Skip to comments.U.S.-BRITISH ARMY 50 MILES FROM TUNISIA; OUR FLIERS HIT 4 TROOPSHIPS IN SOLOMONS (11/13/42)
Posted on 11/13/2012 5:07:32 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
The ping list is still posting twice. I don’t think it is me.
Navies clash near Guadalcanal
Friday, November 13, 1942 www.onwar.com
The Hiei: the first Japanese battleship sunk during the war [photo at link]
In the Solomon Islands... Off the coast of Guadalcanal, a Japanese convoy of 11 transports carrying 11,000 men and equipment escorted by Admiral Tanaka’s “Tokyo Express” approaches the island. Admiral Abe command two battleships, two cruisers and 14 destroyers to give cover and to bombard Henderson Field airstrip to prevent American attacks. To the north, two further Japanese carriers are within striking range. American Admiral Callaghan, commanding a force of five cruisers and eight destroyers plots an interception course. In the early morning hours, Admiral Callaghan’s force comes upon the Japanese force led by Admiral Abe. In an action lasting about half an hour, two Japanese cruisers are sunk and almost all other vessels suffer damage. The Americans lose two cruisers and four destroyers. The Japanese transport convoy turns back. Later in the day, the battleship Hiei, already badly damaged, is torpedoed by American aircraft and scuttled. After the battle, criticism concerning the effective use of the American radar is leveled. Problems are blamed on mismatched equipment and poor communication between the ships.
In New Guinea... The Japanese force at Gorani manages to retreat across the Kumusi River. General Horii drowns during the retreat. When the Australian forces secure the area, they find 600 dead. This retreat marks the end of organized Japanese resistance outside their beachheads at Gona and Buna.
On the Eastern Front... Bloody fighting continues in the streets of Stalingrad. To the South in the Caucasus, the Germans continue to face Soviet pressure in the Terek area.
In Algeria... Allied troops at Bone are reinforced. The British 36th Division continues advancing past Djidejelli.
In Casablanca... A formal agreement is signed between the Allies and Vichy. It recognizes Admiral Darlan as the head of French civil government in North Africa.
From Gibraltar... General Eisenhower, commander of Operation Torch, and Vichy Officials ratify the agreement signed in Casablanca. General Giraud is placed in command of the French armed forces.
November 13th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: Escort carrier HMS Shah laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: El Salvador, Brazil and Panama severed diplomatic relations with Vichy France. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: U-714 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Stalingrad: General Paulus, desperately anxious to secure Stalingrad before winter sets in, launched yet another offensive against the city’s defenders two days ago, with infantry and tanks fighting their way through the rubble behind one of the most intensive barrages of the battle.
The Germans managed to reach the Volga on a 500-yard front, thus splitting the defences. They also captured most of the Red October factory, clearing it room by room, floor by floor. Both sides have developed special units for this type of fighting. The Germans call them Kampfgruppen, and they fight in cellars and attics and sewers with cruel expertise.
Despite the German successes, the Russians are still holding on, defying Hitler’s boast in his Munich Beerkellar speech last week that “we’ve got Stalingrad ... there are only a few more tiny pockets of resistance.”
There are also signs that Paulus has shot his bolt. His men and machines are exhausted and the Volga has begun to freeze. Meanwhile the Russians have been building up a formidable new army in the east.
U-331 was attacked by an escort and was slightly damaged when she dove too deep and hit the sea bed. (Dave Shirlaw)
NORTH AFRICA: The British 36th Brigade has now passed Djidjelli as they move east from Algiers.
Admiral Darlan and General Clark sign a formal agreement recognizing Darlan as head of the French civil government in North Africa. Generals Eisenhower, Nogues and Juin will ratify it later. General Giraud will command the French armed services.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Off Guadalcanal, in Ironbottom Bay, the US naval forces are steaming westward along the north coast. The Japanese naval forces sight Cape Esperance at 0125. Weather, recurring rain squalls in the slot, have disrupted the Japanese formation. Their mission is to bombard Henderson Field. The US forces have again not made the best use of the radar equipped ships. Assuming that his destroyers have swept ahead and found no US ships, he orders the bombardment shells readied. USS Helena reports a radar return at 27,100 yards (24,700 meters, 13.5 miles). A series of course changes disrupts the US column. The Japanese open fire at 0148.
The two naval forces are on a collision course. The battle, which is really more of a melee, will be fought at close quarters. The battle of the Japanese battleships and US cruisers has begun. It will end with stricken Hiei without power north of Savo Island, and destroyer Yudachi abandoned and sinking. US destroyers Monssen and Cushing or abandoned, cruiser Portland with damaged steering, Atlanta powerless, drifting and afire, Juneau and San Francisco with heavy damage. The bombardment mission is cancelled at 0200 and the landing of the Japanese reinforcement convoy on the 14th is cancelled.
US Admirals Norman Scott and Daniel Callaghan were killed. Along with BM1 Reinhard John Keppler they will be awarded the MOH posthumously. Lt. Commanders Herbert Schonland and Bruce McCandless are also awarded the MOH.
