nimitz and Kinkaid):

CENTRAL FORCE HEAVILY DAMAGED ACCORDING TO STRIKE REPORTS.
AM PROCEEDING NORTH WITH THREE GROUPS TO ATTACK CARRIER FORCES AT DAWN

—Morison (1956)

The words “with three groups” proved dangerously misleading. In the light of the intercepted 15:12 24 October “…will be formed as Task Force 34″ message from Halsey, Admiral Kinkaid and his staff assumed, as did Admiral Nimitz at Pacific Fleet headquarters, that TF 34—commanded by Lee—had now been formed as a separate entity. They assumed that Halsey was leaving this powerful surface force guarding the San Bernardino Strait (and covering the Seventh Fleet’s northern flank), while he took his three available carrier groups northwards in pursuit of the Japanese carriers. But Task Force 34 had not been detached from his other forces, and Lee’s battleships were on their way northwards with the 3rd Fleet’s carriers. Halsey had consciously and deliberately left the San Bernardino Strait absolutely unguarded. As Woodward wrote: “Everything was pulled out from San Bernardino Strait. Not so much as a picket destroyer was left”.

Light Carrier, USS Independence

Light Carrier, USS Independence

Halsey and his staff officers ignored information from a night reconnaissance aircraft operating from the light carrier Independence that Kurita’s powerful surface force had turned back towards the San Bernardino Strait, and that after a long blackout, the navigation lights in the strait had been turned on.

0500_ijn_web

When Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan—commanding TG 38.2—radioed this information to Halsey’s flagship, he was rebuffed by a staff officer, who tersely replied “Yes, yes, we have that information.

Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan

Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan

” Vice Admiral Lee, who had correctly deduced that Ozawa’s force was on a decoy mission and indicated this in a blinker message to Halsey’s flagship, was similarly rebuffed. Commodore Arleigh Burke and Commander James Flatley of Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher’s staff had come to the same conclusion. They were sufficiently worried about the situation to wake Mitscher, who asked, “Does Admiral Halsey have that report?” On being told that Halsey did, Mitscher—knowing Halsey’s temperament—commented, “If he wants my advice he’ll ask for it” and went back to sleep.

The entire available strength of 3rd Fleet continued to steam northwards, leaving the San Bernardino Strait completely unguarded.

As in most endeavors today, communication is an important aspect of carrying out an operation. As I continue my research, I will see if this serious breakdown in communication will have a major effect on the war. In my next post, part 4 of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, I will write about the Battle of Surigao Strait on 25 October 1944.

Mondays Finish the Story – The Colony (Part 3)

Submitted for Mondays Finish the Story

This flash fiction weekly challenge began on October 6, 2014 and I decided to join it the first week.  Welcome to Mondays Finish the Story! In this challenge we are provided with photo and the opening line of a story. The challenge is to finish the story in 100-150 words!   If you also want to give it a try, you can read all about the challenge at the link at the top.  There has been a twist this week in that we are provided with the end of the story instead of the opening line.

I started this challenge with a serial story that I will run for a few weeks.  To start from the beginning, you can find Part 1 HERE. The story continues with The Colony (Part 3).

Photo Credit: 2014*10*20-bw-beacham

Photo Credit: 2014*10*20-bw-beacham

 The recovery team traveled to the island’s interior. Their tracking devices no longer accessed satellite GPS; so it became necessary for the Captain to rely on maps. Having marked Doctor Power’s last known location, Captain West hoped they’d find the colonists soon.

One of the team gestured for the Captain to come close. “Do you hear that low rumbling? I think it is voices but it is so faint, I can’t make out the words,” whispered Seaman Jones.

“We must be near. Stay alert men.”

As the team approached a group of bushes on the edge of a clearing, they saw creatures floating around busy at varied tasks.

“What are they doing Captain?

“I think we are looking at the alien females. I don’t see the colonists so my guess is they are somewhere with the alien males.

“I think I know where,” said Seaman Jones pointing at the sky. “Do you remember that old saying, “X marks the spot?””

 

Come back for next week’s Mondays Finish the Story to see how the story continues.

What Happened October 20th – 26th: The Battle of Leyte Gulf (Part 2)

John T. Ryan US Navy

John T. Ryan US Navy

Originally posted on my other blog USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story

 October 1944 continues and my father, Seaman First Class, John Thomas Ryan is still serving on the USS Hornet (CV-12).

20-26 Oct 1944 – Strikes on Leyte supporting invasion of the Philippines as stated in the ships log for the USS Hornet (CV-12).

In my previous post I wrote about the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea (Leyte Gulf). The Battle of Leyte Gulf, also called the Battles for Leyte Gulf, and formerly known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history. Since the Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four separate engagements between the opposing forces: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle of Cape Engaño and the Battle off Samar, as well as other actions, I decided to break the story into multiple parts. In Part 1, I covered the background and the submarine action in Palawan passage on October 23, 1944. Today for Part 2, I write about the Battle of Sibuyan Sea.

The four main actions in the battle of Leyte Gulf: 1 Battle of the Sibuyan Sea 2 Battle of Surigao Strait 3 Battle of (or 'off') Cape Engaño 4 Battle off Samar. Leyte Gulf is above 2 and to the left of 4. The island of Leyte is to the left of the gulf.

