Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, Imperial Japanese Navy
(Photo Courtesy of National Institute for Defense Studies, Tokyo, Japan)
The sinking of ATAGO, Admiral Kurita's flagship, messed up matters considerably. Kurita transferred his personnage to the battleship YAMATO. Afterwards he said the transfer was an improvement.
But in post-war retrospect, Admiral Koyanagi, Kurita's Chief of Staff, had this to say: "The most trouble we felt was communication. Half the personnel of the communication staff of the previous flagship was killed in the torpedoing, so lack of personnel caused communications trouble when we got aboard the YAMATO."
Kurita himself, when queried about communications, replied: "I thought that the communications were not entirely adequate partly because, when I switched my flag from ATAGO to YAMATO, communications personnel were divided between two destroyers, one of which had to accompany the (damaged) TAKAO."
The admiral's reference to TAKAO puts another angle on the torpedoing of this second DARTER victim. TAKAO had to limp away on the arm of an escort, and the escort, as it happened, carried off half of Kurita's surviving communications personnel!
The U.S. Navy's submariners would be the last deponents to declare that DARTER's torpedoing of ATAGO and TAKAO caused a communications foul-up that, in turn, cost the Imperial Navy the Battle for Leyte Gulf. But if the post-war statements of Admirals Kurita and Koyanagi can be trusted, the DARTER foray created much confusion.
Off southeast Mindoro, Kurita's battleship fleet took a terrible blasting from U.S. Navy aircraft. By nightfall every BB in the armada had suffered at least one bomb hit. The monster MUSASHI, hit by a tornado of bombs and aircraft torpedoes, had capsized. Kurita, on a reversed course, was heading west.
Thereupon he received a message from Admiral Toyoda -- an order which may have caused Kurita to regret that the communication channel between his bridge and the Commander-in-Chief's Headquarters was in a state of repair. The message was this: ADVANCE COUNTING ON DIVINE ASSISTANCE.
The Above Information is from Theodore Roscoe's book, "Pig Boats"
Copyright, 1949 and 1958 by the United States Naval Institute.
(Originally published under the title: United States Submarine Operations in World War II)