The List 5118 TGB
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Today in Naval History
1776 Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnolds 17-ship flotilla is defeated in three long and separate actions at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain as they engage 25 ships under Capt. Thomas Pringle. Though defeated, the battle delays the British advance and causes it to fall back into winter quarters. It is nearly a year before the advance is renewed.
1841 Abel P. Upshur becomes the 13th Secretary of the Navy, serving until July 1843. Among his achievements are the replacement of the old Board of Navy Commissioners with the bureau system, regularization of the officer corps, increased Navy appropriations, construction of new sailing and steam warships, and the establishment of the Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office.
1933 The rigid airship Macon (ZRS 5) departs NAS Lakehurst, NJ, for her new home on the West Coast at NAS Sunnyvale, CA. The airship followed the Atlantic coast down to Macon, GA, and turned westward over the southern route. The craft arrived at Sunnyvale on the afternoon of 15 Oct., completing the 2,500-mile nonstop flight in approximately 70 hours.
1940 Rear Adm. Harold G. Bowen, the technical aid to the Secretary of the Navy, proposes a program for the development of radio ranging equipment (radar). This formed the basis for the Navy's prewar radar development effort, which included an airborne radar for surface search in addition to identification equipment and ship‑based radar.
1942 A cruiser-destroyer task force led by Rear Adm. Norman Scott intercepts a similar Japanese Navy unit. In the resulting Battle of Cape Esperance, the Japanese lose the heavy cruiser Furutaka and destroyer Fubuki, with two more destroyers sunk by American air attacks the next day. The destroyer Duncan (DD 485) is the only loss from Scott's Task Force 64. This victory is the U.S. Navy's first of the Guadalcanal Campaign.
1944 USS Tang (SS 306) sinks Japanese freighters Joshu Go and Oita Maru in the Formosa Strait. Also on this date, USS Trepang (SS 412), in an attack on a Japanese convoy south of Honshu, sinks landing ship T.105 about 105 miles southwest of Tokyo Bay.
1956 An R6D-1 from VR-6 on scheduled Military Air Transport Service flight from Lakenheath, England, to Lajes, Azores, disappears over the Atlantic with nine crewmembers and 50 passengers aboard. Ships and aircraft searched during the following 14 days and find debris from the Liftmaster, but fail to locate survivors.
1968 Apollo 7 is launched. The first U.S. three-man space mission is commanded by Navy Cmdr. Walter Schirra, Jr. Donn F. Eisele is the command module pilot and Marine Corps Maj. Ronnie Cunningham serves as lunar module pilot. The mission lasts 10 days and 20 hours with 163 orbits. Recovery is facilitated by HS-5 helicopters from USS Essex (CVS 9).
1800 American frigate Boston captures French frigate Le Berceau, one of the French ships that was plaguing the American coast during the Quasi-War with France. After a bloody engagement, Boston brings her prize back to the United States. Though condemned as a legitimate prize of war and sold to the United States government, Le Berceau is returned to France under the terms of the Treaty of Mortefontaine, concluded about two weeks before her capture.
1914 USS Jupiter (AC 3) is the first U.S. Navy ship to transit the Panama Canal. In March 1920, Jupiter is decommissioned. Following conversion, she is renamed USS Langley (CV 1). Upon commissioning in March 1922, Langley becomes the U.S. Navy's first aircraft carrier.
1940 USS Wasp (CV 7) launches 24 Army Curtiss P-40 Warhawks from the 8th Pursuit Group and North American O-47s from the 3rd Observation Squadron off the Virginia Capes, marking the first launches of Army aircraft from U.S. carrier.
1942 Scout dive bombers from VS-71 sink the Japanese destroyer Natsugumo off Savo Island. Also on this date, torpedo bombers from VT-8, Navy and Marine Corps SBDs from VS-3, VS-71, and VMSB-141 and F4F Wildcats from VMF-121, VMF-212, and VMF-224 damage Japanese destroyer Murakumo off New Georgia as she is helping survivors at the Battle of Cape Esperance. She is later scuttled by Japanese destroyer Shirayuki.
1965 Project SEALAB II concludes. During this project, teams of Navy divers and scientists spent 15 days each in SEALAB II moored 205 ft. below the surface near La Jolla, Calif.
1980 USS Guadalcanal (LPH 7) and other ships of Amphibious Forces, Sixth Fleet bring assistance to earthquake victims in Al Asnam, Algeria.