The four main actions in the battle of Leyte Gulf: 1 Battle of the Sibuyan Sea 2 Battle of Surigao Strait 3 Battle of (or ‘off’) Cape Engaño 4 Battle off Samar. Leyte Gulf is above 2 and to the left of 4. The island of Leyte is to the left of the gulf.

The Battle of the Sibuyan Sea (24 October 1944)

Around 08:00 on 24 October, the Center Force was spotted entering the Sibuyan Sea and attacked by VF-20 squadron F6F-5 Hellcat fighters, VB-20 SB2C-3 Helldiver dive bombers, and VT-20 Avenger torpedo bombers from USS Enterprise of Halsey’s 3rd Fleet.
The Japanese "Center Force" leaves Brunei Bay, Borneo, on 22 October 1944, en route to the Philippines. Ships are, from right to left: battleships Nagato, Musashi and Yamato; heavy cruisers Maya, Chokai, Takao, Atago, Haguro and Myoko. Courtesy of Lieutenant Tobei Shiraishi. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Source: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-xz/yamato-k.htm

The Japanese “Center Force” leaves Brunei Bay, Borneo, on 22 October 1944, en route to the Philippines.
Ships are, from right to left: battleships Nagato, Musashi and Yamato; heavy cruisers Maya, Chokai, Takao, Atago, Haguro and Myoko. Courtesy of Lieutenant Tobei Shiraishi.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Source: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-xz/yamato-k.htm

Despite its great strength, 3rd Fleet was not well-placed to deal with the threat. On 22 October, Halsey had detached two of his carrier groups to the fleet base at Ulithi to provision and rearm.

It was called "Murderer's Row." Aircraft carriers lined up across Ulithi Lagoon. Ulithi was used as the major "secret" naval base during WWII. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

It was called “Murderer’s Row.” Aircraft carriers lined up across Ulithi Lagoon. Ulithi was used as the major “secret” naval base during WWII. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

When Darter‘s (A US Submarine) contact report came in, Halsey recalled Davison’s group, but allowed Vice Admiral McCain—with the strongest of TF 38’s carrier groups, to continue towards Ulithi. This will turn out to be a poor decision by Admiral Halsey. In order to be clean in my understanding of the different groups in this part of the theater, I needed to understand the individual sections of TF 38. I found a document online that details out which ships were part of which group under TF 38. Here is Vice Admiral McCain’s Task Force 38.1 This is the group I just wrote that Halsey didn’t recall back from going to Ulithi for supplies with the other parts of the taskforce on October 22, 1944.

Task Group 38.1: Vice Admiral J.S.Mccain
USS Hornet (CV8) This had to be an error and should be CV-12 as the CV-8 was sunk at the Battle of Santa Cruz in 1943.
USS Wasp (CV18)
USS Hancock (CV19)
USS Monterey (CV26)
USS Cowpens (CV25)
USS Pensacola (CA24)
USS Chester (CA27)
USS Salt Lake City (CA25)
USS Boston (CA69)
USS San Diego (CL53)
USS Oakland (CL95)
USS Brown (DD546)
USS Conner (DD582)
USS Cowell (DD547)
USS Case (DD370)
USS Cummings (DD365)
USS Cassin (DD372)
USS Downes (DD375)
USS Dunlap (DD384)
USS Fanning (DD385)
USS Farenholt (DD491)
USS Grayson (DD435)
USS Izard (DD589)
USS McCalla (DD488)
USS Woodworth (DD460)

Halsey finally recalled McCain on 24 October—but the delay meant the most powerful American carrier group played little part in the coming battle, and the 3rd Fleet was therefore effectively deprived of nearly 40% of its air strength for most of the engagement. On the morning of 24 October, only three groups were available to strike Kurita’s force, and the one best positioned to do so—Bogan’s Task Group 38.2 (TF 38.2)—was by mischance the weakest of the groups, containing only one large carrier—USS Intrepid—and two light carriers (the failure to promptly recall McCain on 23 October had also effectively deprived 3rd Fleet, throughout the battle, of four of its six heavy cruisers).

USS Intrepid (CV-11)

USS Intrepid (CV-11)

Planes from carriers Intrepid and Cabot of Bogan’s group attacked at about 10:30, making hits on the battleships Nagato, Yamato, and Musashi, and severely damaging the heavy cruiser Myōkō.

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944 Japanese battleship Yamato is hit by a bomb near her forward 460mm gun turret, during attacks by U.S. carrier planes as she transited the Sibuyan Sea. This hit did not produce serious damage.

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, 24 October 1944
Japanese battleship Yamato is hit by a bomb near her forward 460mm gun turret, during attacks by U.S. carrier planes as she transited the Sibuyan Sea.
This hit did not produce serious damage.

A second wave from Intrepid, Essex and Lexington later attacked, with VB-15 Helldivers and VF-15 Hellcats from Essex, scoring another 10 hits on Musashi.

A USS ESSEX ordnanceman carries ammunition to the ship's F6F Hellcat fighters, 24 October 1944. -Paul Madden photo from NARA collection

A USS ESSEX ordnanceman carries ammunition to the ship’s F6F Hellcat fighters, 24 October 1944.
-Paul Madden photo from NARA collection

As Musashi withdrew, listing to port, a third wave from Enterprise and Franklin hit her with an additional 11 bombs and eight torpedoes.