Adm Scott was aboard the Atlanta. The other 4 sailors were aboard the San Francisco. Schonland and McCandless were the senior surviving officers of San Francisco and their efforts at damage control were instrumental in her survival of the battle. [Anyone knowing why BM1 Keppler was awarded the MOH, I would appreciate knowing.]
The captain of the USS SAN FRANCISCO was Commander Cassin Young who is awarded the Navy Cross. He is killed by enemy shells while closely engaging the Japanese battleship HIEI. The USS SAN FRANCISCO subsequently receives the Presidential Unit Citation. (Drew Philip Halevy)
The destroyer USS Fletcher steams last in line. Radioman 2/c Jason Robards is aboard. Witnessing the spectacular explosion of the USS Barton during the battle, the Fletcher and her crew survive the melee unscathed. (Matt Clark)
This battle became known as the 3rd Battle of Savo Island. It is now referred to as Part 1 of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Part II will take place in two days with much action in between.
The USS Juneau steaming south from last night’s action [early morning of the 13th] with San Francisco, Helena and 2 DDs, is torpedoed. A massive explosion occurs and the Juneau disappears. With her go 683 sailors including the 5 Sullivan Brothers, Francis, Joseph, Madison, Albert and George. George survives the explosion with 100+ others. Over the next 7 days, all but 10 of these survivors will die, due to a series of assumptions and mistakes.
NEW GUINEA: Papua: The Japanese General Horii pulls back over the Kumusi river, marking the Kokoda campaign’s end.
AUSTRALIA: Iron Range, Queensland: USAAF 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy) begins combat operations defending eastern Australia and New Guinea. They fly the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. (Jack McKillop)
Corvette HMCS Parry Sound launched Midland, Ontario.
Trawler HMS Magdalen arrived Halifax from workups Pictou , Nova Scotia.
U.S.A.: The minimum draft age is reduced from 21 to 18. (Tony Giuliani)
U-458 was attacked by a British Hudson aircraft and was damaged so badly that she was forced to return to base.
U-509 hit a mine off Casablanca but suffered only slight damage.
At 0615, destroyer HNLMS Isaac Sweers was hit by two torpedoes from U-431 on the starboard side. One torpedo struck an oil tank, spreading burning oil over the ship and the water. The second torpedo hit the longroom and officers quarters, killing all 13 officers sleeping there. The survivors were picked up by the British armed trawler HMS Loch Oskaig, which also tried to get alongside the burning ship, but did had to abandon the plan due to the heavy fires and exploding ammunition.
U-411 sunk in the North Atlantic west of Gibraltar in position 36.00N, 09.53W by 4 depth charges from a British Hudson aircraft (Sqn 500/D). 46 dead (all hands lost).
U-81 sank SS Maron.
U-181 sank SS Excello.
U-178 sank SS Louise Moller.
U-159 sank SS Star of Scotland.
Albert Sullivan’s widow looks back
Very interesting. Thanks for the link. Sometimes we aren’t the only ones who notice these seventieth anniversaries.
Dan Callaghan may have been personally brave, but he had no battle experience and these “orders” given during battle clearly show he had no control over it. It would have been much better to have let Admiral Scott command these forces. He’d had experience fighting the Japanese at Cape Esperance, and knew how to use the better search radar.
Willis Lee showed how to fight a night engagement; it was the only time the new American battleships fought it out with their Japanese counterparts. The American ships were clearly better. South Dakota took several hits from Kirishima, but none were mortal. Washington’s excellent fire control and 16” guns took care of Kirishima.
Keppler took care of the wounded. Fought some fires by himself and kept getting additional wounds over a period of time but did not stop working on the fires or helping the wounded until he bleed to death.
“KEPPLER, REINHARDT JOHN
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 22 January 1918, Ralston, Wash. Accredited to: Washington. Other Navy award: Navy Cross.
Citation: For extraordinary heroism and distinguished courage above and beyond the call of duty while serving aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands, 1213 November 1942. When a hostile torpedo plane, during a daylight air raid, crashed on the after machine-gun platform, Keppler promptly assisted in removal of the dead and, by his capable supervision of the wounded, undoubtedly helped save the lives of several shipmates who otherwise might have perished. That night, when the ship’s hangar was set afire during the great battle off Savo Island, he bravely led a hose into the starboard side of the stricken area and there, without assistance and despite frequent hits from terrific enemy bombardment, eventually brought the fire under control. Later, although mortally wounded, he labored valiantly in the midst of bursting shells, persistently directing fire-fighting operations and administering to wounded personnel until he finally collapsed from loss of blood. His great personal valor, maintained with utter disregard of personal safety, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”
Can you add me to the ping list.. I had 2 brothers, a sister and 2 brother in laws serve in WWII...
You are enrolled. Welcome aboard. I see from your profile that you were nine years old at the time these articles first appeared. If anything you read here triggers memories feel free to share as appropriate. Nothing like first-hand reports. I didn’t exist during the war so my recollections are all second hand through letters from my father. I post them here from time to time.
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