Battle of Cape Esperance 11-12 October 1942

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Map Code: Ax00316

Following a number of failed attempts to recapture Guadalcanal from the Allies, a Japanese supply convoy was assembled for deployment of reinforcement troops, led by a separate group whose task was to provide artillery bombardment of Henderson Field airfield. Only the leading convoy was spotted by Allied aircraft and a group of US battleships under Rear-Admiral Norman Scott was sent to intercept the Japanese under cover of darkness. Following aircraft sighting of the Japanese ships, the US line travelling northeast made a U-turn in preparation for attack. Confusion in communications meant that three ships were pushed out of formation and others were unaware of the Japanese ships’ presence when firing commenced. Nevertheless the Japanese were oblivious to the imminent attack and suffered heavy damage in the opening stages of the engagement. Scott’s ships pursued the retreating Japanese, with Boise suffering a large explosion of ammunition, and Duncan eventually being abandoned.

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