2000 USS Cole (DDG 67) is attacked by terrorists in a small boat laden with explosives during a brief refueling stop in the harbor of Aden, Yemen. The suicide terrorist attack kills 17 members of the ship's crew, wounds 39 others, and seriously damages the ship.
Thanks to CHINFO
• Iranian officials stated that two missiles struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea, multiple outlets are reporting.
• Multiple outlets report on escalation of the Turkish campaign against Kurdish fighters in Syria.
• CNO Adm. Mike Gilday delivered a message to the fleet to commemorate the 244th birthday of the United States Navy.
Today in History October 11
The Catholics defeat the Protestants at Kappel during Switzerland's second civil war.
Charles V of Milan puts his son Philip in control.
George II of England crowned.
In graditude for putting down a rebellion in the streets of Paris, France's National Convention appoints Napoleon Bonaparte second in command of the Army of the Interior.
The Confederate Congress in Richmond passes a draft law allowing anyone owning 20 or more slaves to be exempt from military service. This law confirms many southerners opinion that they are in a 'rich man's war and a poor man's fight.'
Outlaw Wild Bill Longley, who killed at least a dozen men, is hanged, but it took two tries; on the first try, the rope slipped and his knees drug the ground.
South African Boers, settler from the Netherlands, declare war on Great Britain.
San Francisco school board orders the segregation of Oriental schoolchildren, inciting Japanese outrage.
In the Battle of Cape Esperance, near the Solomon Islands, U.S. cruisers and destroyers decisively defeat a Japanese task force in a night surface encounter.
Negotiations between Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and Communist leader Mao Tse-tung break down. Nationalist and Communist troops are soon engaged in a civil war.
The Federal Communications Commission authorizes the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) to begin commercial color TV broadcasts.
Pope John XXIII opens the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) with a call for Christian unity. This is the largest gathering of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in history; among delegate-observers are representatives of major Protestant denominations, in itself a sign of sweeping change.
Apollo 7, with three men aboard, is successfully launched from Cape Kennedy.
A French mission in Vietnam is destroyed by a U.S. bombing raid.
Race riot breaks out aboard carrier USS Kitty Hawk off Vietnam during Operation Linebacker.
Saturday Night Live comedy-variety show premiers on NBC, with guest host comedian George Carlin and special guests Janis Ian, Andy Kaufman and Billy Preston; at this writing (2013) the show is still running.
The so-called "Gang of Four," Chairman Mao Tse-tung's widow and three associates, are arrested in Peking, setting in motion an extended period of turmoil in the Chinese Communist Party.
Astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan, part of the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger, becomes the first American woman to walk in space.
Operation Pawan by Indian Peace Keeping Force begins in Sri Lanka; thousands of Tamil citizens, along with hundreds of Tamil Tigers militants and Indian Army soldiers will die in the operation.
Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas begin.
NASA launches its 100th Space Shuttle mission.
The Polaroid Corporation, which had provided shutterbugs with photo prints in minutes with its "instant cameras" since 1947, files for bankruptcy.
This day in Military History
1896 – The crew of the Pea Island (North Carolina) Life-Saving Station, under the command of Keeper Richard Etheridge, performed one of their finest rescues when they saved the passengers and crew of the schooner E.S. Newman, after that ship ran aground during a hurricane. Pushed before the storm, the ship lost all sails and drifted almost 100 miles before it ran aground about two miles south of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station. Etheridge, a veteran of nearly twenty years, readied his crew. They hitched mules to the beach cart and hurried toward the vessel. Arriving on the scene, they found Captain S. A. Gardiner and eight others clinging to the wreckage. Unable to fire a line because the high water prevented the Lyle Gun's deployment, Etheridge directed two surfmen to bind themselves together with a line. Grasping another line, the pair moved into the breakers while the remaining surfmen secured the shore end. The two surfmen reached the wreck and tied a line around one of the crewmen. All three were then pulled back through the surf by the crew on the beach. The remaining eight persons were carried to shore in this fashion. After each trip two different surfmen replaced those who had just returned. For their efforts the crew of the Pea Island Life-Saving station were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal in 1996.
1910 – Former President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane. He flew for four minutes with Arch Hoxsey in a plane built by the Wright brothers at Kinloch Field (Lambert–St. Louis International Airport), St. Louis, Missouri.
1939 – Albert Einstein wrote his famous letter to FDR about the potential of the atomic bomb. Einstein, a long time pacifist, was concerned that the Nazis would get the bomb first. In the letter, Einstein argued the scientific feasibility of atomic weapons, and urged the need for development of a US atomic program. The physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller, who were profoundly disturbed by the lack of American atomic action, had enlisted the aid of the Nobel prize-winner Einstein in the summer of 1939, hoping that a letter from such a renowned scientist would persuade Roosevelt into action.
