Editorial Notes by Anthony Tully - Managing Editor, CombinedFleet.com


NOTES:

[1] The lack of text records for Hayashimo makes the available signal details, photographs, and Allied squadron reports cited necessary for recovering the story.

[2] This first strike on the morning of 26 October had been launched at 0605 from TG 38.1 McCain’s Wasp, Hornet, Hancock, and Cowpens. Yamato's radar picked them up at 0835 and the attack commenced five minutes later, lasting about forty minutes. Position of Kurita force at the time: 11-55’N, 121-43’E. However, U.S. squadron records show Hayashimo's damage came in the second strike launched at 0830 by TG 38.1 from Wasp, Hornet, Cowpens, and Monterey. This attack damaged Hayashimo and finished off Noshiro with a torpedo hit. It is notable the torpedo damage took place after second detaching of Akishimo from screen duty. The separation was therefore arguably premature.

[3] This is one of the greater disasters of the IJN, with sparse documentation, and untangling who hit what in this epic series of misfortunes is difficult. However, Allied squadron reports show that Fujinami was attacked and sunk by a group of eight fighter-bombers launched at 0618 from USS Franklin (CV-13). They reported leaving an "Aoba-class" cruiser afire in sinking condition. This generates what proves to be a fatal degree of TF 38 interest in the Semirara area. Planes launched at 1007 from USS Essex (CV-9) are sometimes credited, but the same reports and chronology make clear that the Essex planes in fact bombed Hayashimo herself at noon, claiming one hit behind the bridge and one very near-miss off port bow of a grounded destroyer with a damaged bow (clinching the identification.) Finally, dive-bombers launched at 1015 from USS Enterprise (CV-6) to destroy the "Aoba-class" cruiser apparently sank Shiranuhi.

[4] `Sunk' here is used loosely, by necessity. Strictly speaking, Hayashimo wasn't truly sunk, finished, till 3 December. Her state was more analagous to the U.S. ships sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941, or the Japanese warships sunk at Kure in 1945. Salvage remained possible, even desirable, if conditions permitted it. Starting 28 October elements of the crew remained aboard, particularly AA gunners, while Communications officer Yamaguchi Yuichiro was placed in charge of the land contingent. This suggests Captain Shiraishi and CO Hirayama continued to spend time aboard. Not till 12 November did the Japanese even abandon hope of refloating her.

[5] CTG 78.3.5 directed Hayashimo's destruction in response to a report from CTG 78.3.6 at 1239 Dec 15 of "enemy DD in Pandarochan Bay." USS Walke gave the position as 12-04'N, 121-21'E. In fact, U.S.N. reports about the wreck were apt to confuse that day -- as it was variously described as "reported in vicinity of Semirara Island hiding behind rock" and "in a cove on the western side of Semirara Island"or as a "damaged enemy cruiser" in Mangarin Bay, and minesweepers "sighted a destroyer hard on a rocky shoal between Ilin Island and Mindoro." To date the Editor is uncertain of the location on the Semirara coast of the small `Hayashimo' island or islet that was starboard of the grounded destroyer.


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