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Treaty cruisers

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Treaty cruisers conception and performance
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Cialone, Jr., David
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xiv, 215 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Cruisers (Warships) -- History -- 20th century ( lcsh )
Cruisers (Warships) -- Design and construction ( lcsh )
Cruisers (Warships) -- Evaluation ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 210-215).
Statement of Responsibility:
by David Cialones, Jr.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocm44075433
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LD1190.L57 1999m .C53 ( lcc )

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Full Text
TREATY CRUISERS: CONCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE
David Cialone, Jr.
I 3
I
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1991
A thesis submitted to the
University of Cplorado at Denver
in partialj fulfillment
j
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
1999


1999 by E)avid Cialone, Jr.
All rights reserved.
i


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
I
David Cialone, Jr.
i
-gr XL Tf
Date^ ^
I


Cialone, David Jr. (M.A., History) |
Treaty Cruisers: Conception and Performance
Thesis directed by Professor Emeritus Ernest Andrade, Jr.
ABSTRACT
j
1
Between the First and Second Wcjrld Wars, the world's major naval powers
entered into a series of naval arms agreements which placed quantitative and
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qualitative limits on various classes of naval warships. The 1921-22 Washington
I
Conference created a ten-year building "holiday," limiting capital ship construction.
i
However, the Washington Conference failed to address warship auxiliaries, including
cruisers, giving rise to a decade-long "cruiser controversy" as diplomats, political
leaders, and military professionals attempted to broker agreements on non-capital ship
classes. Another by-product of the Washington Conference was the creation of a
10,000 ton limit on auxiliary warships to prevent the building of "semi-capital" class
ships. The tonnage ceiling, instead of stemming construction, established a new
standard that naval powers felt obliged to meet. Ships built at or near the 10,000 ton
I
limit during the inter-war era came to be known as "treaty cruisers."
i
Part one of this thesis traces the debate on cruisers during the inter-war era,
I
from the 1921-22 Washington Conference through the start of World War II. Much


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of the dispute centered on the size of gunjs that cruisers carried: 8-inch guns for heavy
cruisers and 6-inch guns for light cruisersj. In general, the United States and Japan
sought larger cruisers armed with 8-inch guns while Great Britain preferred smaller
cruisers bearing 6-inch guns. The second half of this thesis assesses the wartime
|
performance of these ships through careful examination of six different World War II
cruiser actions: The Battles of the River Plate, Java Sea, Savo Island, Cape
Esperance, Komandorski Islands, and Empress Augusta Bay. Special attention is paid
to the relative effectiveness of 8-inch heavy cruisers and 6-inch light cruisers.
Naval planners assumed that the 8-inch gun's longer range and heavier shell
would outclass the 6-inch gun. Traditionll daylight encounters were rare in the Pacific
thus calling into question the 8-inch gun's slow rate of fire and inability to hit small,
i
fast targets such as destroyers. Since tactics, leadership, and reconnaissance also
played pivotal roles, the singular effect of eight or 6-inch gun can be difficult to
analyze. In general, however, the 8-inch gun proved superior during daylight
engagements while the 6-inch gun performed well during night actions.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
Ernest Andrade, Jr.
v


DEDICATION
I
To my dear wife, Stacy.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank Professor Carl Christensen of the University of Colorado
at Boulder for encouraging me to pursue a graduate degree in history. He is an
excellent scholar and a kind man. Several people were of great assistance to me as I
worked on this thesis for the past two years. Professors Frederick Allen, Mark S.
Foster, and James Whiteside of the University of Colorado at Denver History
Department deserve credit for their helpful and continued support of my studies. Sue
Sethny of the History office always responded to my unceasing questions and requests
with tolerance and good cheer. Thanks goes to Jamison McGregor for his help in
recreating the maps of the various battles. I am especially grateful to George and June
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Wendel, without whose assistance this tliesis would not have been possible. Finally,
great thanks to my advisor, Ernest Andrade, for his decency, patience, and
encouragement over the past few years. I value not only his commitment to
scholarship but also his warm friendship.


CONTENTS
Maps ...............................j............................................ x
i
Tables .............................|........................................... xi
l
i
Introduction .......................1.......................................... xii
PART ONE: CONCEPTION
CHAPTER
1. PRELUDE: TOWARD A TREATY PROCESS ................
I
2. THE 1921-22 WASHINGTON CONFERENCE ...............
i
i
3. THE CRUISER RACE BEGINS |........................
l
4. ATTEMPTS AT ABATEMENT: FROM GENEVA TO LONDON
I
i
5. THE RISE OF THE LIGHT CRUISER ...................
I
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6. THE SECOND LONDON NAVAL CONFERENCE ..............
I
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7. THE END OF THE TREATY ERA .......................
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1
8
18
32
47
54
59
Vlll
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PART TWO: PERFORMANCE
Part Two Introduction
CHAPTER
71
8. THE BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE (13 DECEMBER 1939) 74
9. THE BATTLE OF THE JAVA SEA (27 FEBRUARY 1942) 85
10. THE BATTLE OF SAVO ISLAND (9 AUGUST 1942) 105
11. THE BATTLE OF CAPE ESPERANCE
(11-12 OCTOBER 1942) ...
138
12. THE BATTLE OF THE KOMANDORSKI ISLANDS
(26 MARCH 1943) ..|....................... 159
13. THE BATTLE OF EMPRESS AUGUSTA BAY
(2 NOVEMBER 1943) .!....................... 177
14. SUMMARY: CRUISER LESSONS OF THE WAR ...... 192
Conclusion
BIBLIOGRAPHY
206
210
IX


MAPS
Map
8.1
9.1
10.1
10.2
11.1
12.1
13.1
Battle
Battle
Allied
Battle
Battle
Battle
of the River Plate ............
!
of the Java Sea, Daylight Action ..
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Deployment Before the Bjattle __
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of Savo Island, 0132-2000 ......
of Cape Esperance, Opening Phase
of the Komandorski Islands .....
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, Contact Established
76
90
109
116
146
165
181
x


TABLES
Table
3.1 Warship Auxiliary Naval Programs
(Authorization Y ears, 1919-1927)
I
7.1 Cruiser Strength on the Eve of War
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8.1 Order of Battle, River Plate !
9.1 Order of Battle, Java Sea _______
10.1 Order of Battle, Savo Island
11.1 Order of Battle, Cape Esperance
I
12.1 Order of Battle, Komandorski Islands
13.1 Order of Battle, Empress Augusta Bay


INTRODUCTION
Between the First and Second World Wars, the world's leading naval powers
entered into several arms control and arms reduction agreements which limited,
i
quantitatively and qualitatively, certain types of naval war craft. The first of these, the
Five Power Treaty signed at the 1921-22 Washington Conference, established a
ten-year moratorium on battleship construction and placed limits on aircraft carriers
but failed to limit shipbuilding below the 10,000 ton displacement level. The 1920s
and 1930s witnessed a "cruiser race" during which the various naval powers sought to
enhance their military positions by building "semi-capital" class cruisers. The Geneva
Conference of 1927 and the London Conferences of 1930 and 1935-36 addressed
questions regarding cruisers, submarines, and other auxiliaries. The discussions
regarding cruisers centered not only on how many each nation should be allowed but
I
on the type as well. The debate focused on the relative merit of either "heavy" or
"light" cruisers, differentiated by their type of armament: 8-inch guns for the "heavies"
and 6-inch guns for the "lights." In the United States (US) the discussion over cruiser
I
design was quite lively. While both designs had their proponents, the heavy cruiser
design, in general, was seen as superior. The British preferred light cruisers, which
xu


they viewed as better suited to maintain their world-wide empire and network of
bases. The constraints set up by the various inter-war treaties greatly affected ship
design. The treaty process, in effect, created the cruiser classes used during the
Second World War.
The path of cruiser development during the inter-war period is traced by this
study. First, a discussion of why each of the world's naval powers entered into the
"treaty regime" is presented. The 1921-22 Washington Conference is examined in
detail since it provided the framework for naval construction and future agreements
throughout the period. Primarily the thesis focuses on the cruiser fleets of the United
States, Great Britain, and Japan. France
Geneva Conference of 1927, the London
and Italy are examined only in tangent. The
. Naval Conference of 1930, and the Second
London Naval Conference of 1935-36 are also presented as they relate specifically to
the cruiser issue. A brief comparison of various cruiser fleets prior to war is revealing
in light of the defense policies pursued by each of the maritime powers.
This thesis attempts to answer a number of important questions. When and
why did each of the naval powers embark on cruiser programs? How did the treaty
process impact cruiser design? Which cruiser type did each nation prefer and why?
!
Which proved to be a greater stumbling block to a diplomatic agreement on cruisers:
Japanese intransigence or Anglo-American rivalry? What was the makeup of each of
the leading naval powers' cruiser fleets when war broke out? Finally, this thesis
xm


analyzes how the different cruiser designs performed in the crucible of war. Was the
heavy cruiser, in fact, a superior fighting ship to the light cruiser as many American
!
military planners argued during the interjwar period? Were armament questions
l
immaterial in light of other factors, suchjas tactics and leadership? Several actions,
i
especially in the Pacific theater, pitted light and heavy cruisers against each other.
I
How did each fare in combat? i
xiv


