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73 years ago today.

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by USMCPrice, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    73 years ago today, 07 August 1942, the United States launched it's first offensive ground campaign of the war by landing the First Marine Division at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Over the next several months the US population closely followed the dramatic struggle. An island, virtually unknown before the struggle was now front page news. Washington worried the cut off Marines would be forced to surrender or be destroyed. The Navy threw every available ship into a series of hard fought surface and carrier battles, epic in the courage shown by the sailors. The tiny Cactus airforce, where every American schoolboy knew the names of the fighter pilots that went up day after day to fight the cream of Japanese aviation. Such an incredible battle.
     
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  2. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    A truly epic struggle.
    For me, it was the epitome of all out war. All aspects of war fought in a relatively small area combining land,sea and air.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Patron  

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    Thanks for this Price. I read Guadalcanal Diary many years ago. It stuck with me and is part of the reason for my interest in WW2. Epic struggle, indeed.

    I read about the role of the Navy in Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno, and Stille's Naval Battles for Guadalcanal 1942. All in all, this little piece of real estate epitomized the struggle the US faced in the Pacific.
     
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  4. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Guadalcanal was also where the initiative in the Pacific forever passed on to the US and her Allies, and the logistical and material backbone of the IJN was broken and would never recover, this was indeed one of the decisive turning points of WW2.
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    73 years ago today, the US Navy suffered the worst defeat in it's history off the island of Guadalcanal near Savo Island. In the early morning hours of 09 August 1942, a Japanese cruiser force engaged and destroyed most of the US covering force for the Guadalcanal invasion. The disaster prompted Admiral Turner to order US naval forces to pull out by 0630 in the morning. General Vandegrift managed to convince Turner to delay his departure until mid-afternoon so additional supplies could be unloaded. As the Navy withdrew the Marines and sailors of the 1st Marine Division were left alone, the transports sailed away still containing half the divisions supplies, most of it's heavy equipment (especially engineering), and still unloaded combat troops. The Marines were left with 5 days rations, stretched to 17days once captured Japanese food was factored in, four days ammunition, Japanese rice bags would have to stand in for the unloaded sandbags. No land mines were landed and virtually all the barbed left with the departing transport fleet. Captured Japanese construction equipment would have to replace unloaded engineering equipment.

    The Japanese 8th Fleet, consisting of 5 cruisers, 2 light cruisers and a destroyer, under Admiral Gunichi Mikawa arrived off Guadalcanal shortly after midnight on the 8th. (CA's Chokai, Aoba, Furutaka, Kako, and Kinugasa, CL's Tenryu and Yubari, DD Yunagi) At between 00:44 and 00:54, the Japanese sighted the US pickett destroyer USS Blue, 5 miles away and they changed course and slowed to avoid being spotted. Four minutes later they sighted another allied ship, probably the other pickett destroyer USS Talbot. The Japanese remained undetected.

    Soon they encountered the allied Southern Group. At 0133 Mikawa gave the order to attack and the Japanese fell upon the allied ships consisting of the HMAS Canberra, USS Chicago and destroyers Bagley and Patterson. Six minutes later Canberra was left heavily damaged and on fire with two torpedo and 24 gun hits. Chicago had lost much of her bow and both destroyers were damaged.

    [​IMG]
    Chicago bow damage

    [​IMG]
    USS Chicago CA-29

    [​IMG]
    HMAS Canberra

    At 0144 Mikawa's ships engaged the Northern Force and by 0216 when they ceased fire after 32 minutes of fighting, USS Quincy CA-39 (sunk 0238), USS Astoria CA-34 (sank 12:15) and USS Vincennes CA-44 (sunk 0250) were all left afire and sinking.

    [​IMG]
    USS Quincy

    [​IMG]
    USS Astoria

    [​IMG]
    USS Vincennes

    At 0330 the US destroyer Patterson began removing survivors from Canberra, though it appeared the crew was gaining the upperhand in fighting the fires, her engines could not be repaired in time to depart with the withdrawing task force so she was ordered sunk. As Patterson continued to remove survivors, at 0430 Chicago mistaking Canberra for a damaged Japanese ship began to exchange fire with her. The true identities were quickly determined, the firing ceased and with the aid of the DD Blue, removal of survivors continued. At around 0800, she was finally sunk by a torpedo from USS Ellet. 1,270 allied sailors had lost their lives and hundreds more were burned and/or wounded. Mikawa fearing a retalitory attack with the coming of daylight by US carrier aircraft withdrew his ships without molesting the vulnerable transports.


