...Those Marvelous Tin Fish: The Great Torpedo Scandal Avoided

Actually it does state the US refused to sell additional presses. It is in the section where the Yamato plate is discussed.
The video only mentions the presses' manufacture at 1:08:42, where it says "Now some of the 50,000 ton hydraulic press, they had others but that was the heaviest one and that was the one most of you that occurred in most every naval yard for big plates, they only had one. Well that's it everybody they only had one. They only had one because they were gonna buy three more but that recession that scrapped that whole plan. If I remember correctly that press was actually made here in the United States." That's it, and the only source I can find on this states it was made in Japan.
 
NO ICE CREAM FOR YOU, GUYS!

As we join LCDR Oscar E Moosbreger, we find him standing on the strong-back of the USS Moondragon. It is 15 November 1942. Some changes have come to the submarine. After two months layover at Whyalla in drydock, the Australians of the BHP Steel and Shipbuilding Company are just finishing their “magic” according to the prescription set forth by the Allied Intelligence Projects Section, (AIPs) for this new project. The 10.2 cm gun is gone and in its place is a cigar shaped contraption, that looks like some kook's idea of a Emil Kulik salvage bell.

As one might remember when we left him last, LCDR Moosbreger fully expected to face a review board and a possible courts martial for his less than stellar stalk and dispatch of the already crippled HIJMS Kaga. During that badly bungled evolution, the forward torpedo room of the USS Moondragon had flooded and he almost lost the boat. At the time, nobody in the compartment had been able to determine the mechanical casualty that led to the unshipping of the balance seals of the outer doors. At least not until the USS Moondragon returned to Brisbane and LT(s.g.) Robert “Whitey” Whitman (notice how all of these guys earn sobriquets?) aboard the USS Holland had a look at the torpedo tubes. He happily announced:



Of course LTCDR Moosbreger is clueless enough to ask "Whitey" about the inner door seals. “Whitey” tells him happily enough;



It took two cases of whiskey and a future favor promised to get “Whitey” Whitman to write up that the inner door seals had failed due to “normal combat effects and operations use”. Problem solved and courts martial averted for all concerned and lessons learned. Also a serious dent in the officer’s mess fund. No ice cream next patrol!

So a proper patch job is rushed at Brisbane thanks to the USS Holland and Whitey Whitman and the USS Moondragon receives orders to proceed to Whyalla, Australia. No reason is given to Moosbreger, not even a hint, which in MacArthur’s army-run Carpender navy is about normal stupid operating procedure. This is an instant clue that the AIPS are at it again with their monkey business. Moosbreger really wants to return to the regular USN. The AIPS can get you killed.

This assumption, Moosbreger makes, would be the second mistake Moosbreger makes, for the Allied Intelligence Projects Section has nothing to do with this new fiasco in the baking. They are just the expediters for this new foul-up. It is not even their concept of operation. This zany idea comes from the very top, from the fertile deranged minds of Monsieurs Churchill and Roosevelt; who have it in their “visions” of war-making to pull an “Italian Job” on the Japanese.

===============================================

Now what that entails is someone figuring out how to make a small submarine, like the Japanese one the Americans recover at Pearl Harbor, which ONI thinks might have torpedoed USS Oklahoma. Very embarrassing and much classified that little bit of information is. The upshot of the current idea is that someone resurrects the blueprints for an underwater submersible built by a New York City whack-job, named Emil Kulik, that dates all the way back to 1930 and uses that underwater salvage manned teleo-operated contraption as the start point for two separate projects for the United States and Royal Navies.



One is of course, fated to be used on the RKMS Tirpitz, is British and relies on scuttling charge laid mines. The other takes more of a Japanese approach. Put a couple of torpedoes on the thing, creep into a naval anchorage, let the fish swim and escape in the confusion.

More or less that is the idea.(^^^)

As Spruance says about the Doolittle Stunt:



The answer is kind of obvious.

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Okay, now let us assemble for the recipe for a disaster.



Mix well and give it all to the USS Moondragon's crew to serve up on 7 December 1942.



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So: the allied plan is to essentially Pearl Harbor the Imperial Japanese Navy at their moorings and demoralize them, something awful, with what is essentially a propaganda operation which will also boost Allied morale in a war that still looks kind of grim for the “good guys”.

Must the reader be content to miss the uproar that is caused when USS Moondragon shows up at Whyalla and takes over the drydock that is previously occupied by a Bathurst class corvette to be (MMAS Pirie (J189) soon to become famous in 1943 as THE ship in the RAN that invents "the sit-down strike" after her commanding officer, LTCDR Charles Ferry Mills, an unduly harsh disciplinarian and strict class segregationist, who shows disdain for reservist and call to the colors men, holds up men's pay and mail, forces dress blues on shore leave and finally demonstrates he has a yellow streak two kilometers wide as he panics and hides during a RIKKO attack on a small two ship convoy transiting Oro Bay. The coxwain had to fight the ship while 7 men died at their battle station portside Oerlikon fighting off the Japanese Zero that almost blew them up because MILLs turned broadside-too instead of bows-on to present minimum aspect to the strafer.

Yeah, that son of a bitch coward had to be relieved and beached. One wonders if the RAN reservies might have fed him to the sharks; if he had not been dismissed; for he bungled the mail, held up men's pay, screwed up the Pirie's refit, ignored the due complaints process which the rates dutifully followed after Oro Bay, and the other shenanigans he pulled during the Townsville layover?

One might miss out on the fun as the whole crew of the USS Moondragon from captain to torpedoman third goes to the "school of the boat" on the care and feeding of the weird torpedo shaped cargo on the USS Moondragon's strongback. The modifications made to strip out draggy bits so she can be sleek underwater; the enlarged saddle tanks and keel stands applied to her sides and bilges; should one bother with those items? How about the new sneeze box and snort fitted, the very latest thing from the guys at Electric Boat, shipped all the way from Newport News? Or how about the refuel at sea drills with the USS ARGONAUT serving as a tanker?

Did one forget the extensive refresher course that LT(s.g.) Howard Cushman (weapons) and his entire division must pass on torpedoes? LTCDR Moosbreger makes sure that every Mark 20 loaded aboard is stenciled:



What a navy!

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SHALL WE HIT THEM FROM THE EAST?



Yeah, this happened.

How it happened is a tale...

Guys... You missed a little detail... (Wake Island.)


Comments: (My opinion is not gospel, YMMV.).

1. US heavy weight torpedoes had cam studs that operated to restrict orientation and "spin" in the tubes during launch and also trip-outs and cut features which passage through the tube would trip levers and release same and cut wired tie downs to remove arming safeties and initiate motor startup of the fish. This is WHY someone skinny dived the tube between shots on submarines to make sure the tube was clear of obstructions and debris. Nothing is worse than a wedged hot-run in the tube! Happened to several US boats (Which is why misaligning the fish is a BIG deal and was idiot proofed as much as possible.)

2. British mini-subs are never examined for WHY they are "problematic" in the popular histories.



3. When building these contraptions, the British had rushed development. Some of the faults were obvious, such as with making the pilot of the motorized canoe the actual physical pendulum control to point the nose up so he could surface and see which way he went. That wore the poor diver out. It never occurred to anyone in WWII to build an electric tow sled that would haul the poor diver in a passive swim condition (Less drag, Rupert! And he is fresh delivered to the work site at ranges up to 20 kilometers with the tech of the day.) or provide that sled with a touch/feel binnacle with a corrected magnetic compass steer input control that the diver could use underwater to even know which direction he was headed? Aforesaid sled could even dump a bottom charge under the warship which the larger clumsier "pigs", "Chariots" and X-craft could not do.