20.5

Kurita turned his fleet around to get out of range of the aircraft, passing the crippled Musashi as his force retreated. He waited until 17:15 before turning around again to head for the San Bernardino Strait. After being struck by at least 17 bombs and 19 torpedoes, Musashi finally capsized and sank at about 19:30.

IJN Admiral Takijiro Onishi

IJN Admiral Takijiro Onishi

Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi had directed three waves of aircraft from his First Air Fleet based on Luzon against the carriers of Rear Admiral Sherman’s TG 38.3 (whose aircraft were also being used to strike airfields in Luzon to prevent Japanese land-based air attacks on Allied shipping in Leyte Gulf). Each of Ōnishi’s strike waves consisted of some 50 to 60 aircraft.

Most of the attacking Japanese planes were intercepted and shot down or driven off by Hellcats of Sherman’s combat air patrol, most notably by two fighter sections from Essex led by Commander David McCampbell (who is credited with shooting down nine of the attacking planes in this one action). However, one Japanese aircraft (a Yokosuka D4Y3 Judy) slipped through the defences, and at 09:38 hit the light carrier USS Princeton with a 551 lb (250 kg) armor-piercing bomb. The resulting explosion caused a severe fire in Princeton‘s hangar and her emergency sprinkler system failed to operate.
The light aircraft carrier Princeton afire, east of Luzon, 24 October 1944.

The light aircraft carrier Princeton afire, east of Luzon, 24 October 1944.

As the fires spread rapidly, a series of secondary explosions followed. The fires were gradually brought under control, but at 15:23 there was an enormous explosion (probably in the carrier’s bomb stowage aft), causing more casualties aboard Princeton, and even heavier casualties – 233 dead and 426 wounded – aboard the light cruiser Birmingham which was coming back alongside to assist with the firefighting. Birmingham was so badly damaged, she was forced to retire. Another light cruiser and two destroyers were also damaged. All efforts to save Princeton failed, and after the remaining crew were evacuated, she was finally scuttled—torpedoed by the light cruiser Reno—at 17:50.
The light carrier USS Princeton explodes at 1523 on 24 October 1944 - after being bombed by a Japanese aircraft during the Battle for Leyte Gulf. The light cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-62) is visible on this side of the Princeton. Birmingham was seriously damaged in the explosion, which caused more than three hundred casualties aboard the cruiser. [This is an official US Navy photograph, probably taken from the battleship USS South Dakota]

The light carrier USS Princeton explodes at 1523 on 24 October 1944 – after being bombed by a Japanese aircraft during the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
The light cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-62) is visible on this side of the Princeton. Birmingham was seriously damaged in the explosion, which caused more than three hundred casualties aboard the cruiser.
[This is an official US Navy photograph, probably taken from the battleship USS South Dakota]

Of Princeton’s crew, 108 men were killed, while 1,361 survivors were rescued by nearby ships. USS Princeton was the largest American ship lost during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
g270437

In all, US 3rd Fleet flew 259 sorties—mostly by Hellcats—against Center Force on 24 October. This weight of attack was not nearly sufficient to neutralize the threat from Kurita. It contrasts with the 527 sorties flown by 3rd Fleet against Ozawa’s much weaker Northern Force on the following day. Moreover, a large proportion of the Sibuyan Sea attack was directed against just one ship, Musashi. This great battleship was sunk, and cruiser Myōkō crippled, but every other ship in Kurita’s force remained battleworthy and able to advance.

In my research I note that there is a story within the story of the Battles of Leyte Gulf that warrants a separate posting. It is part of the October 24th story but too lengthy to include here. It is a story of communication and miscommunication and the devastating results. So in my next part, read about Admiral Halsey’s decisions and the San Bernardino Strait.

What Happened October 20th – 26th: The Battle of Leyte Gulf (Part 1)

John T. Ryan US Navy

John T. Ryan US Navy

Originally posted on my other blog USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story

October 1944 continues and my father, Seaman First Class, John Thomas Ryan is still serving on the USS Hornet (CV-12).

20-26 Oct 1944 – Strikes on Leyte supporting invasion of the Philippines as stated in the ships log for the USS Hornet (CV-12).

Second Battle of the Philippine Sea (Leyte Gulf) – largest naval battle in history. I will tell this part of the story in multiple parts (anticipating five parts) because the Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four separate engagements between the opposing forces: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle of Cape Engaño and the Battle off Samar, as well as other actions. For Part 1, I will cover background and the submarine action in Palawan passage on October 23, 1944.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf, also called the Battles for Leyte Gulf, and formerly known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history.

image002

It was fought in waters near the Philippine islands of Leyte, Samar and Luzon from 23–26 October 1944, between combined US and Australian forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy. On 20 October, United States troops invaded the island of Leyte as part of a strategy aimed at isolating Japan from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia, and in particular depriving its forces and industry of vital oil supplies. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) mobilized nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels in an attempt to defeat the Allied invasion, but was repulsed by the US Navy’s 3rd and 7th Fleets. The IJN failed to achieve its objective, suffered very heavy losses, and never afterwards sailed to battle in comparable force. The majority of its surviving heavy ships, deprived of fuel, remained in their bases for the rest of the Pacific War.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf consisted of four separate engagements between the opposing forces: the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle of Cape Engaño and the Battle off Samar, as well as other actions. It was the first battle in which Japanese aircraft carried out organized kamikaze attacks. ka·mi·ka·ze (kä m -kä z ). n. 1. A Japanese pilot trained in World War II to make a suicidal crash attack, especially upon a ship