PART ONE:
CONCEPTION


CHAPTER 1
PRELUDE: TOWARD A TREATY PROCESS
The United States thrust itself upon the world stage in 1898. Victory in the
Spanish-American War and the acquisition of Spain's colonial possessions, especially
the Philippines, heralded world power stktus for the US. In addition to the Philippines,
the US acquired Guam, the Hawaiian Is!
1898. By the turn of the century, Wake
became American territories. With new:
|ands, Johnston Island, and Palmyra Island in
Island and Tutuila (American Samoa) also
bund interests abroad, a rising tide of
nationalism swept the US into its "impeifial" stage, along with a desire to exert political
influence and expand economically.
After Commodore George Dewey cabled Washington with news of the
Spanish fleet's destruction and his capture of the Philippines, President McKinley
confessed, "I could not have told where^ those darned islands were within 2,000
miles!However, the acquisition of the Philippines greatly impacted American
diplomacy well into the 1900s. Business interests saw the islands as a springboard into
the vast, untapped markets of China. Manila Bay could serve as a port facility for
1 As quoted in Robert Ferrell, American Diplomacy: The Twentieth Century.
4th ed. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1988), p. 44.
1
I


military purposes as well. But the Philippines became something of a millstone, for
they helped bring the US into direct conflict with another rising Pacific power, Japan.
The United States' willingness to be a player on the international stage became
evident in 1899. As the Manchu Dynasty declined and China fell into unstable chaos,
foreign interests encroached more and more upon the failing empire. As Japan, Great
Britain, Russia, Germany, and other powers prepared to carve out even larger spheres
of influence, American Secretary of Stats John Hay enunciated the "Open Door"
policy. The Open Door attempted to legitimize a policy that the US had long followed
I
I
in China: that markets in China must remain open to free economic competition.
After the nativist revolt of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, Hay expanded the Open Door
as a guarantee against further partition by foreign powers. Rationale for American
The pivotal writings of theorist Captain Alfred
Thayer Mahan helped justify policy-makers' visions of an international "manifest
destiny" that depended upon colonies anjd a strong navy.2 President Theodore
Roosevelt, an ardent believer in Mahan's! strategies, greatly expanded the US Navy and
then sent it around the world to prove America's might.
Greater impetus for the US to expand its navy came from the First World War.
Japan's aggressive expansion, German submarine strategy, as well as the mounting
expansion also came from the military.
Robert Gordon Kaufman, Arms Control During the Pre-Nuclear Era: The
United States and Naval Limitations Between the Two World Wars (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 7.
2


slaughter in Europe, prompted government leaders to act.3 The Naval Act of 1916
called for a mammoth shipbuilding program. Its official goal: "A Navy second to
none." The US was to have the world's largest navy at a cost of 600 million dollars
with 156 ships of all classes to be completed by 1919.4 The continued sinking of
American merchant ships combined with the release of the Zimmermann telegram
allowed President Woodrow Wilson's crusade for making the world "safe for
democracy." American participation in tlie war, however, interrupted the 1916
program. Shipyards cranked out small auxiliary craft to combat submarines instead of
larger warships that would take much longer to produce. In 1919 Wilson asked for
the resumption of the 1916 program.
Significant political elements within the United States opposed the naval
buildup. The "irreconcilables," a coterie of US Senators, refused to ratify the League
of Nations and obstructed any American political involvement abroad. Led by Senator
William Borah of Idaho, they wished to see the United States return to its isolationist
shell. Economic factors favored disarmament. With the return of peace, the
government ended its wartime economic cpntrols. Demobilization flooded millions of
servicemen back into the workplace and recession ensued. Much of the public viewed
i
a large navy as something of an unwanted and expensive luxury. President Warren G.
Ibid., p. 8.
Ibid.
3
I


Harding, as part of his "return to normalcy," seized upon popular sentiment when he
called for a disarmament conference to be held in Washington in 1921.
Japan's rise to international prominence had been even more rapid and
spectacular than that of the United States. The Meiji Restoration in 1868 brought
Japan out of feudal hibernation and Shogun rule. With Herculean effort, Japan
developed quickly into an industrial, economic, and political power. By the turn of the
century, Japan became Asia's strongest nation. The Japanese demonstrated their
military ability, as well as the weakness of the Manchu regime in China, with a
resounding victory in the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War. A decade later, Russia's
attempts to encroach upon China collided with those of Japan; the Russo-Japanese
War resulted. Japan's crushing rout of the Russian Baltic fleet at Tsushima marked the
first naval defeat of a European power oy an Asian country. Designs for economic
and territorial expansion continued throughout the early twentieth century as Japan
consolidated its gains in Manchuria. When the First World War engulfed Europe and
|
as the US walked a tightrope of neutrality, Japan seized the opportunity to squeeze
China even more. In January 1915, the Japanese presented the "Twenty-One
Demands" to China's government. Essentially, the demands would create Japanese
hegemony over all of China.5 China, with US support, refused. In the face of staunch
diplomatic pressure, the Japanese averted confrontation and backed off, announcing
Ferrell, p. 64.
4


that their demands were actually only "requests."6 After joining the war on the side of
the Allied Powers, Japan gobbled up Germany's protectorate of Shantung Province in
|
China and Germany's Pacific possessionsjof Yap, the Caroline Islands, and the
Marshall Islands. According to stated war goals, no Allied Power could annex
territory, but at the Paris Peace Conference the League of Nations created a "mandate"
which gave Japan control of all German islands north of the equator.7
Japanese naval policy was inextricably tied to goals of economic self-
sufficiency and protection against European interference in Asian affairs. The Navy
brought victory in both the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars. Like the US
Navy, the writings of Captain Mahan greatly influenced the leadership of the Japanese
navy.8 Mahan himself believed that more of his works had been translated into
Japanese than any other language.9 At the end of the First World War, Japan clearly
represented the world's third leading naval power behind Great Britain and the United
States. Japanese military and political leaders viewed their naval status as critical to
the maintenance and preservation of their burgeoning empire.
6 Harlow A. Hyde, Scraps of Paper:! The Disarmament Treaties Between the
World Wars (Lincoln. Nebraska: Media publishing, 1988), p. 36.
7 Raymond Leslie Buell. The Washington Conference (New York: Russell &
Russell, 1922), pp. 54-55. j
8 For evidence of Mahan's influence upon Japanese naval planning and strategy,
see David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie, Kaigun: Strategy. Tactics, and Technology
in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 (Annapolis. Maryland: Naval Institute
Press, 1997), pp. 70-71; 139-140. 1
9 Ferrell, p. 57.
5


