Wait, latex clad hottie form The Matrix, Carrie Anne Moss has never been featured here for Load HEAT? Let’s fix that.
As the decimated US Navy force limped away from Ironbottom Sound after dawn on 13 November 1942, the prospects for protecting the Marines on Guadalcanal and preventing the counter-landing of powerful Japanese reinforcements seemed distinctly unpromising. Four US destroyers, Laffey, Barton, Cushing, and Monssen, had been sunk, Barton with heavy loss of life. Light cruisers Atlanta and Juneau were badly damaged, both in danger of sinking, heavy cruiser San Francisco was a shambles. As was previously noted, the fight to save Atlanta was lost, and Juneau would fall victim to a Japanese submarine.
But the Americans did hit back. During the daylight hours of 13 November, aircraft from Henderson Field, Espiritu Santo, and Enterprise finished off the crippled battleship Hiei, and sank the smoking hulks of destroyers Akitsuki and Yudachi.
On 13 November, Yamamoto ordered Admiral Kondo to reconstitute a bombardment force, marrying 8th Cruiser Squadron under Admiral Mikawa with the remaining ships from Abe’s force, including battleship Kirishima. 8th Cruiser Squadron consisted of four powerful heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and four destroyers. The force slipped into the waters off Henderson Field unchallenged in the waning hours of 13 November and commenced a bombardment of the airfield. The intent was to neutralize the airfield in order that the eleven transports, carrying supplies for Hyukatake’s starving ground forces and reinforcements from the 38th Division, could be unloaded. The results of the bombardment were ineffectual. The Japanese fired approximately 1,000 rounds in little more than half an hour, and damaged some aircraft, but the airfield and most of its planes remained fully operational.
Not long after dawn, the Cactus Air Force, as well as aircraft from Enterprise and Espiritu Santo, pounced on the Japanese ships. They fell first upon the bombardment fleet, inflicting heavy damage to cruisers Chokai, Isuzu, Maya, and Kinugasa, the latter eventually sinking.
Next were Tanaka’s transports. A series of attacks, including high-level B-17 sorties, sank seven of the eleven transports. While most of the Japanese troops were saved, all the weapons and equipment, food, fuel, and ammunition were lost. Instead of welcome reinforcements, those survivors became liabilities to an already badly broken supply system.
Earlier in the day on 13 November, Vice Admiral Willis A. “Ching” Lee, with new radar-equipped fast battleships Washington and South Dakota and four destroyers, was ordered east to defend Guadalcanal. Named Task Force 64, Lee’s cobbled-together force entered Ironbottom Sound north and west of Cape Esperance, and picked up the Japanese ships on radar just before 2300 on 14 November. Shortly after, the Japanese force under Kondo spotted the Americans. However, Kondo believed he was facing cruisers rather than battleships, and he believed they would not be a match for Kirishima or his remaining heavy cruisers.
Kondo split his force, around either side of Savo Island. Lee briefly engaged Sendai and several Japanese destroyers with radar-guided fire. The Japanese cruiser bid a hasty withdrawal. The cruiser Nagara and four destroyers actually sighted Lee’s force before they were reacquired by American radar. Nagara and her accompanying destroyers, plus Ayanami, engaged the four American destroyers with guns and torpedoes. Much like the results of the previous evening, the US destroyers lost heavily. In a very short time, Benham, Preston, and Walke were mortally wounded, Gwin heavily damaged.
It was at this juncture that Kondo’s mistaken identity of the two US fast battleships spelled doom. Washington and South Dakota steamed on, closing with Kirishima, two heavy cruisers, and two destroyers. South Dakota, closest to the Japanese force, suffered a massive power failure which blinded her radars and knocked out her gun mounts. She was set upon by the Japanese destroyers and cruisers as she passed, impotent, within 5,000 yards of the enemy. As she had turned to avoid the burning American destroyers, she had been silhouetted against the flames, and became a target for every Japanese gun. The battleship was hit repeatedly topside, damaging her gunfire control systems, knocking out communications, and causing almost 100 casualties.