A Japanese Kamikaze suicide plane shown swooping down on a U.S. warship in a dramatic action in World War II. In the three-day battle of Leyte Gulf, in Oct. 1944, the Japanese threw the suicide planes into action for the first time in a desperate effort to save their fleet. (AP Photo)

A Japanese Kamikaze suicide plane shown swooping down on a U.S. warship in a dramatic action in World War II. In the three-day battle of Leyte Gulf, in Oct. 1944, the Japanese threw the suicide planes into action for the first time in a desperate effort to save their fleet. (AP Photo)

By the time of the battle, Japan had fewer aircraft than the Allied Forces had sea vessels, demonstrating the difference in power of the two sides at this point of the war.

Background

The campaigns of August 1942 to early 1944 had driven Japanese forces from many of their island bases in the south and central Pacific Ocean, while isolating many of their other bases (most notably in the Solomon Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Admiralty Islands, New Guinea, Marshall Islands, and Wake Island), and in June 1944, a series of American amphibious landings supported by the US 5th Fleet’s Fast Carrier Task Force captured most of the Mariana Islands (bypassing Rota). This offensive breached Japan’s strategic inner defense ring and gave the Americans a base from which long-range Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers could attack the Japanese home islands. The Japanese counterattacked in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The US Navy destroyed three Japanese aircraft carriers (and damaged other ships) and approximately 600 Japanese aircraft, leaving the IJN with virtually no carrier-borne airpower or experienced pilots. You can read about many of the 1944 engagements especially the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot in my previous posts.

Admiral Ernest J. King

Admiral Ernest J. King

For subsequent operations, Admiral Ernest J. King and other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff favored blockading Japanese forces in the Philippines and attacking Formosa (Taiwan) to give the Americans and Australians control of the sea routes between Japan and southern Asia.

300px-Douglas_MacArthur_lands_Leyte1

“I have returned” — General MacArthur returns to the Philippines with Philippine President Sergio Osmena to his right, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo at his rear, and Sutherland on his left. Photo taken by Gaetano Faillace

US Army General Douglas MacArthur championed an invasion of the Philippines, which also lay across the supply lines to Japan. Leaving the Philippines in Japanese hands would be a blow to American prestige and a personal affront to MacArthur, who in 1942 had famously pronounced, “I shall return.”

The considerable air power the Japanese had amassed in the Philippines was thought too dangerous to bypass by many high-ranking officers outside the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Admiral Chester Nimitz. However, Nimitz and MacArthur initially had opposing plans, with Nimitz’s plan centered on an invasion of Formosa, since that could also cut the supply lines to Southeast Asia. Formosa could also serve as a base for an invasion of mainland China, which MacArthur felt was unnecessary. A meeting between MacArthur, Nimitz, and President Roosevelt helped confirm the Philippines as a strategic target, but had less to do with the final decision to invade the Philippines than is sometimes claimed. Nimitz eventually changed his mind and agreed to MacArthur’s plan.

Pictured above: MacArthur, Roosevelt & Nimitz on board USS Baltimore, July 1944

Pictured above: MacArthur, Roosevelt & Nimitz on board USS Baltimore, July 1944

It was also estimated that an invasion of Formosa would require about 12 divisions of US Army soldiers and Marines. This was more land power than the Americans could muster in the whole Pacific Ocean area at that time, and the entire Australian Army was engaged in the Solomon Islands, on New Guinea, in the Dutch East Indies, and on various other Pacific islands. The invasion of Formosa would require much larger ground forces than were available in the Pacific in late 1944, and would not have been feasible until the defeat of Germany freed the necessary manpower.

It was eventually decided that MacArthur’s forces would invade the island of Leyte in the central Philippines. Amphibious forces and close naval support would be provided by the 7th Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid.

Vice Admiral Thomas Cassin Kinkaid had had a distinguished naval career when he took command of the United States Seventh Fleet, also known as MacArthur’s Navy.

Vice Admiral Thomas Cassin Kinkaid had had a distinguished naval career when he took command of the United States Seventh Fleet, also known as MacArthur’s Navy.

The 7th Fleet at this time contained units of the US Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, including the County-class heavy cruisers HMAS Shropshire and Australia, and the destroyer Arunta, and possibly a few warships from New Zealand and/or the Netherlands.

The US 3rd Fleet—commanded by Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., with Task Force 38 (TF 38, the Fast Carrier Task Force, commanded by Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher) as its main component—would provide more distant cover and support for the invasion.

For the Leyte operation,  as 'Task Force 38,' and constituting almost all of the US Third Fleet,   the Fast Carrier Force contained nine large fleet carriers and eight light carriers.   Of the nine heavy carriers eight were of the new Essex Class,  the ninth being the old Enterprise (of the Yorktown Class),  a ship with a matchless combat record.

For the Leyte operation, as ‘Task Force 38,’ and constituting almost all of the US Third Fleet, the Fast Carrier Force contained nine large fleet carriers and eight light carriers. Of the nine heavy carriers eight were of the new Essex Class, the ninth being the old Enterprise (of the Yorktown Class), a ship with a matchless combat record.

