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The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands: 26th October 1942 Options
#1 Posted : 25 April 2012 09:20:18

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Hi Shipmates,

Here is a fantastic 30 minute animated film by Japanese film maker Tochibayashi, in three parts regarding the events that took place off the Islands of Santa Cruz. This was one battle in a series of battles that took place in an area more widely known as Guadalcanal.

Much is made of the 'Battle of Midway', and of course this was a great strategic victory by the American forces (helped in no small measure by the fact that the Americans had broken the Japanese code) but the real defeat was here at Santa Cruz although it was not realised at the time by the American Navy.

The subtitles are in Japanese, so here is some background to this battle, followed by the links to the film:

The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, 26 October 1942, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Santa Cruz or in Japanese sources as the Battle of the South Pacific, was the fourth carrier battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II and the fourth major naval engagement fought between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the lengthy and strategically important Guadalcanal campaign. In similar fashion to the battles of Coral Sea, Midway, and the Eastern Solomons, the ships of the two adversaries were rarely in direct visual range of each other. Instead, almost all attacks by both sides were mounted by carrier or land-based aircraft.

In an attempt to drive Allied forces from Guadalcanal and nearby islands and end the stalemate that had existed since September 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army planned a major ground offensive on Guadalcanal for 20–25 October 1942. In support of this offensive, and with the hope of engaging Allied naval forces, Japanese carriers and other large warships moved into a position near the southern Solomon Islands. From this location, the Japanese naval forces hoped to engage and decisively defeat any Allied (primarily U.S.) naval forces, especially carrier forces, that responded to the ground offensive. Allied naval forces also hoped to meet the Japanese naval forces in battle, with the same objectives of breaking the stalemate and decisively defeating their adversary.

The Japanese ground offensive on Guadalcanal was defeated by Allied ground forces in the Battle for Henderson Field. Nevertheless, the naval warships and aircraft from the two adversaries confronted each other on the morning of 26 October 1942, just north of the Santa Cruz Islands. After an exchange of carrier air attacks, Allied surface ships were forced to retreat from the battle area with one carrier sunk and another heavily damaged.

The participating Japanese carrier forces, however, also retired because of high aircraft and aircrew losses plus significant damage to two carriers. Although an apparent tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk and damaged, the loss of many irreplaceable, veteran aircrews by the Japanese provided a significant long-term strategic advantage for the Allies, whose aircrew losses in the battle were relatively low, and were quickly redeemed. As such, it is considered a Japanese Pyrrhic victory, and as a result of the battle the Japanese carriers played no further significant role in the Guadalcanal campaign, which was ultimately won by the Allies.







#2 Posted : 25 April 2012 20:10:09

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BigGrin Nice find M8Cool
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