Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Fw: TheList 4785

The List 4785

To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
This day in Naval History
Aug. 8
1860—Screw frigate USS San Jacinto, commanded by Capt. William M. Armstrong, captures the American slaver Storm King with 619 slaves on board, off the Congo River. A prize crew from the steam frigate sailed the captured slaver to Monrovia and turned 616 freed Negroes over to the United States agent there before proceeding to Norfolk with the prize.
1861—During the Civil War, the frigate USS Santee commanded by Capt. Eagle captured the schooner C.P. Knapp in the Gulf of Mexico.
1863—During the Civil War, the screw steam gunboat, USS Sagamore, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. English, seizes British sloop, HMS Clara Louisa, off Indian River, FL. Later the same day, Lt. Cmdr. English captures British schooners, HMS Southern Rights and HMS Shot, and Confederate schooner, CSS Ann, off Gilbert's Bar.
1924—USS Shenandoah (ZR 1) secures herself to the mooring mast on USS Patoka (AO 9), making the first use of the mooring mast erected on shipboard to facilitate airship operations with the fleet.
1933—Commander, Aircraft Battle Force, requests the authority to use variable-pitch propellers during forthcoming exercises on six Boeing (F4B 4s) of (VF 3) based on board
USS Langley (CV 1) and on one (F4B 4) of (VF 1) on board USS Saratoga (CV 3).
1942—USS Narwhal (SS 167) sinks Japanese crab boat, Bifuku Maru, southeast of Shiriya Saki while USS S-38 (SS 143) sinks Japanese transport, Meiyo Maru, at the southern entrance of St. George Channel, between New Britain and New Ireland. Also on this date, USS Silversides (SS 236) attacks a Japanese convoy emerging from Kobe Harbor and sinks freighter Nikkei Maru in Kii Strait.
1987—USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) is commissioned at Lockheed Shipyard, Seattle, Washington. The Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship is named for Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD, the fort for which its 1814 defense inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner. 
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
National headlines include news coverage on the special election in an Ohio congressional district and the ACLU challenging the Administration's restricting asylum for victims of domestic and gang violence. USNI News reports that Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class Jonathan Richard Clement was killed on July 30 when an auxiliary fuel tank fell off of the helicopter he was inspecting.  Breaking Defense reports that the Navy has discovered problems with welds on 12 nuclear missile launch tubes, some of which are destined for the Columbia-class submarine program.  Additionally, Navy Personnel Command's Customer Service Center will transition to round-the-clock service beginning Sept. 24.

Today in History August 8

King Wenceslas of Poland is murdered.

Charles IX of France signs the Treaty of St. Germain, ending the third war of religion and giving religious freedom to the Huguenots.

The invading armies of Spain, Austria and Bavaria are stopped at the village of St.-Jean-de-Losne, only 50 miles from France.

Ibrahim, the sultan of Istanbul, is thrown into prison, then assassinated.

Jacques Balmat and Dr. Michel-Gabriel Paccard become the first men to climb Mont Blanc in France.

Brigham Young is chosen to head the Mormon Church, succeeding Joseph Smith.


Thomas Edison patents the mimeograph.

The first household refrigerating machine is patented.

The first national congress of the Ku Klux Klan opens.

The Japanese Army occupies Beijing.

The German Luftwaffe attacks Great Britain for the first time, beginning the Battle of Britain.

U.S. Marines capture the Japanese airstrip on Guadalcanal.

U.S. forces complete the capture of the Marianas Islands.


U.S. troops repel the first North Korean attempt to overrun them at the Battle of Naktong Bulge, which continued for 10 days.

England's "Great Train Robbery;" 2.6 million pounds ($7.3 million) is stolen

President Richard Nixon resigns from the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal.

Pioneer-Venus 2 is launched to probe the atmosphere of Venus.

Iraq's president Saddam Hussein executes 22 political opponents.

Brigadier General Efrain Rios Montt is deposed as president of Guatemala in the country's second military coup in 17 months.

Angola, Cuba and South Africa sign a cease-fire treaty in the border war that began in 1966.

NASA Space Shuttle Columbia begins its eighth flight, NASA's 30th shuttle mission.

Iraq annexes the state of Kuwait as its 19th province, six days after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.

The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is raised to surface, 136 years after it sank following its successful attack on USS Housatonic in the outer harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

An EF2 tornado hits Brooklyn, New York, the first in that borough since 1889.

