Daily Archives: August 31, 2014

Bloody Savo: Disaster at Guadalcanal

Friends of Padre Steve’s World, Today is a lazy Sunday so nothing new, instead re-publishing an old post about a Naval Battle which most people don’t know much about. It was a battle that was one of the most disastrous in the history of the US Navy, the Battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal which took place on August 9th 1942. It was the first of many in which the US and Imperial Japanese Navies would wage in those contested waters as the US began to re-take the areas that the Japanese had overrun in the first six months of the war. Others would follow, Cape Esperance, the Naval Battles of Guadalcanal and others. So many ships were sunk that the waters off the island were nicknamed “Iron Bottom Sound.” Today I remember all the gallant sailors and ships, of both sides who fought so hard in that bloody war.
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USS Quincy under attack off Savo Island

On August 8th 1942 the U.S. Task Force supporting the invasion of Guadalcanal was tired. The crews of the ships had been in continuous combat operations conducting naval gunfire support missions, fending off numerous Japanese air attacks and guarding against submarine attacks for two days.  The force commanded by Admiral Richmond K. Turner was still unloading materials, equipment and supplies needed by the men of the 1st Marine Division who they had put ashore on the morning of the seventh.

On the afternoon of the eighth Turner was informed by Admiral Frank “Jack” Fletcher that he was pulling his carrier task force out of action. Fletcher alleged that he did not have enough fighter aircraft (79 remaining of an original 98) and as low on fuel.  The carriers had only been in action 36 hours and Fletcher’s reasons for withdraw were…

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