To maintain proper strength, the Japanese Navy sought completion of an
"eight-eight" fleet composed of eight battleships and eight battle-cruisers.10 11 For
material-poor Japan, such a fleet was ambitious. The United States' 1916 Naval Act
proved a catalyst however. In July 1920 the Imperial Diet approved the eight-eight
fleet expansion program. The proposal called for the construction of a total of 103
ships, including four battleships, four battle-cruisers, and 12 cruisers. But try as Japan
might, there was no real hope of maintaining pace with the huge outlays of the US
1916 program. Popular domestic sentiment for arms control prevailed not only in the
1
United States and Great Britain, but in Japan as well. A significant number of
politically liberal politicians argued for disarmament on sound financial and diplomatic
grounds. Despite strong protest within the military, Japanese leaders hoped to gain at
the conference table what they could ncjt achieve in their shipyards.
i
As the American and Japanese fleets emerged from their embryonic status in
the late 1800s, Great Britain's centuries -old reign as master of the seas began to
decline. At the turn of the twentieth century, Germany and Russia posed serious
threats to the British Empire. Germany, a relatively late entrant into the game of
colonial empire-building, cast an envious eye toward her European neighbors. Russia's
expansionist China policies threatened Britain's status quo in the region. Britain found
j
her fleet increasingly unable to meet the worldwide challenges posed by foreign
10 Evans, p. 150. |
11 Kaufman, p. 39. j
6


nations, and unable to protect her vast empire adequately. To maintain her interests in
Asia, Britain entered into an alliance with Japan in 1902.
I
I
A massive naval arms race with Germany in the decade prior to World War I
taxed Britain heavily. By 1914 the British abandoned their "Two Power Standard,"
first established in 1889, which declared that the Royal Navy would be equal in
strength to the navies of any two other nations combined. The wartime experience
i
itself was incredibly harrowing in its nature and results. German submarines nearly
strangled the island nation into submission. Despite eliminating the German surface
threat, the Battle of Jutland revealed serious shortcomings in many British ships.
Additionally, a number of older vessels needed replacement. World War I cost Britain
dearly and created huge foreign debts, pushing the island nation to its economic limit.
In the early post-war era, Britain would be severely tested to maintain pace with the
I
two upstarts: the United States was building a navy "second to none," and Japan held
hegemony in the Far East. Britain readily accepted the invitation to discuss naval arms
limitations.
7


CHAPTER 2
THE 1921-22 WASHINGTON CONFERENCE
The First World War caused incredible hardships, carnage, and human misery.
Left in the wake of "The Great War" wer e millions of casualties. Amid destroyed and
still-standing cities wandered amputees and refugees. Of the families that lost sons,
husbands, or brothers, many believed tha: the immense arms buildup by Europe's
leading powers had been a primary cause of the conflict. A nation-state that built a
large military would be more inclined to use it. Public opinion provided great impetus
for a major international conference for arms reduction in general, and naval
disarmament in particular.
American Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes convened the Washington
i
Conference on 11 November 1921. Hughes electrified the assembled crowd by
announcing, "The way to disarm is to disarm," and then laid out the American
proposal:
1. All capital ship building programs, either actual or
projected, should be abandoned.
2. Further reductions should be made through the
scrapping of certain of thej older ships.
3. In general, regard should be [made] to the existing
naval strength of the Powers concerned.
8


4. Capital ship tonnage siould be used as the
measurement of strength for navies and a proportionate
allowance of auxiliary combatant craft prescribed.12
The foreign dignitaries, expecting the usual mundane opening pleasantries, were
shocked. Hughes essentially laid all the American cards on the table at the
!
conference's outset. He outlined his vision for how each nation's navy might be
adapted to the treaty parameters. As Hughes casually announced his expectation that
the British would scrap their four Hood class battle cruisers and battleship King
George V, journalist Mark Sullivan noticed that British Admiral Lord David Beatty:
Came forward in his chair
sleeping on a sunny doors
with the manner of a bulldog,
ep, who has been poked in
the stomach by the impudent foot of an itinerant
soap-canvasser seriously lacking in any sense of the
most ordinary proprieties or considerations of personal
safety.13
The crux of Hughes' proposal, and the cause of all the uproar, actually
j
reflected the existing balance of forces byj the leading naval powers. The Washington
Conference established a "Five Power Treaty" and a 5-5-3-1.67-1.67 ratio in battleship
and aircraft carrier tonnage for Great Britain, the United States, Japan, France, and
Italy, respectively. Some adjustments and exceptions were allowed, but by 1942 the
j
treaty permitted 525,000 displacement tons for battleships and 135,000 tons for
i
carriers in the American and British fleets! Japan was allowed 272,000 battleship tons
12 US Department of State, Conference on the Limitation of Armament.
Washington: November 12. 1921 -- February 6. 1922 (Washington D.C.: US
Government Printing Office, 1922), p. 60..
13 As quoted in Ferrell, p. 170.
9


and 81,000 for carriers. France and Italy could have up to 175,000 and 60,000 tons
for battleships and carriers, respectively.
For all nations, some degree of compromise had been granted. United States
military planners in drafting War Plan Orange, the hypothetical plan for war with
Japan, assumed that the Philippines would be lost to invasion and then would need to
be retaken. Army advisors at times were more optimistic, and some believed that the
American bases in the Philippines could hold out until a relief force arrived.
Regardless, whether to relieve or retake the islands, a fleet would have to be
assembled and then travel thousands of miles overseas to the Far East. Part of the US
fleet would have to be used to maintain supply trains and lines of communication.
Japanese auxiliary attacks, sub attacks, and air assaults from planes based in the
Mandated Islands would further reduce the number of ships available to the main
i
battle force. Alfred Thayer Mahan's doctrine stated that a fleet lost 10 percent of its
fighting effectiveness for every 1,000 miles traveled. As Manila lay nearly 5,000 miles
l
from the Hawaiian Islands, the General Board of the US Navy declared a 2-1 ratio as
i
the only "safe" ratio to maintain with the Imperial Navy.14
i
Japanese naval experts projected a hypothetical war scenario very similar to
that of the US General Board. The Japanese also believed that they could take the
!
Philippines before significant help could arrive from the American mainland. Then, as
14
Kaufman, p. 50.
10


the US Pacific Fleet steamed toward the Far East in a relief effort, it would be taken
j
by surprise in a Tsushima-style climactic battle at a location of the Japanese Navy's
choosing. In order to defeat the attacking fleet, the Japanese General Staff of the
I
Navy declared a 70 percent ratio as the rninimum strength needed to guarantee the
1
safety of the home islands. During the conference, Hughes forced concessions from
I
every side. The 5-3 American-Japanese ratio split the difference between the
competitive advantage desired by each nation. Neither American nor Japanese naval
leaders liked the agreement. One official privately commented that the 5-5-3 ratio
i
"sounded to Japanese ears like Rolls-Royce: Rolls-Royce: Ford."* 16
I
Although formally conceding parity with the US, Great Britain, as part of the
negotiations, demanded that her navy be larger than the next two largest continental
!
powers. Thus the treaty established a ratio of 1.67 for both France and Italy. Even
though France's capital ship tonnage fell below the proposed allowance, the French
delegation argued against equality with Italy. France's security needs lay in both the
Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Italy could concentrate all of its forces in the
Mediterranean with a decided advantage. Even though this case sounded similar to
the one made by Americans vis a vis the Japanese, they did not get their wish.
Evans, p. 143. :
16 As quoted in Nathan Miller, War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II
(New York: Scribner, 1995), p. 27.
11
4


Although they viewed the ratio as the "decapitation of their fleet, the French were
i
convinced by Hughes to accept the 1.67
ratio.
17
French acquiescence came with a price. The conference recognized that
France's battleship "holiday" began in 1915, therefore France (and Italy) could begin
j
replacement construction as early as 1927. Later, France's demands for submarine
tonnage in excess of the 1.67 capital ship ratio derailed efforts to limit that type of
craft.17 18 France's real concern lay not with naval armaments but with the containment
of Germany. The leader of the French delegation, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand,
attempted in vain to draft the British into a continental military pact to guarantee the
territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.19 The Italians came away from the
conference satisfied as parity with France gave them the political prestige they desired.
In addition to the Five Power najval agreement, the Washington Conference
produced two other significant treaties. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance had agitated
!
American diplomats ever since its establishment in 1902. Originally, the British signed
i
the pact as a means to stem Russian and German aggression in the Far East. By 1921,
however, the association was less desirable as Japan developed a much more
aggressive posture, emboldened in part by Britain's tacit protection. New Zealand and
17 As quoted in Yamato Ichihashi, The Washington Conference and After: A
Historical Survey fStanford University. California: Stanford University Press, 1928;
reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1969),
edition.
18 Ibid., p. 94.
19 Kaufman, p. 63.
p. 67. Page citations are to the reprint
12


