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    Cape Esperance Guadalcanal Solomon Islands

Lat 9° 16' 0S Long 159° 41' 60E  Cape Esperance is located on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal. Borders Iron Bottom Sound and Savo Island to the north. Also known as "Mount Esperence".

Occupied by the Japanese, and used as an area to land troops and supplies during the Guadalcanal campaign.

Battle of Cape Esperance (Second Battle of Savo Island)
During the night of October 11-12, 1942 the battle was the third of five major naval engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign and took place at the entrance to the strait between Savo and Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal. Known to the Japanese as "Sea Battle of Savo Island".

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 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.

Japanese Evacuation
After a meeting in Tokyo on December 31, 1942, Japanese Imperial HQ issued an order on January 4, 1943 authorizing "Operation Ke" to evacuate of the remaining Japanese forces on Guadalcanal. During the nights of February 1, 1943, February 4, 1943 and February 7, 1943 a total of 22 destroyers conducted the withdrawal from several locations around Cape Esperence, evacuating 12,198 Army and 832 Navy personnel and ending the six-month Guadalcanal campaign. The American who had local air supremacy never detected the withdrawal. The evacuated Japanese were starving and had to abandon all their equipment to wade out to the destroyers to be rescued. Regardless, "Operation Ke" is regarded as one of the great evacuations of the war as the Japanese Navy avoided detection and suffered only the loss of Makigumo and three damaged destroyers.

Ewan Stevenson adds:
"The Americans did a good job of 'cleaning up' the area. All Japanese equipment was taken back to 'island depot'. I never saw where the Japanese camps were along the coast. They were not easily identified."

Coastal village on Cape Esperance and Visale Catholic Mission

Prewar Visale Catholic Mission bordering Visale Bay

Coastal village on Cape Esperence.

Chapuru (Tsapuru, Sapuru)
Coastal village on Cape Esperence

B-24D "Alley Cat" Serial Number 42-40646
Pilot Prince crashed July 10, 1943 into a ravine at 1,500' remains recovered

USS Jarvis DD-393
Sunk August 9, 1942 off Cape Esperence by D3A Val dive bombers

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017



Aug 7, 1942
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