1942 – In the World War II Battle of Cape Esperance in the Solomon Islands, U.S. cruisers and destroyers decisively defeated a Japanese task force in a night surface encounter sinking two Japanese ships while losing only USS Duncan (DD-485).
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Battle of Cape Esperance
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
The Battle of Cape Esperance, also known as the Second Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the Sea Battle of Savo Island (サボ島沖海戦), took place on 11–12 October 1942, in the Pacific campaign of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and United States Navy. The naval battle was the second of four major surface engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign and took place at the entrance to the strait between Savo Island and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Cape Esperance (
9°15′S 159°42′E / 9.250°S 159.700°E / -9.250; 159.700 (Cape Esperance)) is the northernmost point on Guadalcanal, and the battle took its name from this point.
On the night of 11 October, Japanese naval forces in the Solomon Islands area—under the command of Vice AdmiralGunichi Mikawa—sent a major supply and reinforcement convoy to their forces on Guadalcanal. The convoy consisted of two seaplane tenders and six destroyers and was commanded by Rear AdmiralTakatsugu Jojima. At the same time, but in a separate operation, three heavy cruisers and two destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Aritomo Gotō—were to bombard the Alliedairfield on Guadalcanal (called Henderson Field by the Allies) with the object of destroying Allied aircraft and the airfield's facilities.
Shortly before midnight on 11 October, a U.S. force of four cruisers and five destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Norman Scott—intercepted Gotō's force as it approached Savo Island near Guadalcanal. Taking the Japanese by surprise, Scott's warships sank one of Gotō's cruisers and one of his destroyers, heavily damaged another cruiser, mortally wounded Gotō, and forced the rest of Gotō's warships to abandon the bombardment mission and retreat. During the exchange of gunfire, one of Scott's destroyers was sunk and one cruiser and another destroyer were heavily damaged. In the meantime, the Japanese supply convoy successfully completed unloading at Guadalcanal and began its return journey without being discovered by Scott's force. Later on the morning of 12 October, four Japanese destroyers from the supply convoy turned back to assist Gotō's retreating, damaged warships. Air attacks by U.S. aircraft from Henderson Field sank two of these destroyers later that day.
As with the preceding naval engagements around Guadalcanal, the strategic outcome was inconclusive because neither the Japanese nor United States navies secured operational control of the waters around Guadalcanal as a result of this action. However, the Battle of Cape Esperance provided a significant morale boost to the U.S. Navy after the failure at Savo Island.
On 7 August 1942, Allied forces (primarily U.S.) landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida Islands in the Solomon Islands. The objective was to deny the islands to the Japanese as bases for threatening the supply routes between the U.S. and Australia, and secure starting points for a campaign to isolate the major Japanese base at Rabaul while also supporting the Allied New Guinea campaign. The Guadalcanal campaign would last six months.
Taking the Japanese by surprise, by nightfall on 8 August, the Allied forces, mainly consisting of U.S. Marines, had secured Tulagi and nearby small islands, as well as an airfield under construction at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal (later completed and named Henderson Field). Allied aircraft operating out of Henderson became known as the "Cactus Air Force" (CAF) after the Allied codename for Guadalcanal.
In response, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters assigned the Imperial Japanese Army's 17th Army—a corps-sized formation headquartered at Rabaul under Lieutenant-General Harukichi Hyakutake—with the task of retaking Guadalcanal. On 19 August, various units of the 17th Army began to arrive on the island.
Due to the threat posed by Allied aircraft, the Japanese were unable to use large, slow transport ships to deliver their troops and supplies to the island, and warships were used instead. These ships—mainly light cruisers and destroyers—were usually able to make the round trip down "the Slot" to Guadalcanal and back in a single night, thereby minimizing their exposure to air attacks. Delivering troops in this manner, however, prevented most of the heavy equipment and supplies, such as heavy artillery, vehicles, and much food and ammunition, from being delivered. In addition, they expended destroyers, which were desperately needed for commerce defense. These high-speed runs occurred throughout the campaign and were later called the "Tokyo Express" by the Allies and "Rat Transportation" by the Japanese.
The Solomon Islands area in the south Pacific. The Japanese base at Rabaul is at the upper left. Guadalcanal (lower right) lies at the southeastern end of "The Slot", the route utilized by Japanese "Tokyo Express" missions.
