Allied Warships

USS Bagley (ii) (DD 386)

Destroyer of the Bagley class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassBagley 
PennantDD 386 
Built byNorfolk Navy Yard (Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down31 Jul 1935 
Launched3 Sep 1936 
Commissioned12 Jun 1937 
End service14 Jun 1946 
History

Decommissioned 14 June 1946.
Stricken 25 February 1947.
Sold 3 October 1947 and broken up for scrap.

 

Commands listed for USS Bagley (ii) (DD 386)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. William Langfitt Freseman, USN15 Aug 19397 Dec 1941 (1)
2Lt. Philip Winslow Cann, USN7 Dec 19417 Dec 1941
3Lt.Cdr. George Angus Sinclair, USN7 Dec 19413 Feb 1943 (1)
4T/Cdr. Thomas Edward Chambers, USN3 Feb 19436 Apr 1944
5T/Cdr. William Henry Shea, Jr., USN6 Apr 19445 Jun 1945 (1)
6Roger Gartrelle Brown, USN5 Jun 194529 Nov 1945 (2)
7James Pagaud Coleman, USN29 Nov 194514 Jun 1946 (1)

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Notable events involving Bagley (ii) include:


4 Jun 1942
During 4/5 June 1942, Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Canberra (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN), HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board), USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Helm (Lt.Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) and USS Perkins (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Ford, USN) conducted exercises off Brisbane.

All ships returned to Brisbane / Moreton Bay on completion of the exercises on the 5th, except for HMAS Australia and USS Helm which had been detached P.M. on the 4th to proceed to Sydney. (3)

18 Jun 1942
During 18/19 June 1942, several ships from Task Force 44, the heavy cruisers HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board) and USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) conducted exercises off Brisbane. (4)

23 Jun 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board), USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN) departed Brisbane for an offensive sweep in the Coral Sea. (5)

28 Jun 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board), USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN) arrived at Noumea from operations. No contact with the Japanese had been made though. (5)

29 Jun 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board), USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN) departed Noumea to return to Brisbane. (5)

1 Jul 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board), USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN) arrived at Brisbane / Moreton Bay from Noumea. (6)

8 Jul 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN, with Cdr. L.B. Austin, USN, commanding Destroyer Division 7 on board), USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Brisbane. (7)

22 Jul 1942
A convoy for the upcoming landings at Guadacanal departed Wellington, New Zealand for Fiji.

The convoy, designated Task Force 62, was made up of two units;
Task Group 62.1 was the actual convoy made up of the Naval Transports; USS McCawley (AP 10) (8156 GRT, built 1928) (Capt. C.P. McFeathers, USN), USS Barnett (AP 11) (8153 GRT, built 1928) (Capt. H.E. Thornhill, USN), USS Heywood (AP 12) (8424 GRT, built 1919) (Capt. H.B. Knowles, USN), USS George F. Elliott (AP 13) (8424 GRT, built 1918) (Capt. W.O. Bailey, USN), USS Fuller (AP 14) (8424 GRT, built 1919) (Capt. P.S. Theiss, USN), USS Neville (AP 16) (8424 GRT, built 1918) (Capt. C.A. Bailey, USN), USS Hunter Liggett (AP 27) (13712 GRT, built 1922) (Cdr. L.W. Perkins, USCG) and USS American Legion (AP 35) (13737 GRT, built 1921) (Cdr. T.D. Warner, USN) and the Naval Cargo Ships; USS Bellatrix (AK 20) (8280 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. W.F. Dietrich, USN), USS Fomalhaut (AK 22) (5028 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. J.D. Alvis, USN), USS Alchiba (AK 23) (6198 GRT, built 1939) (Cdr. J.S. Freeman, USN) and USS Libra (AK 53) (6155 GRT, built 1941) (Cdr. W.B. Fletcher, Jr., USN).

The convoy was escorted by Task Group 62.2, which was made up the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Blue (Cdr. H.N. Williams, USN), USS Mugford (Lt.Cdr. E.W. Young, USN), USS Ralph Talbot (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Callahan, USN), USS Henley (Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN).

Around 1400M/23, the destroyers USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Helm (Lt.Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) joined coming from Auckland.

Around 1330M/26, rendezvous was made with three US Task Forces. USS Salt Lake City parted company to join Task Force 11.

Task Force 62 was joined by several more Naval Transports / Naval Cargo Ships which were; USS President Jackson (AP 37) (9255 GRT, built 1940) (T/Capt. C.W. Weitzel, USN), USS President Adams (AP 38) (9255 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. F.H. Dean, USN), USS President Hayes (AP 39) (9255 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. F.W. Benson, USN), USS Crescent City (AP 40) (7987 GRT, built 1940) (Capt. I.N. Kiland, USN) and USS Alhena (AK 26) (7101 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. C.B. Hunt, USN).

Also a fire support group joined, it was made up of the heavy cruisers USS Astoria ( Capt. W.G. Greenman, USN), USS Quincy ( Capt. S.N. Moore, USN), USS Vincennes (Capt. F.L. Riefkohl, USN), AA cruiser USS San Juan (Capt. J.E. Maher, USN) and the destroyers USS Dewey (Lt.Cdr. C.F. Chillingsworth, Jr., USN), USS Hull ( Lt.Cdr. R.F. Stout, USN), USS Gridley (Lt.Cdr. F.R. Stickney, Jr., USN), USS Ellet (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Gardner, USN), USS Wilson (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Price, USN) and USS Buchanan (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Wilson, USN).

Also joining were the high speed transports (former destroyers) USS Colhoun (T/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Madden, USN), USS Gregory (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bauer, USN), USS Little (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Lofberg, Jr., USN) and USS McKean (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Shinners, USN) as the high speed minesweepers (also former destroyers) USS Southard (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Cochran, USN), USS Hopkins (Lt.Cdr. B. Coe, USN), USS Zane (T/Lt.Cdr. P.L. Wirtz, USN) and USS Trever (Lt.Cdr. D.M. Agnew, USN).

The convoy arrived at Fiji (off Koro Island) on 28 July 1942. There landing exercises were carried out on 29 and 30 July.

31 Jul 1942
Late in the afternoon of 31 July 1942, the Amphibious Force under Rear-Admiral R.K. Turner, USN (in the transport USS McCawley) departed Fiji for Operation Watchtower, the landings on Guadalcanal.

The Amphibious Force was made up of the following units;

Task Group 62.1 (Transport Group X-Ray) made up of the Naval Transports / Naval Cargo Ships;

Task Group 62.1.1;
USS Fuller (AP 14) (8424 GRT, built 1919) (Capt. P.S. Theiss, USN), USS American Legion (AP 35) (13737 GRT, built 1921) (Cdr. T.D. Warner, USN) and USS Bellatrix (AK 20) (8280 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. W.F. Dietrich, USN).

Task Group 62.1.2;
USS McCawley (AP 10) (8156 GRT, built 1928) (Capt. C.P. McFeathers, USN), USS Barnett (AP 11) (8153 GRT, built 1928) (Capt. H.E. Thornhill, USN), USS George F. Elliott (AP 13) (8424 GRT, built 1918) (Capt. W.O. Bailey, USN) and USS Libra (AK 53) (6155 GRT, built 1941) (Cdr. W.B. Fletcher, Jr., USN).

Task Group 62.1.3;
USS Hunter Liggett (AP 27) (13712 GRT, built 1922) (Cdr. L.W. Perkins, USCG), USS Fomalhaut (AK 22) (5028 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. J.D. Alvis, USN), USS Alchiba (AK 23) (6198 GRT, built 1939) (Cdr. J.S. Freeman, USN) and USS Betelgeuse (AK 28) (6198 GRT, built 1939) (T/Capt. H.D. Power, USN) (joined at sea on 3 August 1942).

Task Group 62.1.4;
USS President Adams (AP 38) (9255 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. F.H. Dean, USN), USS President Hayes (AP 39) (9255 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. F.W. Benson, USN), USS Crescent City (AP 40) (7987 GRT, built 1940) (Capt. I.N. Kiland, USN) and USS Alhena (AK 26) (7101 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. C.B. Hunt, USN).

Task Group 62.2 (Transport Group Yoke) made up of the Naval Transports and High Speed Transports.

Task Group 62.2.1;
USS Zeilin (AP 9) (14124 GRT, built 1921) (Capt. P. Buchanan, USN) (joined at sea on 3 August 1942), USS Heywood (AP 12) (8424 GRT, built 1919) (Capt. H.B. Knowles, USN), USS Neville (AP 16) (8424 GRT, built 1918) (Capt. C.A. Bailey, USN) and USS President Jackson (AP 37) (9255 GRT, built 1940) (T/Capt. C.W. Weitzel, USN).

Task Group 62.2.2;
USS Colhoun (T/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Madden, USN), USS Gregory (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bauer, USN), USS Little (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Lofberg, Jr., USN) and USS McKean (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Shinners, USN).

Task Group 62.3 was the Fire Support Group, made up of the heavy cruisers USS Astoria ( Capt. W.G. Greenman, USN), USS Quincy ( Capt. S.N. Moore, USN), USS Vincennes (Capt. F.L. Riefkohl, USN) and the destroyers USS Dewey (T/Cdr. C.F. Chillingsworth, Jr., USN), USS Hull (T/Cdr. R.F. Stout, USN), USS Ellet T/Cdr. F.H. Gardner, USN) and USS Wilson (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Price, USN).

Task Group 62.4 was also a Fire Support Group, made up of the AA cruiser USS San Juan (Capt. J.E. Maher, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral N. Scott, USN) and the destroyers USS Monssen (T/Cdr. R.N. Smoot, USN) and USS Buchanan (T/Cdr. R.E. Wilson, USN).

Task Group 62.5 was the Minesweeping Group, it was made up of the high speed minesweepers (former destroyers) USS Southard (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Cochran, USN), USS Hovey (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Heald, USN), USS Hopkins (Lt.Cdr. B. Coe, USN), USS Zane (T/Lt.Cdr. P.L. Wirtz, USN) and USS Trever (Lt.Cdr. D.M. Agnew, USN).

Task Group 62.6 was the Screening Group, it was made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Blue (Cdr. H.N. Williams, USN), USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN), USS Ralph Talbot (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Callahan, USN), USS Henley (Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN).

Some ships had to fuel at sea and only joined the Amphibious Force the following day around noon.

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Around 0900M/1, the destroyers USS Dewey and USS Mugford were detached to make rendezvous with the transport USS Zeilin and cargo ship USS Betelgeuse. They joined the Betelgeuse around 1540M/1. USS Zeilin joined around 2330M/1. They rejoined Task Force 62 around noon on 3 August.

Around 1115M/2, the destroyers USS Selfridge, USS Bagley, USS Blue, USS Ralph Talbot, USS Henley and USS Jarvis parted company with Task Force 62 to proceed to Port Vila, Efate to fuel. They arrived off Mele Bay around 0700L/3 but found the the tanker from which they were to fuel, the Esso Little Rock (11237 GRT, built 1941) was not there. They left around 1100L/3 to rejoin Task Force 62 to refuel at sea.

Around 1800L/2, HMAS Hobart, USS Southard USS Hovey, USS Hopkins, USS Zane and USS Trever parted company with Task Force 62 to proceed to Port Vila, Efate to fuel. They too left around 1130L/3 to rejoin Task Force 62 to refuel at sea.

USS Colhoun, USS Gregory, USS Little and USS McKean also arrived off Mele Bay to fuel, they too then set course to rejoin Task Force 62 to refuel at sea.

On 4 August 1942, refuelling at sea took place; The oiler USS Cimarron (T/Capt. R.M. Ihrig, USN) briefly joined Task Force 62 and she fuelled HMAS Hobart, USS Ralph Talbot and USS Patterson. USS Alhena fuelled USS Blue and USS Helm. USS Crescent City fuelled USS Selfridge and USS Trever. USS Fuller fuelled USS Ellet and USS Wilson. USS Hunter Liggett fuelled USS Dewey and USS Hull. USS Libra fuelled USS Monssen and USS Buchanan. USS Neville fuelled USS Southard and USS Hopkins. USS President Adamas fuelled USS Mugford and USS Jarvis. USS President Hayes fuelled USS Bagley and USS Henley. USS President Jackson fuelled USS Hovey and USS Zane.

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Around 1615L/6, the Amphibious Force took up their approach dispositions. ' Force X ' was to land on Guadacanal and ' Force Y ' was to land on Tulagi.

' Force X ' was made up of was made up of the transports and cargo vessels of Task Group 62.1.1, Task Group 62.1.2, Task Group 62.1.3, Task Group 62.1.4, the ships of Fire Support Group 62.3 and part of Screening Group Task Group 62.6. The ships of the Screening Group that were part of ' Force X ' were the following, HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, USS Selfridge, USS Mugford, USS Ralph Talbot, USS Patterson and USS Jarvis.

' Force Y ' was made up of the transports and cargo vessels of Task Group 62.2.1, the high speed transports of Task Group 62.2.2, the ships of Fire Support Group 62.4, the high speed minesweepers of Minesweeping Group 62.5 and part of Screening Group Task Group 62.6. The ships of the Screening Group that were part of ' Force Y ' were the following, USS Chicago, HMAS Canberra, USS Bagley, USS Blue, USS Helm and USS Henley.

' Force Y ' took station six miles astern of ' Force X '.

[For continuation of the events see the event ' Operation Watchtower, the landings on Guadacanal and Tulagi ' for 7 August 1942.]

7 Aug 1942

Operation Watchtower, the landings on Guadacanal Island and the subsequent Battle of Savo Island.

Allied forces taking part;

For this operation Task Forces 61 and 62 were deployed. In overall command was Vice-Admiral R.L. Ghormley, USN who was at Noumea in the Miscellaneous Auxiliary USS Argonne (AG-31) (Cdr. F.W. Connor, USN).

Task Group 61.1 was the Air Support Force under overall command of Rear-Admiral L.Noyes, USN. It was made up of the following units;

Task Group 61.1.1;
Aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. D.C. Ramsey, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.J. Fletcher, USN), heavy cruisers USS New Orleans (Capt. W.S. Delany, USN), USS Minneapolis (Capt. F.J. Lowry, USN), and the destroyers USS Phelps (T/Cdr. E.L. Beck, USN, with Capt. S.B. Brewer, USN on board), USS Farragut (Cdr. G.P. Hunter, USN), USS Macdonough (Lt.Cdr. E. van E. Dennet, USN), USS Worden (T/Cdr. W.G. Pogue, USN) and USS Dale (Cdr. H.E. Parker, USN).

Task Group 61.1.2;
Aircraft carrier Enterprise (Capt. A.C. Davis, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral T.C. Kincaid, USN), battleship USS North Carolina (Capt. G.H. Fort, USN), heavy cruiser USS Portland (Capt. L.T. Du Bose, USN), AA cruiser USS Atlanta (Capt. S.P. Jenkins, USN) and the destroyers USS Balch (T/Cdr. H.H. Tiemroth, USN, with Capt. E.P. Sauer, USN on board), USS Benham (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Taylor, USN), USS Maury (T/Cdr. G.L. Sims, USN), USS Gwin (Cdr. J.M. Higgins, USN) and USS Grayson (T/Cdr. F.J. Bell, USN).

Task Group 61.1.3;
Aircraft carrier USS Wasp (T/Capt. F.P. Sherman, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L.Noyes, USN), heavy cruisers Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS San Francisco (Capt. C.H. McMorris, USN) and the destroyers USS Farenholt (T/Cdr. Lt.Cdr. E.T. Seaward, USN, with Capt. R.G. Tobin, USN on board), USS Aaron Ward (T/Cdr. O.F. Gregor, USN), USS Lang (T/Cdr. E.A. Seay, USN), USS Stack (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Greenacre, USN) and USS Sterett (Cdr. J.G. Coward, USN).

