Marc Schulman


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August 1942 Battle of Guadacanal- Salvo Island

Mariens on Guadacanal

TThe first American offensive of the war was the landing on Guadalcanal. The resulting attempt to hold the island resulted in a number of sea battles with the Japanese. The first the battle of Savo Island on 9th August 1942. The Japanese led by Admiral Mikawa sent a task force of five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and a destroyer to attack the American forces off the island. To guard the transport the allies had five heavy cruisers and a destroyer. The American group was divided into two groups and totally unaware of the approach of the Japanese ships. The battle began when Japanese float planes flying unmolested above the American cruisers released flares. Within moments Japanese guns had set the HMAS Canberra on fire. Moments later USS Chicago was similarly enveloped. Soon the Japanese turned their attention to the Northern group and the Astoria, Quincy and Vincensses were soon out of action and ablaze. Thus in the worse defeat in surface warfare in its history the US navy together with the Australians lost five cruisers without inflicting significant casualties on the enemy.