Australia argued against outright abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, since
they might face the wrath of an alienated Japan.20 Instead of termination, the alliance
expanded to include the United States and France. The Four Power Treaty, written in
vague language, required no actual military commitments. In the event of aggression,
the treaty called for party members to |
...communicate with one another fully and frankly in
order to arrive at an understanding as to the most
efficient measures to be taken, jointly or separately, to
meet the exigencies of the particular situation.21
Although the treaty asked members to respect each other's rights in the Pacific, these
rights were not enumerated. If disputes arose, members were to attend a conference
for resolution. Simply put, the Four Power Treaty took the teeth out of the
Anglo-Japanese Alliance and, for Hughes, was the necessary prerequisite for the
conference to continue. Ironically, ratification of the relatively meaningless Four
Power Treaty later caused a "firestorm" in the US Senate during ratification.22
j
Other colonial powers, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Portugal,
along with a Chinese delegation, participated in what became known as the Nine
Power Treaty. Essentially, the settlement! tried to codify the "Open Door" doctrine in
20 Ferrell, p. 172. j
21 US Department of State, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the
United States of America. 1776-1949. vol. 2 (Washington D.C.: US Government
Printing Office, 1969), p. 334. Hereafter cited as Treaties and Agreements of the US.
22 Hyde, p. 96.
13


China., first enunciated by American Secretary of State John Hay in 1899. The first
article stipulated that the signatories:
Respect the sovereignty, the independence, and the
territorial and administrative integrity of China...
[Allow] China to developj and maintain for herself an
effective and stable government... [establish and
maintain] the principle of
commerce and industry o
territory of China.23
Upon its signing, the Nine Power Treaty
equal opportunity for the
all nations throughout the
appeared to guarantee Chinese political and
territorial sovereignty. Events eventual^ proved otherwise.
As an inducement for Japanese approval of the 5-5-3 ratio and the elimination
of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, the Unitec States and Great Britain agreed to a
f the Five Power Treaty prohibited the US
of its Pacific islands excluding the Hawaiian
and Aleutian Islands. Britain could not strengthen any possession east of 110 degrees
east longitude. This prevented reinforcement of Hong Kong but allowed the British to
"non-fortification clause." Article XIX o
from building up additional bases on any
build their base in Singapore. For the Japanese, the treaty outlawed fortification on,
among other possessions, the Mandated,
Kurile, Pescadores, and Bonin Islands and
Formosa (Taiwan).24 Therefore, even though the United States helped to create a
treaty committed to the Open Door, it had surrendered a major means of enforcing
US Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the
United States. 1922, vol. 1 (Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office,
1938), p. 278. Hereafter cited as Foreign Relations of the US: Treaties and
Agreements of the US. vol. 2, p. 377. |
24 Treaties and Agreements of the US. vol. 2, p. 356.
14


that agreement. The 5-5-3 ratio allowed for Japanese naval supremacy in the Far East
and the non-fortification clause prevented the US from building or expanding naval
bases in Manila or Guam. No longer could a strong American presence pose a serious
threat to Japan in the region.
The Five Power Treaty successfully limited battleship and aircraft carrier
tonnage, declaring a ten-year "holiday" on battleship construction. The treaty did
permit the replacement of twenty-year-old "overage" capital ships, with a tonnage limit
of 35,000 tons per ship. What of auxiliaries? Hughes wanted the 5-5-3-1.67-1.67
ratio extended to all warship (non-capital class) auxiliaries, including cruisers,
destroyers, and submarines. French Foreign Minister Briand started the "submarine
controversy" when he declared:
But so far as the defensive ships (light cruisers, torpedo
boats, and submarines) are concerned... it would be
impossible for the Frencn Government, without running
counter to the vote of the Chambers, to accept
reductions corresponding to those which we accept for
capital ships... which yoiji will certainly understand.25
The attempt to categorize some ships, such as light cruisers, torpedo boats, and
submarines, as "defensive" sparked dispute. Understandably, the British delegation did
not consider the submarine to be a defensive weapon. German U-boats nearly
strangled Britain during World War I, sinking 12,000,000 tons of shipping.26 Instead,
|
Britain sought the submarine's abolition, a motion which Hughes gladly supported.
25 Foreign Relations of the US. 1922 vol. 1. p. 136.
26 Buell, p. 215.
15


Japan and Italy supported a condemnation in principle of the type of submarine
i
I
warfare used in the last war, but they agrped with the French that it served as a
i
I
legitimate means of naval defense. Francje flatly refused to extend the capital ship ratio
to submarines. A lack of consensus regarding the submarines killed discussions
regarding the limitation of other non-capital class warships such as cruisers and
l
destroyers. i
!
At the time, Charles Evans Hugbles did not view the conference's inability to
address auxiliaries as a major failure. French obstinacy was seen as the primary
i
culprit. Even had Briand been more malleable, however, other delegations would have
proven just as divisive. The Japanese, willing to submit to a 3-5 ratio on capital ships,
I
desired a 7-10 ratio in auxiliaries. The British, as later events revealed, fully expected
to receive a significant advantage in cruisers. France's noisy protestations hid other
conflicts that would occupy negotiations for over a decade.27
j
To prevent signatories from building hybrid ships as a means of circumnavi-
gating the agreement on battleships, the Five Power Treaty defined a capital ship as
l
any ship greater than 10,000 tons displacement or any ship that carried a gun in excess
I
of eight inches in caliber.28 Britain's recently-launched Hawkins class cruisers
l
j
displaced 9,750 tons and bore 7.5-inchjguns. The Admiralty in no way wished to see
j
these new ships scrapped. Additionallj, the General Board of the US Navy had been
27 Kaufman, p. 65. j
28 Treaties and Agreements of the US. vol. 2. p. 355.
16


considering a large-caliber, large-tonnage cruiser for some time. Inadvertently, these
treaty definitions, meant to deter construction, became the new standard for cruiser
development. The Washington Conference concluded with the signing of the Five
Power Treaty on 6 February 1922. Secretary of State Hughes declared, "This treaty
ends, absolutely ends, competition in naval armaments."29 30 Nothing could have been
further from the truth.
29 Stephen Roskill, The Period of Anglo-American Antagonism. 1919-1929. vol.
1 of Naval Policy Between the Wars (London: Collins, 1968), pp. 325-326, Hereafter
cited as Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 1.
30 Hyde, p. xiii.
17


CHAPTER 3
THE CRUISER RACE BEGINS
In 1906 the Royal Navy launched HMS Dreadnought, the world's first
"all-big-gun" battleship. With a primary battery of ten 12-inch guns, Dreadnought was
built to fire on enemy ships from long ranges. An all-turbine power plant gave the
18,000 ton ship an unprecedented speed of 21 knots. Dreadnought so outclassed
every other capital ship in existence as to make them instantly obsolete. Unwittingly,
the British undermined their own significant advantage over Germany in terms of
capital ships. A naval race ensued and by the time World War I began Britain had
twenty "dreadnoughts" to Germany's fifteen.
So too did the Five Power Treaty revolutionize construction with regard to
cruisers. In 1914, five distinct types of cruisers existed: battle cruisers, armored
cruisers, protected cruisers, scout (light) cruisers, and armed merchant cruisers. The
I
battle cruiser carried the same armament as dreadnoughts but sacrificed armor
protection for increased speed. Designers did not originally intend for battle cruisers
to be used as part of the main battle line, but during the First World War these vessels
performed in a capital ship role, sometimes with disastrous consequence as at Jutland.
Armored cruisers, ships intended to support the battle-line, typically had side and deck
18


assigned to trade protection or to patrol
protection, were of slower speed, and bore guns up to of 9.2 inches in size. The
protected cruiser had less armor, was faster, armed with smaller guns, and usually was
colonial waters. Scout cruisers were small,
quick vessels utilized to reconnoiter for the enemy and then race back and report to its
own battle-line. A variant of the scout cruiser acted in concert with destroyer flotillas
in a "destroyer-leader" role. Armed merchant cruisers were simply merchant ships
with naval guns added to them.
The situation radically altered with the advent of the "treaty cruiser." The
10,000 ton, 8-inch gun limit, originally meant to preserve the distinction between
capital and auxiliary warships, instead became the new standard by which all future
cruiser construction would be measured. Just as the advent of HMS Dreadnought had
rendered pre-existing capital ships obsolete, new cruisers built at or near treaty limits
made every armored cruiser afloat obsolete. As soon as one maritime power built
treaty cruisers such construction mandated a response in other navies, thus
perpetuating the cycle of an arms race. Additionally, since the Washington Conference
brought battleship construction to a standstill, cruisers correspondingly rose in
importance. Inadvertently, the Washington Conference let the cruiser genie out of the
bottle.
Five months after Secretary Hughjes proclaimed the death of naval arms
competition, Japan announced its "Naval Armaments Limitation Program" on 3 July
19


