October 11-12th1942 Guadalcanal- Battle of Cape Esperance
USS BoiseThe US force of two heavy and two light cruisers and five destroyers attacked the Tokyo express in an attempt to reinforce Guadalcanal. The US Cruiser were the San Francisco, Boise, Helena and and Salt Lake City. The US force surprised the Japanese force and gained an immediate tactical advantage. The American force won a small but decisive victory over the Japanese, sinking one destroyer and one cruiser, and heavily damaging a second cruiser.
The race to resupply Guadalcanal and keep Henderson Field operating continued. On October 8th a convoy with 2,837 men from the armies 164th Infantry Regiment boarded ships in New Caledonia for Guadalcanal. To protect the convoy Task Force 64 consisting of the cruisers San Francisco, Boise, Sal Lake City and Helena together with five destroyers. On the Japanese side the Japanese scheduled a large run of the Tokyo Express to reinforce Guadalcanal. Three heavy cruisers the Aoba,Kinugasa and Furutaka were sent to bombard American forces in general and Henderson Field specifically.
On the night of the 11th the Japanese convoy of transport ships was able to make their way to Guadalcanal undetected and land their troops and supplies. The cruisers who planning to bomb Guadalcanal however were intercepted by the American cruisers. The cruisers which were equipped with radar, which the Japanese did not have, were able to discover the Japanese ships without being detected by enemy. The American cruisers were in the perfect position executing the perfect maneuver for surface vessels crossing the T of the enemy where all of the ships guns can come to bear on the enemy. The American forces were able to open fire and sink one Japanese cruiser and one Japanese destroyer and damage another Japanese cruiser, while the Americans lost one destroyers, while another cruiser the Helena was damaged. In the aftermath of the battle two Japanese destroyers where dispatch to aid survivors. They were both sunk by American aircraft. The battle was a tactical victory for the Americans but had no long term impact.