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For the Guadalcanal Campaign – first sea battle  (night of August 8):

Japanese ships 

5 Heavy cruisers:  Chokai (built in 1932; flagship of Vice Admiral Mikawa 29 August 1888 – 25 February 1981),  Furutaka, Kako (both Furutaka class and built in 1925), Aoba and Kinugasa (both Aoba class and built in 1926).

2 light cruisers Tenryu (really old; built in 1918) and Yubari (built in 1923)

1 destroyer Yunagi (older, built in 1925)

Allied ships

submarines S-38, S-44

5 heavy cruisers – HMAS Canberra, USS Chicago, Vincennes, Astoria, Quincy

2 light cruisers – HMAS Hobart, USS San Juan

destroyers – Patterson, Bagley, Helm, Wilson, Blue, Ralph Talbot, Jarvis


HMAS Canberra and USS Vincennes, Astoria and Quincy sunk.

USS Jarvis was not actually directly involved in the battle – Japanese ships passed within 1100 yards of her and fired torpedoes, but saw no response. Jarvis had been damaged previously, and was sailing for Sydney to make repairs when she was found by Japanese bombers from Rabaul and sunk with all hands on August 9.

Major damage to USS Chicago, Ralph Talbot, Patterson

Minor damage to Chokai, Kinugasa and Aoba.

Submarine S-44 torpedoed and sank the Kako August 10 long after the battle.


Admiral Mikawa, despite an overwhelming victory, called a conference at 2:20 AM. He decided NOT to continue on and attack the offloading transports nor shell the airfield. He was influenced by how much ammunition he had left, and how much of a threat land-based planes would have been after sunrise. He was not aware that Admiral Fletcher had moved carrier-based aircraft out of range. Mikawa was aware no replacements were available for any heavy cruisers losses he might suffer.  So the US and Australian navies suffered a dreadful defeat instead of a complete catastrophe.