Georgia invades South Ossetia, touching off a five-day war between Georgia and Russia.
Thanks to Mike…So we do not forget
August 6th also marks the anniversary of the deadliest lost in Naval Special Warfare history, with the shoot down of Extortion 17.
15 U.S. Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group
2 U.S. Navy SEALs from a west coast based SEAL team.
5 U.S. Naval Special Warfare support personnel.
3 U.S. Army Reserve personnel from the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment
2 U.S. Army personnel from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, part of Colorado Army National Guard
2 U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron
1 U.S. Air Force Combat Controller from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron
7 Afghan National Army Commandos, part of Afghan National Army
1 Afghan civilian interpreter
1 U.S. Military Working Dog
Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall
MCPO (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais
SCPO (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff
CPO (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves
CPO (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson
CPO (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason
CPO (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills
CPO (SEAL) Brian R. Bill
CPO (SEAL) John W. Faas
CPO (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston
PO1 (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman
PO1 (SEAL) Jon T. Tumilson
PO1 (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn
PO1 (SEAL) Jason R. Workman
PO1 (SEAL) Christopher G. Campbell
PO1 (SEAL) Darrick C. Benson
PO2 (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar
Navy SEAL Dog "Bart"
PO1 John Douangdara
SCPO Kraig M. Vickers
CPO Nicholas H. Null
PO1 Michael J. Strange
PO1 Jared W. Day
Alvin York's Action to a Pillar of Purple Fire by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
This Week in American Military History:
Aug. 8, 1918:  Cpl. (future Sgt.) Alvin York captures "the whole damned German Army" – actually 132 German soldiers – in an action for which he will receive the Medal of Honor.
Aug. 9, 1945:  The second – and thus far, last – atomic bomb used in war is dropped over the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
The bomb, code-named Fat Man, detonates approximately 1,840 feet above Nagasaki between the city's two Mitsubishi plants.
New York Times science writer William L. Laurence, an observer flying on the mission, will write:
"A tremendous blast wave struck our ship and made it tremble from nose to tail. This was followed by four more blasts in rapid succession, each resounding like the boom of cannon fire hitting our plane from all directions.
"Observers in the tail of our ship saw a giant ball of fire rise as though from the bowels of the earth, belching forth enormous white smoke rings.
Next they saw a giant pillar of purple fire, 10,000 feet high, shooting skyward with enormous speed."
Aug. 12, 1898:  Hostilities are suspended between the United States and Spain with the signing of an armistice all but ending the war (which will formally end within the year).
Spain basically caves, relinquishing "all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba." Puerto Rico and other Spanish-held islands in the West Indies are ceded to the U.S.
Manila will fall to American forces the next day.
Aug. 14, 1942:  U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Elza E. Shahan, flying a P-38 Lightning, scores the first American aerial victory in the European theater of operations when he finishes off a previously damaged German Focke-Wulf FW 200 Condor near Iceland.
(The 21st-century F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter is the namesake of the famous World War II-era P-38.)
Aug. 14, 1945:  Nearly 47 years to the day after Spain hoists the white flag to American forces, Japan surrenders unconditionally to the same.
World War II is over.
75th Anniversary of World War Two

Guadalcanal - Ironbottom Sound

    About 5,000 U.S. Sailors lost their lives in the waters around the island of Guadalcanal between 7 August 1942 and February 1943 defending the U.S. Marines occupying the island from Japanese counter-attack, in the first U.S. offensive of World War II. The U.S. Marines paid dearly to hold the island as well; 1,152 Marines were killed on the island, along with an additional 446 Army troops who arrived later in the campaign.  The Japanese surface navy did not get the memo that the tide of war had turned at the Battle of Midway (actually, literally, because the Japanese kept their losses at Midway a secret from almost everyone who didn't see it first hand.)  Not realizing they were supposed to be losing, the Japanese Navy repeatedly went on the attack, and for much of the campaign held the initiative.  The result was seven brutal major naval battles and numerous lesser ones, including two carrier vs. carrier battles on the scale of Coral Sea, and five ferocious and incredibly costly night surface actions.
   The price for defending Guadalcanal paid by the U.S. Navy was two aircraft carriers (USS Wasp (CV-7) and USS Hornet (CV-8)), five heavy cruisers (plus an Australian heavy cruiser and 84 of her crew), two light cruisers and 15 destroyers sunk and numerous other ships of all types heavily damaged.  The Japanese lost an approximately equal number of combatants (including two battleships and a light carrier) along with numerous transports with thousands of troops.  So many ships were sunk in the sound between Guadalcanal and Tulagi that it became known as "Ironbottom Sound."  The U.S. Navy and Marines lost over 400 aircraft in the campaign, and the Japanese lost somewhat more (figures vary.)  It was in the skies around Guadalcanal (not at Midway as commonly believed) that the cream of Japanese naval aviation was finally lost, particularly under the guns of vastly improved U.S. shipboard anti-aircraft fire.
     The Japanese Navy fought with extreme tenacity, skill and determination, and the naval battles around Guadalcanal were bookended with two of the worst defeats in U.S. naval history (Savo Island and Tassafaronga,) eclipsed only by Pearl Harbor.  The battles in between were all narrow wins or losses for either side, all with substantial casualties.  In the first night battle of Guadalcanal (13 Nov 42) a force of U.S. cruisers and destroyers sacrificed itself to prevent a second Japanese battleship bombardment of Guadalcanal (the first had killed 40 Marines and destroyed or damaged over half the 90 U.S. aircraft on the island) at a cost of over 1400 Sailors, including two admirals, and all five Sullivan brothers.  For much of the campaign, the Japanese Navy owned the night, while U.S. aircraft from carriers and Henderson Field on Guadalcanal owned the day.  Attempts by either side to challenge the other's strength usually resulted in heavy losses.  Throughout the campaign the Imperial Japanese Navy fought with great valor and gave as good as it got, frequently to the surprise of U.S. forces, which also invariably fought with great courage.  But despite severe losses, in the end it was the U.S. Navy that remained on the field, while the Japanese withdrew.  The difference was that the U.S. could replace the losses in ships and aircraft, but the Japanese could not.

