airfields and assembled shipping. The Hannah's planes racked up their first kills in a highly successful sweep which reduced Japanese surface forces by a submarine-tender1 a large tanker, a medium freighter1 one small oiler, one oil barge, one LST and six luggers. Listed as probably sunk were four medium freighters1 six smaller oilers and seven additional luggers. Jap air power was reduced by seven aircraft potted on the ground by raiding Hannah fighters. Air Group Seven lost one scout bomber to anti-aircraft fire.
Striking again while the Japanese were off balance, fast carriers swung north and east through the night to launch strikes against Formosa on Columbus Day. Hitting the north and east coasts the Task Force found it had stirred up a real nest of Mitsubishis.
As the sun set over the East China Sea a swarm of almost a hundred Japanese aircraft set upon Task Force 38.2. Two confirmed kills were credited to the Hannah's AA guns in a series of raids which lasted for over seven hours. Dawn arose over the nearby Ryukyu Islands as th~ Japanese retreated to taste another daylight attack on their home fields by the newly-initiated Hannah's bombers and fighters.
Attacking again during the nights of October 1 3th and 14th the Japanese managed to get torpedoes "home" to the cruisers Houston and Canberra, but both ships were able to make port under their own power. During the attack one plane was shot down within 500 yards of the Hannah.
The morning of the 14th found Air Group Seven airborne again and raiding Taien airfields and shipping along the Formosa coast. As the carrier force retired to the southeast during the afternoon, a heavy force of enemy planes broke through the CAP (Combat Air Patrol) to land several close ones alongside the Hannah.
Death whistled close to the crew of a 2Omrn mount as a 500-pound bomb penetrated the thin steel gun platform to explode harmlessly in the water below. The near-miss spelled finis for the enemy dive-bomber and the afternoon foray painted another rising sun on the island scoreboard. The few remaining enemy planes were forced to withdraw and the "Battle of the Taiwdn (Formosa) Sea" ended as Task Force 38.2 withdrew to aid in the amphibious landings in the Philippines.
Radio Tokyo's hyperbolical claims of a smashing Japanese victory failed to mention the 915 planes lost but told only of the "crippled American Navy" pursued by the "revenging forces" of the Japanese Imperial Fleet. A strong enemy force actually sortied Empire waters on October 16th but garbled radio reports from search planes prevented proper location of the enemy units until too late for effective attack. Enemy search planes had sighted the American Fleet and finding it far from crippled, prudently withdrew to the Inland Sea.
Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet retired from the East China Sea, in accordance with prearranged plans, to support General D6uglas MacArthur's return to the Philippines. Tribute to the Third Fleet's prowess lay in the "softening-up assignment" which was to eliminate enemy gun positions, planes and shipping as well as prevent the enemy fleet from breaking through to the beachheads as they had at the Savo Island Battle of Guadalcanal.