Staggered, Bloodied but Unbowed After the morning’s attacks Enterprise had suffered significant damage, but still able to put up a fight defensively and conduct air ops. The number two elevator, aft most on the flightdeck, was temporarily stuck in the down position, leaving a large, square hole just forward of the arresting gear. Forward, just aft of the forward elevator, the forward hangar bay was a riot of flame, smoke and destroyed aircraft. Burning avgas was siphoning down into the forward elevator pit. Two decks below that was more smoke, fire, severed electrical cables, sprung hatches and a grotesquely sweet… Read the rest of this entry »
Beginning here (and here) next week, we will bring you the story of the Solomons campaign. A cast of writers have been assembled from a variety of communities – some well known from their own blog efforts, some new to the blog ‘verse but well experienced in the ‘real world,’ others you have only seen in the comments. All will bring their knowledge and perspective to elements of the Campaign in the tradition established by the Countdown to Midway series. In the process, while hoping to shed new light on a campaign that,with a few exceptions, has pretty much remained elusively darkened to most except for the dedicated naval and military historian, we also hope to highlight lessons for the current age – lessons form anoperational, planning and leadership perspective.
Shifting from defense to offense. Joint and combined operations – and all the hard lessons learned. Finding out that training, tactics and procedures can trump an opponent’s better technology – and more hard lessons learned. Surviving on the razor’s edge and prevailing. Innovate, adapt – overcome. All of this and more are gathered together in the collection of battles and engagements called the Solomons Campaign – and coming this fall, we will give it the same treatment we did here with Midway. Plus some. Watch these spaces for more details – and if you are interested in participating in this project, drop a… Read the rest of this entry »
OK — entering the homestretch of the Solomons Campaign. Before we get to the final sea battles of that campaign, we need to go back and capture the Battle of Santa Cruz for the pivotal impact it had on the campaign. Part I is presented here with II and III to follow in the coming week. – SJS . . . And then there was one. At 1025, Enterprise emerging from a rainsquall turned east to begin recovery of her search aircraft. Topside, flightdeck crews beheld a sight that made their hearts sink. There was Hornet, off to the southwest,… Read the rest of this entry »
The next four posts will cover the invasion of Bougainville and are provided via guest author CINCLAX.– SJS The Last Spoke in the Cartwheel Strategic Progress Before the Guadalcanal operation (Watchtower) even began in August 1942, it had been decided to neutralize the Japanese bastion of Rabaul by moving up the Solomons one step at a time until Rabaul could be pounded from the air on a daily basis. Operation Cartwheel—as it was to be called—had begun inauspiciously with strong Japanese responses by sea and air, and by the early fall of the year some people were even calling for… Read the rest of this entry »
The next offering comes via CINCLAX – and is a truly detailed review of the ground action in New Georgia as we begin to move – slowly, hesitantly and with great inefficiency (at first) from the precarious foothold established at Guadalcanal. The Japanese will come to learn, as did the Germans on the other side of the world, that once the Americans establish a beachhead, there was no going back – they would relentlessly press their advantage. And so – the New Georgia Campaign… – SJS The Right Place to Go but the Wrong Way to Get There Solomon Islands… Read the rest of this entry »
On its face, it was innocuous enough – simple administrative traffic providing notification of an inspection by a senior officer of some outposts: ON APRIL 18 CINC COMBINED FLEET WILL VISIT RXZ,R–, AND RXP IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE: 1. DEPART RR AT 0600 IN A MEDIUM ATTACK PLANE ESCORTED BY 6 FIGHTERS. ARRIVE RXZ AT 0800. IMMEDIATELY DEPART FOR R- ON BOARD SUBCHASER (1ST BASE FORCE TO READY ONE BOAT), ARRIVING AT 0840. DEPART R- 0945 ABOARD SIAD SUBCHASER, ARRIVING RXZ AT 1030. (FOR TRANSPORTATION PURPOSES, HAVE READY AN ASSAULT BOAT AT R- AND A MOTOR LAUNCH AT… Read the rest of this entry »
By Mark Tempest
Torpedo Boats 1101. The motor torpedo boat is a relatively small craft with great speed and striking power essentially offensive in character. Weapons consist of torpedoes, machine guns and usually depth charges. Its main defensive power lies in its small size, speed, maneuverability, ability to lay smoke and cruise silently at slow speeds. 1102. The primary mission of motor torpedo boats is to attack enemy surface ships. Their high speed, and torpedo armaments make them most suitable for surprise attacks against enemy vessels on the surface, at night or during low visibility. –From Motor Torpedo Boats, Tactical Orders and Doctrine,… Read the rest of this entry »
CINCLAX checks in with a strategic summary of where the players stand at this point in the Solomons Campaign. As we will see here and in detail later ths week with the Battles of Santa Cruz and Guadalcanal I & II, this is still a very close run deal with either the Japanese or Allied forces in a position to come out on top. How close is it? See below… – SJS In his State of the Union message in January 1943, FDR would note: “The Axis powers knew that they must win the war in 1942–or eventually lose everything…. Read the rest of this entry »
The war is only 10 months old and two months after the defeat at the Battle of Savo Island. The night action of 10-11 OCT, sometimes know as the Second Battle of Savo Island – but usually as The Battle of Cape Esperance, is an excellent example of the critical importance of training, flexibility, initiative, and aggression – combined with a measure of luck. Luck is always essential, as even the most simple plans become complicated once the battle begins. First background. DIVISION 6 of the Imperial Japanese Navy was pretty pleased with itself following its engagement with the Americans… Read the rest of this entry »
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