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Titans of the Seas: Chapter 14

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  • DJ
    Finale at Guadalcanal Any jubilation that Yamamoto felt was cast off when he returned his attention tot he problem of Guadalcanal. So far all of the Japanese
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2006
      Finale at Guadalcanal


      Any jubilation that Yamamoto felt was cast off when he returned his
      attention tot he problem of Guadalcanal. So far all of the Japanese
      attacks had been held off by the Marines on the islands. Due to the
      situation on the Island the Army and the Navy finally agreed to go all
      out to reinforce the island. NO more infiltratoin tactics, this time
      an entire field army would mount a powerhouse drive. To bring such a
      large force into play using destroyers woudl have involved around 800
      round trips, but only a 150 if transports were used. This was a giant
      problem in logistics no matter how one looked at it, especially for a
      transport poor Japan. Even so it was going to be attempted. This
      required some effort since transports would be subjected to attacks
      from the aircraft at Henderson Field unless it could be neutralized.

      Yamamoto had a plan though, he would move one division in transports
      and cover this movement with the carriers of the combined fleet. This
      would be preceeded by an softening up of Henderson by the bombardment
      of two battleships. This time the match ups had changed somewhat.
      Halsey was now back on the scene and putting new life in the command.
      Despite the damage to the carrier Enterprise, Halsey was once again
      moving it into harms way. He was covering it with the Battleships
      Washington and South Dakota to provide it with a very formidable AA
      arrangement.

      The planned bombardment of Henderson Field might have disable the
      field enough to make it safe for the transports to run down the slot,
      but again the Americans were disrupting the plans of the Japanese. Due
      to the fact that this trick had been tried previously with Curisers,
      the American's had placed a force of ships in the waters around Savo
      Island for just such an event. In these case despite the severe
      mauling that the US forces took, they did prevent the primary mission
      of the Japanese force and Henderson was not only operational, but
      hadn't taken any rounds in the night from this force.

      If there was any doubt about the fact that Henderson was still
      functioning on the part of the Japanese, the Marine planes that
      attacked the Battleship Hiei in the morning put those doubts to rest.
      This same dawn found the Enterprise 280 miles off the island of
      Guadalcanal. The Enterpirse launched a flight of the new TBFs to scout
      out and see if they could find the Japanese carriers known to be in
      the area (Junyo and Hiyo), but they came up empty and instead joined
      in the attack on the Hiei. This attack helped to seal the fate of this
      Japanese battleship which was subjected to attacks for the rest of the
      day.

      Despite this ominous beginning Yamamoto pressed on with the plan that
      he had put forward. For the plan to work though Henderson Field still
      had to be neutralized. To do this Mikawa was sent with two heavy and
      one light cruiser along with for destroyers to accomplish the task.
      Halsey suspecting, or perhaps knowing, that such an event was in the
      offing reacted. He did this by dispatching the Fast Battleships from
      the Enterprise Task Force and putting them in position around the Savo
      Island waters. Waters that were already being called Iron Bottom
      Sound. While not a cleanly fought battle it was still one that
      resulted in the Japanese primary mission failing. Henderson Field was
      still in full operation the next day.

      Now it was the transports turn to come in for trouble. These attacks
      came from the very field that so much effort had been taken to
      disable. There was some fighting with covering Zeros that were from
      either of the two Japanese carriers in the area, but they didn't prove
      to be of much hinderance in these attacks. The planes from the
      Enterprise also joined in on these efforts. Of the origianal 11
      transports only four were left after the attacks finished. Of those
      lost all but one was sunk. The Japanese destroyers were only able to
      fish out half of the troops that had gone into the water as the
      transports sank. The losses from this attempt were staggering.

      This battle finally caused some rethinking about holding Guadalcanal
      on the upper commands of the Japanese. It took some time, but finally
      it was agreed it was time to pull the troops out of Guadalcanal. The
      Americans had finally moved from playing only defense to conducting
      offensive operations. The time wasn't arrived with the Americans could
      dictate the flow and tempo of operations but they were no longer
      playing only to the Japanese tune.



      Thanks
      DJ
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