From: San Antonio, TX
If you didn't know Yamamoto died in 43, you might think Operation Sho-Go was still one of his plans from how complex it was, so I doubt there would have been much improvement.
This is what makes me think that the complexity of planning was an inherent flaw in the IJN doctrine, rather than unique to Yamamoto.
However, Sho-Go almost worked...
So-losses for Leyte Gulf were:
Allies: 1 CVL; 2 CVE; 2 DD; 1 DE, circa 200 planes
Japanese: 1 CV; 3 CVL; 3 BB; 10 CA; 11 DD, circa 500 planes
Even IF the IJN had been able to shoot up a few Allied transports and sink them with their contingents in toto (unlikely to have transpired in that fashion in any case), this was still a catastrophic loss for the IJN. It would not have been reversed by some additional damage to APA or AKAs disembarking the landing forces after the fact.
Sho-Go 'almost worked' in the same way that Midway almost was a Japanese victory and Hiroshima was a near-run thing. They had a chance right up until the point where they lost terribly and got pummeled.
I cant fully agree with you - the question was not about sinking several APA/AKA/LSTs... It was the troops aboard. US would be SHAKEN AND SHOCKED by thousands of casualties aboard those ships! The public outrage would be such that Pearl Harbor thingy would appear like kids play. A regiment sunk means 3000 casualties. A Division 15000. Number you certainly don't want to appear on Newspapers across country.
Not to mention thousands tons of equipment, rations, munitions, airfield mats, tents, artillery, radar sets, etc. Operations at Philippines would be thrown back by several months at least.
You're assuming too much.
A pair of DDs, a DE and some lightly armed CVEs extracted more than their share of blood from the attacking Japanese. If the Japanese had 'broken through' at Surigao, they would have had to move South to get to the transports still. Undoubtedly, they would have faced some additional opposition on their way there.
Had Oldendorf been able to detach some of his Samar fleet north or had Halsey been able to get off a strike against the Japanese, things could have turned out much worse for the Japanese. There was no reasonable outcome wherein most of the troops would be onboard the assault ships, awaiting their sinking patiently. There could have been WORSE historical outcomes for the Japanese, even if they had come into gun range of the Americans amphibious landings off of Leyte. So, even if 'successful' in getting at the amphibious landings, the outcome could have been worse for the Japanese.