However, unseen and unmolested by Japanese fire, Washington loomed in the darkness. Her secondary (5-inch/38) batteries pounded the destroyer Ayanami to a burning wreck within a few minutes. She had refrained from firing her main battery at her radar contact, because she had been unable to communicate with South Dakota to confirm her location. When South Dakota was engaged by Japanese guns, Washington had no doubt of her target. What followed was the first encounter between battleships in the Pacific War. It was a one-sided affair. At a range of just 8,900 yards, Washington commenced a radar-targeted engagement of Kirishima with her 16-inch main battery. In just over six minutes, Washington fired 75 16-inch projectiles, striking Kirishima between ten and twenty times, and plastering her with 5-inch fire. Kirishima was finished. Her topside was a wreck of twisted metal, her steering destroyed, and she had been holed below the waterline. Kirishima capsized and sank in the early hours of 15 November. Ayanami was abandoned and scuttled.
The surviving Japanese transports reached Tassafaronga, but as soon as daylight broke, the four ships were taken under fire by aircraft from Henderson Field, the 5-inch guns of the 3rd Marine Defense Battalion, and an Army Coastal Artillery battery (155mm Long Toms). As with their sunken sisters, most of the Japanese soldiers managed to get ashore, but almost all of the supplies, food, ammunition, and equipment were lost.
The naval actions in the skies and waters of Guadalcanal between 12 and 15 November 1942 were costly to both sides. The action was fierce, confused, and deadly. Losses of men and ships were nearly even. However, these battles were the turning point in the Solomons. Control of the waters around the island of Guadalcanal passed permanently to the United States Navy. There would be more bloody fights in those waters, and even stunning setbacks (Tassafaronga), but US naval and air power in the Solomons would continue to grow, while that of Japan would continue to wane. The Japanese would continue to attempt supply of its garrison ashore, to diminishing effects, but would never again send reinforcements down “the Slot” to wrest the island from the Marines. The First and Second Naval Battles for Guadalcanal represent the last running of the Tokyo Express.
The grim counts continue this morning from the ghastly bloodbath in Paris yesterday. More than 120 killed, and likely more than 200 wounded, about 80 seriously, as reported by multiple sources. An attack perpetrated by members of the Religion of Peace once again. A carefully coordinated effort, with killings in at least seven places. It has been reported that a Syrian passport has been found on the body of one of the terrorists.
While driving north last evening, I was listening to the reports regarding the attacks from CBS News on WBZ radio, and heard our President’s embarrassingly inane remarks. He talked about the “outrageous attempts to terrorize innocent civilians”, and “terrorize the people of France”, and “universal values”. Not once did Barack Hussein Obama say the words “ISIS” or “Islam”. Even though he knew both of those words should have been in every sentence spoken.
Yesterday, President Hollande in France immediately declared a national State of Emergency, and closed the French borders. But it is too late. The subway attacks, the massacre in Toulouse, and the Charlie Hebdo shootings have already happened, yet after each, more muslim terrorists were allowed into France. The socialist Left of Europe, and its imbecilic genuflecting at the altar of “multi-culturalism”, has let the wolves into the herd of sheep.
What happened in France will happen here. It already has, actually, and continues to. Fort Hood. Chattanooga, Austin TX. Boston. The perpetrator of the stabbings last week at UC-Merced, Faisal Muhammed, left a manifesto of muslim extremism that included desires to behead victims, and praise to Allah. (Another “unclear motive”, courtesy of our Federal law enforcement friends!)
Some things we don’t know yet about the tragedy in Paris, but will very likely eventually find out:
- The number of terrorists directly involved in the Paris attacks will be well under 30.
- A number of them will be recent arrivals from the Middle East, active and trained agents of terrorism from ISIS (and possibly Al Qaeda) sent as “refugees” for the purposes of carrying out such attacks.
- The terrorists planned and prepared for these attacks in near-complete security nestled inside heavily muslim neighborhoods across France, if not in and around Paris itself.
- The terrorists used communications methods that defied electronic and visual surveillance, and carried out what can only be described as professional reconnaissance of their targets, likely in plain sight, over a period of months.
- French security forces were prevented at some junctures from investigating or acting against one or more of the terrorists by politically correct rules in place to keep from offending the muslims.
- None of the victims were armed, because of France’s extremely strict gun laws. Yet, the terrorists had easy access to fully-automatic AK-47s, ammunition, and explosives. The entirety of France is a “gun-free zone”, and the results were predictable.
