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Midway

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brainhulk

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2007
9,419
452
126
I wonder if there's a Japanese version that spins the tale to cast Japan in a more favorable light 😄
 

clamum

Lifer
Feb 13, 2003
26,218
381
126
Midway gets all the attention, but, for my money, THE FINEST HOUR of the United States Navy was The Battle Off Samar, in which a small force of small, slow, lightly armored Escort Carriers, defended by a thin screen of destroyers and even smaller destroyer escorts, was all that stood between a Japanese battle force of FOUR battleships, EIGHT cruisers, and ELEVEN destroyers that was steaming towards the otherwise undefended landing force at Leyte.

The Japanese force included the Yamoto, the largest, most potent battleship in the world. The Yamoto, by itself, weighed more than the entire Taffy 3 task force.

Without waiting for orders, LCdr Ernest B. Evans of the USS. Johnston turned his destroyer around and charged right into the teeth of this force, hoping to harass and delay them so that the baby flattops might escape. Another destroyer, the USS. Samuel B. Roberts, followed.

Either Evans or the captain of the Roberts told their crew this:

"A large Japanese fleet has been contacted. They are fifteen miles away and headed in our direction. They are believed to have four battleships, eight cruisers, and a number of destroyers. This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can."

And damage they did! Mortally wounded, his bridge destroyed and his main steering gear out of commission, with fires and holes all over his ship, finally out of ammo and torpedoes, Evans was seen, standing on the stern manually directing the helm as he went back in AGAIN simply to draw Japanese fire away from the other American DEs.

No finer love had a man for his country than LCdr Evans. No braver commander ever captained a fighting ship! He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

It is said, probably apocryphally, that as the Johnston passed too close to one of the Japanese BBs for them to lower their guns and fire, that Japanese sailors on deck all saluted LCdr Evans. I would like to believe this was true.

All the tin cans of Taffy 3 demonstrated bravery and gallantry beyond measure. There is so, so much to this story than I have recounted here. There is a book, "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" that tells it all.

I post this in memory of my father, LCdr George Perkins, a combat veteran of the Pacific theater who had the "pleasure" of seeing his sister ship blown up by a midget Japanese submarine.
Wow, that is quite the story; thanks for sharing.

I added the book to my Wishlist, it sounds great!
 
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OccamsToothbrush

Golden Member
Aug 21, 2005
1,389
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Factual error: The plane that Charlton Heston crashes onto the deck, at the end of the film, is a jet, not yet made during the 40's.
Dang, I went back to check and you're right. Saw the movie several times and remember that scene well and never noticed the mistake. As the plane is limping back to the carrier and Heston is on the radio it's showing the right plane and even on final approach cockpit view is through the propellers. Then at the last second it switches and the crash looks to be a Korean War era Grumman Panther jet. It's only visible for a couple of frames, but it's definitely stock footage of a jet crash.
 
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whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,564
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Dang, I went back to check and you're right. Saw the movie several times and remember that scene well and never noticed the mistake. As the plane is limping back to the carrier and Heston is on the radio it's showing the right plane and even on final approach cockpit view is through the propellers. Then at the last second it switches and the crash looks to be a Korean War era Grumman Panther jet. It's only visible for a couple of frames, but it's definitely stock footage of a jet crash.
I'm surprised that they didn't catch that.
 

cirrrocco

Golden Member
Sep 7, 2004
1,946
74
91
.................

Either Evans or the captain of the Roberts told their crew this:

"A large Japanese fleet has been contacted. They are fifteen miles away and headed in our direction. They are believed to have four battleships, eight cruisers, and a number of destroyers. This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can."

And damage they did! Mortally wounded, his bridge destroyed and his main steering gear out of commission, with fires and holes all over his ship, finally out of ammo and torpedoes, Evans was seen, standing on the stern manually directing the helm as he went back in AGAIN simply to draw Japanese fire away from the other American DEs.

