Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

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Delta Tank
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Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Delta Tank » 08 Nov 2014 13:29

To all,

I am reading the book entitled "Military Errors of World War Two" by Kenneth Macksey, ISBN 1-85409-199-9. In the chapter entitled "Suicidal Impulses" page 223:
Halsey was far better informed than his enemies who were groping throughout. When he made his crucial decision at about 2000 hrs on the 24th to lead the entire Third Fleet against Ozawa in the north, he was beyond doubt aware, through Special Branch which processed Ultra, that Ozawa's Force was a decoy with the task of tempting him away from the San Bernardino Strait so as to leave it completely unguarded.
footnote
When writing the official history Morison, for security reasons, was forbidden from mentioning the assured SIGINT factor, with the result that his criticism of Halsey was a lot less trenchant than many thought it should have been.
So, my question is, did Halsey know from Magic intercepts that Ozawa was a decoy force only and posed no real threat? I don't think I have ever read this before and I tend not to believe it after reading several other chapters in this book that are really bad as far as factual history goes.

Also he states on page 233 while discussing the effectiveness of the Kamikaze attacks:
At far lower cost in machines and men, they had, by 12 December, hit and damaged seven heavy carriers and sunk seven and damaged 23 other ships-with more to come.
So, if I read this correctly the Japanese from the first Kamikaze attacks in late October to 12 December sank seven of our heavy carriers and damaged seven others. . .is that true? Seven Fleet Carriers sunk by Kamikaze in about 6 weeks??

Thanks in advance

Mike

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by OpanaPointer » 08 Nov 2014 15:40

Halsey's orders were to destroy the enemy carrier force when it presented itself. He was told that the Northern Force was retreating.
USN CVs damaged by kamikaze attack.
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Takao
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Takao » 08 Nov 2014 17:40

Can't answer the Halsey question ATM.

However, as to the Kamikazes, the total number of attacks that caused casualties or damage to ships, between late October, 1944 and December 12, 1944, is 69: as per Robin Reilly's "Kamikaze Attacks of World War II: A Complete History of Japanese Suicide Strikes on American Ships, by Aircraft and Other Means". That's roughly double Macksey's total of 37...

As to the sentence in question, it is poorly written...I see it a 7 carriers damaged, 7 other ships were sunk and 23 damaged.
Eight, technically Macksey is correct with his seven - Intrepid was hit on two different dates, fleet carriers(CVs and CVLs) were hit
In order by date:
Intrepid
Belleau Wood
Franklin
Lexington
Essex
Intrepid
Hancock
Cabot

There were five "other" ships, sunk by airborne kamikazes, that were destroyer sized or larger, 6 smaller vessels; a PT, SC, 2 LSMs, a LCI(L), and an ATO. Depending on Macksey's definition of "kamikaze", he added the tanker Mississinewa, sunk by a Kaiten, to his list.

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Delta Tank » 08 Nov 2014 18:07

Takao,

Thanks!! The sentence is poorly constructed, at least it confused me!

Mike

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Delta Tank » 08 Nov 2014 18:10

OpanaPointer wrote:Halsey's orders were to destroy the enemy carrier force when it presented itself. He was told that the Northern Force was retreating.
USN CVs damaged by kamikaze attack.
OpanaPointer,

Great site, thanks for posting! Good point, regardless what Magic told Halsey his orders were to destroy. . I can't recall the exact phrase. But, the question still remains did Halsey know that the carrier force was a decoy? I believe he did not know this, but then again I am not sure, however, I have never read that he did or didn't. How is that for a sentence! :P

Mike

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Takao
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Takao » 08 Nov 2014 19:48

Can't say that I agree with Macksey's conclusion that Halsey was aware, via Magic/Ultra, that Ozawa's force was a decoy. IIRC, Arleigh Burke, Mitscher's Chief of Staff and cleared for Magic, came to this conclusion through his own deductive reasoning. Captain Mike Cheek, Halsey's Intelligence Officer had concluded, not that Ozawa was a decoy, but that Kurita was coming through. He tried to convince Doug Moulton, the Air Officer, of this, but was rebuffed. Cheek's Deputy Intelligence Officer, Lt. Harris Cox, however had concluded that Ozawa's force was a decoy, and convinced Captain Cheek of this. This time around, Cheek went directly to Halsey's Chief of Staff, Admiral Robert Carney, where - and the tale varies here - he was either rebuffed outright or told, in a negative way, to go ahead and wake Halsey. Whatever the case, Cheek, never a member of Halsey's inner sanctum, decided that it was in his best interests not to wake the Admiral.

