Following the retreat of Abe’s ships, a second bombardment fleet was put under the command of Vice-Admiral Kondo. He split his forces on either side of Savo Island in an attempt to locate the US battleships in the area. The Americans knew of the general Japanese attack plan due to intercepted communications, however their fleet was severely depleted and outgunned, with only four destroyers and the two new battleships on hand. Kondo was unsure of the make-up of the American forces, which enabled the battleship Washington to hide behind the line of destroyers as they moved northeast to face the Japanese. With all the destroyers and the South Dakota out of action, the Washington managed to locate and disable the Kirishima before being detected. Thanks to its superior speed the Washington was able to evade damage and force the end of the Japanese operation short of its full objective.
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