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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
That ship was blown completely to pieces, just ripped apart like a broken toy. Just imagine the power and fury it took to do this!
For the first 20 minutes, Johnston could not return fire as the enemy cruisers and battleships' heavy guns outranged Johnston's 5-inch (127 mm) guns. Not waiting for orders, Commander Evans broke formation and went on the offensive by ordering Johnston to speed directly toward the enemy—first a line of seven destroyers, next one light and three heavy cruisers, then the four battleships. To the east appeared three other cruisers and several destroyers.
As soon as range closed to within ten miles, Johnston fired on the heavy cruiser Kumano—the nearest ship—and scored several damaging hits. During her five-minute sprint into torpedo range, Johnston fired over 200 rounds at the enemy, then under the direction of torpedo officer Lieutenant Jack K. Bechdel, made her torpedo attack. She got off all 10 torpedoes, and turned to retire behind a heavy smoke screen. When she came out of the smoke a minute later, the Kumano could be seen burning furiously from a torpedo hit. Her bow had been blown completely off, and she was forced to withdraw. Around this time, Johnston took three 14 in (356 mm) shell hits from Kongō, followed closely by three 6 in (152 mm) shells—either from a light cruiser or Yamato—which hit the bridge. The shells resulted in the loss of all power to the steering engine and all power to the three 5 in (127 mm) guns in the aft of the ship, and rendered the gyrocompass useless. A low-lying squall came up, and Johnston "ducked into it" for a few minutes of rapid repairs and salvage work. The bridge was abandoned and Commander Evans, who had lost two fingers on his left hand, went to the aft steering column to conn the ship.
From Johnston's complement of 327 officers and men, only 141 were saved. Of the 186 men lost, about 50 were killed by enemy action, 45 died later on rafts from wounds, and 92 men—including Cmdr. Evans—got off before she sank, but were never seen again.
USS Johnston (DD-557)
Sadly, the number of surviving WWII vets is dwindling now. So many stories that haven't been told, so many sacrifices made.
so not exactly planned but some of the most epic stuff ends up this way
United States Navy Task Group Taffy-3 was not designed to engage enemy warships in combat. Comprised of just six carrier escorts (basically just ordinary merchant ships, each equipped with a flight deck and a complement of thirty aircraft), three destroyers, and four destroyer escorts, Taffy-3’s primary mission during the American operation to retake the Philippines was to hang around off the coast of Leyte Island and launch ground attack aircraft to support the infantry assault. If a submarine or two came knocking on the door looking for a nice meaty carrier to deep-six, or some stray squadron of Japanese fighter-bombers stuck its nose where it didn’t belong, the destroyers were equipped to handle it. So, naturally, when Rear Admiral Clifton “Ziggy” Sprague, Taffy-3’s commander, received a frantic radio call from one of his reconnaissance pilots reporting that the largest and most heavily armed assortment of surface-sailing battle cruisers ever assembled was bearing down on a collision course with Taffy-3, he was a little concerned. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it—the Japanese superbattleship Yamato was out there, accompanied by three massive battleships, eight cruisers, and eleven destroyers, bearing three-four-zero, range twenty miles, closing fast on his position at thirty knots. Huh?
oddly enough the Johnston took such a hit and fought on for a while
Five minutes later, a trio of armor-piercing shells eighteen inches in diameter threw up a towering wall of water just off the bow of Sprague’s flagship. It had been launched by the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built in the history of naval warfare—seventy-two thousand tons of steel-plated intimidation equipped with massive cannons that could launch a bullet the size of a Volkswagen over fifteen miles. This heavily armored, virtually indestructible behemoth of imperial justice outweighed the entire Taffy-3 task force by itself, and those planet-killing guns it was popping off like bottle rockets were more than baller enough to completely vaporize any ship in the American task force with a single round. Meanwhile, the biggest guns in Taffy-3 were the Mark 12 5-inch/38-caliber guns mounted on the decks of the destroyers and destroyer escorts—midsized crew-operated cannons designed for use against aircraft and lightly armored targets like surfaced submarines. A direct hit from one of those things couldn’t have even dented the cooking utensils on the Yamato. Of course, it’s not as if that was going to stop the Americans from giving this massive Japanese battleship fleet a hell of a fight.
the real meat of the article is in the rest at source
It should be mentioned here that there was a hell of a lot more at stake here than just those six carrier escorts (although these were to be defended at all costs). Earlier in the day a masterful Japanese feint had succeeded in drawing the entire U.S. Third Fleet away from the Philippines on some wild-goose chase snipe hunt into the middle of nowhere, and with Third Fleet’s unexpected departure the only thing keeping this gigantic Japanese armada from donkey-punching the two hundred thousand American soldiers and marines fighting on Leyte Island in the kidneys with artillery shells the size of refrigerators were the tiny antisubmarine warships of Taffy-3. Defeat here would give Japanese admiral Takeo Kurita’s battleships a free run to annihilate the landing craft and troop transports currently ferrying reinforcements and supplies to the island, massacring an entire division of U.S. Marines in their ships, crippling the operation to retake the Philippines and quite possibly turning the tide of the war in the Pacific back against the Allies. The men of Taffy-3 weren’t about to let that happen.
the whole its not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog saying comes to mind and any of taffy 3s dead have been dining with honors in Poseidon's great hall and are up there with the all time greats of the US navy in the annals of US navy history and lore
In a two-and-a-half hour melee off the coast of Samar Island, the Americans lost four ships—the destroyers Johnston and Hoel, the destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts, and the escort carrier Gambier Bay. The Japanese, who had gone into the battle with an unimaginably more powerful force, suffered similar losses—two heavy cruisers were dead (Chokai and Chikuma) two more were badly damaged (Kumano and Suzuya), and the battleship Haruma sustained severe damage to her superstructure and hull. Deciding that his attack wasn’t worth the losses he was taking—and realizing that reinforcements were rapidly approaching in the form of fresh American fighter aircraft and warships—Admiral Kurita called off the attack. Taffy-3 had somehow held off the largest gunship fleet ever assembled, and they’d done it with just six escort carriers and seven destroyers. Taffy-3 suffered 792 men dead and 768 wounded, and those men who had abandoned ship were stuck spending seventy hours in shark-infested waters before being rescued. But, against all odds, they had accomplished their mission—the carriers and the Leyte landing craft were safe, and the Japanese Center Force had been turned back in one of the most heroic naval battles ever fought. The entire unit received the Presidential Unit Citation, and Captain Ernest E. Evans of the USS Johnston was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Throughout the Battle off Samar, Admiral Kurita had thought he’d been fighting fleet carriers escorted by American heavy cruisers. He had no idea he was actually fighting units half that size.
originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: elkabong57
Fortunately, I was able to get Dad to tell me many of the heroic exploits they experienced in WWII in Europe over Nazi Germany before he passed. He was USAAF, B-17's 318st Bombardment Group Heavy, 532nd Squadron, 8th AF. (Engineer, Comms, Navigator and Top Gunner as required). This, when he would not utter a word to anyone else.
I have nothing but profound respect for these men, all of them, Navy, Army, Marines and Air Force.