A fundamental defect in this plan was there would be no single American naval admiral in overall command. Kinkaid and his 7th Fleet fell under MacArthur as Supreme Allied Commander Southwest Pacific, whereas Halsey’s 3rd Fleet reported to Nimitz as C-in-C Pacific Ocean Areas. This lack of a unified command structure, along with failures in communication, was to produce a crisis, and very nearly a strategic disaster, for the American forces.

By coincidence, the Japanese plan, using three separate fleets, also lacked an overall commander. The American options were apparent to the IJN.

Soemu Toyoda is an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy

Soemu Toyoda is an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy

Combined Fleet Chief Soemu Toyoda prepared four “victory” plans: Shō-Gō 1 was a major naval operation in the Philippines, while Shō-Gō 2, Shō-Gō 3 and Shō-Gō 4 were responses to attacks on Formosa, the Ryukyu and Kurile Islands, respectively. The plans were for complex offensive operations committing nearly all available forces to a decisive battle, despite this substantially depleting Japan’s slender reserves of fuel oil.

On 12 October 1944, the US 3rd Fleet under Admiral Halsey began a series of carrier raids against Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands, with a view to ensuring the aircraft based there could not intervene in the Leyte landings. (See a previous blog post) The Japanese command therefore put Shō-Gō 2 into action, launching waves of air attacks against 3rd Fleet’s carriers. In what Morison refers to as a “knock-down, drag-out fight between carrier-based and land-based air”, the Japanese were routed, losing 600 aircraft in three days, almost their entire air strength in the region. Following the American invasion of the Philippines, the Japanese Navy made the transition to Shō-Gō 1.

Shō-Gō 1 called for Vice-Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa’s ships—known as the “Northern Force”—to lure the main American covering forces away from Leyte.

Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Northern Force would be built around several aircraft carriers, but these would have very few aircraft or trained aircrew. The carriers would serve as the main bait. As the US covering forces were lured away, two other surface forces would advance on Leyte from the west. The “Southern Force” under Vice Admirals Shoji Nishimura and Kiyohide Shima would strike at the landing area via Surigao Strait.

Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita

Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita

The “Center Force” under Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita—by far the most powerful of the attacking forces—would pass through San Bernardino Strait into the Philippine Sea, turn southwards, and then also attack the landing area.

Photographed just prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Ships are, from left to right: Musashi, Yamato, a cruiser and Nagato.

Photographed just prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Ships are, from left to right: Musashi, Yamato, a cruiser and Nagato.

This plan was likely to result in the destruction of one or more of the attacking forces, but Toyoda later explained this to his American interrogators as follows:

Should we lose in the Philippines operations, even though the fleet should be left, the shipping lane to the south would be completely cut off so that the fleet, if it should come back to Japanese waters, could not obtain its fuel supply. If it should remain in southern waters, it could not receive supplies of ammunition and arms. There would be no sense in saving the fleet at the expense of the loss of the Philippines.

—United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific) – ‘Interrogations of Japanese Officials’

The submarine action in Palawan Passage (23 October)

As it sortied from its base in Brunei, Kurita’s powerful “Center Force” consisted of five battleships (Yamato, Musashi, Nagato,Kongō, and Haruna), ten heavy cruisers (Atago, Maya, Takao, Chōkai, Myōkō, Haguro, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone and Chikuma), two light cruisers (Noshiro and Yahagi) and 15 destroyers.

centerforKurita’s ships passed Palawan Island around midnight on 22–23 October.

Map of the Philippines with Palawan highlighted

Map of the Philippines with Palawan highlighted

The American submarines Darter and Dace were positioned together on the surface close by.

USS Darter (227)

USS Darter (SS-227)

USS Dace (227)

USS Dace (SS-227)

At 00:16 on 23 October, Darter‘s radar detected the Japanese formation at a range of 30,000 yd (27,000 m). Her captain promptly made visual contact. The two submarines quickly moved off in pursuit of the ships, while Darter made the first of three contact reports. At least one of these was picked up by a radio operator on Yamato, but Kurita failed to take appropriate antisubmarine precautions.

Darter and Dace traveled on the surface at full power for several hours and gained a position ahead of Kurita’s formation, with the intention of making a submerged attack at first light. This attack was unusually successful. At 05:24, Darter fired a spread of six torpedoes, at least four of which hit Kurita’s flagship, the heavy cruiser Atago. Ten minutes later, Darter made two hits on Atago‘s sister ship, Takao, with another spread of torpedoes. At 05:56, Dace made four torpedo hits on the heavy cruiser Maya (sister to Atago and Takao).

Atago and Maya quickly sank. Takao turned back to Brunei escorted by two destroyers—and was followed by the two submarines.

Sunk by planes from the U.S.S. Natoma Bay CVE-62 on October 25, 1944 at the battle of Leyte Gulf.

Japanese Heavy Cruiser Atago sunk by planes from the U.S.S. Natoma Bay CVE-62 on October 25, 1944 at the battle of Leyte Gulf.

Japanese Heavy Cruiser Maya torpedoed October 23, 1944

Japanese Heavy Cruiser Maya torpedoed October 23, 1944

On 24 October, as the submarines continued to shadow the damaged cruiser, Darter ran aground on the Bombay Shoal. All efforts to get her off failed, and she was abandoned. Her entire crew was, however, rescued by Dace.

Takao returned to Singapore. She was joined in January 1945 by Myōkō.

