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USS Minneapolis - Battle of Tassafaronga

The Battle of Tassafaronga Marker Description

Under orders to intercept an enemy forece off Guadalcanal, a U.S. cruiser-destroyer task force moving on a northwesterly course off Tassafaronga (midway between Savo Island and Cape Esperance) encountered an enemy force of eight destroyers heading southwest on almost a parallel course. At 2320 hours American destroyers launched their torpedoes followed minutes later by gunfire from the cruisers. The Japanese responded with a massive torpedo attack. By midnight all firing ceased.

While all four of the U.S heavy cruisers were critically damaged, one of which sank the following day, neither the one light cruiser nor any of the six American destroyers were hit. The Japanese lost one destroyer sunk. None of the others was damaged. The Battle of Tassafaronga was a serious defeat for the Americans. Nevertheless, the damage control parties of the crippled U.S. cruisers merit the highest praise. All but the hardest hit cruiser were saved.

Marker on Guadalcanal
Closeup of marker on Guadalcanal

Photos courtesy of Donald Broad

Battle of Tassafaronga as reported on InformationBlast

Fought on November 30, 1942, this was the last of a series of sea battles in the months-long battle for Guadalcanal. US cruisers were badly damaged by Japanese destroyers. This battle was later also called the "Battle of Savo Island" and the "Battle of Lunga Point".

As a member of Task Force 67, the Minneapolis had gone north from Espiritu Santo under the command of Rear Admiral Carleton H Wright. This force was designed to counter any attempted reinforcement by the Japanese and en route intercepted a force of 8 Japanese destoyers and 6 transports expected off Guadalcanal on the night of November 30. The Minneapolis made radar contact with the Japanese ships at 2300 and three US destroyers launched 20 torpedoes while the American cruisers opened fire. The Japanese destroyer Takanami was hit but the American torpedoes missed and the Japanese radily replied with 20 torpedoes of their own. the Minny was hit by two 24-inch torpedoes which damaged her bow severly. Fashioning a temporary bow, the Minneapolis sailed to Tulagi where repairs were made to allow her to travel back to the US for permanent repairs. She was out of action for more than nine months.