There was also the fuelling group made up of the oilers USS Kanawha (T/Capt. K.S. Reed, USN), USS Cimarron (T/Capt. R.M. Ihrig, USN), USS Platte (Capt. R.H. Henkle, USN), USS Sabine (T/Capt. H.L. Maples, USN) and USS Kaskaskia (T/Capt. W.L. Taylor, USN). These were usually escorting by destroyers from the air support force.

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The Amphibious Force under Rear-Admiral R.K. Turner, USN (in the transport USS McCawley) was made up of the following units;

Task Group 62.1 (Transport Group X-Ray) made up of the Naval Transports / Naval Cargo Ships;

Task Group 62.1.1;
USS Fuller (AP 14) (8424 GRT, built 1919) (Capt. P.S. Theiss, USN), USS American Legion (AP 35) (13737 GRT, built 1921) (Cdr. T.D. Warner, USN) and USS Bellatrix (AK 20) (8280 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. W.F. Dietrich, USN).

Task Group 62.1.2;
USS McCawley (AP 10) (8156 GRT, built 1928) (Capt. C.P. McFeathers, USN), USS Barnett (AP 11) (8153 GRT, built 1928) (Capt. H.E. Thornhill, USN), USS George F. Elliott (AP 13) (8424 GRT, built 1918) (Capt. W.O. Bailey, USN) and USS Libra (AK 53) (6155 GRT, built 1941) (Cdr. W.B. Fletcher, Jr., USN).

Task Group 62.1.3;
USS Hunter Liggett (AP 27) (13712 GRT, built 1922) (Cdr. L.W. Perkins, USCG), USS Fomalhaut (AK 22) (5028 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. J.D. Alvis, USN), USS Alchiba (AK 23) (6198 GRT, built 1939) (Cdr. J.S. Freeman, USN) and USS Betelgeuse (AK 28) (6198 GRT, built 1939) (T/Capt. H.D. Power, USN).

Task Group 62.1.4;
USS President Adams (AP 38) (9255 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. F.H. Dean, USN), USS President Hayes (AP 39) (9255 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. F.W. Benson, USN), USS Crescent City (AP 40) (7987 GRT, built 1940) (Capt. I.N. Kiland, USN) and USS Alhena (AK 26) (7101 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. C.B. Hunt, USN).

Task Group 62.2 (Transport Group Yoke) made up of the Naval Transports and High Speed Transports.

Task Group 62.2.1;
USS Zeilin (AP 9) (14124 GRT, built 1921) (Capt. P. Buchanan, USN), USS Heywood (AP 12) (8424 GRT, built 1919) (Capt. H.B. Knowles, USN), USS Neville (AP 16) (8424 GRT, built 1918) (Capt. C.A. Bailey, USN) and USS President Jackson (AP 37) (9255 GRT, built 1940) (T/Capt. C.W. Weitzel, USN).

Task Group 62.2.2;
USS Colhoun (T/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Madden, USN), USS Gregory (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bauer, USN), USS Little (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Lofberg, Jr., USN) and USS McKean (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Shinners, USN).

Task Group 62.3 was the Fire Support Group, made up of the heavy cruisers USS Astoria ( Capt. W.G. Greenman, USN), USS Quincy ( Capt. S.N. Moore, USN), USS Vincennes (Capt. F.L. Riefkohl, USN) and the destroyers USS Dewey (T/Cdr. C.F. Chillingsworth, Jr., USN), USS Hull (T/Cdr. R.F. Stout, USN), USS Ellet T/Cdr. F.H. Gardner, USN) and USS Wilson (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Price, USN).

Task Group 62.4 was also a Fire Support Group, made up of the AA cruiser USS San Juan (Capt. J.E. Maher, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral N. Scott, USN) and the destroyers USS Monssen (T/Cdr. R.N. Smoot, USN) and USS Buchanan (T/Cdr. R.E. Wilson, USN).

Task Group 62.5 was the Minesweeping Group, it was made up of the high speed minesweepers (former destroyers) USS Southard (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Cochran, USN), USS Hovey (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Heald, USN), USS Hopkins (Lt.Cdr. B. Coe, USN), USS Zane (T/Lt.Cdr. P.L. Wirtz, USN) and USS Trever (Lt.Cdr. D.M. Agnew, USN).

Task Group 62.6 was the Screening Group, it was made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Canberra (Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN), USS Chicago (Capt. H.D. Bode, USN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Blue (Cdr. H.N. Williams, USN), USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN), USS Ralph Talbot (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Callahan, USN), USS Henley (Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN), USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) and USS Jarvis (Lt.Cdr. W.W. Graham, Jr., USN).

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Around 1615L on 6 August 1942, the Amphibious Force had taken up their approach dispositions. ' Force X ' was to land on Guadacanal and ' Force Y ' was to land on Tulagi.

' Force X ' was made up of was made up of the transports and cargo vessels of Task Group 62.1.1, Task Group 62.1.2, Task Group 62.1.3, Task Group 62.1.4, the ships of Fire Support Group 62.3 and part of Screening Group Task Group 62.6. The ships of the Screening Group that were part of ' Force X ' were the following, HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, USS Selfridge, USS Mugford, USS Ralph Talbot, USS Patterson and USS Jarvis.

' Force Y ' was made up of the transports and cargo vessels of Task Group 62.2.1, the high speed transports of Task Group 62.2.2, the ships of Fire Support Group 62.4, the high speed minesweepers of Minesweeping Group 62.5 and part of Screening Group Task Group 62.6. The ships of the Screening Group that were part of ' Force Y ' were the following, USS Chicago, HMAS Canberra, USS Bagley, USS Blue, USS Helm and USS Henley. ' Force Y ' took station six miles astern of ' Force X '.

The landings, 7 August 1942.

At 0224L/7, the moon rose and though it was on the wane and lacked only five days to new moon, it was of great assistance in making the western end of Guadalcanal and then Savo Island, both of which began to show up very clearly.

' Force Y ' set course to pass to the northward of Savo Island and at 0330L/7, HMAS Australia lad ' Force X ' towards Savo Island to pass to the south of it.

It was expected that the enemy would have some type of patrol in the passages on either side of Savo Island and from 0245L/7, the naval escorts were in the first degree of readiness for action. However no patrol were met and when between Savo Island and Cape Escperance, ' Force X ' changed course to proceed direct to the disembarkation area off the north shore of Guadalcanal Island.

As ' Force X ' would pass within six thousand yard of Lunga Point when approaching the disembarkation area, and as enemy AA batteries at least were known to be mounted in the vicinity of the Point, it had been arranged that USS Quincy would come forward from the rear of the formation and take particular responsibility for silencing enemy fire from the Point whilst the formation was drawing past it.

' Force Y ' had in the meantime passed west of Savo Island and then leaving Savo Island to starboard had altered course to the eastward for the disembarkation area off Tulagi Island.

Sunrise was at 0633L/7 and in accordance with pre-arranged shedule, the aircraft of the cruiser escort of both squadrons were launched at 0615L/7 to provide A/S and anti-MTB patrols for the transport groups. After this initial patrol, aircraft patrols were maintained for A/S duties. This was done for every day the Amphibious Force was in the area.

Also around 0615L/7, Allied carrier aircraft were sighted on their intial sortie. The missions assigned to this sortie were as follows;
16 Fighters were to destroy enemy aircraft including seaplanes on the water, motor torpedo boats and submarine in the Tulagi - Gavutu area. With any remaining ammunition, attack anti-aircraft installations on Gavutu.
20 Fighters, mission as above but to be carried out in the area along the north coast of Guadalcanal between Point Cruz and Togama Point.
24 dive bombers, were to destroy naval vessels, anti-aircraft guns and shore batteries in the Tulagi - Gavutu area.
24 dive bombers, were to do the same as the above but along the north coast of Guadalcanal between Point Cruz and Togama Point.

The carrier groups (Air Support Force) were operating close south and south-west of the combat area.

The approach of the Amphibious Force had been a complete surprise to the enemy and no fewer then 18 enemy aircraft were destroyed on the water in this initial sortie of the Allied carrier borne aircraft. No enemy naval surface vessels were encountered and despite previous reports of land based Zero fighters being maintained in the area, none were met.

As ' Forces X and Y ' were approaching their diesembarkation areas, the naval vessels of the escort opened a bombardment on shore targets such as gun positions and encampment areas and on boats and barges moored in close to the shore.

On the Guadalcanal side, a motor auxiliary vessel proceeding from Tulagi to Lungo was fired on by destroyers and shortly afterwards was set on fire by our fighter aircraft. This vessel burned so furiously that it was thought to have been carrying petrol.

Meanwhile other cruiser-borne aircraft had been launched to act as liaison planes over the Tulagi and the Guadalcanal areas. These liaison planes were maintained over their respective areas throughout daylight each day and gave invaluable information regarding the location of enemy troops, batteries and strong points, and later regading the progress of our attacking forces.

' Forces X and Y ' reached their disembarkation areas at 0650L/7 and 0720L/7 respectively and remained underway but stopped, outside the 100 fathom line. The process of lowering, manning and equipping attack boats at once whilst the screening forces acted in accordance with the special instructions they had previously been issued. Broadly, each transport group had an outer arc of screening destroyers and then cruisers between them and the destroyers. With this arrangement both the cruisers and the transports had an anti-submarine screen and against air attack, the enemy aircraft had to pass two outer circles of fire before reaching the transports which would obviously be their objective. In addition the cruisers were able to manoeuvre inside the destroyer screen and yet maintain close support of their transport group.

Throughout daylight carrier borne fighter aircraft were maintained over the combat area as defence against enemy air attack. Fighter Direction was being exercised from USS Chicago to whom a Fighter Direction Group from one of the carriers had been transferred.

In addition to the intial (0615 hours) missions and to the maintenance of fighters over the combat area, the Air Support Force also maintained dive bombers and fighters over both the Tulagi and Guadacanal areas which were available on call to attack shore targets. In the event of enemy air attack the fighters of these patrols would support the aircraft providing fighter protection.

The H-hour, which was the time the troops would actually reach the beaches was set at 0800L/7 for the Tulagi landing at 0910L/7 for the landing on Guadalcanal.

On the Tulagi side, prior to the main landing, there was a secondary landing in the vicinity of Haleta with the object of seizing the promontory and thereby ensuring that the enemy could not fire on the boats making the major landing from the higher ground.

The landings at Haleta and on beach blue (the major landing beach) were accomplished without enemy opposition and the Tulagi landing force soon occupied the northern portion of Tulagi island which was their first objective.

The landing at Haleta had been preceded by a bombardment in which USS San Juan expended 100 rounds of 5" and the destroyers USS Monssen and USS Buchanan each 80 rounds of 5". For 20 minutes these destroyers also stationed themselves as ' goal posts ' to guide the landing craft in towards the main landing zone.

Between 0740L/7 and 0745L/7, USS San Juan expended 560 rounds in bombarding a hill on Tulagi Island. Between 0750L/7 and 0755L/7 were each to expend 200 rounds in close support of the landing and also the northern part of Tulagi Island was dive bombed by 18 aircraft each carrying a 1000lb. bomb. Immediately afterwards followed the landing on the main beach (' Blue beach '). Immediately afterwards USS San Juan fired another 560 rounds against the same hill (Hill 208). The high speed minesweepers were also to spent 60 rounds each on targets on Tulagi and Gavutu Islands. USS Monssen and USS Buchanan were also ordered to each expend 100 round on targets on the southern end of Tulagi Island.

During this period USS San Juan and several destroyers reported sighting a submarine periscope. Heavy depth charge attacks were made and though there is no direct eidence that a submarine was sunk by these attacks, the submarine was not seen again. [No Japanese submarine was present though.]

Meanwhile on the Guadalcanal side, the heavy cruisers USS Astoria, USS Quincy, USS Vincennes and the destroyers USS Dewey, USS Hull, USS Ellet and USS Wilson had been moving close along the north shore of the island keeping targets under almost continuous bombardment. Large fires were raging at Kukum where the enemy was known to have AA batteries and a stores dump.

From 0840L/7, the destroyers had stationed themselves off ' Red Beach ' to mark the line of departure for the attack boats and the ends of the beach were marked by aircraft using coloured smoke bombs.

For the five minutes preceding the actual landing on ' beach Red ' a furious bombardment was put down on the beach area. USS Astoria, USS Quincy, USS Vincennes in this brief interval each fired 45 round of 8" and 200 rounds of 5" whilst the destroyers each fired about 200 rounds. The landing was effected without resistance and our marine forces were on the attack towards Lunga and to seize the line of the Tenaru River without coming into real contact with the enemy. As positions were occupied it became more and more obvious that the enemy had been completely surprised and had taken to the interior of the Island without waiting to render useless any of their plants, stores or material. The aerodrome was found to be intact and the landing strip only required rolling to make it available for our own aircraft. It was evident from the plans captured, from the amount of material and stores captured and from the extensive works which had been started that the establishment of a first class air base on Guadacanal had been the enemy's intention.

A certain number of Japanese pioneer workers were captured and from interrogation it was learned that the garrison which had retired inland was probably 300 strong and that there had escaped with them a considerable number of construction workers.

On the Tulagi side another secondary landing had been made at Halavo. The boats carrying in this landing force had been engaged by shore guns on Bungana and Gatuvu and these defences had also opened fire on the destroyer minesweepers which were supporting the landing. On requist from Rear-Admiral Scott, Rear-Admiral Crutchley sent the destroyer USS Henley to assist in silencing these guns.

On completion of their fire support duties, the destroyer minesweepers streamed their sweepers and made the first sweep in towards Gavutu. No mines were found and the sweepers then carried out a clearance sweep in the Lengo Channel and buoyed the swept lane. Again no mines were found and therefore without waiting for further clearance sweeps, the transports and supply ships moved in close to the beaches to expedite disembarkation of further troop elements and of stores. The minesweepers were released from further sweeping missions and were assigned A/S duties in the landing areas.

On Tulagi Island the landing force having occupied the northern half of the Island, now prepared for the assault against the southern end of the Island where the enemy forces were concentrated. This part of the Island was then subjected to intense aerial and ship bombardment in which task force 62.4 was reinforced by USS Ellet. There were several large explosions and several large fires were started.

At about 1120L/7, a message was received from a Coast Watcher on Bougainville Island reporting a strong force of enemy bombers passing over the Island to the south-east. At about the same time message was received from our shore intelligence advising that enemy submarines were on the move. Shortly after noon it was decided that for the remainder of the day all fighters over the landing area were to be used to protect the Amphibious Force against air attack.

At 1315L/7, our fighters made contact with the enemy bombers about fifteen miles were of Savo Island. One aircraft was soon seen shot down in flames in the vicinity of the Island. At 1323L/7 all ships of ' Force X ' opeened fire on a formation of about 18 Type 97 (Mitsubishi Ki-21) heavy bombers coming over in tight formation and supported by 9 Zero fighters. A pattern bombing attack was carried out by the enemy, the leader giving the release signal by buring a bright light in his glassed-in bomb aimers position in the nose. The bombs were probably 500 pounders. All fell to the north-west of the transports. During their withdrawal the enemy formation continued to be engaged by our fighters. It was later reported that two enemy bombers had been shot down and two had been damaged.

In the assault against the southern portion of Tulagi Island our landing forces was meeting with stiff resistance and in the assault against Gavutu, which however was successfully captured, our marines suffered very heavy casualties.

At 1500L/7, about ten enemy dive bombers came in from the westward and attacked destroyers on the screen to the west of the transports. We had had no warning by radar or from fighter patrols of the approached of this force. Ships at once opened fire and our fighters dived down to attack the enemy, two of which were seen to be shot down. However, USS Mugford received a direct hit aft with a 250 lb. bomb causing loss of life, considerable damage to the after superstructure and putting out of action the two after gun mountings. It is probable that our fighters accounted for many more of this enemy force of dive bombers as dog fights were seen in progress west of Savo Island and the enemy must have been at a disadvantage regarding speed.