   The Battle of Savo Island - 9 Aug 42

   At dawn on 7 Aug 42, the U.S. Navy landed Marines on Guadalcanal, Tulagi and a couple smaller islands at the southern end of the Solomon Island chain.  Shortly after midnight on 8-9 Aug, the Japanese counter-attack came.  An eight-ship (five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and a destroyer) Japanese force slipped undetected past two radar-equipped U.S. destroyers and attacked two groups of Allied heavy cruisers and destroyers guarding the western approaches to the U.S. invasion force, which was still hectically engaged in landing supplies to support the Marines ashore.  When it was over, four allied heavy cruisers were sunk (USS Astoria (CA-34,) USS Quincy (CA-39,) USS Vincennes (CA-44), and HMAS Canberra (D-33,)) the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) and a couple destroyers damaged, and 1,077 Allied Sailors killed, in what CNO ADM Ernest J. King would describe as the "blackest day of the war."  Pearl Harbor was one thing, but to have suffered such a severe one-sided loss by a force whose very purpose was to guard against such an attack, was a severe psychological blow.
    At Savo Island, the Japanese fired over 1800 rounds of 8" and 6" ammunition with some 230 hits, along with multiple devastating hits by Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes.  The surprised Allied force got off 471 rounds with 10 hits.  Japanese casualties were minimal.  The Japanese commander, RADM Gunichi Mikawa did not know that only one heavy cruiser and two light cruisers were the only major ships between him and dozens of U.S. supply ships and troop transports.  But, fearful of being attacked by U.S. carrier aircraft at dawn (and not knowing that the three U.S. carriers supporting the landing were already steaming away from the area,) and having received wildly inflated reports about how many U.S. ships had been destroyed in three major Japanese air attacks over the previous two days, Mikawa opted to withdraw back to Japanese bases over 500 miles to the northwest.  Mikawa's decision, roundly and somewhat unfairly criticized over the years, spared the vulnerable U.S. supply ships and troop transports.  Nevertheless, with no air cover, and concerned over a follow-on night surface attack, the result was an ignominious withdrawal of U.S. Navy forces the next day from the immediate Guadalcanal area, effectively leaving the Marines ashore to fend for themselves, and leading to the oft-repeated statement that the U.S. Navy abandoned the Marines at Guadalcanal (although at that time the only Japanese remaining on the island were the remnants of construction units that had been building the airfield.)  The only bright spot of the entire action was that the old U.S. submarine S-44 torpedoed (using older Mk10 torpedoes) one of Mikawa's cruisers, the Kako, as she was returning to port, the first Japanese major combatant sunk by a U.S. submarine in the war.  For more on the disaster at Savo Island please see attachment H009.1.(see below)

