Taffy III Monument

“HEROES ARE MADE NOT BORN”

Taffy III Monument

The bronze bust shown in the foreground, is in the likeness of RADM Clifton A. F. “Ziggy” Sprague, highly respected commander of Task Unit 77.4.3, known as Taffy-3.

 

Behind the “Ziggy” Sprague's bust is  the monument that represents the 13 small ships of his Task Unit 77.4.3.  It was this group, of some of the smallest combat ships in the United States Arsenal, who stopped the monster fleet of Japanese Admiral Takeo Kurita.

 

Admiral Kurita’s central force, consisting of 4 Battleships, 7 Cruisers and 11 Destroyers, were headed for Leyte Gulf, with the intent of destroying the many thousands of troops, supply ships and landing craft, that  were supporting General MacArthur’s beach head, in the Philippines.  Had not “Ziggy” Sprague's Taffy-3 Task Unit been in a deployed position, supplying air cover for the troops on the beach at that moment, there would have been a terrible slaughter of MacArthur’s troops and naval support personnel.

 

Totally out of it's class, to participate in a surface engagement, with the largest Naval Surface Fleet, of Japanese Capital ships ever brought together, where it appeared that total annihilation was imminent, ‘Ziggy” Sprague gave the command for “small boys” to attack,  ”mini aircraft carriers” launch all aircraft.

 

Destroyers and a Destroyer Escort made a torpedo attack, on the Battleships and raked the Cruisers with 5.38 inch diameter shells. The enemy retuned fire with up to 18 inch diameter shells.

 

Taffy-3’s mini carriers with orders to, “launch all aircraft”, sent their Fighters and Torpedo Bombers on their missions. Because of the sudden appearance of the Japanese monster fleet on the horizon, there was not enough time, to arm all the aircraft, with bombs or torpedoes, some were short on fuel, but all launched aircraft, attacked the enemy monster fleet, while the mini carriers fired their only large gun, a single 5.38 inch caliber, at 3 Japanese Cruisers and their destroyers, that were closing in on the mini carriers.

 

These unexpected aggressive actions by the men of “Taffy-3” bewildered and slowed the enemy monster fleet, until other aircraft from Taffy-2,  and Taffy-1, Task Units to the South, could arm and fuel their aircraft and then join in the battle.

 

RADM “Ziggy “ Sprague, from his flagship a mini carrier, that was under constant enemy ship and then kamikaze attack, calmly planned and directed his men, into a lop sided victory over a vastly superior enemy.

 

On October 25, 1944, according to authors, historians and researchers of today, who have been meticulous in their research, our leader RADM .”Ziggy” Sprague, saved the day for the United States and prevented a disastrous defeat, which would have prolonged the war with a vast amount of  additional  casualties. This potential major defeat, nearly came about because of the miscalculation of Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey who left unguarded the, San Bernardino Straits, this allowing the enemy fleet under the command of Admiral Takeo Kurita, to slip into Leyte Gulf, with the intent to destroy the Americans. Prior to October 25, 1944, ‘Bull’ Halsey had a string of impressive victories, over the Japanese, but on this day, Clifton A. F. “Ziggy” Sprague was our hero. ‘Bull’ Halsey was chasing a decoy fleet, that the Japanese had cleverly placed, to draw ‘Bull’ Halsey away from his  responsibility, of protecting the San Bernardino Straits and the  smaller ships of Taffy-3.

 

For a more detailed report, with photographs, and official Archive records, of this battle, go to: www.bosamar.com a history website, by our www.OurOldNavy.com  webmaster Robert Cox.

 

In the background of the above photograph, is shown the USS Midway. One of the largest carriers of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, built on a Battleship hull, not like the mini carriers, of Taffy-3, that were built on flimsy merchant ship hulls. The USS Midway, is now a Naval Museum, in San Diego.

 

Click here to view the Memorial Monuments of Taffy 3


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last revised May 06, 2011
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