Atago had sunk so rapidly, Kurita was forced to swim to survive. He was rescued by one of the Japanese destroyers, and he then transferred to the battleship Yamato.

In my next post, I will continue with this campaign in Leyte Gulf with the The Battle of the Sibuyan Sea (24 October, 1944)

Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge – When Clear, You Can See For Three Miles

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

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The Assignment: The idea of Photo Fiction is write a story of around 100-200 words (which is also called Flash Fiction) based on a photo as a prompt. In this particular photo fiction, the story must be based on the photo below.  To read stories written by others, click on the links tool below.  It dawned on my today that I have been participating in this challenge for more than a year.  I decided to create an anthology of these stories which you can access from a menu at the top of my page.


On the September 14, 2014 Sunday Photo Fiction I wrote a trilogy.  I decided that I would try expanding those stories for a few weeks.  The titles will not be Train Track Trilogy each week but will have three or a version of three in the title but be a continuation.  Here are the stories in order:

Train Track Trilogy

Three Tales in a Bubble

The Unleashing of Three Dragons

Three Strokes to Stay Above Water

Three Tons of Debris

Today, please enjoy When Clear, You Can See For Three Miles

Credit: Al Forbes

Credit: Al Forbes

When Clear, You Can See For Three Miles

Kim didn’t have $25,000. In her bedroom, she began filling a suitcase with clothes and personal items. She put what little cash she had as well as the jewelry from Mark in her handbag. Kim didn’t know where she would go, but it was clear to her that she needed to be miles away.

———-

My baby was conceived in love and is part of me,” thought Dara. She put away the brochure and left the house. Walking briskly because of the late autumn temperature, Dara soon reached the oceanfront. Dropping coins into the telescope, Dara looked out at sea but eventually she turned to looking down the beach. Miles down, a mother was racing around with a small child. The mother caught the boy and lifted him into a hug. It was clearly a scene of pure joy.

———-

“What do we do next George?”

“This information on his transport provides avenues of research. Through these avenues, I will find out if he definitely was onboard and what the records upon arrival in New York can tell us.”

“I am so glad I met with you George.”

“I don’t want to give you false hope Krista. We are still miles away from the truth but the journey has become more clear.”

 

The World’s Outstanding Women (WOW): Harriet Chalmers Adams

WOMENS-symbolThroughout history women have made their mark in a wide variety of ways.  Each Saturday I plan to highlight one of these remarkable women.  There will be no limit to the areas of history that I may include; however as a guide I will look to the month of their birth, the month of their death or the month associated with their mark in history when I select them.  Is there an outstanding women in history you would like me to include?  I welcome your suggestions.  Would you like to guest blog one of the world’s outstanding women?  Let me hear from you.

When my daughter was in grade school one year she had to prepare a presentation on a great explorer.  Most of the well-known and famous ones had already been picked by other students.  She was permitted to choose from the remainder of the list or find one not on the list but get it approved.  When she came home with the list, I noticed that there weren’t any woman on the list.  I just knew there had to be a great woman explorer so my daughter and I turned to the internet.  We found a wonderful one and because of this school project, she became know to me.   Meet Harriet Chalmers Adams.

Harriet Chalmers Adams

Harriet Chalmers Adams

 

I’ve wondered why men have so absolutely monopolized the field of exploration. Why did women never go to the Arctic, try for one pole or the other, or invade Africa, Tibet, or unknown wildernesses? I’ve never found my sex a hinderment; never faced a difficulty which a woman, as well as a man, could not surmount; never felt a fear of danger; never lacked courage to protect myself. I’ve been in tight places and have seen harrowing things.

 

Born in Stockton, California to Alexander Chalmers and Frances Wilkens, she was educated by private tutors. On October 5, 1899 she married Franklin Pierce Adams. In 1904, Adams went on her first major expedition, a three-year trip around South America with her husband, during which they visited every country, and traversed the Andes on horseback.

Photograph taken by Harriet Chalmers Adams

Photograph taken by Harriet Chalmers Adams

In a later trip she retraced the trail of Christopher Columbus’s early discoveries in the Americas, and crossed Haiti on horseback.

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Adams served as a correspondent for Harper’s Magazine in Europe during World War I. She was the only female journalist permitted to visit the trenches. Later, she and her husband visited eastern Bolivia during a second extended trip to South America.

French WWI soldiers in a dense wood squat down to warm by a fire.  Photograph by Harriet Chalmers Adams

French WWI soldiers in a dense wood squat down to warm by a fire. Photograph by Harriet Chalmers Adams

From 1907 to 1935, she wrote twenty-one articles for the National Geographic Society that featured her photographs, including “Some Wonderful Sights in the Andean Highlands” (September 1908), “Kaleidoscopic La Paz: City of the Clouds” (February 1909) and “River-Encircled Paraguay” (April 1933). She wrote on Trinidad, Surinam, Bolivia, Peru and the trans-Andean railroad between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso.