   The attached photo (H009.2) from NHHC's collection taken by a Japanese cruiser at the Battle of Savo Island shows the heavy cruiser USS Quincy (CA-39) burning and sinking while caught in the glare of Japanese searchlights.  The valor of the Quincy was noted by RADM Gunichi Mikawa, commander of the Japanese cruiser force, for charging the Japanese cruiser line, and for nearly taking out Mikawa and his staff with a hit to his flagship's chart room. (see below)
7 Aug 17
S.J. Cox
Defeat at Savo Island
      Immediately upon being informed that U.S. forces were landing at Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the southern Solomon Islands on the morning of 7 Aug 42, Japanese Navy commanders on various missions in the vicinity of the Bismarck Sea (at the northern end of the 500 mile long Solomon Island chain) aborted their planned tasks, without awaiting orders, and congregated at the major Japanese base at Rabaul in anticipation of going on the attack.  Meanwhile, the Japanese Army headquarters at Rabaul, focused on their overland campaign in New Guinea to capture Port Moresby, dismissed the landings as nothing to worry about.
     Rear Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, the new commander of the newly designated Japanese 8th Fleet, quickly formed up all major elements of the 8th Fleet, which had not trained together before, and by mid-afternoon of 7 Aug was underway with a force of eight ships, en route to attack the Allied invasion force.  The force consisted of Mikawa's flagship, the heavy cruiser Chokai, four heavy cruisers of Cruiser Division Six (Aoba, Kako, Kinugasa, and Furutaka) and two light cruisers of Cruiser Division Eighteen (Tenryu and Yubari) and the destroyer Yunagi (with the exception of Chokai, these were amongst the oldest cruisers in the Japanese Navy.)  Mikawa was aware multiple U.S. carriers were supporting the landings, but nevertheless planned to conduct a night torpedo and gun attack on the Allied force on the night of 8-9 August.  Mikawa had been at Midway, so he knew what he was up against.  As he was departing, Mikawa duly transmitted his plan up the chain of command, where it was initially rejected by the Chief of the Naval General Staff (Admiral Osami Nagano) as being too reckless, but Nagano eventually acquiesced on the recommendation of the Commander of the Combined Fleet (Admiral Yamamoto.)  Mikawa's plan was intercepted by U.S. Navy radio intelligence, but not decoded until a couple weeks after the battle.  (The Japanese had made some call-sign and code changes both before and after the Battle of Midway, which impeded U.S. code-breaking capability.) 
    Based on their intelligence, the Japanese were anticipating a U.S. operation in the southern Solomon Islands (where the Japanese had just commenced construction of an airfield on the north coast of Guadalcanal) and were aware that a large U.S. and Allied force was gathering in the southern Pacific, northeast of Australia.  However, they did not anticipate it so soon.  The exact timing, and scale, of "Operation Watchtower" caught the Japanese completely by surprise.  The 80-plus ships of the U.S. invasion force, including three aircraft carriers (USS Saratoga (CV-3,) USS Enterprise (CV-6,) and USS Wasp (CV-7,)) met no initial opposition at dawn on 7 Aug.  Japanese troops on Guadalcanal, mostly construction laborers, fled into the jungle, although a small garrison force of Japanese Naval Infantry across the sound on Tulagi and small neighboring islands put up intense resistance that took some time to root out.  Nevertheless, Japanese naval aviation units at Rabaul mounted two major attacks on 7 Aug and a third on 8 Aug, which interrupted the landing of supplies on Guadalcanal as the U.S. ships, forewarned of the incoming Japanese airstrikes by the "Coast-watcher" network (consisting mostly Australian and European expatriate plantation owners who had taken to the jungle, with a radio, on various islands along the Solomon chain) dispersed into defensive formations, that proved highly effective.  Although about half the U.S. Navy fighters that opposed the Japanese strikes were shot down (about 20,) the Japanese bombers suffered severe losses and inflicted minimal damage, although they claimed many U.S. ships sunk (The Commander of the 5th Air Attack Force claimed two heavy cruisers, one cruiser, two destroyers and nine transports sunk.  The reality was serious damage to the destroyer USS Jarvis (DD-393) and the transport USS George F. Elliot (AP-13), which would have to be scuttled.)  Nevertheless, the constant threat of air and submarine attack kept the U.S. ships at Condition One for almost 48 hours straight, which in conjunction with the extremely hot and humid conditions, left U.S. Navy crews exhausted by sundown on 8 August.
    Operation Watchtower, the first U.S. offensive of World War II, was championed by CNO ADM Ernest J. King, as a means to take the initiative following the U.S. Navy victory at Midway.  Although King supported the agreed Allied "Defeat Germany First" strategy, King believed that an increase in apportionment of resources to the Pacific over that currently planned was necessary, and going on the offensive in the Solomon Islands was a means to force that.  King's approach was opposed by General Douglas MacArthur (Commander of the Southwest Pacific) and many other commanders on the grounds that it was premature, and U.S. forces in the region did not have the necessary numbers, capability, training, or logistics base to go on the offensive yet.  Despite intense opposition, King prevailed in the newly created Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the operation was ordered to go forward despite clearly recognized resource challenges.  To make a long story short, an area was carved out of MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Region and ADM Nimitz' Pacific Region, and designated the South Pacific Region (COMSOPAC,) under the Command of VADM Robert L. Ghormley.  Ghormley ostensibly reported to Nimitz, but King exercised very direct, and frequently heavy-handed, direction throughout the Guadalcanal campaign.
   The pre-invasion planning conference between the U.S. commanders leading the operation was one of the most bitter and acrimonious of the entire war.  The naval amphibious force (CTF62) would be commanded by VADM Richmond K. Turner, and the supporting carrier force (CTF61) by VADM Frank Jack Fletcher (who had been in command at Coral Sea and Midway.)  The two immediately clashed over Fletcher's refusal to commit to keeping his carriers in the vicinity of Guadalcanal for any more than 48 hours, out of concern that doing so would leave the carriers vulnerable to Japanese land-based air and submarine attack.  Departing so soon, however, would leave Turner's supply ships and transports without air cover before they could complete unloading, which could leave the Marines ashore, under the command of MGEN Vandegrift, potentially vulnerable to Japanese counter-attack. Turner literally accused Fletcher of cowardice, and Vandegrift tried to stay out of the frag pattern.  The fact that Ghormley did not attend the conference (he sent a staff officer) and did not adjudicate the dispute has been heavily criticized by historians (and other commanders at the time.)  For his part, Vandegrift had serious concerns about the Navy's ability to get adequate supplies ashore to sustain his force.