No finer love had a man for his country than LCdr Evans. No braver commander ever captained a fighting ship! He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

It is said, probably apocryphally, that as the Johnston passed too close to one of the Japanese BBs for them to lower their guns and fire, that Japanese sailors on deck all saluted LCdr Evans. I would like to believe this was true.
..............
Amazing. wow. Thanks for the post of how some men are fearless. Salute to him
 
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uallas5

Senior member
Jun 3, 2005
970
638
136
Midway gets all the attention, but, for my money, THE FINEST HOUR of the United States Navy was The Battle Off Samar, in which a small force of small, slow, lightly armored Escort Carriers, defended by a thin screen of destroyers and even smaller destroyer escorts, was all that stood between a Japanese battle force of FOUR battleships, EIGHT cruisers, and ELEVEN destroyers that was steaming towards the otherwise undefended landing force at Leyte.

The Japanese force included the Yamoto, the largest, most potent battleship in the world. The Yamoto, by itself, weighed more than the entire Taffy 3 task force.

Without waiting for orders, LCdr Ernest B. Evans of the USS. Johnston turned his destroyer around and charged right into the teeth of this force, hoping to harass and delay them so that the baby flattops might escape. Another destroyer, the USS. Samuel B. Roberts, followed.

Either Evans or the captain of the Roberts told their crew this:

"A large Japanese fleet has been contacted. They are fifteen miles away and headed in our direction. They are believed to have four battleships, eight cruisers, and a number of destroyers. This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can."

And damage they did! Mortally wounded, his bridge destroyed and his main steering gear out of commission, with fires and holes all over his ship, finally out of ammo and torpedoes, Evans was seen, standing on the stern manually directing the helm as he went back in AGAIN simply to draw Japanese fire away from the other American DEs.

No finer love had a man for his country than LCdr Evans. No braver commander ever captained a fighting ship! He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

It is said, probably apocryphally, that as the Johnston passed too close to one of the Japanese BBs for them to lower their guns and fire, that Japanese sailors on deck all saluted LCdr Evans. I would like to believe this was true.

All the tin cans of Taffy 3 demonstrated bravery and gallantry beyond measure. There is so, so much to this story than I have recounted here. There is a book, "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" that tells it all.

I post this in memory of my father, LCdr George Perkins, a combat veteran of the Pacific theater who had the "pleasure" of seeing his sister ship blown up by a midget Japanese submarine.
Thanks for the heads up on the book Perk. I had read about this battle in a magazine a few years ago and wanted to read up on it some more but had forgotten. I found it amazing that such a pivotal and brave action that basically determined the success during the Battle of Leyte Gulf was pretty much "lost" to history, swallowed up by the more famous battle of Midway and Coral Sea.
 

Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
44,378
4,152
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I just have to put more here about LCdr Ernest E. Evans. To me, he is the epitome of the fighting spirit of the United States Navy:

During the Oct. 27, 1943, commissioning ceremony of Johnston, Commanding Officer Evans made his mission clear to the Sailors assigned to the ship: “This is going to be a fighting ship. I intend to go in harm’s way, and anyone who doesn’t want to go along had better get off right now.” No one did.

As commanding officer, Evans was the rare leader who “appreciated the hidden nature of things, the power of the unseen over the tangible,” according to those who served with Evans, as quoted in The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, by James D. Hornfischer. He never exploded in anger and seldom upbraided a subordinate in front of others for poor performance. He gave his men the opportunity to fail, knowing they would learn and not fail him again.

His devotion to protecting the Marines fighting onshore went beyond providing them cover with the allotted amount of ammunition. He often ordered his ship in so close to shore it was hit with small arms fire. When Evans demanded more ammunition, he climbed into a wooden gig and motored over to the task group’s flagship to request it in person. And he got it.

At dawn on Oct. 25, 1944, a pilot flying patrol was surprised to see the Japanese Center Force steaming into Leyte Gulf. The remaining force of four Japanese battleships, eight cruisers, and at least 12 destroyers had reversed course under cover of darkness and transited through the unguarded San Bernardino Strait.

There was no question what decision Evans would make, despite having only two hours of fuel. “All hands to general quarters. Prepare to attack major portion of the Japanese fleet. All engines ahead flank. Commence making smoke and stand by for a torpedo attack. Left full rudder.” Every ship in Taffy 3’s screen performed with extreme heroism that day, but as the Gunnery Officer of Johnston, XXXX Hagen noted, “we were the first destroyer to make smoke, the first to start firing, the first to launch a torpedo attack. . . .”