1922. The program planned for a total of fifty-nine ships, including six cruisers.31
Japan came under criticism as its announcement flew directly in the face of the spirit
engendered at Washington. The Japanese military, however, was still determined to
dominate China. Therefore, annulment of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance provided a
strong impetus for a military buildup in ship classes not addressed by the Five Power
Treaty. In 1922 the Japanese laid down a total of seven cruiser hulls. The first of
these to be armed with 8-inch guns were two Furutaka class cruisers that had a
standard displacement of 7,213 tons.32 The General Staff began two more cruisers
1924. In the fall, construction began on the
The Myoko class represented the Imperial
Navy's first full-fledged "treaty cruiser," built with a main battery of ten 7.9-inch (20-
I
cm) guns and a declared displacement of 10,000 tons. Upon completion, the actual
i
standard displacement of these ships exceeded the treaty limit established at
Washington by over one-hundred tons.
The question of Japanese violations during the treaty era is a complicated one.
Some historians argue that the Japanese did not willfully intend, at least initially, to
exceed displacement limits.33 Others severely criticize the Japanese Naval General
using the Furutaka class design early in
first of Japan's A class (heavy) cruisers
Eric Lacroix and Linton Wells II, Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War
(Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1997), p. 82.
32 M.J. Whitley, Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia
(Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1995), p. 167.
33 See Evans, p. 229; Lacroix, p. 83, fn. 6.
20


Staff for its outright subversion of the trjeaty process.34 The creation of a weight
ceiling using the artificial "standard tonnlage" caused problems for naval architects in
every navy.35 The treaty process forced planners to begin with the 10,000 ton limit
and work backward. USS Salt Lake City (.Pensacola class) had a design displacement
of 11,568 tons, yet still easily met the ardficial 10,000 standard tonnage limit.36
Projecting a ship's tonnage from the design stage can be a tricky business at best, and
Japanese builders could no longer depend on British expertise as they had prior to
World War I. Much of the excess weight came not from the initial design but in
topside add-ons in the form of masts, antennae, directors, and weapon improvements.
It should be noted, however, that some Japanese ships eventually exceeded their
34
See Hyde, Chapter 17, "Implementation Ours... Violation Theirs," esp. pp.
212-226. See also ibid., p. 129.
35
Prior to the Washington Conference there existed no common, uniform
method of measuring ship displacement, j "Normal" or "design" displacement
meant the weight of the ship partially loaded (2/3 "trial displacement" for the
Japanese) with fuel, oil, stores, and feedwater. US negotiators at Washington
argued that such measurements represented a bias against ship designs
preferred by the Americans (i.e. ships with extensive cruising radii requiring
large amounts of fuel, etc.). The Five Power Treaty defined "standard
displacement" as the "displacement of the ship complete, fully manned,
engined, and equipped ready for sea, including all armament and ammunition,
equipment, outfit, provisions and fresh water for crew, miscellaneous stores... but
without fuel or reserve feed water on board." See Treaties and Agreements of the US.
vol. 2, p. 368.
36 Norman Friedman, US Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History (Annapolis,
Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1984), p. 471. Unless noted otherwise, this thesis
uses Whitley when citing specific standard tonnage weights for cruisers with the
understanding that many of the cruisers designed during the treaty era later exceeded
the 10,000 ton limit due to refits and equipment additions.
21


declared displacements by thousands of tons. By the early 1930s, the influence of
Japanese liberalism declined sharply anil with the abrogation of the naval treaties in
sight, Japanese violations became more flagrant.
While Japan rearmed, Great Britain faced the early post-war era in a greatly
1
weakened state. The huge monetary debt incurred during the war forced harsh
economic measures upon the British. To help forestall excessive military spending, in
August 1919 the British government adopted the "ten year rule," in which the Cabinet
declared that military spending would be based "on the assumption that the British
Empire would not be engaged in any great war during the next ten years."37 With a
wave of the pen, Parliament simply legislated all potential militaiy adversaries out of
existence, forcing service departments toj greatly reduce expenditure requests. In 1922
former First Sea Lord, Sir Eric Geddes earned himself the enmity of the entire Royal
j
Navy by wielding the "Geddes Axe," which eliminated hundreds of naval officers'
positions. Well over a dozen of the capital ships, many of which were out of date or
obsolete, were sacrificed at the Washington Conference. Naval spending dropped
l
drastically. Construction did begin on two battleships, Nelson and Rodney, as
permitted under the Five Power Treaty.
i
With a vast empire upon which the sun never set, Britain considered cruisers to
I
be of special significance to her naval requirements. Protection of merchant shipping,
37 1
As quoted in Roskill, Naval PolicyJ vol. 1, p. 215.
22


Britain's life-blood, required a large cruiser fleet to ward off commerce raiders and
maintain communications. Although German submarine warfare proved extremely
effective during World War I, the British believed technological innovation greatly
reduced this threat. In 1921 successful sea trials of recently developed asdic (sonar),
"produced considerable euphoria among the Board of Admiralty."38 Although ships
would not be outfitted with effective asdic units until the 1930s, the Admiralty
nonetheless believed the sub menace would soon be rendered inert. Therefore,
commerce raiders, for which cruisers were the solution, posed the biggest danger. As
class cruisers, the British in 1924 laid down the
m. The number of Kent or "County" class
8-inch cruisers eventually grew to fifteen. Quite simply, despite political and economic
constraints, the Admiralty viewed cruisers as Britain's domain and greatly contested
any attempt to be outclassed in this type of vessel. As one commentator observed, the
Japan began construction of its Myoko
hulls for five treaty cruisers of their ow
attitude adopted by the Admiralty seemed to be, "Geddes Axe and the budget deficit
be damned! Fie on the Ten Year Rule| We've got to build some [8-inch] cruisers!"39
This belief greatly exacerbated problems between Britain and the United States,
especially when Whitehall expected the US to cancel England's foreign debt while
simultaneously expanding its cruiser program.
Ibid., p. 346.
Hyde, p. 136.
23


The United States, from 1920 until 1924, authorized the building of no
warships, with the exception of converting the hulls of battle-cruisers Lexington and
Saratoga into aircraft carriers in A parsimonious Congress was in no mood to
engage in an arms race in ships not limited by the Five Power Treaty and in January
1923 made the first of what became an annual entreaty that asked the President to
convene an arms conference to address warships below the 10,000 ton displacement
level. In response to the British and Japanese cruiser programs, Congress in 1924
finally authorized the building of eight cruisers. Appropriations of funds to start actual
construction was another matter, and the US Navy did not lay down the hull for the
first of these ships until 1926.
France and Italy embarked on their own cruiser "mini-race" with programs
primarily directed at each other. In 1922-23, France laid down three hulls of its
i
Duguay-Trouin .class cruisers. Typical ojf the more moderate designs of the period,
the Duguay-Trouin class displaced around 7,400 tons and carried eight 6-inch guns.
In the wake of the Five Power Treaty, France began to build its first treaty cruiser,
i
Duquesne, in October 1924. Italy responded in February 1925 with construction of
the first of its Trento class cruisers. Both
the Duquesne and the Trento class displaced
10,000 tons and carried eight 8-inch guns! France laid down hulls for six more treaty
i
cruisers by the end of the decade.
40
Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 1, p. 580.
24


As the cruiser race developed wihin the confines of the Five Power Treaty,
each nation defined the cruiser's role differently, affecting ship design. Two types
developed as defined by their armament,
up of 8-inch guns, while the light cruiser
The heavy cruiser's main battery was made
was defined as such because of its 6.1-inch
(or smaller) guns. The British greatly favored the latter for a variety of reasons. With
its worldwide network of bases, Great Britain needed a large number of cruisers.
Light cruisers with 6-inch guns required [ess displacement and thus were cheaper to
build. The financially-strapped British looked to cut monetary comers any way they
could. Another requirement limiting cmiser size was that ship length had to be less
than 615 feet in order to dock at all stations.41 Treaty rules permitted only guns of up
to six inches to be mounted on merchant
ships during times of war, therefore the
Admiralty viewed the 6-inch gun as sufficient armament. The 6-inch shell permitted
hand-loading due to its lightness. At most, a 6-inch shell might weigh 150 pounds.
The 8-inch shell, however, weighed from 250 to 275 pounds, requiring elaborate
loading mechanisms that reduced the rate of fire significantly. Another cmiser role,
i
fleet support, depended on a high rate ofjfire to defend the main line against fast
moving targets (destroyers) that threatened the battle line. For Great Britain, the light
cmiser best met the Royal Navy's logistical, economic, and tactical needs. The
Admiralty advocated the 6-inch cmiser tliroughout the treaty period.
Whitley, p. 110. I
|
25