      Fletcher's position was not completely without merit; Japanese land-based torpedo bombers had already proven themselves to be extremely dangerous (sinking the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse in the first days of the war, although those ships did not have benefit of fighter air cover.)  Fletcher already had two of his carrier flagships sunk from under him, and was acutely sensitive to losing more; he reasoned that the Marines could not be dislodged by Japanese bombers, but if he lost his carriers, the whole operation would be doomed.  Given the long range that Japanese bombers would have to fly (over 600 miles) to reach his carriers (before the Japanese built intermediate airfields in the central Solomon) Fletcher was probably unduly cautious regarding the Japanese bomber threat.  However, his concerns regarding submarines were well-founded.  When the U.S. carriers returned for sustained support in Sep 42, a Japanese submarine torpedoed the carrier Saratoga (CV-3) (Fletcher's flagship) putting her out of action for months (for the second time in the war) and another sank the Wasp (CV-7,) leaving only two U.S. carriers in the Pacific (essentially parity with the Japanese carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku.)
     U.S. Naval Intelligence had reasonably accurately determined the number of Japanese cruisers operating in the general vicinity of Rabaul, but was unable to detect Mikawa's actual departure.  As Mikawa's force commenced its transit down the northern Solomons, it was sighted by the U.S. submarine S-38, a U.S. Army Air Force B-17, and two Australian Air Force Hudson bombers, all of which were subordinate to MacArthur's Southwest Pacific region, and none of which were aware a U.S. landing was going on in the southern Solomons.  Here the seam between the Southwest Pacific Region and South Pacific Region had major impact due to convoluted communications routing paths that resulted in contact reports originating in the northern Solomons taking over ten hours on average to reach Turner's forces off Guadalcanal, when they reached them at all.  Those that did get through had conflicting courses (Mikawa would change course whenever reconnaissance aircraft were sighted, to throw them off) as well as inaccurate reporting of ship types.  The report that reached Turner around sunset on 8 Aug, stated the force included two "seaplane tenders or patrol boats" an ambiguous (and contradictory) recognition of ship type, which was not viewed as an immediate threat.    Turner had also requested that U.S. Navy PBY patrol planes fly reconnaissance missions on the 8th over the central Solomons, but due to weather conditions at launch, the missions were scrubbed, but Turner's force was not informed of the cancellation.  The U.S. cruisers supporting the landing were not ordered to launch any of their own scout aircraft due to concern that the recovery of float planes would make the ship vulnerable to Japanese submarine attack (although there were no Japanese submarines in the area at the time, the U.S. did not know that.)  As a result, Mikawa's force completed the vulnerable daylight portions of its transit without being accurately identified or its intentions assessed.  As a result, as of sundown on 8 Aug, the U.S. cruisers supporting the landing were disposed to guard against a night surface attack, but none of the U.S. Navy commanders off Guadalcanal were expecting one.
    On the night of 8-9 August, Turner divided his cruisers into three groups to protect the three approaches to the landing area.  To the east, covering Sealark Channel (considered the least likely avenue of enemy approach) were the light cruisers USS San Juan (CL-54) and HMAS Hobart.  To the west, RADM Victor A. C. Crutchley, RN (Royal Navy,) embarked on the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, divided his force to cover the two western approaches, bisected by Savo Island.   Covering southeast of Savo island were the heavy cruisers, HMAS Australia, HMAS Canberra (D-33,) and USS Chicago (CA-29) and two U.S. destroyers, USS Patterson (DD-392) and USS Bagley (DD-386) (referred to as the "Southern Group".)  Covering northeast of Savo Island were the heavy cruisers USS Vincennes (CA-44,) USS Quincey (CA-39,) and USS Astoria (CA-44,) and two U.S. destroyers, USS Helm (DD-388) and USS Wilson (DD-408) (referred to as the "Northern Group.")  Two SC radar-equipped U.S. destroyers were stationed west of Savo Island, the USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) to the north and the USS Blue (DD-387) to the south, to provide radar warning of any approaching Japanese force.
    Just before sunset, Turner called for a conference of his senior commanders on board his flagship, USS McCawley (APA-4,) upon learning that Fletcher's carriers were departing several hours earlier than planned, due to what Fletcher said was refueling concern as well as significant loss of fighter aircraft in the first two days of the operation.  With the impending loss of air cover, Turner decided that U.S. ships would withdraw, beginning at dawn on 9 Aug, over the objection of Vandegrift, since many of the supplies had yet to be offloaded.  (The art of "combat loading" and logistics-over-the-beach were still very much in a learning phase, resulting in a pile up of supplies on the beach and a backlog of boats trying to reach the beach; a situation of significant chaos and confusion resulting in mutual recriminations among Navy and Marine Corps.)  The landing of supplies continued throughout the night.  Although Turner relented and decided to allow the supply ships and transports to remain for an additional day (9 Aug) the surface combatants would pull out the morning of 9 Aug.  Like the pre-operation conference, this contentious meeting aboard Turner's flagship, impacted U.S. Navy and Marine relations for decades.
    RADM Crutchley had steamed over to the meeting in his flagship, HMAS Australia, but after the meeting opted not to sail in the darkness through the poorly charted waters to resume station southeast of Savo Island.  He neglected to tell anyone that he would not return that night.  As a result, tactical command of the Southern Group fell to Captain Howard Bode, CO of Chicago, which was in trail behind HMAS Canberra.  Bode had previously been CO of the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37) but not aboard when she was sunk at Pearl Harbor.  The Northern Group was under the command of the CO of the Vincennes, CAPT Frederick Riefkhol.  The cruisers had all gone to Condition Two after sunset, and of the five heavy cruiser skippers, Bode was the only one awake after midnight, however Bode had also ordered Chicago's surface search radar turned off out of concern it would give away her position.
