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    Battle of Cape Esperance (Second Battle of Savo Island)  Solomon Islands

Location
The Battle of Cape Esperance occurred in the Solomon Islands during the night of October 11-12, 1942 in the western end of Iron Bottom Sound in the strait between Cape Esperence on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal and Savo Island. Also known as the "Second Battle of Savo Island". Known to the Japanese as the "Sea Battle of Savo Island". This battle was the third of five major naval engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign.

Wartime History
During the night of October 11-12, 1942 Japanese naval forces under the command of Gunichi 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 Admiral Takatsugu 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 Henderson Field with the object of destroying Allied aircraft and the airfield's facilities.

Shortly before midnight on October 11, 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 heavy cruiser Furutaka and destroyer Fubuki, 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 Cape Esperence and began its return journey without being discovered by Scott's force. Later on the morning of October 12, 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 resulted in the sinking of two of these destroyers including Murakumo later that day. Despite Scott's victory in the action, the battle had little immediate, strategic importance. Just two nights later two Japanese battleships bombarded and almost destroyed Henderson Field, and more Japanese reinforcements were successfully delivered to the island.

Furutaka 古鷹
Sunk October 11, 1942 Battle of Cape Esperance

Fubuki 吹雪
Sunk October 11, 1942 Battle of Cape Esperance

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Last Updated
October 25, 2017

 

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