Due to the heavier concentration of Japanese surface combat vessels and their well-positioned logistical base at Simpson Harbor, Rabaul, and their victory at the Battle of Savo Island in early August, the Japanese had established operational control over the waters around Guadalcanal at night. However, any Japanese ship remaining within range—about 200 mi (170 nmi; 320 km)—of American aircraft at Henderson Field, during the daylight hours, was in danger of damaging air attacks. This persisted for the months of August and September, 1942. The presence of Admiral Scott's task force at Cape Esperance represented the U.S. Navy's first major attempt to wrest night time operational control of waters around Guadalcanal away from the Japanese.
The first attempt by the Japanese Army to recapture Henderson Field was on 21 August, in the Battle of the Tenaru, and the next, the Battle of Edson's Ridge, from 12–14 September; both failed.
The Japanese set their next major attempt to recapture Henderson Field for 20 October and moved most of the 2nd and 38th infantry divisions, totalling 17,500 troops, from the Dutch East Indies to Rabaul in preparation for delivering them to Guadalcanal. From 14 September to 9 October, numerous Tokyo Express runs delivered troops from the Japanese 2nd Infantry Division as well as Hyakutake to Guadalcanal. In addition to cruisers and destroyers, some of these runs included the seaplane carrier Nisshin, which delivered heavy equipment to the island including vehicles and heavy artillery other warships could not carry because of space limitations. The Japanese Navy promised to support the Army's planned offensive by delivering the necessary troops, equipment, and supplies to the island, and by stepping up air attacks on Henderson Field and sending warships to bombard the airfield.
In the meantime, Major GeneralMillard F. Harmon—commander of United States Army forces in the South Pacific—convinced Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley—overall commander of Allied forces in the South Pacific—that the marines on Guadalcanal needed to be reinforced immediately if the Allies were to successfully defend the island from the next expected Japanese offensive. Thus, on 8 October, the 2,837 men of the 164th Infantry Regiment from the U.S. Army's Americal Division boarded ships at New Caledonia for the trip to Guadalcanal with a projected arrival date of 13 October.
U.S. Rear AdmiralNorman Scott
To protect the transports carrying the 164th to Guadalcanal, Ghormley ordered Task Force 64 (TF 64), consisting of four cruisers (San Francisco, Boise, Salt Lake City, and Helena) and five destroyers (Farenholt, Duncan, Buchanan, McCalla, and Laffey) under U.S. Rear Admiral Norman Scott, to intercept and combat any Japanese ships approaching Guadalcanal and threatening the convoy. Scott conducted one night battle practice with his ships on 8 October, then took station south of Guadalcanal near Rennell Island on 9 October, to await word of any Japanese naval movement toward the southern Solomons.
Continuing with preparations for the October offensive, Japanese Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa's Eighth Fleet staff, headquartered at Rabaul, scheduled a large and important Tokyo Express supply run for the night of 11 October. Nisshin would be joined by the seaplane carrier Chitose to deliver 728 soldiers, four large howitzers, two field guns, one anti-aircraft gun, and a large assortment of ammunition and other equipment from the Japanese naval bases in the Shortland Islands and at Buin, Bougainville, to Guadalcanal. Six destroyers, five of them carrying troops, would accompany Nisshin and Chitose. The supply convoy—called the "Reinforcement Group" by the Japanese—was under the command of Rear Admiral Takatsugu Jojima. At the same time but in a separate operation, the three heavy cruisers of Cruiser Division 6 (CruDiv6)—Aoba, Kinugasa, and Furutaka, under the command of Rear AdmiralAritomo Gotō—were to bombard Henderson Field with special explosive shells with the object of destroying the CAF and the airfield's facilities. Two screening destroyers—Fubuki and Hatsuyuki—accompanied CruDiv6. Since U.S. Navy warships had yet to attempt to interdict any Tokyo Express missions to Guadalcanal, the Japanese were not expecting any opposition from U.S. naval surface forces that night.
At 08:00, on 11 October, Jojima's reinforcement group departed the Shortland Islands anchorage to begin their 250 mi (220 nmi; 400 km) run down the Slot to Guadalcanal. The six destroyers that accompanied Nisshin and Chitose were Asagumo, Natsugumo, Yamagumo, Shirayuki, Murakumo, and Akizuki. Gotō departed the Shortland Islands for Guadalcanal at 14:00 the same day.