More than any other naval power, the United States favored the "big-gun,"
8-inch cruiser. American bases in the Pacific were few and far between. These vast
distances necessitated a ship with an extensive cruising radius and, therefore, greater
displacement. War Plan Orange, the mi:
ships that could travel to the Philippines
1 itary's blueprint for war with Japan, required
to relieve or retake US bases there. Although
the British argued from fiscal restraint to build smaller ships, the US Navy revealed
that its own studies found, "that the greatest fighting value per ton built was to be
found in larger shipswhich incidentally cost the least per ton."42 The US General
Board of the Navy also planned to use cruisers in an independent role, thus the 8-inch
cruiser would be better suited to face a stronger foe, such as the four battle cruisers
retained by both Great Britain and Japan after the Washington Conference. Treaties
permitted aircraft carriers to be armed with 8-inch guns, and some believed during the
inter-war period that the cruiser might lie called to engage such ships. The US Navy
|
considered commerce raiding and communications interdiction a cruiser role as well.
Therefore, the General Board wanted American cruisers to out-gun merchant ships
I
that could potentially carry 6-inch guns With the building holiday on capital ships,
cruisers became all the more valuable. Due to a lack of battleships, the cruiser would
adopt a semi-capital role, best met by the bigger gun.
42
Friedman, p. 218.
26


US Navy experts debated the relative merits of the two gun-types. The 8-inch
gun had a longer range. At a 40 degree angle, the 8-inch gun could fire a shell 34,000
yards; the 6-inch gun fired out to 26,000 yards. The 8-inch gun delivered 40 percent
more shell per broadside than the 6-inch:
2,000 pounds for the former; 1,200 for the
latter.43 The question regarding the rate of fire caused concern, however. Bureau of
Ordinance Commander G. J. Rowcliff stated:
The 8-inch gun has always been a sort of mongrel type:
it is not heavy enough to tie effective against an armored
ship and has not been light enough to get much rapidity
of fire. If we could guarantee for this a performance of
six to eight shots per minute it might be well to consider
it; but I do not believe we can get anything like that, and
we believe we can get it frjom the single 6-inch gun.44
A majority within the General Board disagreed with Rowcliff s assessment, believing
that technological innovations in loading mechanisms and targeting devices eventually
would improve the 8-inch gun's rate of fire.
The Battle of Tsushima and the Battle of Jutland seemingly justified Mahan's
axiom of large, pivotal naval battles determining the fate of wars and nation-states.
Japan's naval policy reflected such thinking. In the 1920s, Russia headed Japan's list of
most likely antagonists in a war; the US a
close second. In a war with the US,
Japanese naval planners, like their American counterparts, assumed that US bases in
the Far East would be lost early on and that the Pacific Fleet would make an attempt
43 Ibid., pp. 110-113.
44 As quoted in ibid., p. 112.
27
i


to retake them. The Imperial Navy hoped to overcome the United States' numerical
advantage with superior technology and tactics. Adopting an attrition strategy,
Japanese admirals planned to employ submarines and destroyer torpedo attacks to
I
reduce the numbers of the main US fleet. The Japanese Navy practiced night tactics
so its smaller auxiliaries could approach close enough to the enemy battle line to
deliver an attack. The Japanese placed special emphasis on developing night optics
and hand picked men with exceptional vision to train as lookouts or spotters. Air
attacks from planes based on the Mandates would siphon off additional forces. Once
i
the numerical odds had been evened, the Imperial Navy would make a surprise attack
in an area of its own choosing to annihilate the US Pacific Fleet in a large, climactic
I
engagement. j
|
In order to "outrange" the enemy, Japanese military technicians developed one
I
of the most effective weapons of the Sejcond World War: The type-93 "Long-Lance"
!
I
torpedo. The Long-Lance, fueled by a liquid-oxygen propellant, measured twenty-
four inches in diameter and almost thirty feet in length, weighed nearly three tons, and
delivered over 1,000 pounds of explosive. At a maximum speed of 48 knots, the
Long-Lance could travel over 20,000 yards; at lower speeds distances as far as 40,000
yards could be achieved.45 In comparison, the American Mark 14 could only run
J
4,500 yards at 46 knots or 9,000 yardsjat 31.5 knots.46 Wargame simulations
t
45 Evans, p. 267; Lacroix, p. 246.1
46 Douglas Murphy, "Hit or Miss,!" American Heritage of Invention and
i
28


convinced the US General Board that their cruisers would rarely use torpedoes in
combat. Since torpedo storage represented a significant fire hazard, the General
Board elected to remove or plate in torpedo tubes on many of their cruisers.47 Mainly
as a destroyer weapon, but also as a cruiser armament, the Japanese used their
Long-Lance torpedo with devastating effect during World War II.
With both torpedoes and guns, the Japanese maximized the offensive potential
of their warships. To best meet their doctrinal requirements of an attrition strategy
and outrange the enemy, the Japanese, like the Americans, preferred the larger 8-inch
gun. The Japanese Naval General Staff saw the cruiser primarily as a fleet support
ship. Without long lines of merchant shipping, the Japanese had little need for the
cruiser to act as a deterrent against commerce raiders. Nor would the Japanese target
American commerce, as that was a strategy for an extended, protracted war against
i
the US. The Japanese believed their only| hope of victory lay in a quick-striking,
decisive campaign. Nor did they require extensive cruising radii. On Japanese ships
I
firepower took precedence over such factors as seaworthiness and stability. Although
they would not protest as strongly as the Americans against qualitative restrictions on
cruisers, Japan did favor the heavy over the light cruiser.
Rapid construction in cruisers and! other auxiliary types alienated and dismayed
i
many political and governmental leaders in the early 1920s. Although warship building
Technology, vol. 13, no. 4 (Spring 1998), p. 59.
47 Friedman, p. 133. [
29
I


had virtually ceased in the US, other signatories from the Washington Conference
were building at, what seemed to many, an alarming rate:
TABLE 3,1: WARSHIP AUXILIARY NAVAL PROGRAMS
tAUTHORIZATION YEARS. 1919-1927V8
Great Britain United Sta tes Japan France Italy
8-inch Cruisers 13 8 15 7 2
Destroyers 11 12 66 36 39
Submarines 13 3 56 41 15
The above table reveals the intensity w::th which the Japanese sought to carry out their
foreign policy and strategic goals. The corresponding lethargy in American
construction is even more pronounced when one remembers that six of the eight
cruisers authorized by the US Congress in 1924 were not laid down until 1928.
Several factors caused American inactivity. Policy-makers tended to put their
faith in the treaty process to eventually come up with disarmament solutions.
i
Isolationism and pacifism were in their heyday. Many believed that construction by
i
i
the US, even within treaty limits, would spur a response within Great Britain or Japan.
I
I
Clearly the failure of the Washington Conference to limit auxiliaries had actually
prompted development in those same categories. In each of the Five Power signatory
nations, including Japan, significant domestic support generated momentum for further
48
Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 1, pp. 580-583.
30


naval arms negotiations. Unfortunately the consensus, so easily met with regard to
capital ships in 1922, would not be repeated.
I
31


