Wildcats on the Taffys

A Project to model the 1944 Carrier air battles of the Pacific
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Moggy
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Wildcats on the Taffys

Post by Moggy » Thu Feb 26, 2004 12:51 am

Thinking about the escort carriers in the action off Samar with the Japanese Central force during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. We won't be able to make a career for those squads, which still used the late mark Gruman FAFs, but I intend to make one carrier in each of three "Taffys" an active base so that Kurt's Wildcats can be flown in single missions.

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Post by Moggy » Thu Feb 26, 2004 11:08 am

This was the organisation of the Taffys:

Task Unit 77.4.1 (Taffy I) RADM Thomas L. Sprague

COMCARDIV 22 RADM Thomas L. Sprague

USS SANGAMON (CVE 26) (Flagship) CAPT M.E. Browder
Air Group 37 LCDR S.E. Hindman
VF-37 16 F6F-3 & 5 F6F-5 LCDR S.E. Hindmman
VT-37 9 TBM-1C LCDR P.G. Farley

USS SUWANEE (CVE 27) CAPT W.D. Johnson
Air Group 60 LCDR H.O. Feilbach
VF-60 22 F6F-3 LCDR H.O. Feilbach
VT-60 9 TBM-1C LCDR W.C. Vincent

USS CHENANGO (CVE 28 ) CAPT G. van Deurs
Air Group 35 LCDR F.T. Moore
VF-35 22 F6F-3 LCDR F.T. Moore
VT-35 9 TBM-1C LCDR C.F. Morgan

USS SANTEE (CVE 29) CAPT R.E. Blick
Air Group 26 LCDR H.N. Funk
VF-26 24 FM-2 LCDR H.N. Funk
VT-26 6 TBF-1C & 3 TBM-1C LCDR T.M. Bennett

COMCARDIV 28 RADM George R. Henderson

USS SAGINAW BAY (CVE 82) (Flagship) CAPT F.C. Sutton
VC-78 15 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR J.L. Hyde Jr.

USS PETROF BAY (CVE 80) CAPT J.L. Kane
VC-76 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C CDR J.W. McCauley


Task Unit 77.4.2 (Taffy II) RADM Felix B. Stump

COMCARDIV 24 RADM Felix B. Stump

USS NATOMA BAY (CVE 62) (Flagship) CAPT A.K. Morehouse
VC-81 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR R.C. Barnes

USS MANILA BAY (CVE 61) CAPT Fitzhugh Lee
VC-80 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR H.K. Stubbs

COMCARDIV 27 RADM William D. Sample

USS MARCUS ISLAND (CVE 77) (Flagship) CAPT C.F. Greber
VC-21 17 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR T.O. Murray

USS KADASHAN BAY (CVE 76) CAPT R.N. Hunter
VC-20 15 FM-2 & 11 TBM-1C LCDR J.R. Dale

USS SAVO ISLAND (CVE 78 ) CAPT C.E. Ekstrom
VC-27 17 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR P.W. Jackson

USS OMMANEY BAY (CVE 79) CAPT H.L. Young
VC-75 16 FM-2 & 11 TBM-1C LT A.W. Smith Jr.

Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy III) RADM Clifton A.F. Sprague

COMCARDIV 25 RADM Clifton A.F. Sprague
Escort Carriers

USS FANSHAW BAY (CVE 70) (Flagship) CAPT D.P. Johnson
VC-68 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR R.S. Rogers

USS ST LO (CVE 63) CAPT F.J. McKenna
VC-65 17 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR R.M. Jones

USS WHITE PLAINS (CVE 66) CAPT D.J. Sullivan
VC-4 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LT E.R. Fickenscher

USS KALININ BAY (CVE 68 ) CAPT T.B. Williamson
VC-3 14 F-2, 1 TBF-1C & 11 TBM-1C LCDR W.H. Keighley

COMCARDIV 26 RADM Ralph A. Ofstie

USS KITKUN BAY (CVE 71) (Flagship) CAPT J.P. Whitney
VC-5 14 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C CDR R.L. Fowler

USS GAMBIER BAY (CVE 73) CAPT W.V.R. Vieweg
VC-10 18 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR E.J. Huxtable

The larger escort carriers (i.e. USS Sangamon) generally had "light" airgroups consisting of a Hellcat squadron and an Avenger squadron. The smaller escort carriers (i.e. USS Saginaw Bay) had "VC" combined squadrons of Wildcats and Avengers.

A good reference for the Samar action is:

http://www.bosamar.com/bosintro.html

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Post by Moggy » Thu Feb 26, 2004 3:49 pm

We can get a pilot career from the CVEs in fact - I See that USS Kalinin Bay CVE 68 with composite squadron VC-3 was escort for the landing forces at Saipan/Tinian, Guam, Palau/Peleiu and part of Taffy III in the thick of the Samar action at Leyte Gulf.

Just got to put a few more Escort carrier positions on the map.

The make up of VC-3 during this period was:

June-Jul 1944 Kalinin Bay (Saipan/Tinian) 14xFM-2, 9xTBM-1C

Jul-Aug 1944 Kalinin Bay (Guam) 14xFM-2, 9xTBM-1C

Sep-Oct 1944 Kalinin Bay (Peleliu/Anguar) 16xFM-2, 1xTBF-1C, 11xTBM-1C

Oct-Nov 1944 Kalinin Bay (Leyte) 14xFM-2, 1xTBF-1C, 11xTBM-1C

The presidential citation awarded after the Samar action was as follows:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against powerful units of the Japanese Fleet during the Battle off Samar, Philippines, October 25, 1944. Silhouetted against the dawn as the Central Japanese Force steamed through San Bernardino Strait towards Leyte Gulf, Task Unit 77.4.3 was suddenly taken under attack by hostile cruisers on its port hand, destroyers on the starboard and battleships from the rear. Quickly laying down a heavy smoke screen, the gallant ships of the Task Unit waged battle fiercely against the superior speed and fire power of the advancing enemy, swiftly launching and rearming aircraft and violently zigzagging in protection of vessels stricken by hostile armor-piercing shells, anti-personnel projectiles and suicide bombers. With one carrier of the group sunk, others badly damaged and squadron aircraft courageously coordinating in the attacks by making dry runs over the enemy Fleet as the Japanese relentlessly closed in for the kill, two of the Unit's valiant destroyers and one destroyer escort charged the battleships point-blank and, expending their last torpedoes in desperate defense of the entire group, went down under the enemy's heavy shells as a climax to two and one half hours of sustained and furious combat. The courageous determination and the superb teamwork of the officers and men who fought the embarked planes and who manned the ships of Task Unit 77.4.3 were instrumental in effecting the retirement of a hostile force threatening our Leyte invasion operations and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

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