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Factors that contributed to the debacle off Savo Island.

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by USS Washington, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Such as readiness, alertness, command, and communication, was our fleet off Guadalcanal on the night of August 8th essentially lacking in these areas?
     
  2. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Was that the one where the Japanes infiltrated in between destroyer picket lines, next thing they were duelling point blank?
     
  3. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Yup, and where we lost 4 heavy cruisers(3 American 1 Australian) and 1,077 good men.
     
  4. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Wasn't some of the US RADAR wonky, or they misinterpreted info.
     
  5. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  7. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    A number of factors played a part

    - RAAF Hudsons had spotted Japanese vessel's on the move twice, They reported the sightings both times to Allied radio station at Fall river , New Guinea. They never received confirmation of delivery nor were the sightings passed on in a timely fashion. Even though both aircraft recieved no confirmation they returned to Milne bay to report the sightings in person with the two aircraft landing at 12:42 and 15:00 respectively, The reports were not forwarded to Allied fleet units of Guadalcanal until 18:45 and 21:30 respectively. This has been some what of an issue over the years with the USN with Rear Admiral Morison claiming the Hudson crew's didnt report the sighting's at all, Has since been disproved with Japanese intercept's of the sightings and documents in the RAAF and US National archives. They did eventually realize this and sent a letter of apology though the blokes never held the USN responsible, But in my opinion still took far to long since the letter was sent only last year.

    - Furthering on the communications break down a US submarine (USS S-38) has spotted the Japanese fleet in "the slot" but was too close to engage, They did send off a message but that too was either never received or forwarded on

    - The destroyer radar's probably had less to do with them being used intermittently and more to do with the fact that they were primative and far less effective near land locations.

    - Crutchley who was in command of the southern force left for a conference with Turner and Vandegrift leaving Captain Howard D. Bode of the Chicago in charge but did not inform the other ships in the force, thus not leaving in place a clear chain of command.

    - Bode upon being given command did not move his ship to the front as was customary before going back to sleep

    - At the conference the Japanese fleet was discussed but ruled not an issue for the time being (Some of the Japanese ships had been reported as Sea plane tenders).

    - After the conference finished Clutchley did not return back to the Southern force with HMAS Australia and failed to inform any one else of the fact, he anchored off the Guadalcanal transport anchorage.

    - Lack of actual command structure may have led to several US torpedoes hitting the HMAS Canberra

    That is about the crux of it leading up to the battle, But two ships in my opinion that deserve praise for 1. Heading intelligence reports and 2. Acting quickly on there feet with out order's are the USS Patterson and the HMAS Canberra.
     
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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Neptune's Inferno is a good source for this topic.
     
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  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Yeah, great book.
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It also didn't help that watch officers and lookouts on the picket destroyer Blue failed to notice a column of eight ships, although they sighted her.
     
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  11. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Is there another term for that battle, or was it a battle listed under a larger campaign?
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Part of the Gaudal Canal campaign which was part of the Solomons campaign.
    Here's the wiki page:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Savo_Island

    Another factor probably related to Carronades comment was the superior optics of IJN binoculars. They tended to be both bigger (more light gathering capability) and optically better than US binoculars. Combine that with a lot of training for night action and it's not surprising the IJN did better until the US learned how to use radar.
     
  13. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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  15. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Fantastic.
    To finally see artifacts of a Guadalcanal sea battle that can only be viewed by todays tech...Got the shivers man...The Vincennes...

    Would an 8 inch shell be so devastating (depends on where it hits) - that'd be secondary on a battleship, so was it a cruiser strike?
     
  16. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    I'm intrigued by this one, can you elaborate on this please?
     
  17. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    The battle group Admiral Mikawa had at his disposal at Savo Island was composed of 5 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 1 destroyer, so yeah it could be considered a cruiser strike.
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    This book covers it in detail:
    The Shame of Savo: Anatomy of a Naval Disaster
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Shame-Savo-Disaster-Bluejacket/dp/1557508380

    It's been a while since I read it, so I can't give details. But, from what I remember, the book makes a good case that the USS Bagley accidentally hit the HMAS Canberra with her torpedoes.


    You can read over this brief piece by Mackenzie Gregory(Officer of the Watch on Canberra at Savo)
    http://www.ww2pacific.com/savoupdt.html

    Mac's account of the Battle on his website "Ahoy - Mac's Web Log"
    http://www.ahoy.tk-jk.net/macslog/H.M.A.S.CanberraandtheBat.html

    Sadly, Mac passed back in August, 2014, but his website remains...And there is a lot of good reading on ww2 naval matters.
     
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  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    WW2 Battleship secondaries would be, roughly, between 5-inch to 6-inch guns(give or take a fraction of an inch). 8-inch secondaries were probably last seen on some of the turn-of-the-century Pre-Dreadnoughts or Armored cruisers.
     
  20. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    What search radar was Blue equipped with, if she had the more advanced SG then it is a huge blunder on her part as she would've been quite capable of detecting them.
     

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