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"Guadalcanal Campaign - The Battle of Tassafaronga" Topic

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Tango0108 Aug 2021 4:27 p.m. PST

"Today we look at the penultimate major engagement of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of Tassafaronga, where some ships experience the front falling off, which is not supposed to happen…"

YouTube link


Oddball08 Aug 2021 7:11 p.m. PST

That is a great series on the battles off Guadalcanal.

My great uncle, Uncle Mac, was a gunnery officer on the USS Minneapolis. I asked him about getting the bow shot off by a long lance. He said that it was very tough as his bunk was in the bow and he lost everything except what he was wearing.

Spent whole war on that heavy cruiser, 17 or 18 battlestars. Retired in 1949 after 30 years service.

Blutarski09 Aug 2021 1:02 p.m. PST

My father's ship USS Lardner was at Tassafaronga but (fortunately for me, perhaps) was bringing up the rear of the line and missed all the important events.

Anyone who thinks the IJN were not pros at their trade needs to familiarize himself with this battle.


Tango0109 Aug 2021 3:26 p.m. PST



Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2021 11:10 a.m. PST

It's great to hear from the descendants of the guys who had to fight these tough battles. The IJN prided itself on its night fighting capability and it was a fierce struggle over a series of encounters. Much appreciation to all who served, and thank you for sharing.

James Hornfischer, who wrote about these ships and men, has recently passed away at a relatively young age. His books on this topic, Neptunes Inferno, and also Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, and Ghost Ship, are among the best ever written on the topic of naval war in the Pacific. He will be missed.

Murvihill12 Aug 2021 6:48 a.m. PST

The demise of Japanese fighting skills is an interesting subject. Most historians agree that Midway crippled their pilot skills, and the nadir had been reached by Philippine Sea. Their surface fighting skill didn't so much attrite as wither through training shortages and crew dilution. Mostly recognized by Leyte, but the surface battles on the way to Bouganville (with smaller ships) indicates it might have happened earlier. Although, that might be an indication of the Allie's improvement rather than Japanese loss. Maybe smarter minds can intervene.

Blutarski14 Aug 2021 6:49 p.m. PST

Hi Murvihill,
Dunno about being a "smarter mind", but I've read a good deal on this campaign. It was the slow but steady attrition of the highly trained pre-war IJN surface warships and their crews and commanders (by subs, mines and air as well as surface combat) that ultimately did them in. From my perspective the night-fighting balance finally started to shift in 1943 as a result of several important factors (in addition to the gunnery radar advantage we all know about) -

> real destroyer and cruiser formations began to appear in the Solomons instead of individual ships being thrown willy-nilly into the cauldron on a "catch as catch can" basis. Burke's DD squadron, for example, benefited greatly from the fact that they actually had a chance to train together before being committed to action.

> the USN's torpedo problems were FINALLY resolved.

> Some smart cookie(s) in the USN (don't know who) realized that blind-fire night torpedo attacks under the control of SG surface search radar would work, which turned US DDs into legitimate ambush ship-killers.

> The DD squadrons finally got out from under the "big gun" admirals and had a chance to work as "independent operators" instead of being tied down as escorts to the cruiser and BB gun lines.

> A lot of new IJN destroyers with raw crews and inexperienced commanders were starting to show up.

> A fair number of IJN destroyers were being diverted to carry supplies to support the Japanese army forces on Bougainville, thereby transforming them from weapons into liabilities.

Nevertheless, the USN remained tactically careful. You never knew when you might run into an "old pro" or two; some of those Bougainville campaign night battles could legitimately have been called draws. A good book and really the only one I know that covers this period from the IJN side – is "Japanese Destroyer Captain" by Captain Temeichi Hara. Definitely worth a read.


Tango0124 Aug 2021 4:32 p.m. PST

The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal 1942 – Animated

YouTube link


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