    For more information:

    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep/Savo/Quantock/

    A neat little annimation, I like the period radio broadcast: There is one error I noticed when the accompanying text misidentifies the date as May 08, still a neat little presentation.

    http://www.pacificwaranimated.com/Guadalcanal_Savo_Island.html

    Note on edit. Went back and tried attaching photos a different way. Thanks USS Washington for bringing it to my attention. Looks like they display again.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Japanese called it "Starvation Island."
     
  7. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing Price, that was awesome(sadly some of the photos wont show :(), at Savo the Japanese had the opportunity to cripple our operation at Guadalcanal right at the beginning of the campaign, thankfully Mikawa wasn't aware that our carriers had departed and fearing air attack the next day, decided to withdraw without attacking the transports anchored at Lunga point, and from what I heard those transports were the only ones available in the Pacific at the time, and those were the very same ones that would time after time bring supplies and much needed reinforcements to Guadalcanal as the campaign progressed, and had they been lost at Savo, it would've been a huge setback for us.
     
  8. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    Guadalcanal is a prime example of the courage and bravery of the Marines. They were cut off from naval support and their supplies were dwindling. They were constantly under the threat of attack by the Japanese from land and by sea but instead they continued to fight on. To me that is one of the strongest symbols of bravery. Thank you Price for sharing this!
     
  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Yes sir, I agree but they weren't alone. When the Navy came back, and they did so time after time, to resupply the Marines or to protect them against Japanese Naval attack or reinforcement, they too showed incredible courage. If you've never read Hornfischer's "Neptune's Inferno", I highly recommend it. It's the stuff of legends.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    NavSource has been getting flaky when posting photos in threads over the past several weeks. Maybe they have implemented hot-link blocking, but I am not certain.
     
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  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Seconded.
     
  12. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I've always favored Eric Hammel over Hornfischer.
    http://www.erichammelbooks.com/books/b_carrier-clash.php
    http://www.erichammelbooks.com/books/b_carrier-strike.php
    http://www.erichammelbooks.com/books/b_guadalcanal-decision-at-sea.php
    http://www.erichammelbooks.com/books/b_guadalcanal-starvation-island.php


    Still, Richard B. Frank's "Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle", is as the title says, the definitive account of the campaign.
    http://www.amazon.com/Guadalcanal-Definitive-Account-Landmark-Battle/dp/0140165614


    Not to mention Eric Bergerud's "Fire In The Sky: The Air War In The South Pacific"
    http://www.amazon.com/Fire-In-The-Sky-Pacific/dp/0813338697
    and John Lundstrom's "The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat from August to November 1942"
    http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Team-Guadalcanal-Campaign/dp/1591144728
    are probably the definitive accounts of the air war over Guadalcanal and the Solomons.
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    I like Hammel too, but loved "Neptune's Inferno". Thank you for the comprehensive list, I think I've read all of them, plus a few not mentioned, but it will be very valuable for those that are interested in reading more about this incredible, three dimensional battle (land, air and sea).
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Japanese cruiser Kako sunk off New ireland by US submarine S.44.
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    So sorry, but that's a Mogami class ship, note the triple turrets, three forward, two aft. I've seen this photo before; I think it's the frontispiece to Jenschura et. al., Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship - Suzuya? - is running trials, note that only two of the four twin 5" mounts are installed.
     
  17. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Yeah I caught it after I posted it. It was captioned as Kako and I didn't look. Then I posted. When I saw the post I realized the mistake and removed the photo rather than look around for another Kako picture. You are very quick though, it was only up for a short time (only a minute or two) and from the time stamps I was removing my picture as you were typing, 2:22 and 2:28.
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    This is Furutaka, lead ship of the class, Kako would bear a similar appearance to her near-sister.
    [​IMG]

    Kako as originally constructed
    [​IMG]
     
  19. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Unfortunately, it isn't just photos from NavSource, it has happened elsewhere on the forum.
     
  20. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Yeah, just happned to be looking right then. By the time I posted, the photo had disappeared. I was afraid I'd done something to your post!
     

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