November 1942 (2)

One of the US battleships  destroyed off Guadalcanal

One of the US battleships destroyed off Guadalcanal

 

14 November – the Japanese convoy enroute to Guadalcanal was hit by a strike from the USS Enterprise and sank the IJN Kinugasa and set the Isuzi ablaze.  The Maya was then damaged as well as the flagship Chokai.  IJN Admiral Mikawa ordered a retreat and the US aircraft went after the fleeing vessels.  Flying Fortresses alternated their attacks with the carrier aircraft.  Upon hearing these reports, Yamamoto ordered Adm. Kondo to go in with his last battleships and 5 cruisers to destroy Henderson Field.

RAdm. Willis A. Lee

RAdm. Willis A. Lee

15 November – Halsey determined that his only hope was Adm. Willis “Ching” Lee and his battleships.  As an expert with radar, Lee chose Cape Esperance as the confrontation site.  The cruiser Sendai, 9 miles away was the first vessel spotted ahead of KOndo’s battleships.  Lee’s 16″ shells were fired and the battle began.  Two US battleships sunk and another was damaged.  The South Dakota’s turrets were disabled, but her guns were not.  Her masts were swept away and fires broke out, and the Washington went on to continue fighting.  The radar operators located the Kirishima and bombed her into a shambles; with her rudders jammed, she circled helplessly.

IJN Adm. Kondo

IJN Adm. Kondo

The Atago signaled for a withdrawal.  Kondo had lost, but Tanaka’s 4 transports were ordered to run aground and unload the troops.  As approximately 10,000 men of the 38th Japanese Division began to climb down the ropes, the Cactus Air Force Avengers arrived to strafe and bomb them.  Only about 2,000 men made it to shore as their ships, laden with supplies and equipment, burned.  The enemy soldiers nicknamed Guadalcanal “Island of Doom.”

IJN Adm. Tanaka

IJN Adm. Tanaka

From Adm. Tanaka’s view aboard ship: “…the general effect is indelible in my mind, of bombs wobbling down from high-flying B-17s, of carrier bombers roaring towards targets as though to plunge full in the water, releasing bombs and pulling out barely in time; each miss sending up towering columns of mist and spray; every hit raising clouds of smoke and fire as transports burst into flame and take the sickening list that spells their doom.  Attackers depart, smoke screen lift and reveal the tragic scene of men jumping overboard from sinking ships…”  [IMO – could anyone describe a naval battle more accurately or with such sorrow?]

Admiral Halsey

Admiral Halsey

20 November – in Halsey’s native state of New Jersey, the church bells rang out in honor of his victory.  With the ground forces on Guadalcanal, the 7th Marines and units of the 164th Infantry Division, continued to attack and fend off offenses.  The Japanese discontinued their 2-point strategy, as the US kept receiving reinforcements from the 182th Infantry, 8th Marines and 2nd Raider Battalion.

 

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Military Humor – 

Sniper sense of humor

Sniper sense of humor

 

Oops - it's a toll road!

Oops – it’s a toll road!

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Barron – Spokane, WA; USMC, LCpl., 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Jonathan Falaniko – Pago Pago, Samoa; US Army, Iraqi Freedom, Pvt.blog_eagle_globe_anchor2

Jacob Hug – AZ; USMC, Nepal, Cpl., combat videographer

Ward Johnson IV – FL; USMC, Sgt., Nepal, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Dustin Lukasiewicz – NE; USMC, Nepal, Capt., 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Sara Medina – IL; USMC, Nepal, Cpl, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Eric Seaman – CA; USMC, Nepal, Sgt., 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Tapendra Rawal & Basanta Titara – Nepalese Army

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on May 20, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. The writer in me admires the description Tanaka gave of the raging battle. Wish I could describe like that.

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  2. As you reported in your earlier post, the Cactus Air Force really earned their pay – everyone from ground crew to pilots. And perhaps you know off the top of your brilliant head: wasn’t the USCG heavily involved in amphibious ops on Guadalcanal?

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    • Hum, not by brilliance but by Smitty, I do know that the USCG was at Guadalcanal and just about every landing and withdrawal after it. Most all the landing craft, LSTs, LCTs, etc. were driven by them and they HAD to be armed. They don’t get the credit they deserve. Thanks for reminding me, Koji, I have the same habit of neglecting them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A great account of the battle, thank you. I can’t think of many people nowadays who might have the church bells rung in their honour. Five minutes, and I still can’t think of one.

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  4. Very descriptive account of the battles, the action comes alive in every word, turrets gone, ships burning, smokescreens covering the death and destruction, inconceivable.
    Admiral Halsey became a part of American history from those battles.

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    • The Japanese descriptive prose and poetry is always so fluid even when they picture death and destruction. Halsey definitely made a name for himself out there in the Pacific – some loved him, others – not so much [he had an ego like MacArthur].

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That was a really hot engagement against a most determined enemy. They were spot on with needing to wipe out Henderson Field, and had they succeeded, who knows …

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    • Guadalcanal took 6 long months : 7 August 1942 – February 1943. I’m afraid this will NOT be the last you hear of the island or the battles fought on it. Just as the CBI, New Guinea and various other islands continued their combat during this period. Thanks for reading, this history is even closer to you, isn’t it?!

      Like

  6. It sounds like a bloodbath. All these battles are such harrowing events the Personal accounts and records being so much better than any history book or film.

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    • A lot more went on out there in the Pacific than most people are aware of; family ties were more related to Europe. No one person could be at the same place at the same time, so the personal accounts sometimes vary, but give a much better view than the general-history-book type of account. I thrive on them and get as many as I can for posts and/or research. The movies – well – I take them with a grain of salt: Hollywood tends to romanticize them and documentaries tend to add the opinions of the director, writer or producer, but there are many, many great ones out there! Keep watching them. Thanks for reading and I’m very glad you’re enjoying this site.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A terrific description of the tragedy of using men’s lives to settle an argument.

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  8. Great post…can’t get enough US Navy in WW2 History…they were magnificient…

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  9. With the exception of D-Day, I can’t think of another battle in WWII with the instant recognition of Guadalcanal. That in itself speaks to the nature of the battle. –Curt

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  10. Interesting post, Everett. I too am sad to hear about the servicemen in Nepal. Smiling at the “Toll Fare”

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  11. It’s fascinating to see the battle through the enemy’s eyes.

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    • The Japanese have a remarkable way of describing an event. Such detail of an entire battle in one paragraph. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy blogs to read here, Jacqui.

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  12. What a battle! Tanaka’s memory of the fighting shows just how hard the Americans were hitting the Japanese, and also shows another side of those inscrutable Asian officers.
    Best wishes from England. Pete.

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  13. Thanks for the news of this craziest of moments in military and civilian history.

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  14. It’s always interesting to read personal thoughts of the men, who moments before were only concerned about moving the battle forward.

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  15. You always have great information and vintage photos. Guadalcanal really was an Island of Doom. My husband’s father served there and had horrid stories.

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    • Oh, it turns out to be a bloody island for sure. Please feel free to share your father-in-law’s stories here. If you happen to have a post on him, please give me the link. Thank you for coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It never ceases to amaze me that a fair dinkum warrior like Adm Bull Halsey gets a pip squeak destroyer named in his honour and a no hoper army dude like Reagan gets a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Bull Halsey one of the truly great American admirals, no arguments!

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  17. Every time I read one of these, I think how much less damaging, except for the fighters, of course, when soldiers and archers lined up facing each other, and grappled with more primitive weapons. And to think destructive capabilities are even worse today.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Sad to see the deaths of the servicemen in Nepal. Glad you mention them in your salute.

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