To protect the reinforcement group's approach to Guadalcanal from the CAF, the Japanese 11th Air Fleet, based at Rabaul, Kavieng, and Buin, planned two air strikes on Henderson Field for 11 October. A "fighter sweep" of 17 Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero fighters swept over Henderson Field just after mid-day but failed to engage any U.S. aircraft. Forty-five minutes later, the second wave—45 Mitsubishi G4M2 "Betty" bombers and 30 Zeros—arrived over Henderson Field. In an ensuing air battle with the CAF, one G4M and two U.S. fighters were downed. Although the Japanese attacks failed to inflict significant damage, they did prevent CAF bombers from finding and attacking the reinforcement group. As the reinforcement group transited the Slot, relays of 11th Air Fleet Zeros from Buin provided escort. Emphasizing the importance of this convoy for Japanese plans, the last flight of the day was ordered to remain on station over the convoy until darkness, then ditch their aircraft and await pickup by the reinforcement group's destroyers. All six Zeros ditched; only one pilot was recovered.
Allied reconnaissance aircraft sighted Jojima's supply convoy 210 mi (180 nmi; 340 km) from Guadalcanal between Kolombangara and Choiseul in the Slot at 14:45 on the same day, and reported it as two "cruisers" and six destroyers. Gotō's force—following the convoy—was not sighted. In response to the sighting of Jojima's force, at 16:07 Scott turned toward Guadalcanal for an interception.
Scott crafted a simple battle plan for the expected engagement. His ships would steam in column with his destroyers at the front and rear of his cruiser column, searching across a 300 degree arc with SG surface radar in an effort to gain positional advantage on the approaching enemy force. The destroyers were to illuminate any targets with searchlights and discharge torpedoes while the cruisers were to open fire at any available targets without awaiting orders. The cruiser's float aircraft, launched in advance, were to find and illuminate the Japanese warships with flares. Although Helena and Boise carried the new, greatly improved SG radar, Scott chose San Francisco as his flagship.
At 22:00, as Scott's ships neared Cape Hunter at the northwest end of Guadalcanal, three of Scott's cruisers launched floatplanes. One crashed on takeoff, but the other two patrolled over Savo Island, Guadalcanal, and Ironbottom Sound. As the floatplanes were launched, Jojima's force was just passing around the mountainous northwestern shoulder of Guadalcanal, and neither force sighted each other. At 22:20, Jojima radioed Gotō and told him no U.S. ships were in the vicinity. Although Jojima's force later heard Scott's floatplanes overhead while unloading along the north shore of Guadalcanal, they failed to report this to Gotō.
At 22:33, just after passing Cape Esperance, Scott's ships assumed battle formation. The column was led by Farenholt, Duncan, and Laffey, and followed by San Francisco, Boise, Salt Lake City, and Helena. Buchanan and McCalla brought up the rear. The distance between each ship ranged from 500 to 700 yd (460 to 640 m). Visibility was poor because the moon had already set, leaving no ambient light and no visible sea horizon.
Map showing the movements of Gotō's and Jojima's forces during the battle. The light grey line skirting Savo Island depicts Gotō's planned approach and exit route for the bombardment mission. Hatsuyuki is misidentified as Murakumo.
Gotō's force passed through several rain squalls as they approached Guadalcanal at 30 kn (35 mph; 56 km/h). Gotō's flagship Aoba led the Japanese cruisers in column, followed by Furutaka and Kinugasa. Fubuki was starboard of Aoba and Hatsuyuki to port. At 23:30, Gotō's ships emerged from the last rain squall and began appearing on the radar scopes of Helena and Salt Lake City. The Japanese, however, whose warships were not equipped with radar, remained unaware of Scott's presence.
At 23:00, the San Francisco aircraft spotted Jojima's force off Guadalcanal and reported it to Scott. Scott, believing more Japanese ships were likely still on the way, continued his course towards the west side of Savo Island. At 23:33, Scott ordered his column to turn towards the southwest to a heading of 230°. All of Scott's ships understood the order as a column movement except Scott's own ship, San Francisco. As the three lead U.S. destroyers executed the column movement, San Francisco turned simultaneously. Boise—following immediately behind—followed San Francisco, thereby throwing the three van destroyers out of formation.
At 23:32, Helena's radar showed the Japanese warships to be about 27,700 yd (25,300 m) away. At 23:35, Boise's and Duncan's radars also detected Gotō's ships. Between 23:42 and 23:44, Helena and Boise reported their contacts to Scott on San Francisco who mistakenly believed the two cruisers were actually tracking the three U.S. destroyers that were thrown out of formation during the column turn. Scott radioed Farenholt to ask if the destroyer was attempting to resume its station at the front of the column. Farenholt replied, "Affirmative, coming up on your starboard side," further confirming Scott's belief that the radar contacts were his own destroyers.