In 1925, Adams helped launch the Society of Woman Geographers. In all, Adams is said to have travelled more than a hundred thousand miles, and captivated hundreds of audiences. The New York Times wrote “Harriet Chalmers Adams is America’s greatest woman explorer. As a lecturer no one, man or woman, has a more magnetic hold over an audience than she.”

left to right) Gertude Mathews Shelby, Marjorie Turnbull, Lucille Sinclair Douglass, Blair Niles, Delia Akeley, Grace Murphy, Gertrude Emerson Sen, Harriet Chalmers Adams. June 1932.

left to right) Gertude Mathews Shelby, Marjorie Turnbull, Lucille Sinclair Douglass, Blair Niles, Delia Akeley, Grace Murphy, Gertrude Emerson Sen, Harriet Chalmers Adams. June 1932.

She died in Nice, France, on July 17, 1937, at age 61. She is interred at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California.

 

@Microbookends – Vanessa’s Face Lift

This is for Microbookends at http://www.microbookends.com/?p=253
A 100 word flash fiction writing prompt where we are supplied with the first and last word and a photo prompt. We have 24 hours in which to write our story and post it in the comments at the link above. My 24 hours will be up at 5 am UK time Friday. The first word must be FACE and the last word must be LIFT. Here is the photo prompt which also must be part of the writing.

 

Photo Credit: shira gal via CC

Photo Credit: shira gal via CC

Face reality girl. There’s never going to be any money for college. You’ll never have a chance for success. My only hope is to receive a scholarship. These were the thoughts running through Vanessa’s mind as she hacked away at her grandmother’s old manual typewriter. She was actually writing her term paper on a typewriter. She wouldn’t dare let her classmates know. Her mother said she wouldn’t waste money on a computer when they had them at the library. To her mother, money was better spent on good wine and this rendered her too drunk to give Vanessa a lift.

This Week in World War II – The Battle of Formosa

world-war-2THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

The Battle of Formosa

(Including a family member’s personal account aboard the USS Houston)

 

 

If you follow my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story, my post today was previously posted on that blog.  It starts with his ship in Mid October 1944 and ends with a personal account by my Uncle and the USS Houston (CL-81) in the Battle of Formosa.The USS Hornet (CV-12)’s log stated the following for this time period:

10-19 Oct 1944 – Strikes on Okinawa, Ryukyu Retto, Aparri, Luzon and Formosa. 13 Oct 1944 – First Japanese plane confirmed splashed by HORNET anti- aircraft fire.

The Ryukyu Islands, known in Japanese as the Nansei Islands and also known as the Ryukyu Arc, are a chain of volcanic Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands (further divided into the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands), with Yonaguni the southernmost. The largest of the islands is Okinawa.

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Planes from fast carriers of Admiral Nimitz's Pacific Fleet hit targets in the industrial area of Naha City on Okinawa Island in the Ryukyu chain south of Japan. These vast plumes of smoke stem from stricken ships and warehouses, at least four ships having been fired.

The Formosa Air Battle took place between October 10 and 20, 1944, off the eastern coasts of the Ryukyu Islands, Formosa, and Luzon. It was fought by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and the approaching Task Force 38 of the United States Third Fleet and was one of a series of air raids on Japan during the Pacific War. The attacks served to prevent the Japanese aircraft from involvement in the Battle of Leyte Gulf later that month.

The battle was one-sided, as the Americans practically dominated air warfare due to the superior training and weaponry that they possessed at that point. The Japanese air power in the region was battle exhausted, giving the Americans air superiority and weakening Japan’s ability to defend the Okinawa Islands in the upcoming Okinawa Campaign. However, in an effort to boost morale and to cover up the defeat, Japanese headquarters claimed to have sunk 45 Allied ships, including 11 aircraft carriers and four battleships.

The U.S. Third Fleet started carrier-launched raids against Formosa on October 12, 1944. The Japanese response was to send waves of aircraft against the U.S. carriers. On October 13, the cruiser USS Canberra was seriously damaged by a torpedo bomber while for one of the first times in the war a kamikaze aircraft was used, which lightly damaged the carrier USS Franklin. The following day saw the island all but neutralized but the light cruiser USS Houston was damaged by an enemy torpedo,

View looking aft showing the damage to the starboard catapult after the first torpedo hit.

while the carrier USS Hancock, the light cruiser USS Reno and two destroyers had all incurred some form of damage. However over three days the Japanese had lost approximately 500 aircraft and countless ships, which was almost their entire air strength in the area while American losses in aircraft amounted to 89.

************************************************************************************************

At this point I am going to take a break from my father’s story and write about my uncle and the Battle of Formosa. My father had a twin brother, James Ryan.

James RyanAround the time my father was boarding the USS Hornet (CV-12), his brother was on board the USS Houston (CL-81), a Cleveland Class Light Cruiser.

USS Houston (CL-81) 1943

In a biographical account of his naval career, my uncle mentions that he and my father did get to meet once when their ships were anchored in Saipan Harbor. Both ships were part of the same Task Force. My uncle passed away last year at the age of 90 (45 years after my father, his twin) but he had a written account of his experience in the Battle of Formosa. I now share his words.

The major invasion of the Philippines was scheduled for late October so our Task Force was sent North to intercept the Jap Fleet if they tried to interfere with this landing. We then supported air strikes on Okinawa and Formosa (now Taiwan). We operated in the China Sea and were the first Task Force to penetrate so close to the Japanese Homeland. This meant we had to be within range of land-based planes in Formosa and China.

