The Battle of Tassafaronga occurred during the early morning hours of November 30, 1942 in Iron Bottom Sound off Tassafaronga on the north coast of Guadalcanal and south of Savo Island in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese refer to this action as "Battle of Lunga Point". Also known as the "Fourth Battle of Savo Island".
Japanese Navy Force
The Japanese destroyer force was under the command of Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka including eight destroyers from Destroyer Squadron 2 (Desron 2) Naganami and Takanami plus six transporting destroyers: Kuroshio, Oyashio, Kagerō, Suzukaze, Kawakaze, and Makinami each with 200-240 drums aboard to be release off Tassafaronga on Guadalcanal to be recovered by Japanese forces ashore. Each transporting destroyer had their extra torpedoes removed to save weight.
U. S. Navy Force
On November 24, 1942 th U. S. Navy (USN) formed Task Force 67 (TF-67) under the command of Rear Admiral Carleton H. Wright at Espiritu Santo, comprising of four heavy cruisers: USS Minneapolis (CA-36), USS New Orleans (CA-32), USS Pensacola (CA-24) and USS Northampton (CA-26) plus light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL-48) and four destroyers: USS Fletcher (DD-445), USS Drayton (DD-366), USS Maury (DD-401), and USS Perkins (DD-377).
On November 28, 1942 placed under the command of Admiral Thomas Kinkaid. Together, Wright and Kinkaid planned was to use TF-67's destroyer's to spot the enemy force on radar, make a torpedo attack then depart the area allowing the cruisers to open fire illuminated by flares dropped by their scout planes. On November 29 1942 the U. S. intercepted a Japanese Navy message to the 17th Army alerting them to a supply run the next night and TF-67 departed Espiritu Santo bound for Guadalcanal to intercept the Japanese.
Battle of Tassafaronga
On November 30, 1942 during the early morning
hours, eight destroyers, six with troops and supplies
were sent to reinforce Guadalcanal. The Japanese force was spotted on radar by U. S. Navy Task Force 67 (TF-67)
a force of heavy cruisers and destroyers but contact was lost due to their proximity to
the northern coast of the island.
The Battle of Tassafaronga began on November 30, 1942 at 11:20pm when three U. S. destroyers made a surprise torpedo attack against the Japanese force off Tassafaronga with every American warship opening fire at the enemy. Caught by surprise, the Japanese launched torpedoes but did not return fire for seven minutes.
At 11:22pm, both USS Minneapolis (CA-36) and USS New Orleans (CA-32) sustained torpedo hits and withdrew. At 11:39 USS Pensacola (CA-24) was also hit by a torpedo and withdrew. The action continued with USS Northampton and USS Honolulu (CL-48) plus six destroyers continuing to attack. At 11:48pm USS Northampton (CA-26) was hit by a torpedo and sank three hours later.
Japanese lost Takanami sunk with 197 sailors killed. The U. S. Navy lost USS Northampton (CA-26) sunk. Damaged were USS Minneapolis (CA-36), USS New Orleans (CA-32) and USS Pensacola (CA-24) with a total of 395 sailors killed.
battle was considered a strategical victory for the Americans, as the Japanese
resupply mission was prevented. But the U. S. sustained heavy damage for the disruption of only one resupply mission, and
thus, it must be judged that it was a strategic defeat for the Americans. Afterwards, the U. S. Navy would never again manage to assemble surface force to oppose Japanese resupply runs to Guadalcanal.
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June 15, 2019