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The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal occurred during November 12–15, 1942 in Iron Bottom Sound between Guadalcanal and Savo Island in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese refer to this action as "Third Battle of the Solomon Sea". Also known as the "Third Battle of Savo Island" or "Battle of the Solomons" or sometimes "Battle of Friday the 13th". This was the last of five major naval engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign.
The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal had two phases. The first phase during the night of November 12-13, 1942 (also known as the "First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal"). The second phase was during the night of November 14-15, 1942 (also known as the "Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal").
On November 12, 1942 the Japanese force under the command of Vice Admiral Hiroaki Abe included battlecruiser Hiei (Abe's flagship) and Kirishima, light cruiser Nagara plus eleven destroyers: Samidare, Murasame, Asagumo, Teruzuki, Amatsukaze, Yukikaze, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, Akatsuki, Harusame, and Yūdachi. This powerful force assembled north of Indispensable Strait and proceeded southward towards Guadalcanal. In addition, destroyers Shigure, Shiratsuyu, and Yūgure provide a rear guard off the Russell Islands.
Meanwhile, the convoy with 7,000 infantry troops and their equipment escorted by twelve destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka departed Shortland down "The Slot" and were scheduled to land on Guadalcanal during the night of November 13, 1942. After the Japanese losses during the battle on November 13, 1942 at 3:00am Admiral Yamamoto recalled the transports which returned to Shortland to await further orders.
U. S. Navy Force
The opposing U. S. Navy force under the command of Admiral Callaghan included heavy cruisers USS San Francisco (CA-38) (Callaghan's flagship) and USS Portland (CA-33), light cruisers USS Helena (CL-50), USS Juneau (CL-52), and USS Atlanta (CL-51) plus eight destroyers: USS Cushing DD-376, USS Laffey DD-459, USS Sterett (DD-407), USS O'Bannon (DD-450), USS Aaron Ward (DD-483), USS Barton (DD-599), USS Monssen (DD-436), USS Fletcher (DD-445) and USS Buchanan (DD-484).
First Phase of Battle
On November 12, 1942 the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal began when Japanese aircraft attack U.S. warships and transports in Iron Bottom Sound off the north coast of Guadalcanal. At 2:16pm a G4M1 Betty released a torpedo that missed USS San Francisco (CA-38). The same Betty was hit by anti-aircraft fire and deliberately crashed into the after control station that killing 30 crew. This was the only damage inflicted on the American vessels by the bombers. Also damaged was USS Buchanan (DD-484) that was hit by friendly gunfire that killed five aboard and forced it to be withdrawn for repairs.
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