During the afternoon the landing of material and stores had progressed on the Guadalcanal side but at Tulagi this operation was held up because the whole Island was not yet in Allied hands. American dive bombers over ' Force X ' periodically attacked target on the north coast of Guadalcanal as the Liaison planes pointed them out. On the other side, the enemy occupied portion of Tulagi Island and Tanambago Island had both been further hammered by ship bombardment and dive bombing and there were large fires burning furiously in each of these areas.

At 1830L/7 (sunset was at 1818 hours), the Screening Group was ordered to take up night dispositions as had been instructed earlier;
Two destroyers were stationed to seaward of Savo Island covering the entrances either side of Savo Island as radar and A/S guard patrols.
Two groups, each with three 8" cruisers screened by two destroyers on patrol covering the approaches from north of Savo Island and from south of Savo Island to the transport groups.
Close A/S and anti-MTB screens of destroyers and destroyer minesweepers around the transports.
USS San Juan and HMAS Hobart screened by two destroyers underway between the two transport groups as cover against enemy light forces, entering the combat area from the eastward.

At 2000L/7, the situation with regard to the progress of the marine landing forces was as follows;
On Guadacanal all troops ashore occupying on the west the line of the Tenaru river and to the east a line about longtitude 160°06'E. No major contact with the enemy garrison forces had been made.
In the Tulagi area , Tulagi itself was occupied except the easternmost end where the enemy were still resisting. Gavutu was captured, but with heavy losses on our side. Tanambago was still in the hands of the enemy and our forces were preparing to attack. Halavo was occupied by the Allied forces.

The very stiff resistance offered by the enemy on the Tulagi side called for reinforcement of our forces on Tulagi and Gavutu. These reinforcements were necessarily drawn from the forces held for the occupation of Ndeni in the 3rd phase of the operation and thereby threw out of gear, the planned shedule.

During the night the beach on the Guadacanal side became so congested with gear and equipment landed from the transports and store ships, that unloading had to be suspended.

On the Tulagi side the unloading operation had still not been commenced.

The night passeed without any form of interference from the enemy.

8 August 1942.

Sunrise was at 0638L/8. At 0500L/8, Rear-Admiral Crutchley had ordered the outer patrol units to return to the transport areas and to re-assume their day screen.

As enemy submarines might reach the area today, Rear-Admiral Crutchley ordered the destroyer minesweepers to form an A/S patrol to the westward of the Sealark and Lengo Channels. In addition all cruiser borne aircraft, except one or two for liaison duties, were now available for A/S patrols. At least three at the same time were kept in the air.

At 1027L/8, a message from a coast watcher on Bougainville Island reported 40 heavy bombers proceeding to the south-east. Shortly afterwards the transports were ordered to get underway. Both ' Force X ' and ' Force Y ' were formed independently and manoeuvred between Guadalcanal and Florida Islands awaiting the expected air attack.

At 1200L/8, HMAS Australia sighted 23 large twin engine torpedo bombers to the eastward approaching from behind the clouds over Florida Island. The alarm was given and soon all ships in ' Force X ' were engaging the aircraft which came in low to execute a torpedo bombing attack. A magnificent curtain of bursting high explosive was put up and enemy aircraft were everywhere crashing in flames. Torpedoes were dropped mostly at long range but many of the aircraft continued to fly in towards the formation to strafe personnel. The destroyer USS Jarvis was struck on the starboard side forward by a torpedo and the transport USS George F. Elliott was set on fire by an enemy aircraft flying deliberately into her superstructure. The destroyer USS Dewey was ordered to assist USS Jarvis and try to tow her into shallow water and the destroyer USS Hull was ordered to assist the burning transport.

After the attack on ' Force X ' the torpedo bombers turned towards Savo Island and were then raked by AA fire from ' Force Y '. It is estimated that 12 of the eenmy torpedo bombers were shot down. The attack had been presses well home by a strong force but was badly designed in that all the aircraft attacked from the same direction so enabling us to concentrate the full volume of our AA gunfire on them ans simplifying the avoiding action it was necessary to take. Synchronised with this torpedo bomber attack on ' Force X ' the transports were attacked by a number of high level bombers supported by Zero fighters. Bombs fell close to some of the transports but no damage was caused to any of the Allied ships.

USS Jarvis reached shallow water under her own power going astern and was able to anchor. Inspection showed that her engines and boilers were undamaged but the bottom of her hull was open between stations 30 and 55. She would be able to make four to seven knots under her own power and that night she was sailed to make the beat of her way to Vila but has not been seen or heard since. It was reported that the crew of one of the Japanese aircraft shot down had opened revolver fire on USS Jarvis when she approached their rubber boat to pick them up. The Japanese then shot themselves to avoid being taken prisoner.

The transport USS George F. Elliott continued to burn fiercely but with the assistance of the destroyer USS Hull which had been sent to her. It seemed at one time that the fire would be got under control. However the fire later gained, reached her fire rooms and she had to be abandoned. USS Hull fired four torpedoes into the ship but the burning wreck later grounded in shoal water.

After this attack the transports returned to the unloading areas and the transfer of stores and equipment to the beaches was resumed.

Around 1400L/8, the transport groups were again got under way as warning had been received of another force of enemy bombers proceeding towards the area. No attack developed, however, and at 1630L/8 the unloading operations were again resumed.

In the land areas our troops had extended their occupation area on Guadalcanal and now held from Tenaru to Kukum including the air field.

On the northern side we had completed the capture of Tulagi Island, had consolidated on Gavutu Island and had taken Tanambogo Island though a few isolated snipers had yet to be mopped up.

At 1830L/8, Rear-Admiral Crutchley ordered to naval forces to take up night dispositions as for the previous night.

The situation at the ends of this, the second day, was not quite as favourable as had been expected.
Air raids and the threat of air raids causing the transports to get under way to meet them had delayed the unloading operations.
Part of a night's unloading had been lost because of the congestion on the beach on the Guadalcanal side.
On the Tulagi side the unloading had barely begun because the Island of Tulagi had not been fully conquered earlier.
Owing to the very stiff resistance offered by the enemy on the northern side, it had been necessary to employ additional marine forces and these had been draen from the reserve which was intended to occupy Ndeni (Santa Cruz Islands) in the 3rd phase of the operation.
So far our losses due to enemy air attack had been one transport and heavy damage to two destroyers. However the enemy continued to receive air reinforcements at Rabaul. Enemy seaplane tenders were moving south and one could expect as heavy and possibly more frequent attacks on our sight with possibly not such lucky results for the Allies.
Commander Task Force 61 had said that the time had come for him to withdraw the carrier forces.
Enemy submarines were known to be on their way to the area and could be expected at any moment.

At 2045L/8, Rear-Admiral Crutchley was ordered to proceed to the transport USS McCawley for a conference with Rear-Admiral Turner. So at 2055L/8, Rear Admiral Crutchley ordered Captain Bode of the USS Chicago to take charge of the patrol in the southern entrance while HMAS Australia parted company to proceed to the transports of ' Force X '.

During the conference it was decided to retire from the area the following day despite the fact that by no means all material and stores had been landed. Orders were given to give priority to the most vital material and stores to be landed that night.

During the day a report had been received that an enemy force of three cruisers, three destroyers and two seaplane tenders or gunboats had been sighted east of Bougainville Island steering south-east. Rear-Admiral Crutchley asked Rear-Admiral Turner what he thought of this enemy force was up to. Rear-Admiral Turner replied that it was his opinion that the enemy force was destined for Rekata Bay possibly from there to operate torpedo carrying float planes against our forces and that we would have to expect two torpedo attacks a day instead of one. Rear-Admiral Turner also informed Rear-Admiral Crutchley that he had requisted for the next day, full scale bombing of these ships which he felt sure would be in Rekata Bay.

9 August 1942 and the Battle of Savo Island.

It was 0115L/9, when Rear-Admiral Crutchley rejoined HMAS Australia and after 0130L/9, when she got clear of the transport area it was decided not to rejoin the patrol in the southern entrance. HMAS Austalia then patrolled near the transports inside the destroyer screen.

The patrols during this night had been organised as follows; The destroyers USS Blue and USS Ralph Talbot were on the outer radar and A/S patrol, USS Blue off the southern entrance and USS Ralph Talbot off the northern entrance. Patrolling to the south east of Savo Island were patrolling USS Chicago, HMAS Canberra, USS Bagley and USS Patterson. HMAS Australia had originally been with them. Patrolling to the east-north-east of Savo Island were the USS Vincennes, USS Quincy, USS Astoria, USS Helm and USS Wilson.

Not long afterwards, at 0146L/9, green flares were dropped by aircraft. They began to show up to the southward and south-eastward of ' X ' transport area.

At 0150L/9, a flare was dropped in the direction of the channel south-west of Savo Island. Almost at once a few tracer rounds were sighted which were thought to be Oerlikon fire from a ship in the southern patrol group engaging the aircraft that had dropped the flare. However immediately afterwards a burst of heavy surface gunfire was observed to the east of the source of the tracer.

A night naval action then commenced which, as seen from HMAS Australia appreared to move to the tight and to increase tremendously in intensity. HMAS Australia had received no enemy report from either of the Allied guard units or from any ship in the cruiser forces.

What was happening was the following. A Japanese attack force had left Rabaul to attack the Allies. This was the same force that had been sighted an reported but was thought to include seaplane tenders. This was however not the case as the Japanese force was made up of the heavy cruisers Chokai (flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Mikawa), Aoba, Furutaka, Kako, Kinugasa, light cruisers and the destroyer Tenryu, Yubari and the destroyer Yunagi (all offsite links).

They managed to slip by the destroyer USS Blue which despite her radar outfit did not detect the Japanese. The Japanese however, did sighted the destroyer and managed to evade her and proceeded to pass to the southward of Savo Island but before arriving the another destroyer was sighted and evaded. This was the heavily damaged USS Jarvis which was leaving the area for Efate. It seems that the Jarvis also did not see the Japanese but this can not be varified as the destroyer was lost later the same day with all hands. The Japanese destroyer Yunagi was either detached or lost contact with the remainder of the Japanese Force. She had a brief exchange of gunfire with the Jarvis.

The flares that had been dropped came from floatplanes catapulted by the Japanese cruisers. The Japanese then encounted, the ' Southern group ' made up of the USS Chicago, HMAS Canberra, USS Bagley and USS Patterson. The Allies were taken completely by surprise, with their ships not being in first degree of readiness. Not all guns were manned. The Allied crews had been on the alert for two days and it had been decided to rest the crew during the night as much as possible as no attack was expected during the night and enemy air attacks were again expected the following day.

As a result the Japanese engaged the Allied southern patrol force from close range. HMAS Canberra was quickly disabled by gunfire and torpedo hits. Before HMAS Canberra was able to return fire she was already hit by around 24 shells and one or two torpedoes. Both boiler rooms were put out of action, power and lighting were lost and the ship was heavily on fire.

USS Chicago, second in line, was also hit by gunfire and a torpedo in her bow. She retired to the west for about 40 minutes and apparently made no attempt to raise the alarm or give info to other Allied ships on what just happended. For this Captain Bode was heavily criticized. He later committed suicide.

USS Bagley was not damaged in the engagement and managed to fire four torpedoes but they did not hit. After the battle she went to the aid of USS Astoria but also picked up survivors from USS Vincennes and USS Quincy.

USS Patterson, was the first ship to sight the Japanse and the Commanding Officer ordered torpedoes to be fired, however the order was not heard by the torpedo officers when she also opened fire with her guns and in the end no torpedoes were fired by USS Patterson. She was also the only ship that transmitted an enemy report by TBS. Her Commanding Officer had instructed his watch crew to be on their alert as he did not trust the aircraft report on the seaplane tenders. He had also decided to take the watch in which he though it most likely the Japanese might attack himself while all the Commanding Officers of the other ships were asleep. She was hit by enemy gunfire and No.3 and No.4 guns were out of action although No.4 gun soon was able to resume firing. She was also narrowly missed by an enemy torpedo. When the action was over she assisted the heavily damaged HMAS Canberra but the cruiser was beyond salvage and had to be scuttled.

The Japanese then continued around Savo Island at high speed where they encountered the other Allied patrol group, the ' Northern group ', made up of USS Vincennes, USS Quincy, USS Astoria, USS Helm and USS Wilson. Japanese torpedoes were already underway towards the ' Northern group '.

When the aircraft flares were fired the ships of the ' Northern group ' rang the alarm and went to action stations but despite this they too were overwhelmed by the Japanese which now had become divided after the first action. The American ' Northern Force ' was then being attacked from both sides. The Chokai, Aoba, Kako and Kinugasa form one group, the other group was made up of the Furataka, Tenryu and Yubari the other group. In the following action the heavy cruisers USS Vincennes and USS Quincy were sunk while the USS Astoria was heavily damaged. Salvage attempts failed and she later sank as well.

At about 0156L/9, the ' Northern group ' was illuminated and engaged. Fire was returned but the Allied cruisers were soon heavily hit by enemy gunfire and torpedoes. USS Vincennes soon lost electric power but her turrets continued firing in local control. She then received two torpedo hits which halted the ship. Also several fires broke out. The enemy ceased fire around 0215L/9. By 0230L/9 she was listing heavily and the order was given to abandon ship. She sank around 0245L/9.

USS Quincy was hit by the enemy's opening salvo. She was able to open fire but was soon heavily hit topside and fires were soon blazing. She then received a torpedo hit. She turned over at 0235L/9. A large hole was then revealed on her port side.

USS Astoria was able to open fire before being hit but she too was then heavily hit by enemy gunfire which started large fires. By the time the enemy ceased fire she she had lost all power. Her main armament had been able to get off around ten salvoes. Destroyers and destroyer minesweepers went to her aid in fighting the fires but she was beyond salvage and finally sank around 1215L/9.

USS Helm had been unable to identify the enemy in the confusing action and did not open fire.

USS Wilson had fired 212 rounds of 5" at the enemy. She had aimed at the enemy's searchlights for the most part.

Around 0215L/9, USS Ralph Talbot, the other picket destroyer, had turned south-east on observing the action. Around 0230L/9 was illuminated and engaged by the retiring enemy. She sustained fairly extensive superficial damage.

Some damage was inflicted on the enemy, Chokai was hit several times by USS Quincy and USS Astoria. Her No.1 gun turret was hit and out of action. Aoba was hit once. Kinugasa was hit twice. The floatplanes from Aoba and Kako were lost. The biggest loss for the Japanese came the following day where the Kako was torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine USS S-44 (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Moore).

Following the battle most of the wounded that had been picked up by the destroyers were transferred to the transports Barnett and Fuller.

The retirement from the area, which had been planned at 0730L/9, could not be proceeded with. HMAS Canberra was unable to proceed and was ordered to be scuttled. She sank around 0800L/9 with torpedoes fired by USS Ellet after gunfire and torpedoes from USS Selfridge had failed to do the job.

Around 0850L/9, the transports got underway again as coast watchers on Bougainville again reported enemy aircraft on their way. By 1100L/9, no air attacks had developed and unloading was resumed.

Around 1530L/9, the majority of the transports transports of ' Force X ', less USS McCawley got underway eastwards through the Lengo Channel. They were escorted by USS Chicago, USS Mugford, USS Ralph Talbot, USS Patterson, USS Ellet, USS Dewey, USS Southard, USS Hovey, USS Hopkins, USS Zane and USS Trever.

Around 1545L/9, the transports of ' Force Y ' and USS McCawley departed the Tulagi area. They also proceeded eastwards through the Lengo Channel. They were escorted by HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, USS San Juan, USS Selfridge, USS Bagley, USS Blue, USS Helm, USS Henley, Hull, USS Wilson, USS Monssen, USS Buchanan, USS Colhoun, USS Gregory, USS Little and USS McKean.