CHAPTER 4
ATTEMPTS AT ABATEMENT:
FROM GENEVA TO LONDON
to attend a naval conference in Geneva.
The League of Nations addressed the cruiser question in its Preparatory
Commission for the Disarmament Conference in 1925. Although not a member, the
US did send representatives as with most League meetings. The lengthy discussions
resulted in much talk but very little real action. The negotiations stalled over questions
i
of land disarmament and French securitiy. President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 bypassed
the League process by sending invitations to the signatories of the Five Power Treaty
Initial events did not bode well. France,
arm-twisted into accepting a limited ratio on capital ships at Washington, had little
interest in limiting auxiliary warships. France feared a combined German-Italian threat
and refused parity with Italy in cruisers] destroyers, or submarines. Thus, the French
declined to attend the upcoming Geneva Conference. The Italians, whose goal simply
I
was to maintain parity with France, followed suit and likewise turned down the
|
Americans' offer to join the talks. Delegations from Great Britain, Japan, and the
i
United States opened discussions in July.
I
Geneva differed from the Washington Conference in several important
i
respects. Besides non-participation by France and Italy, the Allies no longer enjoyed
32


the harmony of 1921. Anglo-American relations had been poisoned by the debt
question and the "gun elevation dispute
huge loans still owed from World War
debt to be paid. In March 1923 the US
Great Britain wished the US to cancel the
[. Just as adamantly, Americans expected the
announced that it was going to raise the
elevation of certain battleship guns, primarily so that their ranges would match those
of British ships. Britain's government made a legalistic challenge that the US would be
in violation of the Washington agreements. Moreover, military men for both countries
at times used inflammatory language in which each identified the other as a potential
combatant in a future war.49 This was perhaps a simple ploy to justify increases in
military spending or forestall further naval limits, since no real chance for hostilities
between the two countries existed. But such talk tended to raise the hackles of
negotiators during debates.
Most importantly, the British ancl American approach to naval arms control
differed greatly. Great Britain, out of a need for fiscal restraint, favored qualitative
restrictions on ship and armament size. Britain also sought the idyllic, but greatly
desired, goal of submarine abolition. These views directly opposed the US
perspective. American logistical needs required large ships, with large armaments,
able to travel long distances. The General Board preferred quantitative limits within
which each nation could build the craft blest suited to its own specifications. The US
49
For examples see ibid., p. 354; pjp. 433-434.
33


also faced a critical handicap going into the negotiations: its own lack of warship
construction. A central tenet to Charles Evans Hughes' strategy at Washington had
been to create a treaty that reflected the situation "as it existed." The United States'
massive 1916 ship-building program provided a very strong hand at the Washington
Conference. At Geneva, US negotiators would have to depend on America's
ship-building potential, rather than on actual ship strength.
Although preliminary discussions created tentative agreements on submarines
and destroyers, cruisers quickly became the focal point of debate. At the first plenary
session, the US outlined a plan to define a cruiser as any vessel from 3,000 to 10,000
tons displacement, armed with 8-inch guns or less. Replacement age was set at twenty
years. The US proposed that Great Britain's and the US' aggregate total for cruiser
tonnage be set somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 tons each. The General
Board preferred the lower number (more acceptable to Congress) which would allow
!
them eventually to build twenty-five 10,000 ton heavy cruisers. Japan's tonnage would
simply be a 5-3 ratio extension of the US/British total.50
It would have been difficult for the British to hold a more disparate position
than they did. First and foremost, the British defined two classes of cruisers. Heavy
cruisers displaced 10,000 tons or less,
carrying 8-inch guns. Light, or "second class,"
William Foster Trimble, "The United States Navy and the Geneva Conference
for the Limitation of Naval Armament[ 1927" (Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado,
1974), pp. 218-219.
34


cruisers could displace up to 7,500 tons and carry 6-inch guns or less. Moreover, the
British wished to limit heavy cruisers numerically, as had been done with capital ships
at Washington, with a 5-5-3 ratio for the
US, Great Britain, and Japan, respectively.
The British proposed a replacement age of twenty-four years.51
The British also revealed their view that cruisers were uniquely valuable to
their particular logistical situation. Not only were cruisers needed to support their
battle-line, but the Empire's 80,000 miles of trade and communication lines also
required protection. The Admiralty viewed merchantmen protection as vitally
important, especially in light of the success that German surface raiders enjoyed during
World War I. On 28 June the British outlined their cruiser requirements: Fifteen
heavy (10,000 ton, 8-inch) cruisers and fifty-five light (7,500 ton, 6-inch) cruisers with
an aggregate ceiling of 600,000 tons. Upon this disclosure one British delegate noted,
with great understatement, that the Americans, "appeared somewhat dismayed."52
Total shock better described the incredulous US response. Chief US delegate,
i
Admiral Hilary Jones labeled the British totals "catastrophical."53 Even to achieve
300,000 tons, the US would have to build as many as thirty heavy cruisers. In
51 Ibid., p. 219.
52 As quoted in Ernest Andrade, "The Cruiser Controversy in Naval Limitations
Negotiations, 1922-1936 Military Affairs, vol. 48, no. 3 (July 1984), p. 114.
53 As quoted in Raymond G. O'Conner, Perilous Equilibrium: The United States
and the London Naval Conference of 1930 (New York: Greenwood Press, Publishers,
1969), p. 17. I
35


US and Great Britain. Within that total,
heavy cruisers and 250,000 tons, with t
construction. Moreover, Jones insisted
guns. A smaller class of cruiser would
American eyes, Geneva was becoming ajn armament expansion conference instead of
one limiting future construction. I1
Neither side seemed very willing to compromise. On 5 July Admiral Jones
outlined an American proposal that the British interpreted as an ultimatum. Jones
suggested that the aggregate total for cruisers be set at 400,000 tons each for both the
I, the US would be permitted up to twenty-five
re remainder allotted to light cruiser
that "light" cruisers still be able to carry 8-inch
not be acceptable to the American delegation.54
The British responded with a counter-proposal which allowed 500,000 tons for
all auxiliaries, including cruisers, for both nations. Japan's total ceiling would be set at
325,000 tons. Large, 8-inch cruisers would still be limited by a 12-12-8 ratio as
originally formulated. Moreover, each! signatory could retain 25 percent of its overage
vessels under the British plan. The Americans were dissatisfied on several grounds.
They considered objectionable the 5-3.25 ratio with Japan. Since the US possessed no
overage auxiliaries, the Americans viewed the retention of such ships as a veiled
attempt to raise Britain's aggregate total to 625,000. Finally, the US insisted that
"second class" or lighter cruisers still carry 8-inch guns. The General Board
54
Trimble, pp. 255-256.
36


determined that 8,300 tons would be the minimum tonnage that could still bear the
bigger guns.
Due to the intensity of the Anglo-American dispute, the Japanese were never
j
really able to put forth their desire for a greater than 5-3 ratio in cruisers. Japan's lead
negotiator argued, "in regard to auxiliary craft... Adequate consideration must be
given to the existing status of each nation in that particular respect."55 Japan wanted
credit for the large number of cruisers it had built or was building. Essentially a
continuation of Hughes' argument at Washington, the Japanese were bidding for a 70
percent ratio in cruisers.56 The Anglo-American cruiser dispute put Japan's proposals
on a back burner, however, as the Japanese played arbiter between the bitterly divided
Americans and British. After continued haggling, the discussions reached an impasse
during which Britain recalled its chief delegates, effectively killing the talks.
The Geneva Conference, a diplomatic fiasco, ended without an agreement on 4
August. Numerous factors contributed to failure. Given the extreme nature of the
American and British positions, the two sides might have hammered out some sort of
agreement through bi-lateral negotiations prior to the conference but a lack of
preparation and no preliminaries prevented compromise.57 Professional naval advisors
I
tended to dominate the proceedings, rather than the diplomats who might have been
55
56
57
As quoted in ibid., pp. 165-166
Ibid., p. 233.
Ibid., p. 447.
37


more accommodating. Because of his relatively low status as Ambassador to Belgium,
Hugh Gibson, the United States' lead diplomat may have been unwilling to force his
views on the head military envoy, Admiral Jones. Contemporary observers especially
criticized Jones for his stubbornness during the negotiations. One commentator
claimed Jones, "viewed the world through a porthole."58 The United States held a very
j
weak hand at Geneva as compared to the Washington Conference. The 1916 naval
program provided negotiators at Washington with many bargaining chips that carried
great weight during debate. By 1927, however, US shipbuilding had virtually ceased,
and the 1924 cruiser program was little more than a paper navy. Since any agreement
would probably reflect the actual size of each nation's navy and shipbuilding programs,
it was probably impossible for a treaty to be signed on American terms.
Geneva's failure finally pushed the US into the cruiser race. President Calvin
Coolidge, revealing his impatience with tie negotiation process, sponsored a huge
71-ship bill, calling for construction of twenty cruisers. He also released funds to
begin construction of the six remaining cruisers authorized by the 1924 program. The
US Navy further encouraged Coolidge to appropriate the moneys by offering to name
the first of these ships after the town where "Silent Cal" had begun his political career
as mayor of Northampton, Massachusett! Shipbuilders laid down the hull of the USS
58
As quoted in O'Conner, p. 18.
38