At 23:45, Farenholt and Laffey—still unaware of Gotō's approaching warships—increased speed to resume their stations at the front of the U.S. column. Duncan's crew, however, thinking that Farenholt and Laffey were commencing an attack on the Japanese warships, increased speed to launch a solitary torpedo attack on Gotō's force without telling Scott what they were doing. San Francisco's radar registered the Japanese ships, but Scott was not informed of the sighting. By 23:45, Gotō's ships were only 5,000 yd (4,600 m) away from Scott's formation and visible to Helena's and Salt Lake City's lookouts. The U.S. formation at this point was in position to cross the T of the Japanese formation, giving Scott's ships a significant tactical advantage. At 23:46, still assuming that Scott was aware of the rapidly approaching Japanese warships, Helena radioed for permission to open fire, using the general procedure request, "Interrogatory Roger" (meaning, basically, "Are we clear to act?"). Scott answered with, "Roger", meaning only that the message was received, not that he was confirming the request to act. Upon receipt of Scott's "Roger", Helena—thinking they now had permission—opened fire, quickly followed by Boise, Salt Lake City, and to Scott's further surprise, San Francisco.
U.S. Navy track chart of the battle accurately depicts the movements of the U.S. ships (lower tracks) but not the Japanese ship tracks (upper, darker line).
Gotō's force was taken almost completely by surprise. At 23:43, Aoba's lookouts sighted Scott's force, but Gotō assumed that they were Jojima's ships. Two minutes later, Aoba's lookouts identified the ships as American, but Gotō remained skeptical and directed his ships to flash identification signals. As Aoba's crew executed Gotō's order, the first American salvo smashed into Aoba's superstructure. Aoba was quickly hit by up to 40 shells from Helena, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Farenholt, and Laffey. The shell hits heavily damaged Aoba's communications systems and demolished two of her main gun turrets as well as her main gun director. Several large-caliber projectiles passed through Aoba's flag bridge without exploding, but the force of their passage killed many men and mortally wounded Gotō.
Scott—still unsure who his ships were firing at, and afraid they might be firing on his own destroyers—ordered a ceasefire at 23:47, although not every ship complied. Scott ordered Farenholt to flash her recognition signals and upon observing that Farenholt was close to his formation, he ordered the fire resumed at 23:51.
Aoba, continuing to receive damaging hits, turned to starboard to head away from Scott's formation and began making a smoke screen which led most of the Americans to believe that she was sinking. Scott's ships shifted their fire to Furutaka, which was following behind Aoba. At 23:49, Furutaka was hit in her torpedotubes, igniting a large fire that attracted even more shellfire from the US ships. At 23:58, a torpedo from Buchanan hit Furutaka in her forward engine room, causing severe damage. During this time, San Francisco and Boise sighted Fubuki about 1,400 yd (1,300 m) away and raked her with shellfire, joined soon by most of the rest of Scott's formation. Heavily damaged, Fubuki began to sink. Kinugasa and Hatsuyuki chose turning to port rather than starboard and escaped the Americans' immediate attention.
During the exchange of gunfire, Farenholt received several damaging hits from both the Japanese and the American ships, killing several men. She escaped from the crossfire by crossing ahead of San Francisco and passing to the disengaged side of Scott's column. Duncan—still engaged in her solitary torpedo attack on the Japanese formation—was also hit by gunfire from both sides, set afire, and looped away in her own effort to escape the crossfire.
The U.S. cruiser Boise at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides in August 1942
As Gotō's ships endeavored to escape, Scott's ships tightened their formation and then turned to pursue the retreating Japanese warships. At 00:06, two torpedoes from Kinugasa barely missed Boise. Boise and Salt Lake City turned on their searchlights to help target the Japanese ships, giving Kinugasa's gunners clear targets. At 00:10, two shells from Kinugasa exploded in Boise's main ammunition magazine between turrets one and two. The resulting explosion killed almost 100 men and threatened to blow the ship apart. Seawater rushed in through rents in her hull opened by the explosion and helped quench the fire before it could explode the ship's powder magazines. Boise immediately sheered out of the column and retreated from the action. Kinugasa and Salt Lake City exchanged fire with each other, each hitting the other several times, causing minor damage to Kinugasa and damaging one of Salt Lake City's boilers, reducing her speed.