Once the Johnston got to within the range of its 5-inch guns, under a hail of Japanese fire, she fired more than 200 rounds and 10 torpedoes at Japan’s heavy cruiser, Kumano. Many shells and at least one torpedo hit, and the Kumano later sank. But Japanese shells found their mark as well. Johnston was shattered, the damage and casualties were horrific, and Evan’s himself was seriously wounded.

Despite grave damage, greatly reduced speed and firepower, and no remaining torpedoes, Evans nevertheless chose to bring Johnston out of the refuge of a rain squall and commenced a second attack on the Japanese, supporting the Hoel, Heerman, and Samuel B. Roberts as they were valiantly sacrificing themselves to protect the escort carriers. In the ensuing melee, limping along on one boiler, Johnston fired nearly 30 rounds in 40 seconds into a 30,000-ton battleship.

Evans then noticed Japanese ships had targeted the escort carrier Gambier Bay (CVE 73). Hagen said his skipper “gave me the most courageous order I’ve heard: ‘Commence firing on that cruiser, draw her fire on us and away from Gambier Bay.’”
Hagen continued, “We were now in a position where all the gallantry and guts in the world couldn’t save us, but we figured that help for the carrier must be on the way, and every minute’s delay might count.”

In The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, Capt. Bob Copeland, the commanding officer of Samuel B. Roberts, describes the moment he watched Johnston limp by slowly, with her captain calling orders down the hatch where sailors were turning her rudder by hand. He was stripped to the waist and covered in blood with his left hand wrapped in a handkerchief. When he saw Copeland, he waved.

One by one, Johnston took on the Japanese destroyers, bluffing them into thinking she had torpedoes. After the first two turned away, the rest broke off to get out of Johnston’s gun range to launch torpedoes. All missed.

The charge ended Johnston’s improbable two-and-a-half-hour battle. Surrounded by enemy ships and dead in the water with no boilers or power, Evans made the call at 9:45 a.m. to abandon ship. Twenty-five minutes later, the destroyer rolled over and began to sink. One survivor said a Japanese destroyer captain saluted the ship as she went down.
His Medal of Honor Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Johnston in action against major units of the enemy Japanese fleet during the battle off Samar on 25 October 1944. The first to lay a smokescreen and to open fire as an enemy task force, vastly superior in number, firepower and armor, rapidly approached. Comdr. Evans gallantly diverted the powerful blasts of hostile guns from the lightly armed and armored carriers under his protection, launching the first torpedo attack when the Johnston came under straddling Japanese shellfire. Undaunted by damage sustained under the terrific volume of fire, he unhesitatingly joined others of his group to provide fire support during subsequent torpedo attacks against the Japanese and, outshooting and outmaneuvering the enemy as he consistently interposed his vessel between the hostile fleet units and our carriers despite the crippling loss of engine power and communications with steering aft, shifted command to the fantail, shouted steering orders through an open hatch to men turning the rudder by hand and battled furiously until the Johnston, burning and shuddering from a mortal blow, lay dead in the water after 3 hours of fierce combat. Seriously wounded early in the engagement, Comdr. Evans, by his indomitable courage and brilliant professional skill, aided materially in turning back the enemy during a critical phase of the action. His valiant fighting spirit throughout this historic battle will venture as an inspiration to all who served with him.
They found the remains of the USS Johnston.

No words I can muster can adequately express my admiration for Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans, whose bravery and devotion to service were beyond human measure.

May he and the rest of the destroyer screen of Taffy 3, who sacrificed themselves as they sailed into the teeth of the main battle fleet of the Japanese Imperial Navy, never be forgotten.
 
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Hoober

Diamond Member
Feb 9, 2001
4,345
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They found the remains of the USS Johnston.

No words I can muster can adequately express my admiration for Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans, whose bravery and devotion to service were beyond human measure.

May he and the rest of the destroyer screen of Taffy 3, who sacrificed themselves as they sailed into the teeth of the main battle fleet of the Japanese Imperial Navy, never be forgotten.
Did you see they found her wreck recently?
 
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Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
44,378
4,152
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Did you see they found her wreck recently?
While this thread was begun nearly 2 years ago, my post you replied to is from today, April 8th, 2021. The article I linked to is dated April 2, 2021 at 1:01 p.m. EDT.
 
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