IOW, the boffins who dreamed these first efforts at SDVs (^^^) up, did not do their human factors diligence since they really had no operational experience to guide them as to what was workable and what was not.

Neselco would have to use 2 stroke modified MAN diesels in the 1930s to power such V boats and they would have to be better than either the German engines or the Neselco copies. Fairbanks Morse is the preferred type after 1935.

Plan on a 4,000 tonne submerged displacement hull. You will need 2 two-cycle diesel-electric generator set, each combined output of 9,000 HP or ~ 6,700 kilowatts. to drive twin screws on a modified hull. You will need 4 × 120-cell Exide ULS37 batteries to drive 2 × Westinghouse electric motors, 4500 hp (3356 kW) each or combined 9000 hp or 6700 kW through the two screws.

Expected performance? About 24 knots surfaced and 14 knots submerged max using this,

Meet the USS Argonaut now pacing the USS Moondragon as her refueling tanker.

View attachment 536981

McP.

Since in this ATL the length of the torpedo is still 625 cm (20 ft., 6 in.) and the PoDs for both the Mark XIV, XVIII and 20 are based on the length and mass restrictions of the 1930s torpedo tubes, I have yet to figure out how to put an anti-circular run device into that cramped tail control. The solution is to build it into a new airplane type 2-d auto-pilot control to replace the depth control and gyro directional steer control unit, but for now the autopilot with its limiters is still, for story purposes, hung up at Sperry.

Just to refresh memories... (^^^)

Refueling At Sea And DAMN It Is Cold In The Tropics!

The scene is night about 0225 hours and it is windy and rainy and cloud socked this 28 November 1942 on the bridge of the USS Moondragon. The captain has the conn because the boat is about to attempt an evolution, no-one American has ever done before; a cross transfer of fuel at sea from one submarine to another. This idiotic idea, like so many historic firsts on what must be a "
Union Forever!"^1 was the brain-orphan of this idiot;



Ralph Waldo Christie (30 August 1893 – 19 December 1987) was an admiral in the United States Navy who played a pivotal role in the development of torpedo technologies. During World War II, he commanded submarine operations out of the Australian ports of Brisbane and Fremantle.
U.S. Navy - Vice admiral Ralph W. Christie.


Somewhere out there was supposed to be the recently converted tanker-submarine USS Argonaut with about 100 tonnes of fuel oil for the USS Moondragon to imbibe, so she could make her own suicide run into the target and hopefully get out again. Once out, she would take on additional fuel and return to base, hopefully with a success or at least data, on what the IJN was doing at the target. LTCDR Moosbreger is warm wet and miserable, but at least he has a submarine under him. His four lookouts are, are semi-crucified, lashed to steps on the periscope and mast combs and are trying to find USS Argonaut's dark silhouette in a dark cloud studded night which should mask the tanker boat from Japanese subchasers and magnetic anomaly detector equipped Mavises and Emilys. That is the current plan. Whether USS Argonaut makes it or LTCDR Stephen Barchet has the sense to dead reckon the rendezvous, Moosbreger does not know. Unlike LTCDR Barchet, who has an unwarranted optimistic high opinion of himself, LTCDR Moosbreger, by now, is a realist. He figures Barchet is as untalented as the man who laid on this operation, so it would not surprise LTCDR Moosbreger if the USS Argonaut was NORTH of the target about 1400 kilometers away from where she was supposed to be.

Whether or not LTCDR Oscar Moosbreger is going to be even more unhappy this morning depends on whether recently promoted LT(j.g.) Barry “Barnacles” O. Pulliver (signals) has good news from the four bells radio dump. The last three weeks aboard the boat have been a mixture of boredom, frantic maintenance on the USS Moondragon air-plant and getting to know the Mark 20 Mod 5 electric torpedo and learning how to keep the boat upright, while she carries a one hundred tonne mini-sub on the strong-back. LTCDR Mossbreger knows about the wobbles, now, because going out of Brisbane past the off shore islands and reefs had been his first occasion to experience the "wobbles" as he tried to dodge RAN patrol boats and the poorly charted minefields as he navigating shoal waters west of Moreton island and headed out Brisbane harbor due north on course 000. The cross winds had almost thrust USS Moondragon into the mine-belts just off Fort Bribie. That was what sail effect the XJEM 213 had on the USS Moondragon. The wind should not have had that much sideways push. But it did, and it was constant right rudder and port screw to counteract the shove forces to keep USS Moondragon away from the mines. The same effect was now present as USS Moondragon tried to keep her rendezvous at 0.065918 latitude , and longitude 158.296033, which was about 1 week out from the top secret target.



"Has Argonaut given us a Yoke signal?" Moosbreger asks Pulliver.

Pulliver finger combs his wet slick brown hair and replies, "Yup. She's about 20 mikety-kellies due east of us and holding."

"DAMN! We're two hours away in these seas and local dawn breaks in four hours." If this front moves off, we'll be in broad daylight for any Joe Samurai with binoculars and a depth charge fetish: he will be able to find us as we lay to for fuel transfer." Moosbreger grouses.

"Surfer weather, for the blind. We'll be okay, Cap." Pulliver optimistically opines. "We'll be loaded and under by 0600 and safer than Carpendar at his golf course, or you can call me, Meyer!"

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At 0800 Oscar Moosbreger, now inside the submarine inside the Conn, as he currently follows up a nervous sonarman's contact report of screw noises due north of the two submarines as they try to transfer fuel, gets on the 1MC, puts out a call to see how that evolution proceeds. "How's the fuel transfer, going, Meyer? Did Argonaut float over the hose line, yet?"

Pulliver's voice filled with tension and strain, answers tinally over the loudspeaker above Moosbreger's head. "No, sir. Line thrower failed, again, so they are boating it over to us."

Moosbreger curses. "No worries, son. We just have a smear contact due north of us. Kidweller thinks it might be a subchaser practicing... you know... sub-chasing... for grins and giggles this morning. How's the weather look?"

"Clearing to the west, sir." comes the strained reply.

"You get one more try and one hour, and then I pull the plug. Get it done, Mister. GET IT DONE!"

"Aye, aye, sir." is the answer.

What more is there to do or say?

=============================================================

In the USS Moondragon's forward torpedo room, things are not going too well, either.

The Mark 20 torpedo is taken apart in three sections. The cakepan warhead which is a direct design theft of the German G7E torpedo warhead configuration has the the Mark 9 influence exploder completely extracted and the initiator exposed. Two torpedomen, Thomas Ewell and Perry Conaught, function test it by moving a ferrous metal rod across the length of the device. In theory, the permanent magnets inside the initiator will interact with an electric current generated within the exploder. The current which is disturbed and interrupted by the test mass trips a circuit logic circuit that operates the solenoid and causes it to discharge. The solenoid switch will function in turn to drive a hammer into the currently inert firing pin. Both men should hear a click as the hammer functions.

"No click." Ewell comments.

Conaught shrugs his shoulders, "This is the sixth time, we tested this hing. It has to be the current generator. It has to be. Everything else is solid state and idiot proofed. It cannot fail. This is not the Mark 6 which relies on the Earth's magnetic field. The Mark 9 is supposed to be independent of that influence. Damn GE vacuum tubes!

"Well; it does not work." Ewell suggests. "Another Christie brainwave that is garbage." As a Cal Tech graduate, Ewell is not impressed with geniuses named after untalented poets, who graduated from the Massachusetts Idiots Teachery. "We go with plan B." decides Ewell.

"The float whisker?" asks Conaught. He graduated from Georgia Tech.

"Sure, why not? It killed USS Oklahoma. If it worked for the Japanese, it should work for us." Ewell says. "Never trusted German inspired engineering concepts anyway."

Both men move to the torpedo midbody to function test "Plan B", which is a float and wire reel assembly that operates on a hertz horn principle. Literally nothing can go wrong with this "Japanese" concept as it dates all the way back to the Howell torpedo and the Spanish American War!
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While our two "heroes" deal with the initiator problems on the disassembled fish's front end, two other yahoos are holding an instant impromptu teacher/pupil session over a long silver and black tinfoil paper-wrapped assembly of what looks like vertically stacked cookies squished together and laid on its side. This is the nickel-cadmium battery that powers the Mark 20 Mod 5 torpedo and it is probably the reason why the Mark 9 initiator does not work, either. That one tonne battery is deader than the proverbial beaten horse and it is simultaneously too hot to touch without gloves.

LTCDR Nathan Southender (RAN) recently trained XJEM 213 mini-submarine driver and certified expert on "The Target" and the pupil in this exercise concludes; "There is a serious danger of fire with this cookie, Mister Cushman. I know how nickel-cadmium batteries work. The Mary Beth Ricardi works off of them. We need to send it out a tube, immediately!"

"Named your mini-boat after the Melbourne fan-dancer, did we, sir?" LT(s.g.) Howard Cushman (weapons officer) responds with a snark. "If she is hot like this battery... and I personally know she is... all she needs to cool down is some refrigeration. So we'll stick the cookie into the refrigerator and we'll trickle current her until we find the ground short, fix that wafer, and then she'll be a good girl, thereafter."

And that is what Cushman, Southender and the two torpedomen; Conaught and Ewell, do. Torpedo # 13412 from the Westinghouse production run, July batch number 2, afternoon shift... has a date with HIJMS Mutsu...

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Meanwhile... LT (j.g.) Pulliver, soon to be called ENSIGN Pulliver? You can still call him Meyer, if you want...

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Next up? What has Gunther Prien got, that Oscar Moosbreger hasn't?

LUCK!
 
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About LUCK... PART THE FIRST, Or What Willis Lee, Daniel Callaghan and Norman Scott Lesson Learn...

Willis Lee.


What one can write about RADM Willis Augustus “Ching Chong” Lee is that if one has to go into a naval gun and torpedo fight with the best night fighting navy on Earth, then one wants to go into battle with a gunfighter who won FIVE Olympic gold medals as a rifle team competitor in the 1920 Olympic Games and who has made a life career out of the sciences of ballistics, naval artillery, fire control systems and the new-fangled contraption called RADAR. He also has a slight technical edge over the vaunted famed Japanese navy as his Task Force 64 approaches the southwest coast of Guadalcanal Island.

His battleships, the USS Washington and the USS South Dakota, not only have radar, they have LANTFLT tested, that is Puerto Rico naval gunnery range tested and weapon proofed successful functional FIRE CONTROL RADAR, co-opted with and into the USN’s latest fire control computers, which system integration, not even the Royal Navy has figured out. What that means is that the Japanese fleet, Abe Horeaki leads; headed down the Savo Island north passage to bombard Henderson Field, are about to be the first test live navy subjects for USN radar-directed blind-fire in naval history. They, the IJN, will not enjoy it one bit. On the flip side for RADM Lee, like the unfortunate RADM Lancelot Holland at Denmark Strait who was saddled with and aware of the HMS Prince of Wales problem child he had, Lee knows that the USS South Dakota is a dud ship which is not properly worked up. She trails USS Washington, the SoDak does, with her after turret inoperative, because her idiot of an engineering officer manages to fry the train motor to the barbette gun table. This would not be the first mistake that CAPT Thomas Leigh Gatch, that stupid son of an incompetent bitch or his inept crew would make to bedevil Lee. Lee is well aware of USS South Dakota’s reputation as the Prince of Wales of the United States Navy.

To wit… CAPT Gatch has recently...

a. Run his ship onto a reef near Lahai Passage at Nukuʻalofa, Tongatapu taking the USS South Dakota out of service during 6 September 1942 when she is desperately needed for OPERATION WATCHTOWER. The 50 meter gash in the hull takes a month of transits and very precious Pearl Harbor drydockyard time to repair.

b. During the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, Gatch has his Joe Hooker moment when a Japanese bomb explodes on Number Two Main Gun-house and the blast splinters and concussion force from the bomb knock him out. He comes to consciousness and refuses to relinquish the command over to his X.O. and a subsequent order from VADM Fletcher (RTL, it was RADM Kincaid.), he misinterprets. He overrules his X.O.; who objects to his captain’s misinterpretation. To keep it short; the USS South Dakota hauls out of her station and almost rams USS Enterprise as she, the USS South Dakota, turns a complete circle in place. The X.O. corrects his captain’s mad blunder in a deliberate and somewhat later RADM Lee approved act of insubordination from his station, steerage aft. There should have been courts martial aplenty for USS South Dakota’s command group by now. However, CAPT Gatch, the sea-lawyer, is an actual JAG-trained sea lawyer as well as an incompetent captain, so he skates free of blame for his fiascoes on the USN regulations.

c. Now to be fair, RADM Lee also knows that the Japanese bomb that hit the USS South Dakota during the Battle of Santa Cruz, has wrecked Number One and Number Two barbette mounts somewhat jostling them askew putting the middle guns on their slides in the two main forward three gun turret tables out of commission. Technically, that would now make the USS South Dakota a 2-2-3 main gun battery ship. That “might” technically not be CAPT Gatch’s fault. It really does not work out that way as LTCDR David Pendergast, Gatch's chief engineer, helps the Japanese pre-battle by wrecking the turning motors to Number Three Main Gun-house on the ship. The USS South Dakota is now a 2-2 monitor.

d. Did one forget to mention that CAPT Thomas Leigh Gatch is also a goddamned liar? He will routinely fail to mention his responsibility for these calamities and will exaggerate his ship’s contributions in his Marc Mitscher like action reports. For example… in this famous action, USS South Dakota will fire exactly twenty 40.6 cm bore sized shells and hit nothing but water. She will turn a complete circle in front of USS Washington fouling her, the USS Washington’s, gun line of sight to HIJMS Kirishima, exactly when the two battleships are about to engage in their mortal pas de deux (Joust of Death.) and while USS South Dakota’s secondary battery 12.7cm/38s bark a lot, they hit nothing else but water either, because the ever helpful LTCDR Pendergast, still with a mistimed unintentional aid to the Japanese fixation in his efforts, also fries the USS South Dakota's fire control system electronics and knocks out her directors to those guns.

More LUCK will follow, so stay tuned...
 
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Yes; it actually is, as far as USS South Dakota's incidents and actions. I changed Pendergast's name because he was not really guilty of anything but being a n00b to his posting, but everybody else on the SoDak was, with the exception of the X.O.; that poorly trained and or that incompetent. And since Gatch is the plank-owner... it is ALL his fault.
 
I changed Pendergast's name because he was not really guilty of anything but being a n00b to his posting

True enough.

SoDak, like so many other new ships at that stage of the war, was rushed into combat before she (or rather, her crew) was ready.

Ernie King knew that, and fretted over the risks, but as one famous Secretary of Defense might put it, you go to war with the navy you've got, not the one you'd like to have.

Fortunately, the USN had Ching Lee. And radar.
 
Yes; it actually is, as far as USS South Dakota's incidents and actions. I changed Pendergast's name because he was not really guilty of anything but being a n00b to his posting, but everybody else on the SoDak was, with the exception of the X.O.; that poorly trained and or that incompetent. And since Gatch is the plank-owner... it is ALL his fault.
Now I understand why Lee used the Washington as his flagship even though South Dakota was supposedly built to be a flagship even to the extent of having two less 5inch mounts to give up space for command facilities.
 
Now I understand why Lee used the Washington as his flagship even though South Dakota was supposedly built to be a flagship even to the extent of having two less 5inch mounts to give up space for command facilities.
And to make things even worse the South Dakota due to needing repairs much like the Bosie at Cape Esparance took all the glory in the press which started a bitter rivalry between the crews of the ships. Much like at Midway where during the war the USAAF got most of the credit in the press the record wasn't set straight until the postwar era.
 
Can somebody please explain to me in detail why the USS Moondragon is a thing? When I first saw the name pop up it confused me, so I quickly went to Google it and turns out the name was never applied to any US Navy ship that served in the Pacific theater.
 
Another reminder of what transpires.



The Butchers Bill for the above.(^^^)

The Americans.

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Task Group 67.4

RADM Daniel J. Callaghan † (MoH) Task group commander Aboard USS San Francisco. (Flag)

USS San Francisco (CA-38) (force flagship) (SEVERELY damaged) CAPT Cassin Young †(MOH) Commander Mark H. Crouter† (MOH) (Executive Officer) Hit by twelve 35.5 cm, fifteen 15.2 cm, five 14 cm, and twenty 12.7 cm shells; 115 killed, 150 wounded; Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Portland (CA-33) (damaged) CAPT Lawrence T DuBose Hit by two 35.5 cm shells and one Type 93 torpedo, rudder and screws damaged; towed to Tulagi by the USS Bobolink (ATA 131), 16 killed and 2 wounded, Presidential Unit Citation.

USS Cushing (DD-376) (damaged) LTCDR Edward Parker (Navy Cross) Hit by one (?) 20.3 cm shell, sixteen to twenty 14 cm and 12.7 cm shells; towed by USS Minerva to Lunga Point by 1400 hours; 71 killed, 67 wounded; Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Monssen (DD-436) (damaged) LTCDR Charles E. McCombs (Navy Cross) Hit by two 35.5 cm and roughly twenty five 14 cm shells, 12.7 cm and 12.0 cm shells; towed into Tulagi at 1400 hours, 110 killed, 33 wounded; Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Laffey (DD-459) (damaged) LTCDR William E. Hank † (MoH) Hit by four 35.5 cm shells, three 12.7 cm shells, one Type 93 torpedo; falls out of action; had dueled with IJN BB Kirishima at a range of !5 METERS!, 56 killed, 109 wounded: Presidential Unit Citation with STAR.
USS Aaron Ward (DD-483) (seriously damaged) CDR Orville F. Bregor. LTCDR Forrest Julian Becton (Executive Officer) (Author of "The Ship That Would Not Die.") Hit by three 35.5cm, two 20.3 cm, and four 12.7 cm shells; towed to Tulagi by USS Bobolink (tug), 15 killed, 57 wounded: Presidential Unit Citation.

Task Group 67.3

USS Atlanta (CL-51) (2nd flagship after Juneau loses communications) (SEVERELY damaged) CAPT Samuel B. Jenkins † CDR Campbell D. Emory † (Executive Officer) Hit by thirteen 35.5 cm shells, nineteen 20.3 cm shells, twelve 12.7 cm, and five 12 cm shells and one Type 93 torpedo (official USN report confirms forty nine hits; but includes none of the 35.5 cm shells; Bu-ships post battle counted the hits and corrected the ship’s bill, perhaps not recognized by the Americans during battle due to the unusual ammunition being used on her as Type 3 bombardment rounds; towed to Lunga Point by USS Helena at 1800 hours post battle, 172 killed , 79 wounded, Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Juneau (CL-52) (RADM Norman Scott’s Flag) (SEVERELY damaged) CAPT Layman K. Swenson† (MOH) Hit by thirty 12.7 cm shells and one Type 93 torpedo, breaking the keel, then later a US Mark 13 torpedo by accident; 147 killed and 86 wounded. Presidential Unit Citation

Destroyer Squadron 21

USS Fletcher (DD-445) CDR William M. Cole. Undamaged; had SG surface search radar, but that radar was jammed and rendered inoperative by unknown means. No casualties! Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Barton (DD-599) (severely damaged) LTCDR Douglas H. Fox. Hit by two Type 93 torpedoes in the screws; stern blown off, casualties were 13 officers and 151 enlisted killed and 1 officer and 31 enlisted wounded out of a total complement of 15 officers and 217 enlisted; Presidential Unit Citation
USS O'Bannon (DD-450) (damaged by running over something?) CDR Edwin Wilkinson. Underwater damage discovered but cause indeterminate; no casualties survived the war with seventeen Battle Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Sterett (DD 407) (damaged) Commander Jesse G. Coward (MOH) Hit by three 35.5cm, six 20.3 cm and two 14 cm shells, and two 12 cm shells; 26 killed, 18 wounded; Presidential Unit Citation.

Task Group 64.2

RADM Willis Augustus Lee Aboard USS Washington BB56 (Flag)

BB 56 Washington. (Unscathed) CAPT Glenn B. Davis (Navy Cross) Fought with no casualties: Presidential Unit Citation
BB 57 South Dakota. (lightly damaged) CAPT Thomas L. Gatch, (Cleared by Board of Inquiry after battle. Navy Cross.) She entered battle with only her forward main guns’ working. Hit by seven 35.5 cm shells most which bounced or skipped off her armor, ten 20.3 cm shells and ten 14 cm and 12.7 cm shells. She suffered extensive but superficial superstructure damage; 38 killed, 60 wounded.

USS Walke DD 416 (sunk.) CDR Thomas E. Fraser † (MoH) Wrecked by gunfire ten 35.5 cm shell hits, and between fourteen and twenty other shell hits by 15.2 cm and 14 cm shells and one Type 93 torpedo, 75 killed 44 wounded; Presidential Unit Citation.
DD 379 USS Preston (sunk) DD 379 CDR Max C. Stormes (MoH and survived to wear it!) (badly damaged). Hit by at least ten 35.5 cm shells and fifteen other shells of 20.3 cm and 15.2 cm size, 116 killed. 31 wounded.
USS Benham DD 397 (sunk) CDR James M. Worthington (Navy Cross after Board of Inquiry.) (Badly damaged) Bow blown off by Type 93 torpedo, had to be abandoned and scuttled. 25 killed and 46 wounded. Crew rescued by USS Minerva. Presidential Unit Citation
USS Gwin DD 433 CDR John L. Martin (Board of Inquiry and Navy Cross, go figure.) (badly damaged). Hit by at least four 35.5 cm shells and a dozen 20.3 cm shells. 86 killed with 64 wounded: Presidential Unit Citation.
=====================================================
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The Japanese

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Left Flank Guard

HIJMS Kumano (damaged) CAPT Tanaka Kikumatsu Hit by two Mark 13 torpedoes from unknown US PT Boat. Hit by six 12.7 cm shells, possibly from Center Force or own destroyers in company. (Who knows?): 22 killed.

Destroyer Squadron 14

Rear Admiral Kinoshi Hadaka
HIJMS Light cruiser Hei Pei (force flagship) CAPT Ito Hiroshi Relatively unscathed mostly shell splinter damage; 8 killed

Destroyer Division 9
HIJMS Asagumo CDR Tooru Iwahash. Untouched.

Destroyer Division 11

HIJMS Hatsuyuki (damaged) LTCDR. Tatsuya Yamaguchi. † Hit by twenty three 12.7 cm shells; 32 killed. Only thing is there were no American destroyers in this fight so who shot her?
HIJMS Shirayuki (damaged) CDR Rokorou Sugawara. Hit by a full ten shot salvo of 20.3 cm shells, possibly Japanese from Center Force? At least 50 killed.

Destroyer Division 65

HIJMS Ikazuchi (sunk) CDR Osaho Hidoshi † Hit by one Mark 20 torpedo. Blew up with 200 killed at least.
HIJMS Ayanami (sunk) CDR Eiji Sakuma Hit by three Mark 13 torpedoes and blew up with loss of all hands from PT 224 (sunk) LT(s.g) Oscar Melbourne USNR † (MoH) (Presidential Unit Citation)

Center Force

VADM Nobutake Kondo Commander of the Naval Support Group. Bombardment Force

RADM. Hiroaki Abe
Battleship Division 11
HIJMS Hiei (force flagship) (sunk) CAPT Massao Nishida † Hit by b y twenty eight to thirty-eight 40.6 cm shells and seventy to seventy five 12.7 cm shells, then up to seven Mark 20 torpedoes from the USS Moray; about 850 killed.

HIJMS Kirishima (sunk) CAPT Sanji Iwabuchi † Struck by at least twenty 40.6 cm bore shells and eighty 12.7 cm shells, 800 killed. Reduced to a hulk but not sunk by gunfire. Scuttled post battle by aircraft dropped torpedoes from Henderson Field.

HIJMS Atago (fleet flagship) (damaged) CAPT Jisoboro Kumani † Hit by six 40.6 cm shells and eight to ten 12.7 cm shells and three Mark 15 torpedoes. Reduced to a powered hulk. 250 killed and 100 wounded.

Destroyer Squadron 10

RADM Satsuma Kimura

Light Cruiser HIJMS Nagara (flagship) (minimally damaged) CAPT Katsukiyo Shinoda Hit by one 12.7 cm shell; 6 killed.

Destroyer Division 6

CAPT Yusuke Yamada
HIJMS Akatsuki (flagship) (sunk) CDR Osamu Takasuka † Hit by fifteen 20.3 cm shells and a dozen 12.7 cm shells and two Mark 15 torpedoes; sunk with all hands (about 200 men).
HIJMS Ikazuchi (damaged) LTCDR Saneo Maeda Hit by three (?) 40.6 and three (?) 12.7 cm shells; 59 killed.
HIJMS Inazuma (damaged) LTCDR Masamichi Terauchi Hit by four 40.6 cm and ten 12.7 cm shells 37 killed.

Destroyer Division 16
CAPT Kiichiro Shoji
HIJMS Yukikaze (flagship) (damaged) CDR Ryokichi Kanma † Hit by two 40.6 cm shells and six 12.7 cm shells; 23 killed.
HIJMS Amatsukaze (damaged) CDR Tameichi Hara † Hit by fifteen 20.3 cm and eight 12.7 cm shells; 43 killed.

Destroyer Division 61
HIJMS Yudachi (sunk) CDR Kiyoshi Kikkawa † Hit by seven (?) 20,.3 cm shells and about forty 12.7 cm shells and at least two Mark 15 torpedoes. No survivors.

Right Flank Guard

HIJMS Suzuya (damaged) CAPT Masatomi Kimura Hit by seven 40.6 cm shells, eighteen 20.3 cm shells, at least twenty five 12.7 cm shells and a Type 93 torpedo. 107 killed and 315 wounded.

Destroyer Division 2
CAPT Masao Tachibana
HIJMS Teruzuki (damaged) CDR Tsuneo Orita Hit by two 40.6 cm shells, eight 20.3 cm shells, maybe six 12.7 cm shells and one dud Type 93 torpedo from the Yukikaze. 42 killed.
HIJMS Harusame (damaged) CDR Masao Kamiyama Hit by three 40.6 cm shells, six 20.3 cm shells and ten 12.7 cm shells and one dud Type 93 torpedo; 59 killed.
HIJMS Murasame (flagship) (damaged) CDR Naoji Suenaga Hit by ten 12.7 cm shells. 14 killed
HIJMS Samidare (damaged) CDR Noboru Nakamura Hit by two 20.3 cm shells and fifteen 12.7 cm shells 31 killed.

Picket Unit

Destroyer Division 27; covering the passage between the Russells and Guadalcanal
CAPT Yasuhide Setoyama
HIJMS Shigure (damaged) CDR Hashidate Oirishi Hit by two 40.6 cm shells and four 12.7 cm shells 31 killed.
HIJMS Yugure (damaged) CDR Mishimo Korii Hit by fifteen 12.7 cm shells 42 killed
HIJMS Shiratsuyu (damaged) CDR Kadaharu Matsihata Hit by two 40.6 cm shells and six 12.7 cm shells: 49 killed.

====================================================

Next up, the Japanese tell their story or as much as they understood of the complete chaos they steamed into...


About LUCK...Still.... PART THE FIRST, Or What Willis Lee, Daniel Callaghan and Norman Scott Lesson Learn...

Not through with Willis Lee, yet.


Now it is understood, that RADM Willis Lee is cut from the Naval War College Mold which produces cautious officers who believe that trained crews and high technology counts for more “hard charging and aggression. Thus Lee makes it a particular point to become familiar with USS Washington’s radars.

(Credit the following information to one Dave Saxton of Rocky Mountain, USA. It is his work, and I liberally quote it. His work is not mine.)

…it might be a good idea to know what kind of radar the USS Washington is equipped with, and when.

During 1941 after commissioning is not equipped with any radar, until it may have received a CXAM metric air warning radar very late in 1941. The CXAM operates on a wave length of 150cm and uses a large square mattress antenna stepped off the Washington's foremast. The Washington retains this antenna until at least 1946. CXAM becomes the SK with the addition of a PPI indicator.

In spring 1942 when the Washington operates with the British Home Fleet it is equipped with two sets of FC (Mk3) and four sets of FD (Mk4). The FC sets use the small square antennas mounted directly to the main fire control directors on the foretop and aft. The FD's or MK4's are mounted to the anti-aircraft gun directors; port, starboard, aft, and on the conning tower. The aft mounting is extended higher by a tripod extension. The FD's use two square-shaped but curved antennas mounted on top of each other to facilitate lobe switching on the vertical as well as the horizontal axis. Range accuracy is 0.1% of the range, plus or minus 40 meters. Bearing/elevation accuracy is within 0.2*. Range to a medium bomber flying at high altitude is 40,000 meters. Range of the 40cm radars to surface ships is 25,000 -27,000 meters to a battleship (BB) and 15,000- 17,000 meters to a destroyer (DD) .

The USS Washington is also equipped with an SG search radar. The SG antenna is mounted on a small platform in front of the forward tower. This creates a blind spot aft of some 80*. This is one reason that Washington has to delay opening fire on HIJMS Kirishima, because the USS South Dakota was operating in the SG's blind spot and the Washington will lose track of the USS South Dakota’s relative location. There will be some concern during the battle that the large radar contact the SG tracks for several minutes may be the SoDak. That confusion will not resolve into certainty until the HIJMS Kirishima identifies herself as the enemy by switching on her search lights and opens fire that the USS Washington’s tracking party knows that the blip is not the South Dakota.

The Washington retains these radars into 1943, but the short antennas for the Mk3's are replaced with the long Mk3 antennas by mid or late 1943.

In February 1944, when the USS Washington collides with the USS Alabama, it is still equipped with MK3 FC radars.

In April 1944 it emerges from Bremerton repair yard with Mk8 radars which replace the Mk3's on both main fire control directors.

During 1945, the aft Mk4 is upgraded to MK22 (33cm) specs, with Mk12 owl’s ears also added. There is an additional SC radar added to the head of the main mast by the summer of 1945. It appears that the SO radome has also been added to the head of the foremast by this time as well.

Now what Dave Saxton does not indicate, I will supply about terrain effects and weather. The USS Washington and USS South Dakota, which has the same radar setup and suite as USS Washington, will make initial radar contact with Hashimoto’s destroyers. During the battle, these destroyers show up as a series of smeared blobs against and within island land mass echo returns and it is this smeared radar contact which shows the problem with background land masses, wave motion clutter and false echoes. The radar crews aboard the American ships have this “speckles cloud effect” on their cathode ray tube (CRT) displays which are the functional instruments of their motion plot indicators (MPIs). The tracking party which handles the fire control solution has to rely on the instrumentation and operators’ interpretations to crank in the numbers to the Ford computers and hope that the radar operators know which bright spots in the smear are the true blips and which are the spikey signal noises. That takes skill, but there is a bit of luck involved. It rains in spots and that does not help the radar picture one jot.

========================================================================

It sure would be good lucky if the little Task Group 64.2, Willis Lee commands, is a well-trained unit whose ships have actually worked up together? But... Is one kidding?

The actual case is that when "The Bull" (VADM William Halsey; Commander South Pacific (COMSOPAC ACTUAL) ) receives the USS Mako's (LTCDR Gwynne "Donc" Donahoe commanding) warning of a Japanese force sortie from Chu'uk. He orders VADM Fletcher (RADM Thomas Kincaid in the RTL) to detach ships from the CTF screen to reinforce RADM Norman Scott's close cover force at Guadalcanal (TG67.3). as it exercises in the Sealark Channel. Halsey does not tell Task Force 61 ACTUAL, his reasons for this, at the time, ridiculous order, nor does his command staff forward the submarine contact report so that Fletcher (Kincaid in the RTL) can understand the picture as it develops. That is how little respect or concern, Halsey has for the problems of his very battle damaged and banged up aircraft carrier task force and the banged up admiral in charge of it. (In the real history, "The Bull" treats RADM Thomas Kincaid, as if Kincaid is an errand boy to be remote controlled and cajoled at every instance or opportunity. Substituting Fletcher, the Victor of Midway, does not change much, because it appears in the record, that Halsey has an envy streak and thinks he would have done better in command, curse his Eczema. Well if the son of a bitch would have laid off the bad cigars, rotten whiskey and the weird women, maybe he would have commanded at Midway and all three US flattops would have been sunk and Midway fallen, who knows? McP.).

How the Murphy is Fletcher (Kincaid) supposed to read senior commander's intent, if the information is not provided? (Fletcher/Kincaid) guesses that Halsey needs battleship support forward and that is in response to an expected Tokyo Express. No American admiral in his right mind, with 6th Fleet Japanese submarines shoaling like sharks in the waters between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal will send unescorted battleships forward. The problem is that Fletcher (Kincaid) has no trained and ready destroyer division in his screen, ready and qualified for an anti-ship surface battle evolution. Nor can he spare a qualified senior destroyer division commander or section leader to go north with the battleships he sends; nor can he send a cruiser with a flag officer to handle screen duties.

Add to this situation, that the normal division screen of a light cruiser and eight destroyers is impossible because TF 61 is critically short of light cruisers and destroyers, since the IJN has been sinking or damaging them as fast as CINCPAC can shove new ones forward, and one gets the unusual ad-hoc formation of Task Group 64.2 based on the USS Washington and the USS South Dakota, because they are the battleships in the monkey barrel and the four least damaged and most fueled destroyers Fletcher (Kincaid) has available to send with them on the speed run north.

USS Walke DD 416 (sunk.) CDR Thomas E. Fraser † (MoH) Wrecked by gunfire ten 35.5 cm shell hits, and between fourteen and twenty other shell hits by 15.2 cm and 14 cm shells and one Type 93 torpedo, 75 killed 44 wounded; Presidential Unit Citation.
USS Preston (sunk) DD 379 CDR Max C. Stormes (MoH and survived to wear it!) (badly damaged). Hit by at least ten 35.5 cm shells and fifteen other shells of 20.3 cm and 15.2 cm size, 116 killed. 31 wounded.
USS Benham DD 397 (sunk) CDR James M. Worthington (Navy Cross after Board of Inquiry.) (Badly damaged) Bow blown off by Type 93 torpedo, had to be abandoned and scuttled. 25 killed and 46 wounded. Crew rescued by USS Minerva. Presidential Unit Citation
USS Gwin DD 433 CDR John L. Martin (Board of Inquiry and Navy Cross, go figure.) (badly damaged). Hit by at least four 35.5 cm shells and a dozen 20.3 cm shells. 86 killed with 64 wounded: Presidential Unit Citation.

These destroyers come from four separate divisions, their captains have never worked together as a division before. There is a slight possibility that CDR Thomas E. Fraser might be a little "tipsy" as he leads his "impromptu rump destroyer squadron" into battle.

Six ships, which have never before worked together, are about to take on the battle-drilled Japanese. One supposes that if Willis Lee arrives in time a day before battle that he can rendezvous with RADM Scott and the two of them could brainstorm a battle plan to lay to inside Iron Bottom Sound and meet the Japanese as a unified coherent American force with good shooting lanes for the battleships and well planned approach alleys for the flanking destroyers and multiple motor torpedo boats to make their herring bone torpedo attacks on the hapless helpless Japanese as they steam into an American ambush?

Nope.

A Japanese Emily, before it is shot down, radios off a report that the crew sees "Two cruisers and two destroyers just southeast of the Rennell Islands."

Opey-doping VADM Kondo, Nobutake, orders VADM Abe, Hiroaki to speed up from 5 m/s to 10 m/s (10 knots to 20 knots) so the IJN task force can arrive a day early to surprise the Americans who must be trying to sneak in a reinforcement convoy of their own. The USS Mako dutifully reports the change in speed.

There is nothing RADM Lee can do about it. He is at flank as it is, and from a little caliper work, it looks like it will be a night meeting engagement either in the Savo Island South Passage hooking east to meet the Japanese squadron, or a further north transit with the hope to catch the Japanese between Florida and Isabel Islands. Too much sea room for the Japanese to dodge, too much backscatter for radar plots, and it will be at night. All these conditions favor the Orange Team if Willis Lee chooses to steam west of Savo Island and tries to come in behind Abe. Why does he choose the North Passage and the longer route to battle?

The South Passage is mined and the Japanese, if they have any brains at all will be there to cross Lee's Tee as he has to slow down to navigate through the minefield lanes.

So North Passage it is, and Lee hopes he catches Abe in a six o' clock follies.

In other "luck", as Lee's task force approaches Guadalcanal (Radio callsign "CACTUS"), Lee makes a coded radio request for a brief situation report update, so he knows what exactly he steams into with his little motley fleet. "This is Lee, what is the sitrep?"

Cactus answers in code, "Who the HELL are you, and how did you get this code? We do not recognize you!" In the rush to get TG 64.2 to Guadalcanal, nobody at CACTUS or at BOLERO (TF61) had bothered to assign TG 64.2 a proper radio call sign. Non-plussed, but adaptable, Lee responds. "“Cactus this is Lee. Tell your big boss Ching Lee is here and wants the latest information.” The “big boss” in question was General Alexander Vandegrift, commander of the 1st Marine Division and a friend of Lee’s since their Naval Academy days. “Ching Lee” was the admiral’s nickname when he was at the Academy (class of 1908).

This is how things stand with Lee. Now we will look at RADM Daniel Callaghan and see how in this ATL his luck works?
 
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About LUCK.... PART THE SECOND, Or What Willis Lee, Daniel Callaghan and Norman Scott Lesson Learn...

RADM Daniel Judson Callaghan and LUCK.

In July 1915, the Truxtun was on its way to Alaska when it broke down and was unable to continue its mission. Initially, the blame fell on Callaghan, who had apparently ordered incorrect parts for the condenser. He was suspended from duty and ordered to appear before a court-martial. Subsequent investigation, however, found that another man was responsible for the error and Callaghan received a full acquittal and was reinstated. A few months later, he was appointed as commanding officer of the Truxtun, but the stress of his trial appeared to have left its mark—at the age of 25 years, his hair had already turned gray.
If one believes in omens, then one has Mister Callaghan marked down for luck of the negative variety. However, if one is a pragmatist, one does not attribute to luck what one can explain by human error. In this case...

On 30 June 1913, Callaghan reported to Truxtun (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 14), which operated off the west coast of Mexico the following summer during the Mexican Campaign. He wed Mary Tormey at Oakland, Calif., on 23 July 1914 and advanced to the rank of lieutenant (j.g.) on 7 March 1915. The next day, as engineer officer of the Truxtun, Callaghan would discover a severe corrosion issue with ferrules in the ship’s starboard condenser which would plague him for the next several months. In early May, new ferrules were ordered to replace the damaged ones and to have many extras on hand should they be needed during an upcoming voyage with Truxtun’s squadron. When Callaghan went to replace corroded ferrules with some of the new ones in late June, however, he discovered that the replacements were not the correct size. The condenser ferrule problem ultimately caused the ship to miss the scheduled trip and put Truxtun in Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif., for repairs for almost all of July.

Charged with neglect of duty in relation to the ferrule fiasco, on 24 August 1915, Callaghan was placed under arrest to face a general court martial. The specifications of the charge accused Callaghan of waiting too long to order new ferrules, failing to promptly inspect the replacement ferrules to ensure receipt of the correct part, and failing to make a more thorough inspection of the troubled condenser back in March to ascertain the full extent of the problem. At the time of his arrest, Callaghan was acting as Truxtun’s commanding officer, and there was only one other junior officer stationed in the ship. Because of that officer shortage, Callaghan was temporarily released from arrest and restored to duty with the approval of the Navy Department on 2 September as he awaited judgment following his 27 August court martial.

Ultimately, the court fully acquitted Callaghan of all specifications of the charge against him, but a Navy Department review disapproved the finding on the second specification and thus the full acquittal as well. Writing on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “it is not considered that in the performance of your duty in this particular respect you were as careful and zealous as the Department [has] a right to expect of a prudent officer under such conditions and with similar responsibilities.” Roosevelt continued, “It is to be hoped that in the future you will at all times perform your duty with such care and zeal as to preclude the possibility of any question as to your capabilities and manner of performance of duty as an officer in the naval service.” Callaghan was officially released from arrest and restored to duty on 4 October 1915. Happier times came shortly thereafter with the birth of his only child, Daniel Judson “Jud” Callaghan, Jr., on 16 October, and Callaghan was able to take a short leave to spend time with his family.
Bear that famous assessment in mind.

When Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, T.H., on 7 December 1941, San Francisco lay moored in the Navy Yard, undergoing overhaul. Callaghan later reported that because of the overhaul, the ship’s guns were without ammunition. The crew was thus limited to defending the ship with small arms, and many hands boarded the nearby New Orleans (CA-32), a sister ship, to supplement her gun crews. After the attack was over, the ship’s company threw themselves into the most essential repair work, and San Francisco was underway for wartime duty one week later.
One may opine, that a ship which undergoes overhaul should not have been Condition One with magazines loaded. Okay. But with war plainly in the offing, why was the ship being overhauled in the first place?
In early May 1942, Callaghan left San Francisco and transferred to Headquarters, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Fleet. On 19 June, he became the Chief of Staff to Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley, Commander, South Pacific Force (ComSoPac). Callaghan was promoted to rear admiral on 4 August, retroactive to 26 April. Shortly after Ghormley was replaced as ComSoPac by Vice Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr., in October 1942, Callaghan was reassigned and placed in command of Task Force (TF) 67.4 on 30 October.
Note the dates? Ghormley is going nuts. His chief of staff, who should notice that Ghormley is about to mentally collapse, apparently does nothing to take care of the situation or at least is unable to ameliorate some of the pressure on his boss. So on 18 October 1942 Ghormley is relieved and who gets sent back to the USS San Francisco?

Ostensibly, the need for flag rank officers to command surface action groups and screen forces might explain the sudden transfer of RADM Callaghan to become TF 67.4 ACTUAL, but one wonders why the sudden assignment coincident with Ghormley's relief?

Callaghan was reassigned and placed in command of Task Force (TF) 67.4 on 30 October.

Two weeks later in the Real Time LIne...

On the night of 12–13 November 1942, with Callaghan embarked in his flagship San Francisco, TF 67.4 steamed in a single column off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, awaiting the arrival of the Japanese fleet to Savo Sound, en route to bombard Henderson Airfield and eventually land troops on the island. The two heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and eight destroyers of Callaghan’s task force steamed directly into the Japanese force of 14 ships, which included the battleships Hiei and Kirishima, but withheld fire. The Japanese, surprised by the presence of American warships at very close range, opened fire, and a short, chaotic, and intensely fierce battle ensued. San Francisco drew fire from several of the Japanese combatants, including both battleships, and a shell to her bridge killed Rear Adm. Callaghan.

In addition to the death of their commander, the U.S. task force sustained tremendous losses during the engagement, with six ships sunk and another six moderately to severely damaged plus more than 1,400 men killed or wounded in the action, including task force second in command, Rear Adm. Norman Scott. Yet despite the heavy American casualties, the Japanese did not fulfill their objectives of bombing Henderson Field and landing additional troops on Guadalcanal that night. They would make another attempt two days later, but that effort was successfully repulsed by the battleships Washington (BB-56) and South Dakota (BB-57) and four destroyers.

Following his death in battle, Callaghan was lauded as a hero for his role in deterring the Japanese offensive in the Solomons in a battle that was initially presented to the public as a major victory for the Americans. Noting that many in the Navy called him “Uncle Dan,” the Chicago Tribune referred to Callaghan as “one of the most beloved men in the service.” Saddened by the loss of his former aide, President Roosevelt stated, “Admiral Callaghan was my close personal friend. He did a glorious thing in taking a 10,000 ton cruiser against a 35,000 ton battleship at point-blank range.”

Cutting through the BULLSHIT and hyperbole of the Naval History and Heritage Command, what does one actually read about Danial Judson Callaghan?

Lots of shore duty as an inspector of naval material establishment, some postings to gunnery duty assignments. Some destroyer time. He did succeed in a famous tow evolution in WWI, and he did serve as FDR's naval aide for three years on the recommendation of FDR's friend and physician Doctor Ross McIntire. Who you know, eh? NOT ONE DAY at the Naval War College. Not one. No indication exists in this officer's career path that he ever participated at the simulated command level of operating in floor exercise or fleet problem as a ship captain, a division leader or officer in tactical command (OTC) in a surface action group (SAG) evolution.