   Mikawa made the night part of his transit at 24 kts, intent on steaming to the south of Savo Island, attacking the U.S. ships off Guadalcanal, then those off Tulagi, and then exiting to the north of Savo Island, to be 150 or so miles up the Solomons at daybreak.  Mikawa had catapulted several of his cruiser float-plane to scout the area.  Although the flights aroused suspicion, darkness precluded positive identification, and at least one of the float planes brazenly showed its running lights and was therefore presumed "friendly" by some of the U.S. ships that spotted it.  No one deduced that the presence of single-engine aircraft at night was an indicator of imminent attack.
   As Mikawa's force approached from west of Savo Island, Japanese lookouts sighted the pickets USS Blue at about 0044 and the USS Ralph Talbot shortly after.  Mikawa slowed to minimize wake, guns trained to blast either ship at any sign of detection or alarm.  However, neither ship detected the Japanese either by sight or by radar.  The SC radars on the ships had an effective detection range of 4-10 miles, and at the time the two U.S. destroyers were 14 NM apart on opening courses.  The eight Japanese ships shot the gap unseen.
    Shortly before 0130, Japanese lookouts sighted the Southern Group of U.S. cruisers, which were dimly backlit by a distant fire on one the U.S. transports off Guadalcanal, hit in an earlier air attack.   In keeping with standard Japanese night attack doctrine, Mikawa held gunfire until well after the Japanese launched torpedoes.  Shortly before expected torpedo impact, Japanese float planes dropped flares backlighting the Southern Group, and Mikawa opened fire.   U.S. lookouts had been hampered by lightning flashes from nearby rain squalls, but in response to what were Mikawa's initial gun flashes, the USS Patterson (CDR Frank Walker, commanding)  issued a voice broadcast at 0145 via TBS (Talk-between Ships,) "Warning, warning, strange ships entering harbor."  TBS had been clobbered with administrative traffic most of the night (not its intended purpose) and a few ships received the warning, ambiguous as it was, but many did not.  Regardless, the Japanese torpedoes and shells were already on the way.
    Although Canberra's radar failed to detect the Japanese, her lookouts sighted the inbound torpedoes and she managed to avoid them.  However she was then hit by almost 30 shells in two minutes, killing her CO, CAPT Frank E. Getting and other senior officers, and putting her effectively out of action for the remainder of the battle.  The Chicago was hit in the bow by a Japanese torpedo from the Kako and hit amidships starboard by a second Japanese torpedo that failed to explode, as well as a shell that hit a leg of the forward tripod mast, killing two and wounding the XO.  Of some 44 starshells fired by the Chicago, all but six failed.  Captain Bode ordered his ship on a westerly course toward what he thought would be the main battle, but which took him in the opposite direction; Chicago's main battery never fired, although she did hit the Japanese light cruiser Tenryu with a 5" round, killing 23.  However, Bode neglected to radio a warning to anyone, for which he was censured as a result of the post-battle investigation.  The Bagley fired a spread of torpedoes, at least one of which possibly hit the Canberra; none hit the Japanese.  The skipper of Patterson also ordered a spread of torpedoes, but his own guns drowned out the order, and he only discovered later that the torpedoes had not been launched.
     As the southern battle developed, the destroyer USS Jarvis (DD-393)(CDR William W. Graham, Jr., commanding) blundered through the area.  Hit by a torpedo while valiantly interposing herself between the Vincennes and an inbound torpedo bomber in an earlier air attack, the Jarvis had a 50 ft. gash in her hull.  Through a communications foul-up, she departed the Tulagi area in the middle of the night en route Australia with no tug to support.  The Japanese destroyer Yunagi, at the tail of the Japanese column, peeled off to go after the Jarvis.  What happened next is not known for sure, but Jarvis appears to have successfully defended herself and Yunagi broke off, now separated from the rest of the Japanese force.  The next day, Jarvis was attacked by 31 Japanese bombers, who mistook her for a cruiser, and she was lost with all 233 hands.
     The action with the Southern Group lasted only about 10 minutes before Mikawa headed for the Northern Group.  Lookouts and bridge watches on the U.S. cruisers saw the southern action but assessed it incorrectly as shore bombardment, depth charges on submarines, or a friendly-fire incident, everything except what it actually was.  The radar operator on the Astoria detected and reported the incoming Japanese force, but was overruled by the OOD who insisted the contacts had to be interference from Savo island itself.  Debate raged on a couple ships whether to wake the captain, when finally the searchlight from Chokai ended the discussion.
   The Japanese too fell into disarray after the battle with the Southern Group, and inadvertently split into two groups (three, counting Yunagi) which by chance caught the Northern Group in between, taking the U.S. cruisers under fire from opposite directions, but also risking fratricide with their own ships.  The U.S. ships began to return fire, but the Japanese had several salvos jump.  As the U.S. began to find the range, the Japanese began to score hits.  On board Astoria, the gunnery officer ordered commence firing before the captain reached the bridge, which upon arriving,  CAPT William Greenman first ordered his ship to cease-fire, more concerned that he was engaged in a "friendly fire" accident before continuing incoming fire convinced him otherwise.  CAPT Riefkohl on Vincennes also tried signaling the Japanese, thinking he had blundered into an accidental engagement with the Southern Group.  On two of the U.S. cruisers (Quincy and Vincennes,) the watchbill was written in a way that the main battery could not be fired in Condition Two, since key personnel were in the wrong place, and the rapid setting of "zebra" (then "zed") hampered getting to Condition One.  Quincy, recently arrived from the Atlantic with no battle experience, went to General Quarters on receipt of Patterson's initial warning, but took almost 12 minutes to get to Condition One, which was already too late.  Nevertheless, the Quincy attempted to charge the Japanese line before a couple torpedoes from the Tenryu and a direct hit on the bridge, killing CAPT Samuel N. Moore, put an end to that.