Possibly, Macksey draws his conclusion from the fact that the USN had recovered a copy of the Z Operation Orders which was in the hands of Halsey - but for the most part, was discounted. Also the USN had transcribed a copy of the Japanese manual "Striking Force Tactics", but this would not get to Third Fleet until after the Battle.

This is well covered in:
"The Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied and Japanese Plans, Preparations, and Execution" by Milan Vego
"Decision and Dissent: With Halsey at Leyte Gulf" by Carl Solberg
"Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945" by Evan Thomas

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by OpanaPointer » 08 Nov 2014 20:51

Let me did through Cutler's The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by OpanaPointer » 08 Nov 2014 21:12

Nothing about Magic/Ultra reports there. He does say that nobody knew how really impotent the IJN carrier arm was at the time.
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Nov 2014 18:38

Thanks for all the replies, so Halsey did not know that the IJN carrier force at Leyte Gulf was a decoy. I thought that was an error, one error amongst many in that book!!

Mike

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by OpanaPointer » 09 Nov 2014 18:46

Delta Tank wrote:Thanks for all the replies, so Halsey did not know that the IJN carrier force at Leyte Gulf was a decoy. I thought that was an error, one error amongst many in that book!!

Mike
It wouldn't have mattered. He was tasked with finishing off the IJN carriers, that was what he did. Whether or not the IJN broadcast to the world that they were going to sacrifice their carriers or not, they still had the potential to be a problem.

Does the book give a source of the intercept?
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Nov 2014 22:05

OpanaPointer wrote:
Delta Tank wrote:Thanks for all the replies, so Halsey did not know that the IJN carrier force at Leyte Gulf was a decoy. I thought that was an error, one error amongst many in that book!!

Mike
It wouldn't have mattered. He was tasked with finishing off the IJN carriers, that was what he did. Whether or not the IJN broadcast to the world that they were going to sacrifice their carriers or not, they still had the potential to be a problem.

Does the book give a source of the intercept?
There are no footnotes, no end notes,etc. There is a bibliography, but that really does not help. I think he made a deduction, "The US can read IJN signals, therefore the US knows exactly what the IJN is going to do, so why did Halsey fall for the decoy when he knew the Japanese plan?" Or something along those lines.

Mike

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by OpanaPointer » 09 Nov 2014 23:11

I never read history books that don't footnote.
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by Delta Tank » 09 Nov 2014 23:34

OpanaPointer wrote:I never read history books that don't footnote.
I know and I understand, that is my policy also, but it was on the shelf and I need one to read where chapters are unrelated to each other, etc. But, the chapter on Arnhem is really bad!! The book needs larger margins, it is hard to get all my comments in without running out of space!! I have noticed, that a lot of the newly published books do not have footnotes, just something called chapter end notes?? something like that, awful in my opinion, I will dig out my favorite new information sentence that is without a foot note! Involves the US Navy at Makin, and the book was highly rated!

Mike

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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by OpanaPointer » 09 Nov 2014 23:53

Delta Tank wrote:
OpanaPointer wrote:I never read history books that don't footnote.
I know and I understand, that is my policy also, but it was on the shelf and I need one to read where chapters are unrelated to each other, etc. But, the chapter on Arnhem is really bad!! The book needs larger margins, it is hard to get all my comments in without running out of space!! I have noticed, that a lot of the newly published books do not have footnotes, just something called chapter end notes?? something like that, awful in my opinion, I will dig out my favorite new information sentence that is without a foot note! Involves the US Navy at Makin, and the book was highly rated!

Mike
I used post-it notes for really bad books. Lately I've been dictating to my computer to save time.

As for the chapter notes, I can live with them, but I am old school about footnotes and a thorough bibliography.
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Re: Halsey at Leyte Gulf 1944

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 10 Nov 2014 18:05

Delta Tank wrote:To all,

I am reading the book entitled "Military Errors of World War Two" by Kenneth Macksey, ISBN 1-85409-199-9. In the chapter entitled "Suicidal Impulses" page 223:
Kenneth Macksey was a RAC officer in WWII. He did alright when writing about armor warfare development and early tank battles in WWII (France , North Africa), however his views even in that area were a highly slanted British POV. Past that area I wouldn't rely on him for nothing. I think I have 4-5 books by him, none bought since the mid-80's, when I gave up on him.

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