At 00:16, Scott ordered his ships to turn to a heading of 330° in an attempt to pursue the fleeing Japanese ships. Scott's ships, however, quickly lost sight of Gotō's ships, and all firing ceased by 00:20. The American formation was beginning to scatter, so Scott ordered a turn to 205° to disengage.
During the battle between Scott's and Gotō's ships, Jojima's reinforcement group completed unloading at Guadalcanal and began its return journey unseen by Scott's warships, using a route that passed south of the Russell Islands and New Georgia. Despite extensive damage, Aoba was able to join Kinugasa in retirement to the north through the Slot. Furutaka's damage caused her to lose power around 00:50, and she sank at 02:28, 22 mi (19 nmi; 35 km) northwest of Savo Island. Hatsuyuki picked up Furutaka's survivors and joined the retreat northward.
Boise extinguished her fires by 02:40 and at 03:05 rejoined Scott's formation. Duncan—on fire—was abandoned by her crew at 02:00. Unaware of Duncan's fate, Scott detached McCalla to search for her and retired with the rest of his ships towards Nouméa, arriving in the afternoon of 13 October. McCalla located the burning, abandoned Duncan about 03:00, and several members of McCalla's crew made an attempt to keep her from sinking. By 12:00, however, they had to abandon the effort as bulkheads within Duncan collapsed causing the ship to finally sink 6 mi (5.2 nmi; 9.7 km) north of Savo Island. American servicemen in boats from Guadalcanal as well as McCalla picked up Duncan's scattered survivors from the sea around Savo. In total, 195 Duncan sailors survived; 48 did not. As they rescued Duncan's crew, the Americans came across the more than 100 Fubuki survivors, floating in the same general area. The Japanese initially refused all rescue attempts but a day later allowed themselves to be picked up and taken prisoner.
Japanese destroyer Murakumo
Jojima—learning of the bombardment force's crisis—detached destroyers Shirayuki and Murakumo to assist Furutaka or her survivors and Asagumo and Natsugumo to rendezvous with Kinugasa, which had paused in her retreat northward to cover the withdrawal of Jojima's ships. At 07:00, five CAF Douglas SBD-3 Dauntlessdive bombers attacked Kinugasa but inflicted no damage. At 08:20, 11 more SBDs found and attacked Shirayuki and Murakumo. Although they scored no direct hits, a near miss caused Murakumo to begin leaking oil, marking a trail for other CAF aircraft to follow. A short time later, seven more CAF SBDs plus six Grumman TBF-1 Avengertorpedo bombers, accompanied by 14 Grumman F4F-4 Wildcats, found the two Japanese destroyers 170 mi (150 nmi; 270 km) from Guadalcanal. In the ensuing attack, Murakumo was hit by a torpedo in her engineering spaces, leaving her without power. In the meantime, Aoba and Hatsuyuki reached the sanctuary of the Japanese base in the Shortland Islands at 10:00.
Rushing to assist Murakumo, Asagumo and Natsugumo were attacked by another group of 11 CAF SBDs and TBFs escorted by 12 fighters at 15:45. An SBD placed its bomb almost directly amidships on Natsugumo while two more near misses contributed to her severe damage. After Asagumo took off her survivors, Natsugumo sank at 16:27. The CAF aircraft also scored several more hits on the stationary Murakumo, setting her afire. After her crew abandoned ship, Shirayuki scuttled her with a torpedo, picked up her survivors, and joined the rest of the Japanese warships for the remainder of their return trip to the Shortland Islands.
Aftermath and significance
Captain Kikunori Kijima—Gotō's chief of staff and commander of the bombardment force during the return trip to the Shortland Islands after Gotō's death in battle—claimed that his force had sunk two American cruisers and one destroyer. Furutaka's captain—who survived the sinking of his ship—blamed the loss of his cruiser on bad air reconnaissance and poor leadership from the 8th fleet staff under Admiral Mikawa. Although Gotō's bombardment mission failed, Jojima's reinforcement convoy was successful in delivering the crucial men and equipment to Guadalcanal. Aoba journeyed to Kure, Japan, for repairs that were completed on February 15, 1943. Kinugasa was sunk one month later during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
A U.S. sailor points to the scoreboard on USS Boise after the ship's return to the U.S. for battle damage repairs in November 1942. The scoreboard claims that Boise assisted in sinking three cruisers and three destroyers, greatly exaggerating actual Japanese losses in the battle.