   The Japanese fire revealed a serious design deficiency in U.S. cruisers, namely having the aviation detachment amidships.  In each case, initial Japanese rounds set the scout planes, aviation fuel and other flammable material on fire, effectively cutting the ships in two halves that could not communicate with each other.  With the U.S. cruisers lit up like funeral pyres from the blazing aviation section, the Japanese gunners had an easy time finding the range.  Astoria was hit at least 65 times (219 KIA,) Quincy hit "many" times and by two torpedoes (370 KIA,) and Vincennes was hit at least 85 times and by one or two torpedoes (322 KIA.)
   A few early U.S. rounds found their mark, before the deluge of Japanese shellfire put most U.S. guns out of action.  The Japanese heavy cruiser Aoba took a hit in her torpedo bank, but having already fired 13 of her 16 torpedoes, the effect was not the catastrophe it could have been.  The Quincy put a shell into Chokai's chart room, missing Mikawa and his staff by a few feet (although losing his navigation capability was one of several reasons Mikawa would break off the attack.)   Chokai's aviation section amidships also went up in flames as a result of this hit (Japanese cruisers had the same design flaw) but it was too late for any U.S. ships to take advantage.
   In going after the Northern Group, Mikawa missed his chance to attack the U.S. transports and supply ships.  Mikawa reasoned that by the time he regrouped his forces and commenced an attack on the transports it would be approaching dawn, and there would be no way he could get very far away before being attacked by U.S. carrier aircraft.  Mikawa did not know that the U.S. carriers were already opening the distance to the east.  Although Mikawa's own scout aircraft had provided a reasonably accurate reporting of U.S. force disposition off Guadalcanal, Mikawa had also been deceived by the wildly inflated claims of loss and damage to the U.S. force resulting from the earlier air attacks.  Mikawa had done exactly what his years' of training and Japanese doctrine required him to do, seek out and achieve a decisive victory against enemy combatants.  The transports could be dealt with by air attack, and the Japanese Army had assured him that the U.S. forces on Guadalcanal could be booted off whenever the Army decided to get around to it.  Nevertheless, Mikawa would be heavily criticized (later) for his failure to sink the U.S. transports, including by some who initially considered his plan foolhardy.
    As the Japanese force exited the area north of Savo Island, it encountered the destroyer Ralph Talbot, which took several hits before a fortuitous rain squall prevented her demise.  The Quincy and Vincennes went down shortly after the Japanese departed (0238 and 0250 respectively.)  Attempts to save the Astoria continued until early afternoon of 9 Aug until she finally sank.  The heavily damaged Canberra appeared to be in no immediate danger of sinking, but Turner ordered that if she could not be removed from the battle area by 0630 she was to be scuttled (but Astoria received no such order for some reason.)  As the Chicago returned from her futile foray to the west, she engaged in a brief exchange of friendly-fire with the Patterson, which was standing by the Canberra, fortunately with no hits.  When it came time to scuttle the Canberra, four torpedoes and 263 rounds of 5" gunfire from USS Selfridge (DD-357) failed to do so.  Finally, additional torpedoes from USS Ellet (DD-398) put the stubborn ship under.  Canberra lost 84 of her 819 crew.  (The U.S. would subsequently name a new Baltimore-class heavy cruiser the USS Canberra (CA-70) at the direction of President Roosevelt.)  As the day went on, the Marines ashore would watch as the U.S. Navy headed over the horizon, leaving them alone.
    As the Japanese cruisers returned to port Kavieng on New Ireland, the old U.S. submarine S-44 (LCDR J. R. Moore, commanding) got off a salvo of torpedoes.  Apparently using older Mk 10 torpedoes was a blessing, because unlike other U.S. submarines that were encountering repeated torpedo failures, three of the four torpedoes fired by S-44 hit the Japanese heavy cruiser Kako, and actually detonated, sending her to the bottom with 34 of her crew.  This was the first major Japanese combatant to be sunk by a U.S. submarine in the war.  S-44 would be sunk off the Kurile Islands in Sep 43 with all but two of her crew.
    The disaster at Savo Island was a profound shock all the way up the chain of command to President Roosevelt, and a huge embarrassment to Navy leadership.  With the loss of over a thousand Sailors, it is considered the worst wartime defeat in U.S. naval history, since technically the U.S. was not formally at war for Pearl Harbor.  CNO King directed that details of the battle be withheld from the public, casualty notification substantially delayed, and wartime censorship enabled him to do so.  Many of the details remained wrapped in secrecy even many years after the war.  The board of inquiry found lots of blame to go around, but no one in particular to pin it on.  The only officer to receive formal censure was Captain Bode of the Chicago, and he killed himself before it was officially delivered.  Captain Riefkol, commander of Vincennes and the Northern Group of cruisers, was not censured, but never held command at sea again.
   In his commentary to the inquiry, Admiral Turner ascribed the defeat to a "fatal lethargy of mind" and to over-confidence.  The officers and men of the U.S. Navy were convinced of their superiority to the Japanese.  Pearl Harbor was not considered a fair fight, and no one expected the outnumbered and mostly antiquated U.S. Asiatic Fleet to last for long.  But Midway had shown that even outnumbered, but absent Japanese perfidy, the U.S. Navy would triumph, and in any even fight U.S. victory would be inevitable.  Savo Island proved otherwise, and it was a bitter lesson for the U.S. Navy to swallow.  An exhaustive post-war analysis of the battle by the U.S. Naval War College listed 26 enduring lessons learned, most of which still resonate today and are worth a read.  (
    RADM Mikawa would later express considerable respect for the bravery shown by the Northern Group of U.S. cruisers, believing that had the U.S. ships had only a few more minutes warning, the outcome of the battle might have been very different.  Mikawa's admiration notwithstanding, the outcome probably would still have been bad for the U.S. Navy, and the post-war Naval War College study of the battle concluded that "valor alone was insufficient."  For most of the interwar years the U.S. approach to night combat was to avoid it.  The Japanese approach to night combat was to seek it.  In the series of vicious night battles that would follow, the U.S. Navy would pay dearly in the waters of Ironbottom Sound.
