the forgotten battle of WW2: the Battle of Santa Cruz

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    • the forgotten battle of WW2: the Battle of Santa Cruz

      the Battle of Santa Cruz was a major battle of the Pacific theater, yet it is not very well known by WW2 history buffs or even by the public. the battle was a huge game changer in the US and Japanese navy.

      it started when Japan wanted to launch an attack on the US Navy near Guadalcanal. their plan was to bring their fleet close to the American ships, then draw it out and crush it. in their fleet was 4 aircraft carriers along with 2 escort carriers. the US fleet also had 2 aircraft carriers, the Hornet and the Enterprise, their last two functional heavy carriers.

      the battle began on October 26. Japanese aircraft spotted the carrier Hornet and began to attack it. this attack failed as American pilots saw them coming. they met them in the air as other aircraft went off to the Japanese aircraft carriers. they hit the Zuiho severely damaging her flight deck. they went on to hit the Shokaku, also damaging her flight deck. meanwhile the Japanese were able to catch the Hornet and begin attacking it. they came under harsh anti-aircraft fire but were able to score two direct bomb hits and two torpedo hits, severely damaging the ship. once this was over, the Japanese launched a second attack and found the Enterprise. once again, they came under anti-aircraft fire, but were able to score direct hits. the US thought the Japanese had two undamaged carriers, and ordered a retreat. meanwhile, the Japanese saw that the Hornet was under tow and attacked it. the ships was hit several times. the hull blew up and the ship began rolling over. then the call was made to abandon ship. the Hornet sunk a few hours later.

      both sides suffered extreme losses. for the US, they lost the Hornet and the Enterprise was severely damaged. the Japanese had the carriers Zuiho and Shokaku badly damaged, putting both out of action for 6 months. they also lost 99 aircraft leaving the Zuikaku with virtually no planes. only 100 planes could be brought between the two other carriers. at first glance, it was a Japanese victory, but in reality, it was a draw with both sides suffering immense casualties. but in strategic terms, it was a major Allied victory. Japan would never launch a carrier assault on the Solomon islands again and the battle of Guadalcanal could continue. this would lead to the allied victory in the Southern Pacific and lead to the end of the war with Japan.
    • I never even heard of this battle. It's not as game-changing as Midway or Manila, but I feel ashamed for not knowing it and calling myself a fan and expert on WWII.
      "As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable." Albert Einstein

      "Giving up is not an option in war, for it proves one's incapability and incompetence as a leader." - Me (Little Racoon)