Thursday, January 16, 2014

Another Pacific War Timeline: A Different Leyte Gulf

Here's another timeline from my alternate-history message-board for your entertainment. It's entitled "A Different Leyte Gulf."

In our world, the Battle of the Leyte Gulf was the largest naval battle in World War II and possibly the largest naval battle in history. After this battle, the Imperial Japanese Navy was a spent force and according to the Wikipedia, the survivors spent most of the war in their bases out of fuel.

However, the battle featured one of the most dramatic incidents in the war, the engagement off Samar. A group of U.S. Navy ships, including a bunch of lighter carriers, were ambushed by a Japanese force that included the Yamato, one of the most powerful battleships ever built. Usually the aircraft from a carrier can kill any big-gun ship before they get close, but if a battleship gets close to a carrier, it's the carrier that's in trouble. Thanks to the heroism of a group of destroyer crews who certainly suffered for it, most of the carriers were able to get away and the Japanese retreated before they could attack the American landing grounds.

This time around, thanks to Admiral Takeo Kurita being replaced by Nobutake Kondo before the battle begins--and as a result, some ships and units being configured differently--the battle will go rather differently. In particular the engagement off Samar, one of our luckiest breaks in the war, has the potential to go epically wrong.

Although sometimes it's hard to keep track of such a large battle, it's still a very interesting story. It's definitely worth a read. And he updates quickly, so there's always something new.

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