HMAS Canberra dressed overall on Foundation Day 1939 at Farm Cove, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She was sunk in the Battle of Savo Island on 9 August 1942.
Posted by NHHC in International, Navy
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Beautiful CL, Savo was a debacle but we learned from it!
Debacle yes. Failure no. Mikawa withdrew from the area with reaching his objective, to destroy the amphibious force vessels. Although he was handed the advantage by bumbling acts, he failed in his mission.
Although the USS Portland (CA 33) on which I served (4/1944-11/1945) supported the landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi on August 7, 1942, she was not among the ships present in what became known as “Iron Bottom Bay” when the Japanese forces rounded Savo Island and sank four cruisers. The Japanese victory was a tactical victory of huge proportions, but strategically a failure in that the Japanese failed to attack the supply ships still at the beach on Guadalcanal. However they were all withdrawn the next day, including HMAS Australia, leaving the Marines isolated. While I was in training at Quantico in the spring of 1943, we began to hear from Guadalcanal veterans and I met many at my first duty station, the Marine Barracks in the New York Navy Yard at Brooklyn. The consequences for the Marines on Guadalcanal were short rations, lack of ammo, a sense of isolation and some anger. That all changed when Admiral Halsey was put in charge of the Southwest Pacific.
Thanks everyone for commenting! much appreciated. Paul thanks so much for your service during WW 2
When discussing the Savo Island Battle we need to recognize that prior to the Guadalcanal Campaign the United States navy had never “slugged it out” on equal terms with another major navy. We were alway either way outnumbered, as in the War of 1812, or immensely more powerful, as when the Union fought the Confederacy. The Spanish Navy was no match for us in 1898 and we played only a small role in WW I. In 1942 the Japanese Navy was every bit our equal and taught us that we had an awful lot to learn about fighting a long, drawn out naval campaign. Eventually our radar sets would offset their superiority in night gunnery and we would learn to watch out for their Longlance torpedoes but at Savo we were a very inexperienced navy and paid the price for it.
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