Military-age muslim men continue to overrun Europe with the stated intent of the destruction of Western civilization. They have no intention of assimilation, only conquest and conversion. The memes of the liberal global media, that these are “refugees”, helpless women and children, continue to be perpetuated to an ignorant and brainwashed populace. Our President has been vocal and active to allow them here, as well. He wants 10,000 Syrian “refugees” allowed into our country. The first have already arrived on US soil.
Here’s an idea. That first load, which consists of almost exclusively military-age males, should be kept in a holding camp near New Orleans. Michelle Obama, Sasha, and Malia should be made to stay with them inside the camp, sans any Secret Service protection. Because if he is unwilling to risk their lives and safety with these filthy animals, why should he be willing to risk ours?
He won’t risk them, of course. He will only risk us. His hackneyed fabrication that there is no one religion responsible for terrorism tells us all we need to know about Barack Hussein Obama. France and islam are mortal enemies in a war for the soul of the West. Despite his pathetic platitudes about “universal values” and, now, standing with France, Barack Obama stands with islam. He has told us so, with his words, and with every action he has taken in his time in office. American and islam are also mortal enemies in the war for the soul of the West.
Paris, the City of Light, is dark tonight. In time, it will be an American city that will be shrouded in blood and tears, and darkness. Perpetrated by the people whom our President stands with. The same President who called ISIS the “junior varsity”, and as recently as yesterday, told us ISIS was “contained”. This is the same President who wants us forcibly disarmed, for our own safety.
The bloody slugging match for the island of Guadalcanal and the surrounding seas reached its peak fury seventy-three years ago this week. Between November 13th and 15th, 1942, a pair of violent clashes in the waters north and east of the island marked a watershed in the eleven-month long Pacific War. Those clashes would come to be known as the First and Second Naval Battles of Guadalcanal.
The stage was set for this far-flung, savage, running fight a week earlier, when US intelligence gleaned that the Japanese 17th Army was going to make one last, large attempt break the Marine perimeter to overrun Henderson Field. General Hyukatake, commanding 17th Army, had been arrogantly dismissive of the US Marines’ combat prowess, and entirely slipshod in his intelligence planning. The Japanese had tried three times to break the Marines’ lines, once in late-August (at the Ilu River), in mid-September (Edson’s Ridge), and again in late-October, which was the first serious thrust, directly at Lunga Point and the airfield. Each time, the Marines (and in October, joined by the Army’s 164th Infantry) held firm and slaughtered the Japanese in large numbers. Hyukatake had waited far too long. Had his efforts been strong during the almost two weeks in mid-August during which the Marines had neither Naval nor air protection, the predicament of the 1st Marine Division might have been extremely grim. Now, after grievous losses, Hyukatake was to be reinforced for one last major push.
In light of the latest intelligence, Admiral Richmond K. Turner had taken Task Force 67, loaded with troops and supplies, toward the island. The transports of TF 67 unloaded under intermittent air attack from Bougainville, but managed without serious losses. The Japanese had pushed a bombardment force of two battleships, a cruiser, and eleven destroyers into the waters north of Guadalcanal with the mission of destroying the airfield and preventing the Cactus Air Force from interdicting the eleven transports packed with Japanese soldiers, supplies, food, and ammunition. The US Navy had two task groups protecting the transports, under Admirals Daniel Callaghan and Norman Scott. Those forces combined, along with remaining escorts from Turner’s transport group, to form a powerful group of two heavy and three light cruisers, and eight destroyers (under Callaghan, aboard San Francisco).