Both forces set course for Nouméa, New Caledonia where they arrived on 13 August 1942. On the 11th, USS Chicago, which had been unable to keep up with the convoy due to her damage was detached to proceed to Nouméa singly escorted by USS Mugford and USS Patterson arriving there on the 14th.

19 Aug 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) departed Noumea to join the Carrier Fleet (Task Force 61) at sea. Task Force 61 was still operating in the area covering operations in the Guadalcanal area.

21 Aug 1942

Continued operations in the Guadacanal - Tulagi area.

21 August 1942.

Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) made rendezvous with the Carrier Fleet (Task Force 61).

They then joined Task Force 11 (Task Group 61.1), made up of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. D.C. Ramsey, USN, flying the flag of vice-Admiral F.J. Fletcher, USN), heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis (Capt. F.J. Lowry, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H. Wright, USN), USS New Orleans (Capt. W.S. Delany, USN) and the destroyers USS Phelps (T/Cdr. E.L. Beck, USN, with Capt. S.B. Brewer, USN on board), USS Farragut (Cdr. G.P. Hunter, USN), USS Macdonough (Lt.Cdr. E. van E. Dennet, USN), USS Worden (T/Cdr. W.G. Pogue, USN) and USS Dale (Cdr. H.E. Parker, USN).

USS Selfridge was however ordered to join Task Force 18 (Task Group 61.3), made up of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (T/Capt. F.P. Sherman, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L. Noyes, USN), heavy cruisers Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS San Francisco (Capt. C.H. McMorris, USN), AA cruiser USS San Juan (Capt. J.E. Maher, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral N. Scott, USN) and the destroyers USS Farenholt (T/Cdr. Lt.Cdr. E.T. Seaward, USN, with Capt. R.G. Tobin, USN on board), USS Aaron Ward (T/Cdr. O.F. Gregor, USN), USS Buchanan (T/Cdr. R.E. Wilson, USN), USS Lang (T/Cdr. E.A. Seay, USN), USS Stack (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Greenacre, USN) and USS Sterett (Cdr. J.G. Coward, USN).

These was also Task Force 16 (Task Group 61.2) made up of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (Capt. A.C. Davis, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral T.C. Kincaid, USN), battleship USS North Carolina (Capt. G.H. Fort, USN), heavy cruiser USS Portland (Capt. L.T. Du Bose, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral M.S. Tisdale, USN), AA cruiser USS Atlanta (Capt. S.P. Jenkins, USN) and the destroyers USS Balch (T/Cdr. H.H. Tiemroth, USN, with Capt. E.P. Sauer, USN on board), USS Benham (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Taylor, USN), USS Ellet (T/Cdr. F.H. Gardner, USN), USS Maury (T/Cdr. G.L. Sims, USN), USS Grayson (T/Cdr. F.J. Bell, USN) and USS Monssen (T/Cdr. R.N. Smoot, USN).

A ' Surface Attack Group ' was then formed in case it would be needed, although the ships assigned remained with the carriers for the moment. It was was made up of the following units;
USS San Juan (Independent Flagship)
1st Division; USS North Carolina, USS Minneapolis and New Orleans.
2nd Division; USS Portland, USS Salt Lake City and USS San Francisco.
3rd Division; the third division was to be formed from the screen on signal, the screen was made up of the AA cruiser USS Atlanta and the destroyers USS Selfridge, USS Maury, USS Worden, USS Benham, USS Lang, USS Aaron Ward, USS Bagley and USS Patterson. 4th Division; heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and the light cruisers HMAS Hobart and USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) although this last cruiser was yet to join.

The ' Carrier Attack Group ' was made up of the three aircraft carriers and the remaining destroyers.

Vice-Admiral Fletcher outlines the mission of the ' Air Attack Group as being;
To destroy enemy forces prior to and while in the Tulagi - Guadalcanal area,
To defend the own carriers.

The mission of the ' Surface Attack Group ' was given as the defence of the carriers against hostile surface attack.

At sunset, the cruisers USS Minneapolis, USS New Orleans, USS San Francisco, USS Salt Lake City and the destroyers USS Selfridge, USS Worden, USS Patterson, USS Benham, USS Lang and USS Maury parted company with the rest of the fleet to form a scouting line 20 miles ahead of the main fleet to guard against night surface attack. They were to rejoin the main force after daylight.

Meanwhile on Guadalcanal, around 0200L/21, an enemy force of about 700 troops attempted to break through our defences at the mouth of the Tenaru River. There was heavy hand to hand fighting until about 0900L/21when the enemy, then retiring, was out-flanked and trapped with their backs to the beach. Fighting continued till about 1700L/21 when our infantery, supported by tanks, completed the destruction of the enemy. 670 Japanese were killed and a few were taken prisoner. Allied casualties were 28 marines killed and 72 wounded. According to an enemy prisoner, their landing force had sailed from Truk on 16 August 1942 in six destroyers and had been landed on 18 August 1942 at a point 18 miles east of Lunga [They had been landed near Cape Taivu by the destroyers Kagero, Arashi, Hagikaze, Hamakaze, Tanikaze and Urakaze (all offsite links)].

At about mid-day four of the fighters now based on Guadalcanal engaged six enemy Zero fighters over the area. One Zero was shot down and one of our own fighters crashed on landing owing to inability to extend the undercarriage.

During the afternoon the seaplane tender (former destroyer) 2314 McFarland (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Alderman, USN) and the high speed transports USS Colhoun (T/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Madden, USN), USS Gregory (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bauer, USN), USS Little (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Lofberg, Jr., USN), USS McKean (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Shinners, USN), USS Stringham (Lt.Cdr. C.E. Boyd, USN) and uSS Manley (Lt. O.C. Schatz, Jr., USN) (also former destroyers) arrived at Guadacanal with provisions, gear, materials and some personnel. The USS McFarland had aviation gasoline on board. During the approach of this force, a torpedo fired by a submarine passed astern of USS McFarland. If genuine this may have been an attack by the Japanese submarine I-123 (offsite link) who was in the area and did not return from patrol.

At 0900L/21, the seaplane tender USS MacKinac (T/Capt. N.R. Hitchcock, USN), which was operating planes from Ndeni (Santa Cruz Islands) reported being attacked sustaining some damage and casualties. It was later find out this had been allied aircraft which had attacked in error.

22 August 1942.

At 0615L/22, when about 60 miles south of Guadalcanal the aircraft carriers flew off a striking force to attack target of opportunity in the Guadalcanal area. It is considered that this force probably had no success as no enemy were reported in the area this particular morning. During the day the Carrier Groups were kept roughly between San Cristobal and Rennel Islands but no enemy surface foreces were reported within range of our striking forces. An enemy flying boat was shot down by fighters. At the end of the day course was shaped to the eastward and after clearing San Cristobal, changed to the northward and westward to reach a position about 45 miles eastward of the southern end of Malaita Island by daylight the next morning. Ll/22, after the destroyers USS Blue (Cdr. H.N. Williams, USN), USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) and USS Henley (Cdr. R.H. Smith, USN) had escorted the storeships USS Fomalhaut (AK 22) (5028 GRT, built 1942) (Cdr. J.D. Alvis, USN) and USS Alhena (AK 26) (7101 GRT, built 1941) (T/Capt. C.B. Hunt, USN) through the lengo Channel to Tulagi and Guadalcanal, USS Blue was struck aft by a torpedo which was thought to have been fired by an enemy Motor Torpedo Boat. [The attacker was actually the destroyer Kawakaze, which had been on patrol in the Guadacanal area.] The stern of the destroyer was blown off. She reached Lunga in tow and though disabled, remained seaworthy. USS Alhena discharged her cargo of rations, water, distilling outfits, weapons, ammunition, aviation lubricating oil and bombs. USS Fomalhaut discharged at Guadalcanal a cargo consisting of rations, aviaton spirit, water, distilling outfits, ammunition and materials.

USS McFarland, USS Colhoun, USS Gregory, USS Little and USS McKean left the Guadalcanal area after having discharged their cargoes. USS Stringham and USS Manley remained in the area after having finished unloading. They were to assist USS Helm and USS Henley in screening the Fomalhaut and Alhena.

The morning air reconnaissance reported a Japanese ship, thought to be a light cruiser in approximate position 05°00'N, 159°00'E proceeding south-east at 24 knots. As it was thought this ship might be en-route to attack our seaplane tender at Ndeni so USS MacKinac and the destroyer minelayer USS Breese (T/Cdr. H.F. Staut, USN) were ordered to leave that place.

The light cruiser USS Phoenix which was to join the Fleet arrived at Noumea from Sydney. However she required repairs to one gun turret which were estimated to take 48 hours.

23 August 1942.

At 0630L/23, the three carrier groups had reached a position about 45 miles to the east of the south end of Malaita Island and throughout the day operated between this position and a positiom 70 miles to the south-east. CAP fighter patrols one again accounted for a Japanese flying boat. Our own reconnaissance aircraft made three submarine sightings. [These were the Japanese submarine I-17 (twice) and I-19 (offsite links).] These sightings seems to confirm an earlier intelligence report which had been received indicating a line of enemy submsrines stretching north-west from Ndeni (Santa Cruz Islands).

At 1030L/23, a reconnaissance aircraft reported an enemy force of two cruisers, three destroyers and four transports in approximate position 05°00'N, 160°00'E steering south towards Guadalcanal at 17 knots. At 1515L/23 USS Saratoga launched a striking force of 37 torpedo and dive bombers to attack this enemy force, then estimated to bear 320°, 260 miles from our own carrier forces. From the airfield on Guadalcanal a striking force of 9 dive bombers escorted by fighters was also launched but neither of these striking forces made contact with the enemy. This was not surprising as the reconnaissance aircraft had made only the initial sighting report and with passing rain stroms and a good deal of cloud it was essential that the enemy was effectively shadowed and reported if our striking forces were to reach them to deliver an attack. All the aircraft of these striking forces landed at Guadalcanal airfield. The carrier group then rejoined USS Saratoga the next morning. During the night the Japanese destroyer Kagero had bombarded the area of the airfield.

The enemy convoy sighted by the reconnaissance aircraft had been made up of the transports Boston Maru (5438 GRT, built 1919), Daifuku Maru (3194 GRT, built 1907) and Kinryu Maru (9310 GRT, built 1938). They had a close escort made up of the light cruiser Jintsu and the patrol boats Patrol Boat No.1, Patrol Boat No.2, Patrol Boat No.34 and Patrol Boat No.35.

Five Catalina flying boats were to attack this convoy with bombs and torpedoes in moonlight but these also could not find it. It was later heard that the enemy convoy had made a drastic alteration of course to the north-west. It was a pity that failure on the part of the reconnaissance plane to make further reports had led to so much wasted efforts of the Allied air striking forces.

In the evening Task Force 18 (USS Wasp group), parted company and proceeded to the south to refuel from USN tankers in approximate position 13°00'S, 164°00'E.

As no attack had developed against Ndeni, USS MacKinac and USS Breese returned to Graciosa Bay.

During the afternoon it became clear that the damaged destroyer USS Blue could not towed away from the Guadalcanal area. She was therefore scuttled in the evening by scuttling charges and gunfire (a torpedo had missed) from USS Henley.

During the night of 23/24 August, Task Forces 11 and 16 proceeded to the south-east, then to the north and finally to the westward to be back in the same area as today for continued operations. (8)

24 Aug 1942

Continued operations in the Guadacanal - Tulagi area / Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

24 August 1942.

At daylight on 24 August, Task Forces 11 and 16 had reached a position about 50 miles east of the southern end of Malaita Island.

The composition of Task Force 11 was as follows; the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. D.C. Ramsey, USN, flying the flag of vice-Admiral F.J. Fletcher, USN), heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis (Capt. F.J. Lowry, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H. Wright, USN), USS New Orleans (Capt. W.S. Delany, USN), HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Phelps (T/Cdr. E.L. Beck, USN, with Capt. S.B. Brewer, USN on board), USS Farragut (Cdr. G.P. Hunter, USN), USS Macdonough (Lt.Cdr. E. van E. Dennet, USN), USS Worden (T/Cdr. W.G. Pogue, USN), USS Dale (Cdr. H.E. Parker, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN).

Task Force 16 was made up of Enterprise (Capt. A.C. Davis, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral T.C. Kincaid, USN), battleship USS North Carolina (Capt. G.H. Fort, USN), heavy cruiser USS Portland (Capt. L.T. Du Bose, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral M.S. Tisdale, USN), AA cruiser USS Atlanta (Capt. S.P. Jenkins, USN) and the destroyers USS Balch (T/Cdr. H.H. Tiemroth, USN, with Capt. E.P. Sauer, USN on board), USS Benham (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Taylor, USN), USS Ellet (T/Cdr. F.H. Gardner, USN), USS Maury (T/Cdr. G.L. Sims, USN), USS Grayson (T/Cdr. F.J. Bell, USN) and USS Monssen (T/Cdr. R.N. Smoot, USN).

Task Force 18, made up of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (T/Capt. F.P. Sherman, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L. Noyes, USN), heavy cruisers Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS San Francisco (Capt. C.H. McMorris, USN), AA cruiser USS San Juan (Capt. J.E. Maher, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral N. Scott, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, on board), USS Farenholt (T/Cdr. Lt.Cdr. E.T. Seaward, USN, with Capt. R.G. Tobin, USN on board), USS Aaron Ward (T/Cdr. O.F. Gregor, USN), USS Buchanan (T/Cdr. R.E. Wilson, USN), USS Lang (T/Cdr. E.A. Seay, USN), USS Stack (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Greenacre, USN) and USS Sterett (Cdr. J.G. Coward, USN) was some 250 miles to the southward to fuel from the tankers USS Cimarron (T/Capt. R.M. Ihrig, USN), USS Platte (Capt. R.H. Henkle, USN). These tankers were escorted by the destroyers USS Clark (T/Capt. M.T. Richardson, USN) and USS Gwin (Cdr. J.M. Higgins, USN). The tanker group had departed Efate on 23 August 1942. Fuelling commenced around 0920L/24.

Allied reconnaissance aircraft were soon in contact with the enemy surface forces and it became clear that widespread enemy movement was under way. At 0800L/24, a convoy of five ships was sighted. This convoy was escorted by a cruiser, three destroyers and a submarine. Location of the convoy was was to the south of Bougainville steering to the south-east. Later there were reports of two cruisers and two destroyers in the New Ireland - Isabel Island area.

Following these sightings our reconnaissance aircraft sighted strong enemy naval forces to the north-east of Ontong Java Atoll steering to the southward. These naval forces when sighted were about 300 miles north of Task Forces 11 and 16. When this strong enemy naval force was sighted USS Saratoga had just landed on her aircraft which had stayed overnight on the airfield at Guadalcanal.

Vice-Admiral Fletcher ordered all ships to have steam for full speed by 1200L/24. The Task Forces then proceeded to the north and east whilst preparing air strike groups to attack the enemy.

The aircraft reports of the enemy naval forces when plotted failed to give a clear picture of the situation because the reports were not amplified and were not kept up to date. It was obvious, also, that the enemy types were being mistaken, particularly that destroyers were being reported as cruisers. However the reports showed that the enemy had a very considerable naval force, including an aircraft carrier, to the northward of the Allied Task Forces 11 and 16.

The Japanese forces operating in the area were the following; The ' Main Force ' was made up of the heavy cruisers Atago, Takao, Maya, Myoko, Haguro, light cruiser Yura and the destroyers Asagumo, Yamagumo, Kuroshio, Oyashio and Hayashio.
The ' Support Force ' was made up of the battleship Mutsu, seaplane tender Chitose and the destroyers Natsugumo, Murasame, Harusame and Samidare.
The ' Carrier Force ' was made up of the aircraft carriers Shokaku, Zuikaku and the destroyers Akigumo, Yugumo, Makigumo, Kazagumo, Shikinami.
The ' Cover Force ' was to provide cover for the ' Carrier Force ' and was made up of the battlecruisers Hiei, Kirishima, heavy cruisers Kumano, Suzuya, Chikuma, light cruiser Nagara and the destroyers Akizuki, Hatsukaze, Maikaze, Nowaki, Tanikaze and Yukikaze.
The ' Distraction Force ' was made up of the light carrier Ryujo, heavy cruiser Tone and the destroyers Amatsukaze and Tokitsukaze (all links are offsite links).