At about 6 p.m. on October 14th, our Task Force was attacked by about 90 enemy fighters and bombers. The fighter planes from our Carriers destroyed most of these planes, but about 7 p.m. a bomber launched his torpedo and struck us amidships (between the forward fire room and the after engine room). I was extremely lucky that General Quarters sounded (the alarm that enemy planes are approaching) when I was not at my regular station, i.e. the after engine room. I proceeded to my battle station, a Damage Control Unit, just one deck above the engine room. The initial blast killed about a quarter of my division.

Ordeal of the U.S.S. Houston by Jack Fellows

About 8 p.m. the Captain passed the word to “Abandon Ship”. So I made my way up three decks to the topside to my “Abandon Ship” location. I jumped in with my life jacket on and clung to the side of the raft type float that had several severely wounded men in the center. [They had burial at sea for two men from rafts who did not make it.]

USS Houston (CL 81) Burial at sea for crewmen killed when the ship was torpedoed off Formosa on 14 October 1944. Photographed while Houston was under tow on 15 October. The following day, 16 October, she was hit in the starboard quarter (just aft of where this view was taken) by another aerial torpedo. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. - 19-N-110835.

We drifted for about 6 hours in heavy seas until we were picked up by the Destroyer Grayson. The next day we saw that our ship did not sink and was being towed by the Cruiser Boston. They eventually got the ship back to Manus in the Admiralty Islands (above Australia) about a 2,000 mile trip.

View looking aft, showing damage to the ship's stern area resulting from a torpedo hit amidships received off Formosa on 14 October 1944. This photo was taken while Houston was under tow, but prior to the second torpedo hit on 16 October. Note OS2U floatplane that had been jarred off the port catapult, breaking its wing on impact with the aircraft crane. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives #19-N-106304.

Japanese aerial torpedo hits the ship's starboard quarter, during the afternoon of 16 October 1944. This view shows burning fuel at the base of the torpedo explosion's water column. Houston had been torpedoed amidships on 14 October, while off Formosa, and was under tow by USS Pawnee (ATF 74) when enemy torpedo planes hit her again. USS Canberra (CA 70), also torpedoed off Formosa, is under tow in the distance. The original photograph is in the USS Santa Fe (CL 60) "Log", a very large photo album held by the Navy Department Library. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center #NH 98826.

I was transferred at sea from the Grayson to another Cruiser, the Santa Fe, and to the Troop Ship Dashing Wave that took us back to Pearl Harbor.

USS Grayson (DD-435)

USS Santa Fe CL-60

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They ordered the “Black Gang” (workers in the engine room) to rejoin our ship, so we got a ride on a carrier back to Manus. We worked on a giant loading dry-dock to repair the ship to make it seaworthy enough to take us back to the United States.

Seaworthy in February 1945 USS Houston CL-81

By Mid-February we left Manus and limped back to the Brooklyn Navy Yard arriving about the end of March. The war ended in early September but our ship wasn’t finished until October. We took another shake-down cruise in the Caribbean and arrived back in Norfolk, Virginia. I was discharged in Mid-December 1945.

Haibun Thinking – They Grow Up

Submitted for Haibun Thinking

haibun4plus21 Welcome to Haibun Thinking. A weekly writing challenge to create verse, prose and haiku using prompts from all areas of art including – but not limited to – movies, songs, art, photography etc.  It is all explained at the link above.  Use the link tool to submit your haibun and read others.  If you don’t know how to write the form haibun, there is information about it at the link above too.

It is Literature Week, so we are presented with a quote from a novel and a photograph to write our story and haiku.  The photograph is quite interesting and can be viewed at the above link; however I have chosen the literary quote for my Haibun.

“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do.
It is much easier to skip it
and go from one childhood to another.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is nothing you can do about it.  They grow up.  One day they are dependent upon you for their every need and the next you hope you get a text.  Someday the roles may reverse and you’ll be dependent upon them.  For now you cherish all the memories.  Often just thinking about an event in your child’s life forms a tableau in your mind and you think of a remembered photograph.  Luckily in our digital age, sometimes that photograph is just a click away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh the years pass and will continue to pass.  Our children have so many opportunities today and this brings added responsibility and added dangers too.  While visiting colleges with her to help her decide, I can see how university life has changed.  Oh to do it all over again.  Sometimes I think I would choose to and other times I am thankful I don’t have to.  Yes our children have to grow up and so do we; but we can have things in our life that help us feel young.

Memory’s tableau

Capture youth and hold it close

Feel young in our hearts

What Happened on October 15th – Vietnam Moratorium Day

1969 moratorium protest

On October 15, 1969, National Moratorium antiwar demonstrations are conducted across the United States involving hundreds of thousands of people. The National Moratorium was an effort by David Hawk and Sam Brown, two antiwar activists, to forge a broad-based movement against the Vietnam War. The organization initially focused its effort on 300 college campuses, but the idea soon grew and spread beyond the colleges and universities. Hawk and Brown were assisted by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, which was instrumental in organizing the nation-wide protest.

vietnammoratorium

One of the largest demonstrations occurred when 100,000 people converged on the Boston Common, but demonstrations nationwide also included smaller rallies, marches, and prayer vigils. The demonstrations involved a broad spectrum of the population, including those who had already participated in antiwar demonstrations and many who had never before raised their voices against the war. The protest, as a nationally coordinated antiwar demonstration, was considered unprecedented; Walter Cronkite called it “historic in its scope. Never before had so many demonstrated their hope for peace.”

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