Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
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At this point reports reached Admiral Spruance concerning the group of warships fleeing through North Pass. The admiral put himself in tactical command of Task Group 50.9, made up of four destroyers, two heavy cruisers and the battleships Iowa and New Jersey, which he personally led in a surface engagement against the previously damaged Japanese ships. Spruance was so adamant on engaging in ship-to-ship combat that his carrier commander, Admiral Mitscher, ordered his air groups to stop attacking Katori and her companions
Any idea as to why Spruance would opt for a a surface engagement over continued airstrikes?
Mitscher's air groups were more than capable of finishing off any IJN vessels left afloat, and at far less risk.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
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He was a sailor and an Admiral, and the opportunity to command his ships in a surface engagement was probably too great a temptation to resist.
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Speculation: (Since I have not seen the AARs for Hailstone):
Most large carrier forces with battleship support had a plan for surface action if the situation warranted. This involved pulling disparate units from the carrier task forces and creating a surface action group. Spruance may have viewed this as a low-risk opportunity to evaluate the actual use of this contigrncy plan.