Three months of bitter air-ground-sea action in the Solomon Islands had resulted Two battleships, under Rear Adm. Hiroaki Abe, headed for Guadalcanal with. The Japanese sent another battleship, the Kirishima, accompanied by that Halsey had to fight in a surface action were two warships at sea. cruiser/destroyer action on the night of. November, the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and the battleship action on the night of November, the.

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At dawn on Friday, November 13,burning, wrecked ships littered the waters of Guadalcanal. At a cost of five ships and thousands of lives, the U. Three months of bitter air-ground-sea action in the Solomon Islands had resulted in a stalemate. Both the Americans bwttleship the Japanese were short of ships.

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

Their troops on Guadalcanal, the island prize of the campaign, were exhausted. Yamamoto was now taking the offensive, and his battleships and destroyers were a powerful force. The first move had been made the night of November Two battleships, batyleship Rear Adm. Hiroaki Abe, headed for Guadalcanal with orders to shell the American air base, Henderson Field, and destroy it.

Instead they slammed into U. The midnight collision saw destroyers and battleships trade salvos at point-blank range. After a wild two hours of gunfire and torpedo attacks, Callaghan was dead, and a timid and cautious Abe fled, even though he had crushed the American guadalcanall.

Yamamoto acted swiftly, firing Abe and sending south a convoy of 8, Japanese troops under Vice Adm. Kondo, however, was little better than Abe.

Nonetheless, Kondo was on hand and senior, so he took over, adding the two tough cruisers of his Cruiser Division Four, flagship Atago and Takao. One light cruiser, Nagara batgleship, and six destroyers would escort this group, called the Emergency Bombardment Force. The mission was simple: The Americans knew the enemy moves, thanks to their cryptographers. Halsey, the aggressive commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater, had virtually no ships to hurl at Kondo.

All his cruisers and destroyers had been used up in the Friday 13th battle. The actiin Enterprise was still only partially repaired after being damaged at the Battle of Santa Cruz, but her 78 planes could screen Guadalcanal by day.

The problem would be a night surface action. Naval War College doctrine forbade the use of battleships in a tightly confined space such as Ironbottom Sound, just north of Guadalcanal, but Halsey knew that wars were won at sea, not in a textbook. He ordered the dreadnoughts committed. Commanding the two battlewagons was Rear Adm. Lee was mostly business, though. Edwin Hooper, he sat up many nights discussing gunnery problems, taking a mathematical approach.


Lee also used more practical tools. He tested every gunnery-book rule with exercises and ordered gunnery drills under odd conditions—turret firing with relief crews, anything that might simulate the freakishness of battle. Washington and South Dakota technically were outstanding ships: Gatch, had a reputation in the fleet as a jinx ship because of her habit of getting into collisions and suffering mechanical breakdowns at inopportune times.

Washingtona tightly run ship, had fewer problems and sported the new SG radar. But Hooper, the gunnery officer, had noted when the radar was installed that the antenna had a blind arc of 80 degrees aft.

He pointed this out to his shipboard seniors, but no changes were made. The big ships started moving as early as November Halsey cut orders for Washington guadalcqnal South Dakota to sail that day, escorting Enterprise to Guadalcanal.

Stoodley, freshly assigned to the battlewagon. The executive officer, Commander Arthur Ayrault, wasted no time with formalities.

Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal: Turning Point in the Pacific War | HistoryNet

Stoodley was immediately given a damage control party to command. That night, all hell broke loose in Ironbottom Sound. Next morning, Halsey realized he was down to his last trump card, the two battleships, miles south of Guadalcanal. At noon, Halsey told Lee that he was to head a new unit, Task Force 64, and warned him to be ready for a flank-speed run to Guadalcanal.

Proceed north with both battleships and your four destroyers at best speed. Assigned to escort the two dreadnoughts were four tin cans [destroyers], WalkeBenhamPreston and Gwin.

None had ever operated together before. They were chosen because they had the most fuel remaining in their bunkers.

All were of different classes and different divisions. Command difficulties would hamper the big ships, too.

Even though South Dakota and Washington were administratively Battleship Division 6, they had never before operated together. But there was no time to think about those issues just then. Everyone aboard Washington was excited. Officers and crew knew they would finally see some action. Washington revved up to 26 knots, while navigator Lt. Ed Schanze set a base course of 0 degrees true, straight north. On the bridge, Lee did some sums, then radioed bad news to Halsey: Lee covered everything—gunnery, damage control, navigation, even feeding the men at general quarters.

Two hundred miles to the north, the Japanese were swinging into action. Admiral Mikawa split off two cruisers, Suzuya and Mayafrom his convoy escort as scheduled. Half an hour and shells later, they ceased firing. The two cruisers had wrecked three planes but had not been able to destroy Henderson Field.

At dawn the Americans retaliated. Enterprise sailed through squalls, low clouds and rain. Gibson reported contact with enemy ships—two battleships and two cruisers. He shadowed them for an hour, then swooped in at 9: The veteran cruiser quickly acquired a degree port list.


Soon after, Ensigns R. Halloran arrived in their dive bombers and pounced on Maya. Thirty-seven Japanese died, but Maya was back in business soon guacalcanal the attack. Kinugasa capsized at Early on the 14th, they were attacked by planes from Batt,eship. Two transports were sunk and a third was sent home badly damaged. All afternoon the Americans pounded the convoy with Marine dive bombers, Enterprise planes and B Flying Fortresses.

Those contingents started a fire that sank Brisbane Maru. They crippled two freighters, which had to be abandoned, then headed for Guadalcanal. Enterprise herself turned southward. She had more than done her job. That afternoon aircraft from Enterprise and Marine planes, both based on Henderson Field, hit the convoy, sinking Nako Maru. Zeroes shot down three dive bombers during the attack, and Ensign Jefferson Carroum spent 73 hours swimming in the sea before being picked up.

Some 13 Zeroes were felled.

All day long the battle raged, creating fantastic scenes—skies full of flak bursts, destroyers spewing smoke screens to cover freighters, transports actionn from bomb hits. Six Japanese transports had been sunk or abandoned, and only nine of 23 transports were still in convoy.

Japanese losses had amounted to men. His destroyers guuadalcanal so cluttered with troops that he could not fight a battle. Kondo was steaming south to meet the light cruiser Sendai.

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal – Wikipedia

On AtagoKondo actionn directly lead a bombardment unit with AtagoTakao and Kirishimahis heaviest ships. A screening unit of the light cruiser Nagara and six destroyers under Rear Adm.

Satsuma Kimura would protect bathleship big ships. A sweeping unit of Sendai and three destroyers would comb batt,eship Savo waters for enemy ships. As soon as Ironbottom Sound was secure, Tanaka would land his transports. Meanwhile, Japanese reconnaissance planes were busy. Washington went to general quarters at 5: Lieutenant Ray Hunter was officer of the deck, but he was to turn that duty over to navigator Schanze.

At the last minute Davis intervened. Gudalcanal wanted the more-experienced Hunter to stay on the bridge, and Schanze to man the navigating table. The task force stayed at general quarters all day, closing in on Guadalcanal. Radioman Chet Cox listened in on the continuing air-sea battle. Lee decided to wait, patiently staying miles south of Guadalcanal.

He noted his ships had only operated together for 34 hours of a high-speed run. Accordingly, he deployed a six-ship column: