Battle of Tassafaronga, November 30, 1942

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by spidge, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Battle of Tassafaronga, November 30, 1942

    Having made the decision to abandon Guadalcanal, the Japanese were left to perform the evacuation with the only surface units which could survive in the area around Henderson Field: destroyers. Running down at night to drop supplies and evacuate Japanese infantry units, the famed Tokyo Express made frequent runs into the area. On the night of November 30, Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka led a force of eight Japanese destroyers down the slot. Of the eight, six were heavily loaded with supply drums and had landed their torpedo reloads, drastically reducing their combat effectiveness. Only Naganami (Tanaka's flagship) and Takanamii were fully combat ready.
    Waiting in Ironbottom sound was a dramatically superior US force of 4 heavy cruisers, a light cruiser, and six destroyers. Unfortunately for the Americans this night, Tanaka's lookouts were very alert, and managed to detect the ambush before it happened. Once again, the linear battle tactics of the Americans cost them, as the Japanese destroyers wheeled, fired torpedoes, and 'ran for the exits'. The Americans got in enough gunfire to scupper Takanami (which had moved to screen her sisters from the Americans). And then the Long Lances hit. The end result was one US heavy cruiser sunk, and three more incapacitated. Not only that, but Tanaka had managed to drop off his supply barrels. It was a humiliating defeat for the US Navy, and a difficult one to swallow in light of their material superiority and the recent victory off of Guadalcanal.

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  2. cunliffe

    cunliffe New Member

    The battle may be called a strategical victory for the U.S. by the line of reasoning that the resupply mission was prevented. But the services of four heavy cruisers were high a price for the disruption of only one resupply mission, and thus, it must be judged that it was a defeat strategically as well - for U.S. forces never again would manage to assemble surface opposition to Japanese runs to Guadalcanal.


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