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Saturday, July 12th 2008, 2:29pm



Originally posted by Brockpaine


Originally posted by howardNorm Scott WON at Cape Esperance and SURVIVED it.

As I have been given to understand, Cape Esperance is called "the most tragic victory in the history of the USN." The American tactics and Scott's adherence to them were reinforced, quite wrongly, by the American victory in the battle. Bad lessons were learned and continued.

In any case, this should go to it's own thread.

At First Guadalcanal, Scott was killed aboard the AAA cruiser USS Atlanta which had no business in the van of a cruiser gun line, when she was more properly an over-sized destroyer leader. He, Scott, died within a matter of minutes of the surprised Japanese opening fire. The hell of it, was that it was probably raking fire from USS San Francisco, the befuddled Callaghan's flagship that killed Scott, before Admiral Scott could pull the disorganized van of the American line that Callaghan's inept orders had thrown into confusion back into order.

Its hard to say what Callaghan intended since the two forces collided head on on opposing tracks almost due south of Savo Island near Dowa Cove on Guadalcanal.

Radar returns were all over the place, the USN had no actual experience with separating Doppler tracks of warships from island radar returns, nobody US had developed IFF or transponder ID to reply to radar interrogation. Signals TBS was a shambles, USN tracking parties were tyros, Callaghan was a babe in the words, and that imbecile, Halsey, had not made the decision yet, (nor would he ever) to follow Scott's astute recommendation, after Esperance, to pull some US ships out of action long enough to practice against each other in night fighting, until they got all of these problems he, Scott, saw at Esperance, ironed out. Not until Arleigh Burke took his own destroyer squadron in hand and exercised them to death, to work these problems all out, would a US task group figure this all out. We largely have the dead Admiral Norman Scott, and the lessons of Cape Esperance to thank for it.

One brief comment on Japanese torpedo work at First Guadalcanal. They fired salvoes of torpedoes at ranges of 4000 meters or less, during that battle and obtained a PK of less than 5%. That's bad, even by the US standards of the day.

Given their, the Japanese' mediocre naval gunfire, and the murderously short ranges at which both sides engaged, when Callaghan blundered into Abe's cuisinart; we get crazy episodes like the USS Laffey, a destroyer, rushing down the HIJMS Hei's flank and raking her, the dreadnought, with 5 inch shell at less than 300 yards range. If only somebody aboard Laffey with presence of mind had thought to unload some torpedoes during that Presidential Unit Citation run....

As a footnote to this action, the battered USS Juneau, sent retreating from battle to an anchorage for repairs, into an area known to be lousy with Japanese submarines, without escort, was predictably waylaid and sunk. Eight days the survivors floated in the water, until one of MacArthur's planes belatedly found them. Ten survivors out of a crew of 650 was all that was left. That was HALSEY for you. Preview of what would happen to USS Indianapolis. Just another fine example of his lousy supervision, and his staff's work, for which HE is responsible: synptomatic of Halsey's lax command discipline, and the incompetent Halsey leadership in his lack of attention to every critical important detail.

He wasted 1400 men to no purpose, because two nights later, a COMPETENT admiral, Admiral Willis Lee; would have to retrieve the twin Halsey disasters of Santa Cruz and First Guadalcanal by doing it all over again, this time actually using radar the way it was meant to be used.

Sailor's admiral my ass!

I hate that !@# $% ^ !@#$%.


This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "howard" (Jul 12th 2008, 4:16pm)


Saturday, July 12th 2008, 5:26pm

Sounds to me that he was more like a "Subordinate Butchering Admiral" than a "Sailor's Admiral"...

Kaiser Kirk

Lightbringer and former European Imperialist

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Saturday, July 12th 2008, 6:51pm

I tend to have a better view of Halsey, but he certainly had significant failings. The most recent issue of Naval History has an article on the 5 commanders of the 1st Marine Corps, which paints a picture of Halsey doing some sneaky behind-the-scenes work to get rid of a commander he liked but did not trust with the task, in favor of Vandegrift who was experienced. Unfortunately Barrett may have taken being fired badly and committed suicide, which appears to have been covered up, though that could easily have been to protect Barretts reputation..