It looks as though our pages are starting to pop back into the index. I think what it was all coming down to is patience. Our traffic is starting to rise again which is a positive sign.
We were "told" that because our previous gear supplier had some "issues" with their product descriptions, a lot of sites took a "hit" in the process, ours likely being one of them. So when we had set up the redirects and then the new pages showed up only to disappear shortly after, it was advised to us that we should probably not have redirected from something that might have been tainted to the new pages. This, by the way, was a huge MIGHT have been tainted or punished.
The whole site is by no means gone. Only the pages that went through redirect insanity. So we followed the advice, removed the redirects and started new links to go fresh.
We regret having listened to this advice but all those old links are now long gone. With the new links actually started to slowly pop into the SERPS I am hoping that it was just a case of patience and the rest of the site is old enough to start bringing those pages up in the index slowly but surely.
At this point I am afraid of hunting down any leftover old links to re-setup redirects so as not to hinder any positive changes finally starting.
Thank you again for your advice. I think it's just a tragic mess that needs us to let Google sort through it and let the weight and age of the rest of the site to do its part. We've got traffic even during the mess and a recent rise in traffic which reminds us of "close" to what it used to be minus still some crucial areas but it's a big step in the right direction.