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untilThis night battle, first of the surface engagement in the Solomons chain, was the worst defeat the US Navy suffered in its history. Reacting to the Allied landing on Guadalcanal, Admiral Mikawa put together all available surface forces - seven cruisers and a single destroyer - and led them in first of the raids down the "Slot" from Rabaul to Guadalcanal. Thanks to the superior night trainign and equipment, along with serious tactical and communication errors on the Allied side, the Japanese force managed to utterly surprise and defeat two of the three Allied surface groups, heavily damaging cruisers USS Chicago and HMAS Canberra (had to be scuttled later) of the Southern patrol group and sinking trio of Astoria class heavy cruisers in the Northern group. USS Quincy under fire Due to the time it took to get his ships back in formation and damage suffered by sporadic return fire, he decided not to risk his ships by pressing the attack further and instead retreated to Rabaul, losing the cruiser Kako to submarine torpedo on August 10th just 70 miles short of Rabaul. In total, with air and submarine attacks, the Japanese lost one heavy cruiser against four heavy cruisers and one destroyer being sunlk on the Allied side. Moreover the attack did lead to decision to withdhraw cargo ships from Guadalcanal, leaving the Marines ashore with limited supplies and equipment. After losing three ships of Astoria class including the lead ship in one battle, the class was renamed after the second ship, USS New Orleans. 8th Fleet (VAdm Gunichi Mikawa) Chokai (flagship) - light damage Cruiser Division 6 (RAdm Goto) Aoba (flagship) Furutaka Kako - torpedoed on August 10th Kinugasa Cruiser Division 18 (RAdm Matsuyama) Tenryu (flagship) Yubari Screen Yunagi Task Force 62 (RAdm Turner) Task Group 62.6 - Western Screen (RAdm Crutchley) HMAS Australia (flagship) - part of Southern Group, not present) Radar Pickets USS Blue USS Ralph Talbot - damaged Southern Group HMAS Canberra - damaged, scuttled USS Chicago - damaged USS Bagley USS Patterson - damaged Northern Group USS Vincennes - sunk USS Quincy - sunk USS Astoria - sunlk USS Helm USS Wilson Task Group 62.4 - Eastern Screen (RAdm Scott) USS San Juan HMAS Hobart USS Monssen USS Buchanan Unattached USS Jarvis - damaged by air strike on August 8th, retreating independently to Australia, sunk by air strike on August 9th
On August 1st, 1943, a strong force of PT boats was dispatched to the Blackett Strait to try and ambush Japanese destroyers bringing supplies to Kolombangara. After unsuccessful attack, only three boats were left on patrol. At 2 at night, August 2nd, one of them, a PT-109, suddenly found itself in the path of destroyer Amagiri. Amagiri rammed and sunk her, leaving 11 survivors in the water. The survivors swam to the nearby islands. Six days later, native scouts found them and, having delivered the boat's commander to an Australian coastwatcher (screatched in the coconut shell), a rescue operation was mounted. Who was the commander of PT-109? None other than the son of former ambassador to the United Kingdom and a future president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Submitted by @Salentine On this day in 1940 two Italian cruisers transferring to Leros were intercepted by an Allied patrol off Crete. Initially encountering just enemy destroyers, the two cruisers gave chase until running into HMAS Sydney. After a 50-minute running battle Bartolomeo Colleoni suffered damage to her boilers and despite fierce resistance even after main guns were disabled, she was sunk by torpedoes. Bande Nere managed to escape to Benghazi, escaping pursuit by HMS Warspite. 2nd Cruiser Division (RAdm Ferdinando Casardi) Bartolomeo Colleoni - sunk Giovanni delle Bande Nere - damaged 2nd Destroyer flotilla (Capt. John Collins) HMAS Sydney HMS Hasty HMS Havock HMS Hero HMS Hyperion HMS Ilex
Submitted by @Salentine 9 July 1940 - On this in history The Battle of Calabria took place it was one of the first large battles between the Italian Royal Navy (16 DD's, 6 CA's, 8 CL's and 2 BB's including the Guilio Cesare) and the British Royal Navy (16 DD's, 5 CA's, 1 CV and 3 BB's including the Warspite) both forces were escorting vital convoys, the Italians to north Africa and the British to Malta, both sides exchanged fire and retreated. The Italians suffered damage to 1 battleship, 1 heavy cruiser and 1 destroyer and the British suffered damage to 1 light cruiser and 2 destroyers. The Warspite hit the Giulio Cesare at well over 24,000 metres (26,000 yd), which at the time was one of the longest-range naval artillery hits in history.