Around 1330L/24, USS Saratoga launched a striking force against the ' Ryujo ' Force. The striking force was made up of 30 dive bombers and 8 torpedo bombers. Around 1530L/24, they attacked the Ryujo and managed to heavily damage the Japanse carrier with bombs and torpedo(es). The damaged carrier sinks later the same day in position 06°10'S, 160°50'E.

Shortly after 1405L/24, two large enemy carriers were sighted by a reconnaissance aircraft from USS Enterprise. At 1430L/24, it was however decided not to launch the available striking force from USS Enterprise (only 25 aircraft were available), as these aircraft would not be able to return before dark. Two of the scouts from USS Enterprise attacked the Shokaku with bombs. One very near miss was obtained and she suffered some minor damage to her hull.

The strike force from the Enterprise however was launched to clear the deck between 1625L/24 and 1640L/24 when Japanese aircraft were detected to be approaching. The strike force was ordered to search for and attack the damaged Ryujo and then land on Guadalcanal. They however did not find the Ryujo.

Around the same time USS Saratoga also launched her remaining eight attack planes to attack the enemy battleship and cruiser force reported to the north. They later attacked the Chitose (They identified the target as the Mutsu.) All aircraft, except for one dive bomber which had returned early and two torpedo aircraft which landed on San Christobal Island, returned to the carrier.

At 1602L/24, the radar on the USS Enterprise detected a large unidentified flight of aircraft coming towards, bearing 320°, range 88 miles. At that time there were 25 fighters on Combat Air Patrol and USS Saratoga had 20 ready on deck. The sun was bearing 325°, so the enemy was approaching from the direction of the sun. The radar contact was however soon lost and was not picked up again for 17 minutes. USS Saratoga meanwhile launched her aircraft and a returning search group was ordered to stay clear as enemy attack was imminent but not all picked up this message. It is believed that the Japanese were trailing these returning aircraft.

At 1619L/24, the enemy flight was picked up again on the same bearing but now at a range of 44 miles. Some fighters in the meantime had landed for refuelling while others were launched. In all there were now 38 fighters on CAP. At 1625L/24, one section of our fighters sighted the enemy consisting of about 36 bombers with many Zero fighters above and below. They were then about 33 miles from the Enterprise which at that time was about 10 miles to the north-west of the Saratoga. Shortly afterwards also enemy torpedo aircraft were seen.

USS Saratoga then launched an additional 15 fighters bringing the total in the air to 53. Fighter direction was however not as effective as it could have been due to much non-essential chatter on the radio.

At a range of about 25 miles the enemy split into multiple sections and veered to the north. It was during this interval that the radar screen became confused with the many enemy groups, our returning search aircraft, the Enterprise strike group just launched to attack the Ryujo, the second Saratoga attack group and the many fighters in the air. This, with the poor radio discipline, made it difficult to obtain correct information on the various enemy groups and to control our fighters.

When the enemy aircraft were about 14 miles from the Enterprise, a fighter reported them to be at 18000 feet. Our fighters attacked promptly but had to climb through Zero fighters to reach the bombers, hence the majority of the dive bombers were not intercepted until they were in their dives.

Meanwhile Task Force 61 was doing 27 knots, manoeuvring radically with maximum rudder. The screen came in to close support distance, 2000 yards for cruiser and destroyer within 1800 yards. The USS North Carolina was at 2500 yards from the USS Enterprise proceeding at her full speed.

At 1641L/24, USS Enterprise was near missed by the first group of enemy dive bombers. but soon more groups came in and in the end USS Enterprise was hit by three bombs and suffered many near misses. Many of the attackers were shot down or damaged (Japanese gives 18 dive bombers and 6 fighters lost out of 27 dive bombers and 10 fighters). Repairs were made on board the USS Enterprise and she was able to remain in operation.

Meanwhile speed had been increased to 30 knots by USS Enterprise and her cruiser and destroyer escort. The result was that the North Carolina dropped behind and was now also attacked by Japanese aircraft, she was not hit but suffered three near misses.

During the night of 24/25 August 1942, Task Forces 11 and 16 retired to the south. Task Force 11 was to refuel and Task Force 16 with the Enterprise was to retire for repairs. Task Force 18, having refuelled proceeded northwards.

With the enemy still at large the seaplane tender USS MacKinac (T/Capt. N.R. Hitchcock, USN) and destroyer minelayer USS Breese (T/Cdr. H.F. Staut, USN) were ordered again to retire from Ndeni (Santa Cruz Islands). (8)

25 Aug 1942

Continued operations in the Guadacanal - Tulagi area following the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

25 August 1942.

During the night of 24 August/ 25 August, Task Forces 11 and 16 retired to the south to refuel or retire from the area for repairs respectively. Task Force 18 had completed fuelling and now proceeded northwards to take their place.

The composition of Task Force 11 was as follows; the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. D.C. Ramsey, USN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral F.J. Fletcher, USN), heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis (Capt. F.J. Lowry, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H. Wright, USN), USS New Orleans (Capt. W.S. Delany, USN), HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers USS Phelps (T/Cdr. E.L. Beck, USN, with Capt. S.B. Brewer, USN on board), USS Farragut (Cdr. G.P. Hunter, USN), USS Dewey (T/Cdr. C.F. Chillingsworth, Jr., USN), USS Macdonough (Lt.Cdr. E. van E. Dennet, USN), USS Worden (T/Cdr. W.G. Pogue, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN).

Task Force 16 was made up of Enterprise (Capt. A.C. Davis, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral T.C. Kincaid, USN), battleship USS North Carolina (Capt. G.H. Fort, USN), heavy cruiser USS Portland (Capt. L.T. Du Bose, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral M.S. Tisdale, USN), AA cruiser USS Atlanta (Capt. S.P. Jenkins, USN) and the destroyers USS Balch (T/Cdr. H.H. Tiemroth, USN, with Capt. E.P. Sauer, USN on board), USS Benham (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Taylor, USN), USS Ellet (T/Cdr. F.H. Gardner, USN), USS Maury (T/Cdr. G.L. Sims, USN), USS Grayson (T/Cdr. F.J. Bell, USN) and USS Monssen (T/Cdr. R.N. Smoot, USN).

Task Force 18, made up of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (T/Capt. F.P. Sherman, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral L. Noyes, USN), heavy cruisers Salt Lake City (Capt. E.G. Small, USN), USS San Francisco (Capt. C.H. McMorris, USN), AA cruiser USS San Juan (Capt. J.E. Maher, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral N. Scott, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, on board), USS Farenholt (T/Cdr. Lt.Cdr. E.T. Seaward, USN, with Capt. R.G. Tobin, USN on board), USS Aaron Ward (T/Cdr. O.F. Gregor, USN), USS Buchanan (T/Cdr. R.E. Wilson, USN), USS Lang (T/Cdr. E.A. Seay, USN), USS Stack (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Greenacre, USN) and USS Sterett (Cdr. J.G. Coward, USN).

The battleship USS North Carolina, the AA cruiser USS Atlanta and the destroyers USS Grayson and USS Monssen were ordered to detach from Task Force 16 and join the other Task Forces.

Another Task Force, Task Force 17, made up of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (Capt. C.P. Mason, USN , flying the flag of Rear-Admiral G.D. Murray, USN), heavy cruisers USS Northampton (Capt. W.D. Chandler, Jr., USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.H. Good, USN), USS Pensacola (Capt. F.L. Lowe, USN), AA cruiser USS San Diego (Capt. B.F. Perry, USN) and the destroyers USS Morris (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Boyer, USN, with Capt. G.C. Hoover, USN on board), USS Hughes (T/Cdr. D.J. Ramsey, USN), USS Anderson (T/Cdr. R.A. Guthrie, USN), USS Mustin (T/Cdr. W.F. Petersen, USN), USS Russell (T/Cdr. G.R. Hartwig, USN) and USS O'Brien (T/Cdr. T. Burrowes, USN) were approaching the New Hebrides area from the eastward. With them was also the tanker USS Guadalupe (T/Capt. J.S. Freeman, USN). Originally intended as reinforcements but they now could take the place of Task Force 16. USS Guadalupe parted company with Task Force 17 on this day as did USS Hughes which was detailed to escort the tanker.

Shortly after midnight during the night of 24/25 August, enemy destroyers shelled our positions in the Guadalcanal / Tulagi area but they inflicted almost no damage. Casualties among our troops were two killed and three wounded. Some dive bombers took off from Henderson Field and claimed to have obtained on hit on an enemy destroyer. The Japanese destroyers which were operating in the Guadalcanal / Tulagi area this night were the Kagero, Isokaze, Kawakaze, Mutsuki and Yayoi. Our positions on Guadacanal were also bombed by high level bombers shortly before noon this day.

After daylight on the 25th, Task Force 11 and part of Task Force 16 commenced fuelling from the tankers USS Cimarron (T/Capt. R.M. Ihrig, USN), USS Platte (Capt. R.H. Henkle, USN) and USS Sabine (T/Capt. H.L. Maples, USN) which were escorted by the destroyers USS Clark (T/Capt. M.T. Richardson, USN), USS Dale (Cdr. H.E. Parker, USN) and USS Gwin (Cdr. J.M. Higgins, USN).

On completion of the fuelling USS Enterprise, USS Portland, USS Balch, USS Benham and USS Ellet parted company to leave the operations area. USS Maury was ordered to proceed to Tulagi. She rejoined on the 28th. Task-Force 16 arrived at Tonga on 30 August 1942.

Meanwhile Task Force 18 was operating in support of the Marines on Guadalcanal. Three enemy reconnaissance aircraft were shot down by fighters from USS Wasp. In addition aircraft from USS Wasp reconnoitred Rakata Bay which was suspected to be used by the enemy but the Bay was found to be empty.

Two submarine contacts were obtained by Task Force 18 on the 25th. The destroyer USS Grayson sighted a ship on the horizon and was detached to invesitigate. The ' ship ' turned out to be a large submarine which submerged. USS Grayson then attacked with several patterns of depth charges. She was later joined by USS Patterson. When USS Grayson ran out of depth charges USS Monssen took over from her. In the end the Japanese submarine, which was the I-9 (offsite link), managed to escape damaged. The other submarine contact was attacked by a dive bomber from USS Enterprise which claimed a direct hit.

26 August 1942.

Shortly after midnight Task Force 11 (Saratoga Group) completed fuelling and reinforced by USS North Carolina, USS Atlanta, USS Grayson and USS Monssen proceeded northwards to join Task Force 18 (Wasp Group).

At 1215L/26, our positions on Guadacanal were raided by sixteen twin engined enemy bombers supported by twelve Zero fighters. Allied land based fighters intercepted them and shot down seven bombers and five fighters for the loss of one fighter including its pilot.

On joining up both Carrier Task Forces operated during the night of 26/27 August on the parallel of 11°S, between San Christobal Island and the Santa Cruz Islands.

27 August 1942.

During the day the carrier groups had steered to the southward and by sunset had reached position 12°00'S, 165°00'E. In the afternoon the CAP had shot down a large four-engined enemy flying boat which attempted to shadow the carrier forces.

Allied reconnaissance aircraft from Ndeni again found enemy naval forces to the north-east of the Solomons. The forces comprised a battleship, cruisers and destroyers. They were reported on various courses during the day but always in the vicinity of position 02°00'S, 162°00'E.

According to intelligence more and more units of the Japanese Fleet were known to be in the area as were a lot of the Japanese senior naval commanders. This indicated the magnitude of the effort the Japanese are preparing to make in the area.

The Allied Commander South Pacific (Vice-Admiral Ghormley) decided that every effort should be made to reinforce our positions in the Guadalcanal - Tulagi area.

During the day the seaplane tender (former destroyer) McFarland (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Alderman, USN) relieved the destroyer minelayer USS Breese (T/Cdr. H.F. Staut, USN) at Ndeni thus joining the seaplane tender USS MacKinac (T/Capt. N.R. Hitchcock, USN) there.

In the Guadalcanal - Tulagi area there were no reports of enemy activity. A large patrol had been sent to attack a Japanese outpost at Kukumbona (seven miles west of Lunga Point). In the afternoon four additional fighters landed at Henderson Field. On their way in they had damaged and hopefully destroyed a large four-engined enemy flying boat.

During the night Task Forces 11 and 18 cruised around latitude 12°00'S between meridians 165°00'E and 162°00'E.

28 August 1942.

At daylight the two carrier groups were sixty miles south of San Cristobal Island and operated throughout the day to provide cover for a convoy en-route to the Guadacanal - Tulagi area from the New Hebrides area.

This convoy was made up of the transports USS William Ward Burrows (AP 6) (4577 GRT, built 1929) (T/Cdr. E.I. McQuiston, USN) and Kopara (New Zealand, 679 GRT, built 1938). They were escorted by the destroyer minelayers 2157 Gamble (Lt.Cdr. S.N. Tackney), 2368 Tracy (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Collis, USN) and the high speed transports (former destroyers) USS Colhoun (T/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Madden, USN), USS Gregory (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bauer, USN) and USS Little (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Lofberg, Jr., USN).

Reconnaissance aircraft found no enemy naval forces in the area north-east of the Solomon Islands. Enemy submarine activity in the area between 05°S and 15°S, and 160° to 170° has greatly increased during the last few days and it is estimated that there area now at least ten enemy submarines in the area. It would appear that the enemy is aware of the approximate vicinity of our forces and is andeavouring to achieve some success against our carriers with this concentration of submarines. However, the carrier forces have an ample number of screening destroyers and strong A/S air patrols which are maintained during daylight and have been keeping the submarines down and scoring some successes against them.

During the day Rear-Admiral Scott transferred from the USS San Juan to the San Francisco. The USS San Juan then parted company to join Task Force 16 (the Enterprise Group) as she had a defective gun mount for which she needed to undergo repairs.

In the Guadalcanal area, the US Marines patrol returned after dealing with the enemy detachmentt at Kukumbona. US casualties had been five killed and ten wounded. Enemy casualties uncertain.

An afternoon air patrol from Guadalcanal located an enemy force comprising three large destroyers and one smaller one seventy miles to the northward and steering south. Eleven dive bombers took off and attacked this force resulting in one large destroyer blowing up and sinking, one large destroyer being hit amidships and set on fire and the smaller destroyer being hit and left proceeding at slow speed and in distress. The remaining large destroyer escaped. One of our dive bombers failed to return. It was reported that these destroyer had carried considerable quantities of gear on deck. The destroyer attacked were the Asagiri which was sunk while the Shirakumo and Yugiri sustained heavy damage and the Amagiri sustained minor damage. [All these destroyers were the same size as all belonged to the Fubuki-class, all links are offsite links.]

It was learnt that about 100 Japanese had landed on Mahige Island (South end of Isabel Island) the previous afternoon from two rafts. It is probable that this party consised of survivors from the transport which had been sunk about 120 miles to the northward on the 25th by our aircraft.

During the night of 28/29 August 1942, both carrier groups proceeded to the northward.

29 August 1942.

At daylight the carrier groups were in approximate position 10°00'S, 163°00'E, able to cover the arrival at Guadalcanal of the convoy mentioned earlier. In this position Task Forces 11 and 18 were joined by Task Force 17. During the day they operated to the southward reaching latitude 12°S by sunset.

