Legendary Military Battles: Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal – Massive Guns At Point Blank Range

Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

The Japanese and the U.S. fought hard against one another in the Pacific during World War II. So hard that when a side won, it was a landslide. However, one battle stood out as an exception, Midway, the Americans seemed to win by chance.

Second Battle of Guadalcanal

Another rare battle was the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The two sides were equally matched. Rear Adm. Daniel Callaghan was able to turn the Japanese away and prevent a bombardment of Henderson Field by the Japanese.

However, on November 14, 1942, they tried again. The battleship Kirishima, along with two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and nine destroyers, sailed in to take on the Americans.

Vice Adm. William F. Halsey did not have a whole lot of ships for defense. So he sent USS Enterprise’s escorts: four destroyers and the battleship USS Washington and USS South Dakota.

Rear Adm. Willis A. Lee was in command. Lee was an expert. Naval historian Samual Eliot Morison wrote in the Struggle for Guadalcanal that Lee “knew more about radar than the radar operators.”

Right out the gate, the Japanese sunk two destroyers. The third was heavily damaged, and the fourth was left limping along. The Japanese hit the USS South Dakota 26 times.

Failed Counter Attack

However, the Washington was able to sneak away and come within 8,500 yards of the Kirishima without being noticed. The Washington attacked the Kirishima using radar control, hitting the battleship 20 times with 16-inch guns. The Japanese ship was a sinking mess.

The Japanese countered using Long Lance torpedos, but the attempt failed. Nevertheless, the battle left the Japanese retreating at a rapid pace.

They even abandoned the Kirishima and another destroyer as they sank. They failed in their attempt to eliminate the use of Henderson Field for the Allies.

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