Scott claimed that his force sank three Japanese cruisers and four destroyers. News of the victory was widely publicized in the American media. Boise—which was damaged enough to require a trip to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for repairs—was dubbed the "one-ship fleet" by the press for her exploits in the battle, although this was mainly because the names of the other involved ships were withheld for security reasons. Boise was under repair until 20 March 1943.
Although a tactical victory for the U.S., Cape Esperance had little immediate strategic effect on the situation on Guadalcanal. Just two days later on the night of 13 October, the Japanese battleships Kongō and Haruna bombarded and almost destroyed Henderson Field. One day after that, a large Japanese convoy successfully delivered 4,500 troops and equipment to the island. These troops and equipment helped complete Japanese preparations for the large land offensive scheduled to begin on 23 October. The convoy of U.S. Army troops reached Guadalcanal on 13 October as planned and were key participants for the Allied side in the decisive land battle for Henderson Field that took place from 23–26 October.
The Cape Esperance victory helped prevent an accurate U.S. assessment of Japanese skills and tactics in naval night fighting. The U.S. was still unaware of the range and power of Japanese torpedoes, the effectiveness of Japanese night optics, and the skilled fighting ability of most Japanese destroyer and cruiser commanders. Incorrectly applying the perceived lessons learned from this battle, U.S. commanders in future naval night battles in the Solomons consistently tried to prove that American naval gunfire was more effective than Japanese torpedo attacks. This belief was severely tested just two months later during the Battle of Tassafaronga. A junior officer on Helena later wrote, "Cape Esperance was a three-sided battle in which chance was the major winner."
Thanks to Robert
One Of The Last WW2 Medal Of Honor Recipients Dies
One of only three remaining world war two veterans to receive the Congressional Medal Of Honor has died. As Fox News reports:
Francis Currey, one of the three living World War IIMedal of Honor recipients and whose likeness was used to create Medal of Honor G.I. Joe in 1998, died on Tuesday. He was 94.
Currey, a native of Selkirk, New York, joined the U.S. Army when he was just 17. He was in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 as an automatic rifleman with the 3rd Platoon.
On Dec. 21, 1944, as German tanks approached Currey and his company while they were guarding a bridge crossing, Currey found a bazooka in a nearby factory. He crossed the street to secure rockets during an intense fight from enemy tanks and infantrymen. With the help of a companion, Currey knocked out a tank with one shot.
Moving to another position, Currey killed or wounded three German soldiers standing in the doorway of an enemy-held house. He emerged from cover and alone advanced to within 50 yards of the house. He ended up rescuing five Americas who were trapped and taking fire inside a building.
Currey is survived by his widow and their children.
A couple more MOH recipients on this day in history
HILTON, RICHMOND H.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: At Brancourt, France, 11 October 1918. Entered service at: Westville, S.C. Born: 8 October 1898, Westville, S.C. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: While Sgt. Hilton's company was advancing through the village of Brancourt it was held up by intense enfilading fire from a machinegun. Discovering that this fire came from a machinegun nest among shell holes at the edge of the town, Sgt. Hilton, accompanied by a few other soldiers, but well in advance of them, pressed on toward this position, firing with his rifle until his ammunition was exhausted, and then with his pistol, killing 6 of the enemy and capturing 10. In the course of this daring exploit he received a wound from a bursting shell, which resulted in the loss of his arm.
KEARBY, NEEL E. (Air Mission)
Rank and organization: Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: Near Wewak, New Guinea, 11 October 1943. Entered service at: Dallas, Tex. Birth: Wichita Falls, Tex. G.O. No.: 3, 6 January 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy, Col. Kearby volunteered to lead a flight of 4 fighters to reconnoiter the strongly defended enemy base at Wewak. Having observed enemy installations and reinforcements at 4 airfields, and secured important tactical information, he saw an enemy fighter below him, made a diving attack and shot it down in flames. The small formation then sighted approximately 12 enemy bombers accompanied by 36 fighters. Although his mission had been completed, his fuel was running low, and the numerical odds were 12 to 1, he gave the signal to attack. Diving into the midst of the enemy airplanes he shot down 3 in quick succession. Observing 1 of his comrades with 2 enemy fighters in pursuit, he destroyed both enemy aircraft. The enemy broke off in large numbers to make a multiple attack on his airplane but despite his peril he made one more pass before seeking cloud protection. Coming into the clear, he called his flight together and led them to a friendly base. Col. Kearby brought down 6 enemy aircraft in this action, undertaken with superb daring after his mission was completed.