At 0440L/29, our position in Guadalcanal was bombed by 6 enemy aircraft and at 1155L/29 our position was again bombed. In this raid, which was carried out by 18 twin-engined bombers, supported by 9 fighters, our shore based fighters intercepted and shot down at least three enemy bombers and four enemy fighters (Type Zero). In addition one bombers was brought down by AA fire. Two Allied fighters were destroyer on the ground and two were damaged in aerial combat. Some ammunition and AA material had been destroyed. Allied casualties were 3 killed and 9 wounded.

The Commanding General Guadalcanal has reported that only the F4F Wildcat fighters are able to compete against the enemy's bombing formations owing to the great height at which they approach.

At 1250L/29, our convoy arrived in the Tulagi area with a much needed cargo of ammunition, rations, aviation spirit and stores. After unloading, the three high speed transports (former destroyers) will remain in the area to transport Marine raider detachments in mopping up operations against outlying enemy detachments.

The next movement of supplies to Guadalcanal area began today with the departure from Esperitu Santo of the destroyer USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) escorting the patrol tenders YP 239, YP 284 and YP 326 and of the destroyer USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) escorting the Naval Cargo Ship USS Betelgeuse (AK 28) (6198 GRT, built 1939) (T/Capt. H.D. Power, USN).

A report was received the enemy cruisers or destroyers have left Faisi (Shortland Islands) to proceed to Guadalcanal at high speed. Orders were therefore given for the USS William Ward Burrows, Kopara and their escort to retired to the eastward through the Lengo Channel and to return to the area the next day to complete unloading. Indeed the Japanese destroyers Isokaze, Kawakaze, Suzukaze and Umikaze had departed followed by the Fubuki, Hatsuyuki and Murakumo. They landed Japanese troops near Cape Taivu during the night of 28/29 August 1942.

During the night of 29/30 August 1942, the Carrier Groups cruiser in the vicinity of position 12°00'S, 164°00'E.

30 August 1942.

At daylight the light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) finally joined the Carrier Forces which at 0800M/12 were reorganized as follows;
Task Force 61 (Vice-Admiral F.J. Fletcher, USN)
Task Group 61.1, under Vice-Admiral Fletcher was made up of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, battleship USS North Carolina, heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis, USS New Orleans, AA cruiser USS Atlanta and the destroyers USS Phelps, USS Farragut, USS Dewey, USS Macdonough, USS Worden, USS Grayson and USS Monssen.
Task Group 61.2, under Rear-Admiral G.D. Murray, USN, was made up of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, heavy cruisers USS Northampton, USS Pensacola, light cruiser USS Phoenix, AA cruiser USS San Diego and the destroyers USS Morris, USS Anderson, USS Mustin, USS Russell, USS O'Brien, USS Bagley and USS Patterson.
Task Group 61.3, under Rear-Admiral L. Noyes, USN, was made up of the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, heavy cruisers HMAS Australia, USS San Francisco, USS Salt Lake City, light cruiser HMAS Hobart and the destroyers USS Selfridge, USS Farenholt, USS Aaron Ward, USS Buchanan, USS Lang, USS Stack and USS Sterret.

During the day the combined Task Force operated in the vicinity of position 12°30'S, 164°00'E.

In the Guadalcanal area there was an aerial engagement in the forenoon in which Allied fighters shot down 8 land-based enemy type Zero fighters for a loss to themselves if 4 aircraft of which 1 pilot was rescued. Around 1500M/30, 18 enemy bombers attacked Allied ships unloading of Kukum during which the high speed transport USS Colhoun was sunk. No other ships were hit. During the night of 29/30 August the transport William Ward Burrows had grounded on Sylvia shoal off Tulagi. She was towed off, with great difficulty, the following day. It was believed that USS Gamble and USS Little each destroyed an enemy submarine in the area on the 29th. [USS Gamble indeed sunk the I-123 (offsite link).]

In the afternoon 17 F4F fighters and 4 scout dive bombers arrived as reinforcements at Henderson Field.

During the afternoon an enemy force of four cruisers was located between Isabel and New Georgia Islands, proceeding to the north-west. They were then bombed by the aircraft which made the sighting but no hits were obtained. [More likely this were destroyers though.]

During the night of 30/31 August 1942 the combined carrier forces steered to the northward. Task Force 18 / 61.3 ('Wasp'-Group) was to be detached during the night to proceed to Noumea for fuel, provisions, ammunition and a few days of in harbour. Task Forces 11 / 61.1 and 17 / 61.2 would reach latitude 10°S at daylight to continue the operations.

31 August 1942.

Shorty after midnight, Task Group 61.3 turned to the southward to proceed to Noumea as planned.

However, at 0748M/31, in position 10°34'S, 164°18'E, USS Saratoga was hit by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-26 (offsite link) which had fired a salvo of six. The torpedoes were spotted by USS Macdonough which alerted the carrier which was able to dodge the other torpedoes, one of which had broken surface as well. The carrier came to a standstill. Prior to the attack, at 0310M/31, the new SG radar of USS North Carolina had detected a surface contact and at 0337M/31, USS Farragut had been detached to investigate but she could not find anything [obviously, the submarine had submerged and tried to get into an attack position.]

Towing gear was then rigged and USS Minneapolis and USS New Orleans were ordered to make ready to take the disabled carrier in tow but at 0835M/31, USS Saratoga was able to get underway on one shaft and commenced to leave the area. the destroyer USS Monssen was left behind with orders to keep the sumbarine down until sunset and then rejoin. At the same time USS Phelps obtained a contact. While maintaining contact USS Macdonough came in and dropped depth charges. USS Monssen then took over.

Around 1018M/31, the destroyer USS Bagley joined from Task Force 17 / 61.2 to reinforce the damaged carrier's destroyer screen. Eight minutes later a second shaft could be used to propel the damaged carrier which by now was back on an even keel.

At 1043M/31, all power was however lost and she was dead in the water again. At 1204M/31, a towline was established with the cruiser USS Minneapolis and towing commenced around half an hour later.

Around 1310M/31, both usable shafts were back 'online' and she was able to propel herself again. Towing was still continued though and the ship was towed into the wind and at 1330M/31, 29 aircraft were flown off to Esperitu Santo. Tow was casted at 1637M/31.

During 1 September 1942, 5 more aircraft were flow off to Esperitu Santo while 2 returned from there. Also an A/S patrol was maintained throughout the day. Around 1842M/1, the tug Navajo (T/Cdr. J.A. Ouellet, USN), escorted by the destroyer Laffey (Lt.Cdr. W.E. Hank, USN) joined.

On 2 september USS Saratoga flew off 2 aircraft to Esperitu Santo and a total of 32 fighters to Efate. also the Task Group, less the Saratoga fuelled from the tanker USS Guadalupe which had arrived escorted by the destroyer USS Dale. Also during the day personnel and bagage were transferred to the destroyers USS Monssen and USS Grayson. Early in the afternoon 17 aircraft landed on from Esperitu Santo for gear, torpedoes, etc.. These aircraft later took off again to return to Esperitu Santo but one crashed on taking off, the pilot being rescued by USS Navajo. Again A/S patrols were maintained throughout the day.

On 3 September fuelling was completed and USS Guadalupe and USS Dale were detached around 1245M/3. As usual air patrols were maintained throughout the day. Task Force 11 arrived at Tonga on 6 September 1942.

Meanwhile around 1200M/1, Task Force 18 / Task Group 61.3 turned around. The destroyers then fuelled from the bigger ships.

On 31 August 1942, in the Guadalcanal area, moonlight air patrol had located two enemy cruisers and two destroyers near Cape Taivu. They were close inshore and are thought to have been discharging troops and cargo. Dive bombers then attacked them forcing them to withdraw. [In fact during the night of 31 August / 1 September, 1000 troops and stores were landed by the Japanese destroyers Kagero, Kawakaze, Suzukaze, Umikaze, Fubuki, Amagiri, Hatsuyuki and Murakumo.]

In the afternoon the USS Betelgeuse escorted by USS Henley arrived at Guadalcanal. On board were much needed stores including aviation spirit. Also on board were 200 Navy construction personnel to assist in unloading operations. On their departure these two ships were to evacuate 400 POW's. Also on this day the Kopara completed unloaded and departed escorted by the USS Tracy.

Around 1800M/31, HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart and USS Selfridge parted company with Task Group 61.3 with orders to proceed to Brisbane, Australia.

Around 1900M/31, USS Phoenix, USS Bagley and USS Patterson parted company with Task Group 61.2 also with orders to proceed to Brisbane, Australia. All these ships were to revert to the control of the Commander-in-Chief South-West Pacific.

2 Sep 1942
Around 1330L/2, HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN on board) are joined by USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) joined company. They then continued their passage to Brisbane. (8)

3 Sep 1942
In the afternoon, Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN), USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Patterson (Cdr. F.R. Walker, USN) arrived in Moreton Bay. They arrived at Brisbane early in the evening. (8)

7 Sep 1942

Operations by Task Force 44 in the south-west Pacific / Milne Bay area.

7 September 1942.

Around 1100K/7, ships of Task Force 44, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board) and USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) departed Brisbane to patrol in the Coral Sea so as to be in position to support operations in the Milne Bay area if called upon. Reinforcements were to join as soon as possible as some ships of Task Force 44 had been detached on other duties or were undergoing repairs.

On departure from Brisbane it had been intended to conducted gunnery exercises using a target that was being towed by the auxiliary M/S trawler HMAS Tongkol (?). Bad weather conditions hover prevented the exercises proceeding as the towline of the target fouled the srew of HMAS Tongkol. USS Bagley briefly stood by the M/S trawler but rejoined the other ships later the same day.

8 September 1942.

At 1200K/8, Task Force 44 was in position 23°27'S, 154°45'E, course 345°, speed of advance 15 knots.

Around 1 830K/9, USS Selfridge and USS Bagley parted company with the cruisers for a night encounter exercise. On completion of the exercise they rejoined the cruisers.

9 September 1942.

During the forenoon Allied bomber aircraft made contact with the force in order to learn the recognition and identification of our ships.

At 1200K/9, Task Force 44 was in position 17°42'S, 152°58'E, course 345°, speed of advance 15 knots.

At 1500K/9, course was reversed to make contact with the destroyers USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) and USS Henley T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) who were approaching the area coming from Efate. They were however not sighted and at 1745K/9 course was shaped to the north-west and speed was increased to 22 knots.

10 September 1942.

Around 0700K/10, USS Helm and USS Henley were sighted and joined company and the force then entered the area in which it had been intended to operate. Course was thus set to the northward at 15 knots to get within striking distance of Milne Bay whilst awaiting the results of our land based reconnaissance aircraft.

At 1200K/10, Task Force 44 was in position 13°45'S, 148°47'E, course 350°, speed of advance 15 knots.

Around 1145K/10, HMAS Hobart ( Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN), with her repairs completed, departed Brisbane to join Task Force 44 at sea.

By 1800K/10, no reports of enemy forces had been received to Task Force 44 retired to the southwards for the night.

11 September 1942.

At daylight Task Force 44 turned and steered towards the north-east to await the result of this mornings air reconnaissance.

At 1200K/11, Task Force 44 was in position 12°49'S, 147°49'E.

The forenoon air searches had not located any enemy forces within reach of Milne Bay. Task Force 44 therefore turned to the south-east and USS Selfride and USS Bagley were ordered to fuel from HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix. Fuelling was barely begun when an aircraft report was received placing two enemy destroyers east of the Trobriand Islands at noon steering to the south-west. As this was the type of force that had previously been sent into Milne Bay and that when these ships would continue to Milne Bay they would find the destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) and two transports there.

Fuelling was at once stopped and Rear-Admiral Crutchley ordered Captain Flynn to proceed, from position 13°09'S, 148°03'E, with USS Selfridge, USS Helm, USS Henley and USS Bagley at 28 knots towards Milne Bay to destroy any enemy force entering or found in the bay or to withdraw to the southward in case the enemy was forced to withdraw due to our bombing by land based striking forces or to withdraw by early dawn if his force had entered Milne Bay and contact had not been made with the enemy.

Meanwhile HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix would proceed to the northward to be in position to provide cover if needed. At 1600K/11, a reconnaissance aircraft reported an enemy cruiser north of Woodlark Island and on a southerly course. It was seen that this enemy vessel could also reach Milne Bay during the night and Rear-Admiral Crutchley therefore turned his cruisers towards China Strait at 22 knots. At 1630K/11, an air striking force from Port Moresby attacked the two enemy destroyers which had now reached Normanby Island and scored on hit on the stern of one of them, setting her on fire and bringing her to a standstill. The second enemy destroyer was last seen at 1725K/11, heading 160° at 30 knots. No other report subsequent to the original sighting report was received of the enemy cruisers. It seemed, therefore, that one enemy destroyer and one enemy cruiser might enter the Milne Bay area during the night and that Captain Flynn's force would be ample to deal with them. [The Japanese destroyers were the Isokaze and Yayoi of which the last one was sunk in position 08°45'S, 151°25'E.]

By 2030K/11, no further information had been received and so being confident that cruiser support was not required, Rear-Admiral Crutchley turned HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix to the southward to make rendezvous with HMAS Hobart the next morning. Speed was set to 17 knots.

12 September 1942.

Around 0800K/12, HMAS Hobart joined having steamed from Brisbane at 22 knots. The three cruisers then shaped course to the northward to make contact with the four destroyers now withdrawing from the Milne Bay area.

At 1200K/12, the cruisers were in position 14°03'S, 148°02'E steering 000° at 15 knots.

Around 1600K/12, the destroyers rejoined. USS Helm and USS Henley were at once fuelled by HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix.

Captain Flynn reported that they had entered Milne Bay at 2345K/11 and then swept to the westward to 150°33'E and then patrolled east and west between that longtitude and 150°54'E on either side of latitude 10°24'S. They had cleared China Strait at 0615K/12 and had sighted nothing of interest. HMAS Arunta and two transports then entered the Bay at 0600K/12.

On completion of fuelling the two destroyers Task Force 44 set course to the south-west of the night.

13 September 1942.

At 0630K/13, USS Selfridge and USS Bagley commenced fuelling from HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix.

At 1200K/13, Task Force 44 was in position 12°21'S, 147°37'E, steering 130° at 15 knots.

14 September 1942.

At 1200K/14, Task Force 44 was in position 14°07'S, 149°25'E, steering 050° at 15 knots.

Shortly after noon, HMAS Henley obtained a promising A/S contact which was immediately attacked with a full pattern of depth charges after which contact was lost. An A/S patrol launched by HMAS Australia then patrolled the area of the attack but found no sign of an enemy submarine being present.

During the night the force proceeded to the southward.

15 September 1942.

At 1200K/15, Task Force 44 was in position 14°02'S, 149°00'E, steering 010° at 15 knots.

Around 1400K/15, Task Force 44 turned to the South-West to proceed to Challenger Bay, Palm Islands to fuel.

16 September 1942.

At 0545K/15, USS Phoenix launched two aircraft for A/S patrol off Grafton Passage through which the force was to pass.

Task Force 44 passed through the Grafton Passage around 0745K/15 and arrived at Challenger Bay around 1545K/15. They now had to wait for the tanker to arrive, meanwhile the sloop HMAS Warrego (Lt.Cdr. A.D.C. Inglis, RN) conducted A/S patrol off the bay. This duty was later taken over by HMAS Castlemaine (T/Lt.Cdr. P.J. Sullivan, RANR(S)).

A transport with fresh supplies was also sent from Townsville. (9)

18 Sep 1942

Continued operations by Task Force 44 in the south-west Pacific / Milne Bay area.

18 September 1942.

Around 0900K/18, Task Force 44, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN), USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) and USS Henley T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) sailed from Challenger Bay (Palm Islands) to operate again to the south of New Guinea. On sailing USS Selfridge developed a steering gear defect and she had to be left behind to effect repairs and join on completion of these. The chartered tanker British Sailor (British, 5576 GRT, built 1918) and supply ship Yunnan (British, 2812 GRT, built 1934) also departed for Townsville escorted by HMAS Castlemaine (T/Lt.Cdr. P.J. Sullivan, RANR(S)).