(Although the U.S. Naval War College Study of the Battle of Savo Island, 1950, by Commodore Richard Bates and Commander Walker Innis, formed the basis for this H-gram, I also need to thank James Hornfischer for his superb research in "Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal," 2011 and Ian Toll, "The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944," 2015.  John Prado's work "Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II," 1995 is invaluable for intelligence aspects.  And of course, Samuel Eliot Morison, History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, Vol V. "The Struggle for Guadalcanal.")
Item Number:1 Date: 08/08/2018 AFGHANISTAN - AT LEAST 9 SECURITY PERSONNEL KILLED IN SUSPECTED U.S. AIRSTRIKE (AUG 08/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- NATO is investigating the deaths of Afghan security forces who were allegedly killed in an U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   At least nine security forces were killed and 14 injured in a strike in Azra district, Logar province, late Monday or early Tuesday morning, according to an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman.   Casualty estimates varied. A provincial council member said that 12 security personnel were killed in the airstrike, reported the New York Times. A tribal elder from Azra said 17 pro-government militia members and police were killed, along with two civilians.   U.S. warplanes were called in by Afghan forces taking Taliban fire, said a spokesman for the governor. Upon arrival, the planes targeted an Afghan police outpost.   The U.S. military said it was aware of "varying and unconfirmed reports" of Afghan deaths caused by the airstrike and is examining the incident, reported the Stars and Stripes.   NATO's Resolute Support confirmed the air strike but has not yet disclosed any casualties.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 08/08/2018 ESTONIA - SPANISH EUROFIGHTER ACCIDENTLY LAUNCHES MISSILE WHILE ON PATROL (AUG 08/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- A Spanish fighter jet accidently fired an air-to-air missile while on air patrol over Estonia, reports CNN.   The Eurofighter Typhoon accidently launched an AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) on Tuesday.   The Estonian air force has launched a search operation to find the missile, with efforts focused on an area 25 miles (40 km) north of Tartu, in the eastern part of the country.   The missile has a built-in self-destruct mode, noted a NATO official.   The incident, including the flight path and status of the missile, are under investigation, NATO said.   The Spanish jet was deployed to Estonia as part of the NATO air-policing mission in the Baltic states
  Item Number:6 Date: 08/08/2018 INDIA - 8 DEAD AFTER INFILTRATION ATTEMPT IN KASHMIR (AUG 08/TI)  TIMES OF INDIA -- Four Indian soldiers, including an army major, have been killed while responding to an attempt to breach the Line of Control in northern Kashmir, reports the Times of India.   On Tuesday, eight militants attempted to cross into Indian-administered Kashmir in the Gurez sector of the Bandipora district.   Four militants were killed in the attack, while the survivors retreated back to Pakistani-held territory, officials said.   Last week, Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised a strong military presence on the border following an increase of border infiltration attempts after elections in Pakistan.   According to a government report last month, there were 406 infiltration attempts across Jammu and Kashmir in 2017, during which 59 militants and seven soldiers were killed, noted the Economic Times (India). So far this year, there have been 133 infiltration attempts leading to the deaths of 14 militants.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 08/08/2018 RUSSIA - UPGRADED TU-22M LONG RANGE BOMBER VARIANT TO BE REVEALED (AUG 08/DIPLOMAT)  DIPLOMAT -- Russia is set to unveil the first prototype of its upgraded Tupolev Tu-22M long-range bomber, reports the Diplomat (Tokyo).   The Tu-22M3M variant, to be rolled out on Aug. 16, will be fitted with more advanced avionics, navigation equipment, communication and weapons control systems than its Soviet-era predecessor.   The updated bomber will be armed with the Kh-15 aero-ballistic missile and the Kh-32 long-range anti-ship missile. Both missiles can be fitted with a nuclear warhead.   The Kh-32 is designed to defeat U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups and can operate in both high and low altitudes. It has a range of 620 nm and can reach speeds up to Mach 4.   Introduced in the 1970s, the Russian fleet still has about 60 Tu-22Ms in service, about half of which have been permanently grounded.   The Ministry of Defense plans to upgrade 30 Tu-22s to the more advanced Tu-22M3M variant.   The first bomber is expected to be delivered in October.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 08/08/2018 USA - ARMS CONTROL, SPACE WEAPONS DISCUSSED DURING TRUMP'S TALKS WITH PUTIN, ACCORDING TO DOCUMENT (AUG 08/POLITICO)  POLITICO -- Russian President Vladimir Putin requested renewed arms control talks and a prohibition on weapons in space during a July summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, according to documents cited by Politico (Washington, D.C.).   The report centers on previously undisclosed Russian documents that include proposed topics for negotiation, the news website said on Tuesday.   Putin presented the "Dialogue on the Issue of Arms Control" to Trump during their July 16 summit in Helsinki, said one U.S. government adviser.   The proposals floated included extending the New START Treaty, signed by former U.S. President Barack Obama and Putin in 2010, which limits both countries to 1,500 nuclear warheads. The treaty expires in 2021.   The memo also seeks to "reaffirm commitment" to agreements covering "intermediate-range missiles," a reference to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibits ground-launched missiles between the ranges of 310 miles to 3,400 miles (500 km to 5,500 km).   The U.S. has accused Russia of violating the 1987 agreement by deploying cruise missiles within the prohibited range.   The document also raises the possibility of a new treaty banning weapons from space. Under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, only weapons of mass destruction are prohibited from space.   The document underscores Russia's interest in maintaining cooperation on traditional issues despite increased political tensions, said analysts.   The White House denied that Trump had received the document in paper form and declined to comment further.   Senior Trump advisers said the existence of the documents was not shared with them at the time

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