|USS Gambier Bay under fire from a Japanese cruiser, visible at right|
Came across, again, the incredible Battle off Samar while doing some research on another topic.
Military History is full of forlorn hopes, last stands, surprising victories and heroism. But even amidst such legendary company as The Alamo, Thermopylae, Rorke's Drift and Camaron, I think the Battle Off Samar stands alone.
You really can't find a set of naval wargame rules that are going to allow the saga of Taffy 3 to occur.
On the one hand you have Taffy 3. Six CVEs with a couple dozen aircraft each, armed for the most part with GP bombs and depth charges. Three Fletcher class destroyers and four destroyer escorts are the screen. A number of aircraft from neighboring CVE task forces and land bases eventually also help out.
On the other you have a Japanese surface action group with four battleships (including Yamato), six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and 11 destroyers. Oh, and the Japanese have Kamikazes.
And it's broad daylight. Morning as a matter of fact, so the Japanese have essentially all day.
I mean, really. How can that turn out any other way but a complete massacre?
And yet, not only did Taffy 3 survive, losing just two CVE, 2 DD and a DE, but the Japanese lost 3 CA as well as retreated!