Around 1730K/18, Task Force 44 cleared the Grafton Passage and shaped course to the north-east at 15 knots. USS Selfridge rejoined around 1800K/18 having completed repairs to her steering gear.

19 September 1942.

At 1200K/19, Task Force 44 was in position 13°24'S, 148°46'E, course 110°, speed of advance 15 knots.

As HMAS Stuart (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), which had been at Milne Bay with four transports, had to retire to Port Moresby to fuel, Task Force 44 changed course to the northward at 1600K/19 so as to give close cover to these ships. By 2100K/19 there had been no report of enemy activity in the area and Task Force 44 turned to the southward for the night.

20 September 1942.

At 0600K/20, Task Force 44 turned to the north-west.

At 1200K/20, Task Force 44 was in position 12°37'S, 149°07'E, course 330°, speed of advance 15 knots.

Around 1600K/20, Task Force 44 changed course to the southward to meet the destroyer USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) which was coming north from Sydney having completed repairs there.

During the day USS Bagley reported her gun director out of action. This additional casualty now makes it necessary for her to be the first destroyer to be withdrawn to Sydney for overhaul.

21 September 1942.

Around 0800K/21, USS Mugford joined.

At 1200K/21, Task Force 44 was in position 14°09'S, 149°07'E, course 080°, speed of advance 14 knots.

Around 1400K/21, course was altered to the northward. USS Bagley was then detached to proceed to Sydney so as to arrive there during daylight on 24 September.

Around 1800K/21, Task Force 44 turned to the westward as no enemy sightings had been made by our reconnaissance aircraft.

22 September 1942.

Around 0600K/22, course was altered to the eastward.

At 1200K/22, Task Force 44 was in position 13°29'S, 147°49'E, course 060°, speed of advance 15 knots. This course was maintained until 2000K/22 by which time there had been no enemy sightings by our reconnaissance aircraft and Task Force 44 retired to the southward during the night.

23 September 1942.

At 1200K/23, Task Force 44 was in position 12°26'S, 150°05'E, course 070°, speed of advance 15 knots.

At 1300K/23, course was altered to the north and at 2000K/23 course was altered to 220° for the night.

24 September 1942.

During the forenoon HMAS Hobart and the destroyers were fuelled by HMAS Australia and USS Phoenix.

At 1200K/24, Task Force 44 was in position 15°45'S, 148°37'E, course 120°.

Fuelling was completed around 1300K/24, and course was changed to north with speed set at 15 knots.

25 September 1942.

During the forenoon two unidentified aircraft flew over the Task Force at 15000 feet. Visibility was poor and it was hoped the aircraft did not see Task Force 44. They later disappeared of the radar screen steering a steady course of 190°.

At 1200K/25, Task Force 44 was in position 13°45'S, 148°02'E, course 060°, speed of advance 15 knots.

At 2000K/25, Task Force 44 turned to the south for the night.

26 September 1942.

Around 0600K/26, Task Force 44 turned to the east-north-east.

At 1200K/26, Task Force 44 was in position 14°41'S, 149°46'E, course 030°, speed of advance 15 knots.

By 1800K/26, no reports of enemy warships within reach of Milne Bay had been received course was set for the Grafton Passage as Task Force 44 needed to refuel.

27 September 1942.

Around 1130L/27, Task Force 44 entered the Grafton Passage. Half an hour later USS Mugford, which had collected mails from all ships, parted company to proceed to Townsville so as to arrive there around 1830L/27. She had orders to remain at Townsville overnight and having embarked mails, stores and personnel for Task Force 44, to leavy harbour around 0800L/28 and then rejoin the force at Cid Harbour.

At 1230L/27, HMAS Australia's aircraft was launched to fly to Townsville with despatches. the aircraft was recovered at 1800L/27 when Task Force 44 was near the Brook Islands.

28 September 1942.

At 0730L/28, Task Force 44, less USS Mugford, reached Cid Harbour and began fuelling and provisioning from the chartered tanker British Sailor (British, 5576 GRT, built 1918) and supply ship Merkur (Australian, 5946 GRT, built 1924).

At 1400L/28, USS Mugford arrived from Townsville.

A/S patrol of the area was maintained during daylight hours on 28 and 29 September by a Catalina flying boat. (9)

25 Oct 1942

Continued operations by Task Force 44 in the south-west Pacific / Milne Bay area.

25 October 1942.

Around 1800L/25, Task Force 44, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) and the destroyers USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) and USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) departed Brisbane to patrol in the area to the south of New Guinea.

26 October 1942.

By 0100L/26, Task Force 44 was clear of the searched channel to Moreton Bay. Course was then shaped to the north-north-east.

At 1200L/26, Task Force 44 was in position 24°24'S, 155°08'E, course 345°, speed of advance 17.5 knots.

27 October 1942.

At 1200L/27, Task Force 44 was in position 17°47'S, 152°55'E, course 350°, speed of advance 14.5 knots.

At 1600L/27, course was altered to 300°.

28 October 1942.

At 0820L/28, the destroyer USS Henley (T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) departed Brisbane to join Task Force 44 at sea.

At 1200L/28, Task Force 44 was in position 14°27'S, 148°58'E, course 030°, speed of advance 15 knots.

At 2100L/28, course was altered to the south for the night.

29 October 1942.

At 1200L/29, Task Force 44 was in position 13°55'S, 148°49'E, course 340°, speed of advance 15 knots.

At 2030L/29, course was altered to the southward for the night.

30 October 1942.

At 0940L/30, USS Henley joined coming from Brisbane. She transferred mails to all the other ships of the Task Force. A south-easterly course was then shaped and USS Phoenix fuelled all four destroyers to top them up to about 75% capacity.

At 1200L/30, Task Force 44 was in position 14°18'S, 148°14'E, course 130°, speed of advance 8 knots due to the fuelling operations.

At 1430L/30, Task Force 44 was ordered to return to Brisbane by the Commander-in-Chief South-West Pacific. Course was set accordingly.

31 October 1942.

At 1200L/31, Task Force 44 was in position 17°22'S, 153°01'E, course 170°, speed of advance 15 knots.

1 November 1942.

At 0645L/1, a B 17 bomber arrived to take photographs of the Task Force.

At 1200L/1, Task Force 44 was in position 22°55'S, 154°55'E, course 130°, speed of advance 14 knots.

2 November 1942.

At 1115/2, Task Force 44 entered to north-west swept channel to Moreton Bay. They arrived at Brisbane in the second half of the afternoon. (9)

6 Nov 1942
Task Force 44, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) and the destroyers USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN), USS Henley (T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) and USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) conducted gunnery followed night exercises in the Brisbane area. They returned to Moreton Bay the following morning.

USS Bagley and USS Patterson had parted company around 1545L/6 for escort duties. These destroyers therefore did not participate in the night exercises. (10)

11 Nov 1942
Around 2200L/11, Task Force 44, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) and the destroyers USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) and USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) departed Moreton Bay for Cid Harbour. (9)

13 Nov 1942
Around 1200L/13, Task Force 44, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) and the destroyers USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) and USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) arrived at Cid Harbour.

Around 1400L/13, the destroyer USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board) joined.

Around 1530L/13, the destroyer USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN) joined.

The following day Task Force 44 fuelled from the chartered tanker Aase Maersk (British, 6184 GRT, built 1930) after she had arrived from Brisbane escorted by HMAS Geelong (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S)).

Around 1900L/14, the destroyer USS Henley (T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) joined. (9)

15 Nov 1942

Continued operations by Task Force 44 in the south-west Pacific / Milne Bay area.

15 November 1942.

At 1900L/15, Task Group 44.4, made up of the light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) and the destroyers USS Helm (T/Cdr. C.E. Carroll, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. E.W. Young, USN) and USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) departed Cid Harbour to patrol in the area to the south of New Guinea. Rear-Admiral Crutchley had been ordered that half his force was to proceed on patrol to cover shipping movements in the New Guinea area. The other half of his force was to proceed to a forward reef anchorage.

16 November 1942.

At 1200L/16, Task Group 44.4, was in position 17°05'S, 146°06'E.

At 2100L/16, Task Group 44.6, made up of the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN) and the destroyers USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with Capt. C.W. Flynn, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. G.A. Sinclair, USN) and USS Henley (T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) departed Cid Harbour for Challenger Bay (Palm Islands).

17 November 1942.

At 0500L/17, when Task Group 44.6 was abreast Townsville, USS Bagley was detached to that place to land despatches and to embark mails. Also a sick rating was landed for hospitalisation.

At 0845L/17, Task Group 44.6 (minus USS Bagley, anchored in Challenger Bay which USS Bagley rejoining around 1325L/17. Task Group 44.6 kept at 2 hours notice for steam.

At 1200L/17, Task Group 44.4, was in position 12°30'S, 147°19'E.

18 November 1942.

At 0800L/18, the chartered tanker Aase Maersk (British, 6184 GRT, built 1930) arrived in Challenger Bay.

At 1200L/18, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°30'S, 149°24'E.

Information was received that convoy movements in the New Guinea area were delayed

Japanese forces, made up of one cruiser and two destroyers were reported at Buna, New Guinea. 12 B-17 bombers attacked them and the cruiser and one destroyer were reported to have been sunk. [In fact three destroyers were at Buna, these were the Asashio, Kawakaze and Umikaze of which the last two were damaged.]

19 November 1942.

At 0800L/19, the supply ship Merkur (Australian, 5946 GRT, built 1924) arrived at Challenger Bay.

Task Group 44.6 then completed with fuel and provisions.

At 1200L/16, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°24'S, 148°40'E.

20 November 1942.

At 0800L/20, the Aase Maersk departed Challenger Bay with 6294 tons of fuel remaining. She proceeded to Townsville to fuel Task Group 44.4 there.

At 1200L/20, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°48'S, 147°48'E. USS Phoenix fuelled the three destroyers of her Task Group during the day.

21 November 1942.

At 0800L/20, the Merkur departed Challenger Bay for Townsville to supply Task Group 44.4 there.

At 1000L/20, Task Group 44.4 departed Challenger Bay to relieve Task Group 44.6 on patrol. Grafton Passage was cleared around 1900L/20.

At 1200L/21, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°14'S, 147°57'E.

22 November 1942.

At 0915L/22, rendezvous was made between Task Groups 44.4 and 44.6 in approximate position 14°00'S, 148°00'E. Exercises were then carried out, despatches were exchanged by line and both groups then opened out for radar calibration.

At 1200L/22, Task Group 44.4 was detached to withdraw to the Palm Islands for fuel and stores. Task Group 44.6 commenced patrol. Noon position was 13°49'S. 148°29'E.

23 November 1942.

At 1200L/23, Task Group 44.6, was in position 14°35'S, 149°48'E.

Around 1330L, Task Group 44.4 arrived at Challenger Bay. USS Phoenix then fuelled USS Helm and USS Mugford while USS Phoenix and USS Patterson fuelled from the Aase Maersk which had returned to Challenger Bay as did the Merkur.

USS Phoenix sent two of her floatplanes to Townsville with despatches.

24 November 1942.

At 0140L/24, USS Phoenix completed fuelling from the Aase Maersk.

At 0800L/24, the Aase Maersk departed Challenger Bay for Townsville.

Around 0815L/24, USS Bagley parted company with Task Group 44.6 to transmit a signal near Osprey Reef. She rejoined Task Group 44.6 around 1910L/24.

At 0915L/24, USS Patterson departed Challenger Bay for Townsville to transport two hospital cases there.

At 1200L/24, Task Group 44.6, was in position 14°10'S, 150°09'E.

25 November 1942.

At 1200L/25, Task Group 44.6, was in position 14°45'S, 149°48'E.

At 1755L/25, USS Patterson returned to Challenger Bay from Townsville.

26 November 1942.

At 0850L/26, HMAS Hobart commenced fuelling USS Bagley for a little over an hour. Apparently the destroyer was a bit short of fuel.

At 1200L/26, Task Group 44.6, was in position 14°24'S, 150°38'E.

At 1740L/26, the minesweeper HMAS Colac (T/Lt.Cdr. S.B. Komoll, RANR(S)) arrived at Challenger Bay with mails for the ships of the Task Group.

27 November 1942.

At 1000L/27, the Merkur departed Challenger Bay for Townsville.

At 1100L/27, Task Group 44.4 departed Challenger Bay to relieve Task Group 44.6 on patrol.

At 1200L/27, Task Group 44.6, was in position 14°02'S, 149°35'E.

Around 1915L/27, Task Group 44.4 cleared the Grafton Passage.

28 November 1942.

Around 0915L/27, rendezvous was made between Task Groups 44.4 and 44.6 in approximate position 14°00'S, 148°00'E. Exercises were then carried out, despatches were exchanged by line.

At 1200L/28, Task Group 44.6 was detached to withdraw to the Palm Islands for fuel and stores. Task Group 44.4 commenced patrol. Noon position was 13°51'S. 148°31'E.

29 November 1942.

Around 0700L/29, Task Group 44.6 entered the Grafton Passage. USS Bagley was then detached to proceed to Townsville to land mails and hospital cases.

At 1200L/29, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°25'S, 148°58'E.

At 1430L/29, Task Group 44.6 arrived at Challenger Bay where the Aase Maersk and Merkur had also arrived and fuelling and provisioning was commenced. This was completed the following morning.

30 November 1942.

At 1200L/29, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°34'S, 148°46'E.

Around 1515L/30, USS Bagley arrived at Challenger Bay from Townsville to rejoin Task Group 44.6.

At 1700L/30, the Aase Maersk departed Challenger Bay for Townsville with 2059 tons of fuel still on board.

1 December 1942.

At 1200L/1, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°53'S, 149°08'E.

Around 1300L/1, the Merkur departed Challenger Bay for Townsville.

2 December 1942.

At 1200L/29, Task Group 44.4, was in position 14°35'S, 148°32'E.

3 December 1942.

Shortly before noon the Merkur and the tanker USS Victoria (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Olsen, USNR) arrived at Challenger Bay from Townsville.

At 1200L/3, Task Group 44.4, was in position 14°05'S, 149°30'E.

Around 1600L/3, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN) arrived at Challenger Bay from Sydney (via Brisbane). Rear-Admiral Crutchley then transferred his flag from HMAS Hobart to HMAS Australia.

4 December 1942.

At 0815L/4, USS Henley departed Challenger Bay for escort duties.

At 0930L/4, Task Group 44.6, now made up of HMAS Hobart, USS Selfridge and USS Bagley departed Challenger Bay to relieve Task Group 44.4 on the Coral Sea patrol. While clear off Challenger Bay, HMAS Hobart conducted refuelling at sea trials with USS Victoria.

At 1200L/4, Task Group 44.4, was in position 13°33'S, 148°57'E.

Around 1915L/4, Task Group 44.6 cleared the Grafton passage and commenced patrol.

During the day the Merkur departed Challenger Bay for Townsville and then onwards to Brisbane.

5 December 1942.

Around 0900L/5, Task Group 44.4 entered the Grafton Passage.

At 1200L/5, Task Group 44.6, was in position 14°42'S, 149°57'E.

Around 1700L/5, Task Group 44.4 arrived at Challenger Bay, Palm Island.

Around 2200L/5, USS Phoenix and USS Mugford departed Challenger Bay for Sydney for overhaul and give leave.

The following temporary Task Force organisation came into effect on the 5th;
Task Group 44.3 was made up of HMAS Australia, USS Helm, USS Henley and USS Patterson.
Task Group 44.5 was made up of HMAS Hobart, USS Selfridge and USS Bagley.

6 December 1942.

At 1200L/6, Task Group 44.5 (former Task Group 44.6), was in position 14°26'S, 149°25'E.