The two forces sighted each other almost simultaneously, at approximately 0125 on 13 November. Admiral Callaghan, regrettably, had not employed any ship with the improved SG radar in his van, which meant that the Japanese, even in the poor visibility of the night, negated his technical advantage with their superior night combat skills. The confused melee began at extremely close ranges, and was filled with confusing orders, hesitation, and ferocity. The IJN battleship Hiei was badly mauled by dozens of 5-inch hits on her bridge and superstructure, pummeled by US destroyers that were so close that Hiei’s 14-inch guns could not depress to engage them. She suffered at least three 8-inch hits, likely from San Francisco, her steering gear was shot away, and she was a shambles topside. Hiei and sister Kirishima managed to exacted revenge on Atlanta and San Francisco, landing large caliber (14-inch) hits on both. The riddled Atlanta drifted across San Francisco’s line of fire, and was almost certainly struck by the latter’s main battery, adding to the carnage on board. When the action finished less than an hour later, four US destroyers had been sunk, Altanta was a wreck, Juneau and Portland had taken torpedoes, and San Francisco had been savaged, leaving her with only one 8-inch mount in action. Both American admirals, Norman Scott aboard Atlanta, and Daniel Callaghan on San Francisco, had been killed. Admiral Abe, the Japanese commander flying his flag on Hiei, had been wounded.
The Japanese attempted to take Hiei in tow, but US air attacks from Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santo further damaged the battleship, and she sank in the late evening of 13 November off Savo Island. Similarly, efforts throughout the day to save Atlanta were unsuccessful, and just after 2000 on 13 November, the cruiser was scuttled on the orders of her captain. Juneau, down fifteen feet by the bows and listing from her torpedo wounds, was proceeding to Espiritu Santo at 13 knots when she was struck by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-26. Her magazine exploded, breaking her in two. Witnesses say Juneau disappeared in twenty seconds. Fearing the submarine threat and believing very few could have survived the explosion, the senior surviving American Officer (Captain Hoover, aboard Helena) made the agonizing decision to leave the survivors for later rescue. About one hundred men had survived the sinking, but after eight days in the water, only ten were rescued. The rest perished from exhaustion, wounds, or sharks, including the five Sullivan brothers.
Aside from the eventual loss of Hiei, the Japanese lost two destroyers sunk, and four damaged. Japanese killed had numbered around 700, about half the total of Americans killed in the action. With little in front of him, Abe might have sailed in to bombard Henderson Field at his leisure, but instead he withdrew. With his withdrawal, Abe had turned a potentially serious tactical reverse into a strategic victory for the US Navy and Marine Corps. Yamamoto, who had planned the operation, was forced to postpone the landings. Furious, Yamamoto fired Abe, and ordered a new bombardment force under Vice Admiral Kondo to neutralize the airfield the next day, 14 November. So ended the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the first act of the tense drama, setting the stage for the second.
Timactual in the comments on the M8 AGS asks a reasonable question:
“The three man crew could bolt on the additional protection in a couple hours with simple hand tools.”
Why, oh why, am I so skeptical.
Why not bring back the 106 mm. reckless rifle? Mount it on an modified and armored Humvee, like the Germans did with the Marder.
I like the M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle (which has proven popular with Syrian rebels). It’s a nifty weapon. My thoughts on why the Army doesn’t bring it back into service are pure speculation, of course, but I think you’ll see the logic has merit.
First, as to his skepticism about mounting the bolt on armor, it really was pretty easy to do.
As to why you’d want a rifled cannon mounted on a vehicle instead of an M40- the M40 was only capable of defeating armor via its HEAT warhead. It’s low muzzle velocity ruled out using any kinetic penetrator. HEAT warheads offer fantastic penetration for a given size round. The problem is, they can be defeated by a pretty wide variety of simple countermeasures. See the slat armor on US Stryker vehicles deployed in the war zones. Or simply a little vegetation can set off the warhead before it reaches the armor. The 105mm main gun of the M8 can fire existing sabot rounds that are fully capable of defeating tanks up to various T-72 models. And if you’re facing a threat with more advanced armor than that, you’re going to need more than Airborne forces anyway.
As to why the Army doesn’t bring back the M40 to complement the firepower of Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, I suspect it is mostly because, they don’t really need it. IBCTs are fairly generously equipped with the TOW and Javelin missile.
A Javelin is a crapload more expensive per shot than an M40. On the other hand, it is also virtually a one shot/one kill system with greater effective range than an M40. And the Army has so many TOW missiles in the inventory, we can afford to expend them at a pretty brisk rate for years and years to come. Most stocks of US 106mm ammo are expired, and the ammunition in use today overseas is made overseas.
As much as I like the M40, I just don’t think bringing it back would solve any issues that can’t be address by other means. Yeah, you could probably save a little money, but there’s no gain in combat effectiveness, so why bother?