In retrospect, when one reviews the numerous errors RADM Danial Callaghan committed during the RTL First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

One can suggest that RADM Callaghan does not use his ships that have the superior SG radar systems properly to give him a battle plot. He does not use the USS Portland as his flagship, which has SG radar, instead of USS San Francisco which does not. he directs the battle from the bridge which does not give him direct access to the radar plot or to his battle staff who are with the radar plot. He does not communicate commander's intent pre-battle to his ship's captains or advise them of a maneuver plan because he has NONE aside from a cruising formation. (Plan B.). He issues orders during the battle that confuse and contradict each other and produces chaos in his squadron. Each American captain, including CAPT Cassin Young and then after he is killed, CDR Mark H. Crouter of the USS San Francisco ignores Callaghan's inane blathering and dithering and CHARGES at the Japanese in front of them. After the X.O. is killed, LTCDR Bruce McCandless takes charge of what is left of the USS San Francisco and what is left of TF67.4 and leads it to victory.

Analysis of the battle/catastrophe/action/evolution leads to a rapid improvement in USN techniques for fighting in poor visibility, particularly in the full-scale adoption of combat information centers. But the central lesson remains, that if the guy at the top has no clue at all as to how to plan and execute an action, he should not be in charge. And that goes for any kind of "luck" he may bring with him.

That is Daniel J. Callaghan's LUCK in our time line (OTL) and it duplicates exactly in this time line (ITTL) right down to his bungled and late escort of the troop convoy carrying the 182nd Regimental Combat Team to reinforce the 1st Marine Division at Lunga Point and Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

He will, receive the emergency sortie signal late, dispose his ships improperly as to Plan B which is contraindicated for a meeting engagement, fail to rendezvous with RADM Scott's TG67.3 southwest of Tulaghi as directed, and it will be up to poor Bruce McCandless CDR, USN, after Callaghan's squadron is gang-gunned by Abe's line in the middle of Iron Bottom Sound, where the surprised Callaghan is promptly killed, yes; Bruce McCandless, who charges HIJMS Kirishima with the USS San Francisco, and with the USS Portland in trail astern, who gang rapes that Japanese battleship at less than 1000 meters range and then LEADS the TG67.4 as the surviving OTC of the USS San Francisco to sheer glory in the western lariat loop around SAVO ISLAND as he does in the odd counterclockwise fashion what RADM Lee does with TG64. That is what happens in OTL. Does McCandless get the Medal of Honor? Damn straight he does. He EARNS it.

On the positive side, Daniel Callaghan does take a good photo.


Source: United States Navy.

He could "act" the part of an admiral in a Hollywood movie. Just do not expect him to BE an admiral of the USN.
 
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So basically you're saying if Callaghan had tripped down a lader a few weeks earlier and broken his legs First Guadalcanal would have gone much better with Scott in charge
Yes. I will cover RADM Scott possibly tomorrow since he is also somewhat controversial, but essentially Scott was a worrier and a planner and a trainer. Given time and resources, as Arleigh Burke will later receive, I believe Scott would have derailed the Tokyo Express, even with Tanaka, Raizo in charge.
 
About LUCK... PART THE FIRST, Or What Willis Lee, Daniel Callaghan and Norman Scott Lesson Learn...

Willis Lee.


What one can write about RADM Willis Augustus “Ching Chong” Lee is that if one has to go into a naval gun and torpedo fight with the best night fighting navy on Earth, then one wants to go into battle with a gunfighter who won FIVE Olympic gold medals as a rifle team competitor in the 1920 Olympic Games and who has made a life career out of the sciences of ballistics, naval artillery, fire control systems and the new-fangled contraption called RADAR. He also has a slight technical edge over the vaunted famed Japanese navy as his Task Force 64 approaches the southwest coast of Guadalcanal Island.

His battleships, the USS Washington and the USS South Dakota, not only have radar, they have LANTFLT tested, that is Puerto Rico naval gunnery range tested and weapon proofed successful functional FIRE CONTROL RADAR, co-opted with and into the USN’s latest fire control computers, which system integration, not even the Royal Navy has figured out. What that means is that the Japanese fleet, Abe Horeaki leads; headed down the Savo Island north passage to bombard Henderson Field, are about to be the first test live navy subjects for USN radar-directed blind-fire in naval history. They, the IJN, will not enjoy it one bit. On the flip side for RADM Lee, like the unfortunate RADM Lancelot Holland at Denmark Strait who was saddled with and aware of the HMS Prince of Wales problem child he had, Lee knows that the USS South Dakota is a dud ship which is not properly worked up. She trails USS Washington, the SoDak does, with her after turret inoperative, because her idiot of an engineering officer manages to fry the train motor to the barbette gun table. This would not be the first mistake that CAPT Thomas Leigh Gatch, that stupid son of an incompetent bitch or his inept crew would make to bedevil Lee. Lee is well aware of USS South Dakota’s reputation as the Prince of Wales of the United States Navy.
On rethinking this bit in bold red, I suspect it may be a small slur on HMS Prince of Wales. Even with dockyard fitters on board and all the design flaws with the 14" turrets its crew did actually identify their target and hit Bismarck. Even got a "mission kill" on it - if you take Lutjens abandonment of his mission and running for home as qualifying. Which I suppose it has to as that's kind of the point of the term, even if the actual damage isn't crippling.

;)

Its later performance wasn't stellar but then it did have an admiral too bull headed to call for air support and who had impossible orders. Nothing wrong generally with the KGV class apart from being a bit under gunned. As discussed in this forum, a design with 9-15" guns would have been better but for the UK being desperate to start building them. And the idiot HMG pressing for the 14" limit for reasons of either cost or, well WTF?
 
On rethinking this bit in bold red, I suspect it may be a small slur on HMS Prince of Wales. Even with dockyard fitters on board and all the design flaws with the 14" turrets its crew did actually identify their target and hit Bismarck. Even got a "mission kill" on it - if you take Lutjens abandonment of his mission and running for home as qualifying. Which I suppose it has to as that's kind of the point of the term, even if the actual damage isn't crippling.

;)
I have a real hard time with the KGVs. Too much alibiing for operational and mechanical issues for what looks to be on paper a good design. See next comments.
Its later performance wasn't stellar but then it did have an admiral too bull headed to call for air support and who had impossible orders. Nothing wrong generally with the KGV class apart from being a bit under gunned. As discussed in this forum, a design with 9-15" guns would have been better but for the UK being desperate to start building them. And the idiot HMG pressing for the 14" limit for reasons of either cost or, well WTF?
1. Tom Phillips did call for air support.
2. If the orders were impossible, those orders were issued in accordance with the defense scheme he cooked up in 1939. The reason he was at Singapore, is because HE was the one who was supposed to execute the latest version of the Singapore Bastion Defense which HE cooked up.
3. Fair is fair. PoW did send Bismarck off mission.
4. The problem with going for the 38.1 cm three gun turret is that the RN has very little experience with three gun turrets and what they had, (NelRods) has not been a happy experience. So they reverted to twins, which in the case of the quadruple 35.56 cm guns; also meant the lower muzzle velocity and smaller bore because again, the experience with the 40.6 cm guns on the NelRods had soured the RN on higher muzzle velocity guns.

To keep the thick armor and within the LNT 35.6 cm bore limit requirements, the RN sacrificed torpedo defense and gunpower on the KGVs. The poor shock resistance had to be a lesson learned the hard way. All of these issues for similar reasons will show up on the SoDaks and will yield similar operational results, so the comparison of a KGV to a SoDak is technically "fair". The ships were severely compromised to meet treaty, law and technical limits and biases within each navy.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

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IIRC Phillips call for air support came after the attack had begun. He had earlier asked for airborne reconnaissance of likely Japanese landing sites. It wasn't that he doubted the threat posed warships by air power, but believed (as many did) that the Japanese did not have torpedo-carrying aircraft with the range to cover up to & beyond the northern Malaysian coast.
 
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