7 December 1942.

At 1200L/7, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°07'S. 148°28'E.

8 December 1942.

At 1200L/8, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°21'S, 149°38'E.

9 December 1942.

At 1200L/9, Task Group 44.5, was in position 13°54'S, 149°00'E.

Around 2359L/9, USS Bagley was detached from Task Group 44.5 for escort duties.

10 December 1942.

Around 0830L/10, USS Henley arrived at Challenger Bay where she fuelled from USS Victoria. Commander E.W. Young, USN then hoisted his pennant as Commander Destroyer Division Seven on board USS Henley.

At 1145L/10, Task Group 44.3 departed Challenger Bay. While clear off Challenger Bay, HMAS Australia conducted refuelling at sea trials with USS Victoria.

At 1200L/10, Task Group 44.5, was in position 13°39'S, 148°34'E.

11 December 1942.

Around 0930L/11, Task Groups 44.3 and 44.5 made rendezvous with each other and exercises were then commenced.

Around 1020L/11, USS Bagley rejoined Task Group 44.5 having returned from escort duties.

Around 1500L/11, the Task Groups parted company. Radar calibration test were then carried out. Task Group 44.3 took over the patrol in the Coral Sea while Task Group 44.5 set course for the Dunk Island anchorage where the ships of this task group were to fuel and resupply.

Also on this day the Merkur departed Brisbane escorted by the minesweeper HMAS Goulburn (Lt.Cdr. B. Paul, RANR(S)). USS Victoria departed Townsville for Dunk Island.

12 December 1942.

At 0745L/12, Task Group 44.5 entered the Grafton Passage.

At 0900L/12, USS Selfridge parted company with Task Group 44.5 to proceed to Cairns.

At 1200L/12, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°22'S, 149°27'E.

Around 1300L/12, Task Group 44.5, minus USS Selfridge, arrived at Dunk Island where the ships were fuelled by USS Victoria.

At 1715L/12, USS Selfridge arrived at Dunk Island from a short call at Cairns.

Today it was noted that Japanese air reconnaissance reached further into the Coral Sea presumable to search for Allied aircraft carriers. Seems that an operation in the New Guinea area might be on shortly.

13 December 1942.

At 1200L/13, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°27'S, 149°14'E.

Around 1300L/13, Allied reconnaissance aircraft reported two Japanese cruisers and three destroyers about 200 miles north-west of Vitiaz Strait and proceeding south-east at high speed. This was obviously a force with reinforcements for the New Guinea area. The enemy force was successfully shadowed and tracked all day but attacks by Allied bombers were apparently unsuccessful. [The force reported was actually made up of five destroyers; Yugumo, Kazagumo, Arashio, Inazuma and Isonami.

14 December 1942.

The reported enemy force had landed troops near Gona, New Guinea during the night. The force was again tracked by Allied reconnaissance aircraft from daylight onwards. They were proceeding at high speed towards Rabaul. Bombing attacks were again unsuccessful.

At 0630L/14, USS Patterson completed with fuel from HMAS Australia.

At 1200L/14, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°28'S, 148°47'E.

At 1800L/14, USS Patterson parted company with Task Group 44.5 for Cairns and subsequent escort duty.

On this day the Merkur arrived at Townsville where she embarked mails for Task Force 44. She departed for Dunk Island later the same day.

During the day, Japanese reconnaissance in the Coral Sea came as far south as 14°S.

15 December 1942.

At 1200L/15, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°33'S, 149°31'E.

16 December 1942.

At 0700L/16, USS Bagley departed Dunk Island with mails for Cairns.

At 1200L/16, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°23'S, 149°47'E.

At 1340L/16, Task Group 44.5, minus USS Bagley, departed Dunk Island to make rendezvous with Task Group 44.3.

Around 1730L/16, USS Bagley rejoined Task Group 44.5 with mails from Cairns.

17 December 1942.

Around 0930L/17, Task Groups 44.3 and 44.5 made rendezvous. Exercises were then commenced.

Around 1500L/17, Task Group 44.3 and 44.5 parted company with the former setting course for Dunk Island while Task Group 44.5 took over the Coral Sea patrol.

18 December 1942.

Around 1200L/18, Task Group 44.3 reached Dunk Island where the destroyers were fully fuelled by USS Victoria. HMAS Australia also fuelled from the tanker but was still 600 tons short when the tanker was empty. Provisions were supplied by the Merkur.

At 1200L/18, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°06'S, 149°04'E.

Around 1530L/18, USS Patterson arrived at Dunk Island from escort duties. She then rejoined Task Group 44.3.

19 December 1942.

At 1130L/19, USS Victoria departed Dunk Island for Brisbane, via Townsville.

At 1200L/19, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°10'S, 149°32'E.

During the day Japanese air reconnaissace even proceeded further to the south. An aircraft was tracked as far as latitude 16°S in longtitude 153°E.

Also on this day the Aase Maersk arrived at Townsville where she embarked mails. She then departed for Dunk Island.

20 December 1942.

At 0800L/20, the Aase Maersk arrived at Dunk Island.

At 1200L/20, Task Group 44.5, was in position 13°30'S, 148°23'E.

21 December 1942.

At 1030L/21, the supply ship Yunnan (British, 2812 GRT, built 1934) arrived at Dunk Island with provisions for Task Group 44.3.

At 1200L/21, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°00'S, 149°24'E.

At 1800L/21, the Yunnan departed Dunk Island for Townsville.

At 2000L/21, the Merkur departed Dunk Island for Townsville.

22 December 1942.

At 0630L/22, USS Mugford arrived at Palm Island following her overhaul at Sydney.

At 0800L/22, USS Patterson then left Dunk Island for Sydney for overhaul.

During the forenoon, HMAS Australia and USS Mugford completed with fuel from the Aase Maersk.

At 1200L/22, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°18'S, 150°17'E.

At 1400L/22, Task Group 44.3, now made up of HMAS Australia, USS Henley, USS Mugford and USS Helm departed Dunk Island for patrol. USS Mugford however developed engine problems and had to be left behind for repairs. She sailed a few hours later to overtake and join Task Group 44.3 the following morning.

23 December 1942.

At 0915L/23, USS Mugford rejoined Task Group 44.3. Task Force 44.5 was sighted by Task Group 44.3 around the same time.

At 1000L/23, Both task groups commenced exercises.

At 1640L/23, the exercises were completed. Task Group 44.3 proceeded on patrol while Task Group 44.5 set course for Challenger Bay.

24 December 1942.

At 0740L/24, Task Force 44.5 entered the Grafton Passage. They were clear 40 minutes later.

Around 0900L/24, USS Bagley parted company with Task Force 44.5 to proceed to Townsville for mails and to land hospital cases.

At 1200L/24, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°35'S, 148°57'E.

Around 1515L/24, Task Force 44.5 arrived in Challenger Bay where the ships commenced fuelling from the Aase Maersk and embarking stores from the Merkur.

Around 1940L/24, USS Bagley arrived at Challenger Bay from Townsville.

25 December 1942.

At 1200L/25, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°34'S, 149°05'E.

26 December 1942.

At 1200L/26, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°24'S, 149°09'E.

Around 1800L/26, USS Mugford parted company with Task Group 44.3 and set course for Brisbane where she is to conduct exercises.

27 December 1942.

At 1200L/27, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°14'S, 148°56'E.

28 December 1942.

At 0950L/28, Task Force 44.5 departed Challenger Bay to make rendezvous with Task Force 44.3.

At 1200L/28, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°04'S, 148°56'E.

29 December 1942.

Around 1000L/29, Task Groups 44.3 and 44.5 met in approximate position 14°S, 148°'E. Exercises were then commenced.

At 1415L/29, the Task Groups parted company with Task Group 44.3 setting course for the Palm Islands while Task Group 44.5 took over the Coral Sea patrol.

As of 29 December 1942, Task Force 44 was orginised as follows;
Task Group 44.3 made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and the destroyers USS Henley and USS Helm.
Task Group 44.5 made up of the light cruiser HMAS Hobart and the destroyers USS Selfridge and USS Bagley.
Task Group 44.7 made up of the light cruiser USS Phoenix and the destroyers USS Mugford and USS Ralph Talbot (T/Cdr. J.W. Callahan, USN).

30 December 1942.

Around 0830L/30, Task Group 44.3 entered the Grafton Passage.

At 1200L/30, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°03'S, 149°25'E.

Around 1530L/30, Task Group 44.3 arrived at Challenger Bay, Palm Islands to embark fuel and stores from the Aase Maersk and Merkur.

31 December 1942.

At 1200L/31, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°21'S, 149°21'E.

1 January 1943.

During the morning HMAS Hobart fuelled USS Bagley and USS Selfridge.

At 1200L/1, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°07'S, 149°15'E.

2 January 1943.

At 0740L/2, USS Henley departed Challenger Bay, Palm Islands for Townsville with mails where she arrived around 1400L/2.

At 1200L/2, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°12'S, 150°03'E.

3 January 1943.

Around 0730L/3, USS Henley departed Townsville with mails for Task Force 44. She arrived at Challenger Bay around 0930L/3.

Around 1015L/3, Task Group 44.3 departed Challenger Bay to make rendezvous with Task Group 44.5.

At 1200L/3, Task Group 44.5, was in position 14°01'S, 150°16'E.

4 January 1943.

Around 0900L/4, Task Groups 44.3 and 44.5 made rendezvous. Mails were then transferred by USS Henley.

Around 1005L/5, USS Bagley parted company with Task Group 44.5 to proceed to Sydney for upkeep.

Around 1230L/4, the Task Groups parted company with Task Group 44.3 proceeding on patrol while Task Group 44.5 set course for Cid Harbour.

5 January 1943.

At 0920L/5, Task Group 44.5 (HMAS Hobart and USS Selfridge) entered the Grafton Passage.

At 1200L/5, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°26'S, 149°37'E.

6 January 1943.

Around 0700L/6, Task Group 44.5 (minus USS Bagley arrived at Cid Harbour.

Around 0930L/6, Task Group 44.7 (minus USS Ralph Talbot) arrived at Cid Harbour.

Around 1005L/6, the chartered tanker Aase Maersk arrived at Cid Harbour to supply ships of Task Groups 44.5 and 44.7 with fuel.

At 1200L/6, Task Group 44.3, was in position 13°22'S, 147°05'E.

7 January 1943.

Around 0650L/7, the Aase Maersk departed Cid Harbour for Townsville.

Around 0945L/7, USS Selfridge departed Cid Harbour for Townsville where she was to be provisioned.

At 1200L/7, Task Group 44.3, was in position 14°01'S, 148°11'E.

Around 1345L/7, HMAS Hobart departed Cid Harbour for Brisbane.

On this day the organisation of Task Force 44 changed.
Task Force 44.5 was disbanded.
Task Group 44.3 was made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and the destroyers USS Henley and USS Helm.
Task Group 44.5 was made up of the light cruiser USS Phoenix and the destroyers USS Selfridge and USS Mugford. (9)

1 Feb 1943

'Pamphlet' convoy, Suez - Sydney, 1 February to 27 February 1943.

This convoy, made up of the troop transports Queen Mary (British, 81235 GRT, built 1936), Aquitania (British, 45647 GRT, built 1914), Ile de France (British, 43548 GRT, built 1927, former French), Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) the Hon. Sir A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN) (22575 GRT, built 1933) were transporting 30000 men of the Australian 9th Division from Suez to Melbourne and Sydney.

This convoy had departed Suez on 1 February 1943 and were escorted during their passage through the Red Sea by the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, DSO, RHN) and the escort destroyer Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN).

The convoy was joined around 1545C/4 by the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN).

Around 1800E/6, HMS Hero and HMS Derwent parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden.

Around 2000E/6, HMS Pakenham, HMS Petard, HMS Isis and RHS Vasilissa Olga parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden.

Around 1230FG/9, the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the convoy.

The convoy entered Addu Atoll late in the afternoon / early in the evening of the 9th where all warships fuelled.

The convoy departed Addu Atoll to continue its passage to Australia in the afternoon of the 10th. The light cruiser HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN) had joined the convoy escort.

Around 0030FG/11, HMS Quilliam and HMS Foxhound parted company to proceed to Addu Atoll.

Around 0840H/16, the light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Capt. J.B. de Meester, RNethN) and the destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNethN) joined the convoy in approximate postion 26°06'S, 101°09'E.

Around 2000H/16, the AA cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Capt. E.J. van Holthe, RNethN) joined the convoy in approximate position 27°41'S, 104°35'E.

Around 2000H/17, the destroyer HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys, RNethN) joined the convoy in approximate position 30°30'S, 112°52'E.

In the afternoon of the 18th the convoy arrived off Fremantle.

Around 1800I/20, the convoy departed Fremantle now escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN), AA cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck and the destroyers HrMs Van Galen and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes.

Around 2300I/21, HrMs Van Galen parted company to return to Fremantle.

Around 1645KL/24, the convoy was joined by the heavy cruiser Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN) and the destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) and USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN). The New Amsterdam escorted by HMAS Adelaide, HrMs Heemskerk and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes then departed the convoy and proceeded to Port Phillip where they arrived arrived around 1000L/25. The other ships continued to Sydney.

In the afternoon of the 26th the HrMs Heemskerck rejoined the convoy. Later in the afternoon the destroyer Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) also joined.

The convoy arrived at Sydney on the 27th.

9 Mar 1943
Around 0800L/9, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN), USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) and the destroyers USS Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN) and USS Ralph Talbot (T/Cdr. J.W. Callahan, USN) departed Dunk Island for exercises.

On completion of the exercises they proceeded to Challenger Bay where they arrived between 1230 and 1300 hours. (11)

17 Mar 1943
Around 1505L/17, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and USS Phoenix (Capt. J.R. Redman, USN) departed Challenger Bay, Palm Islands for exercises.

Around 1845L/17, the destroyers USS Mugford (T/Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN), USS Helm (T/Cdr. W.B. Braun, USN), USS Henley (T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) and USS Patterson (T/Cdr. W.C. Schultz, USN) departed Challenger Bay to join the exercises.

Exercises continued until the following day and also included underway refuelling exercises with the tanker USS Victoria (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Olsen, USNR).

On completion of the exercises all ships, which was since 15 March 1943 known as Task Force 74, arrived at Dunk Island in the afternoon of 18 March 1943. (12)

19 Apr 1943
Around 1830K/19, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) departed Cid harbour for exercises.

Around 1845K/19, USS Selfridge (T/Cdr. C.D. Reynolds, USN, with T/Capt. F.R. Walker, USN, commanding Destroyer Squadron 4 on board), USS Helm (T/Cdr. W.B. Braun, USN) and USS Henley (T/Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) departed Steamer Passage, Palm Island for exercises. They were joined shortly afterwards by USS Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN) coming from Townsville.

Around 1930K/19, HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN) departed Cid harbour for exercises.

Exercises were carried out during the night and the following morning.

All ships arrived at Challenger Bay, Palm Island around 1000K/20 (the destroyers) and 1300K/20 (the cruisers). (13)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


U.S. Destroyers

Friedman, Norman


United States Destroyer Operations In World War II.

Roscoe, Theodore

Sources

  1. http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/386.htm
  2. http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/233.htm
  3. Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for June 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1942
  4. Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for June 1942
  5. Report of proceedings of HMAS canberra for June 1942 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1942
  6. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1942
  7. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1942 + War diary of USS Chicago for July 1942 + War diary of USS Henley for July 1942 + War diary of USS Salt Lake City for July 1942
  8. Report of proceedings of HMA Squadron
  9. Report of proceedings of Task Force 44
  10. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for November 1942
  11. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for March 1943 + War diary of USS Phoenix for March 1943
  12. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for March 1943 + War diary of USS Phoenix for March 1943 + War diary of USS Mugford for March 1943
  13. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for April 1943 + War diary COMDESRON 4 for April 1943

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