Northampton in April 1928. Construction of the other five ships of the Northampton
class began by the end of the year.
Poor Anglo-American relations, exacerbated by Geneva, reached their nadir
i
after bi-lateral arms talks between France and Great Britain became public in July
I
1928. The secret negotiations, considered anathema in the wake of World War I and
in violation of League of Nations protocol, shocked the Americans. Additionally, the
I
1
Anglo-French proposals outlined several provisions that flew in the face of
well-known US positions regarding naval construction. Construction of surface ships
i
under 10,000 tons, armed with guns between six and eight inches (cruisers) would be
limited, as would aircraft carriers over 10,000 tons. American aircraft carriers under
10,000 tons could not meet the cruising requirements needed to operate in the
Western Pacific. Incensed, the US acted. Although Congress reduced the scope of
the 71-ship cruiser bill, the resulting authorization was still sizable: fifteen cruisers and
i
one aircraft carrier. Ironically, passage of the "Cruiser Bill" followed ratification of the
illusory Kellogg-Briand Treaty, signed by sixty-two countries, which renounced war as
I
an instrument of foreign policy. The Senate ratified the Kellogg-Briand Treaty,
labeled by critics as the "Drunkard's Oatli," on 15 January 1929. Evidently Congress
j
did not place much faith in the agreement since the cruiser bill passed less than a
month later on 5 February. j
39


Anglo-American relations improved in 1929. First and foremost, both nations'
newly elected leaders, American President Herbert Hoover and British Prime Minister
Ramsay MacDonald held strong, pacifistic convictions. Actual construction of
cruisers by the US spoke louder than any Congressional resolution, and in part spurred
i
attempts at rapprochement by Great Britain. Negotiators tried to develop a
"yardstick" by which different types of fighting ships' efficiency could be equated.
Although the yardstick formula proved impossible, it nonetheless increased discussion
between the two countries and spurred debate within policy-making circles to work
toward resolution of the issue. Hoover and MacDonald, each committed to improving
relations between the two nations, met in
October to resolve differences over naval
armaments. At Camp Rapidan in Northern Virginia, while seated on different ends of
the same fallen log, the two leaders made
significant concessions. MacDonald reduced
the minimum number of cruisers needed by the Royal Navy from seventy to fifty.
fifteen heavy cruisers and thirty-five light
cruisers. Hoover reduced US requirements
of heavy cruisers from twenty-five to twenty-one. Although MacDonald countered
|
that eighteen was the maximum number acceptable by Great Britain, the ice had been
broken. Returning home in triumph, Mac Donald issued invitations to the US, Japan,
France, and Italy for another naval arms limitation conference. All four accepted.
i
France, which had refused involvement at Geneva, came round primarily
because the French increasingly feared a German-Italian alliance. France was very
I
40


interested in qualitative restrictions, especially in light of planned German warship
construction. The French insisted "that security must precede disarmament," and they
sought political guarantees against foreign aggression.59 The Italians came along with
the simple goal of maintaining parity with France for reasons of prestige. As the
French would not settle for a tonnage total equal to that of Italy, a quantitative
agreement on cruisers ultimately proved impossible for France and Italy. Although
they sent negotiators to the conference, in general the Italian leadership and populace
showed little more than apathy for the talks.60
The London Naval Conference of 1930 convened on 21 January. In stark
contrast to the Geneva Conference, diplomats and politicians made up each delegation.
Although Italy and Japan each had one professional naval representative, in both cases
these admirals also held civil governmental posts. Diplomats of considerable status led
the American, British, and French delegations as well. Secretary of State Henry L.
Stimson represented the US, along witlj Secretary of the Navy Charles Adams, three
ambassadors, and two senators. The pugnacious Admiral Jones and the politically
astute Admiral William V. Pratt, although not members, acted as advisors. Prime
Minister MacDonald chaired the conference and acted as head of the British
negotiators. The French brought both
Aristide Briand. The political situation
59 Kaufman, p. 128.
60 O'Conner, p. 57.
remier Andre Tardieu and Foreign Minister
in Japan also provided optimism for reaching
41


an agreement. Liberal Osachi Hamaguchi held the office of Prime Minister; he desired
I
fiscal stability for Japan by reducing the cost of military armaments. By sending their
I
most prestigious diplomats and by keeping the military men on the sidelines, each
nation indicated an increased willingness jto work out a settlement.
Preliminary discussion eliminated all contention on cruisers between the
Americans and British with the exception of whether the US should be permitted
eighteen or twenty-one heavies. Early in the conference, Secretary Stimson acceded
to the British demand after MacDonald made it clear that the British would not budge.
The resolution of eighteen heavy cruisers for the US and fifteen for the British proved
easy. A more difficult question surrounded the number of cruisers to be permitted
Japan. The US General Board recommended a 60 percent ratio. For the Japanese, the
5-3 ratio in capital ships had been a very bitter pill, thus they were determined to reach
higher ratios in auxiliary warships. The Imperial Naval General Staff, especially with
I
battleship construction halted by the Washington Conference capital ship holiday,
j
placed special importance on heavy cruisers. To ensure success during the attrition
I
phase of a potential conflict with the US Pacific Fleet, the Imperial Navy determined a
I
70 percent ratio as the irreducible minimum acceptable in any agreement.
Additionally, Japan by 1930 had built eight heavy cruisers, with four more under
construction. Acceptance of a 10:6 ratio of eighteen US heavy cruisers would mean
scrapping existing ships, which Japan also considered unacceptable.
42


With both sides apparently committed, the US and Japan began bi-lateral
negotiations to broker a compromise. Talks quickly bogged down on the ratio
question, but the Americans dropped their call for a 10:6 ratio on all auxiliaries due to
intervention by President Hoover and agitation by Senator Borah.61 Although the
American delegation was satisfied with the resulting "Reed-Matsudaira Compromise,"
the settlement represented concession to nearly every one of Japan's demands.62 On
paper, the US "won" a 10:6 ratio in heavy cruisers but in practice this proved
otherwise. The agreement permitted Japan twelve 8-inch cruisers and eighteen for the
US (an actual 10:6.67 ratio), but the Americans agreed to delay completion of the last
three heavy cruisers until the expiration of the treaty. Therefore in practice the ratio
was really 10:7 in heavy cruisers until the final year of the agreement. The sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth cruisers were to be completed in 1936, 1937, and 1938,
respectively. Japan also received a 7:10 ratio in light cruisers and destroyers. In
I
response, Japan agreed to extend the 5:3 ratio on capital ships an additional five years,
through 1936. Japan also accepted the ceiling on submarine construction, since the
agreement permitted each signatory a totll of 52,700 tons.
The Reed-Matsudaira Compromise, seen by the US General Board as a
dangerous cave-in to Japanese demands, may have been the most that American
61 Kaufman, pp. 134-135.
62 Foreign Relations of the US. 1930. vol. 1, pp. 62-63; Andrade, "Cruiser
Controversy," p. 116.
143


diplomats could have hoped for, especially when one considers the weakness of the
US Navy in 1930. Japan already enjoyed parity with the US in submarines. The
Japanese were at or near treaty limits in certain categories and would soon have to
cease new ship construction. Meanwhile, US ship strength fell well below treaty limits
and would require several years to reach these limits. Additionally President Hoover,
a penny-pincher and pacifist, continually delayed ship programs which Congress had
already authorized and appropriated funds for. The delays called for by the treaty
probably would have been enacted by Hoover, anyway. Ironically, the severest critics
of the compromise included the Imperial General Naval Staff. However, Prime
Minister Hamaguchi rightly judged the agreement as a means to maintain Japan's naval
superiority in the Far East while practicing fiscal responsibility.
While the US and Japan reacheji a compromise, France and Italy failed to
I
achieve a cruiser agreement. As in earlier conferences, France sought continental
security guarantees. The French considered any naval treaty not tied to land
i
armaments as virtually useless. Without political guarantees of territorial protection,
France demanded 100,000 tons of healy cruisers and almost 100,000 tons of
submarines to maintain unilateral protection.63 For Great Britain to accede to these
high aggregate totals required abandon ment of its two-power standard in Europe,
j
which the Royal Navy was unwilling to do. France feared two threats: Germany in
63
Kaufman, p. 136.


the Atlantic and Italy in the Mediterranean. As such, France viewed Italy's simple
demand for parity as perilous and unacceptable. The upshot of the debate resulted in
neither France nor Italy signing the quantitative section of the treaty limiting the
submarines. The two powers did agree to
itative restrictions. The three-power agreement
JS provided an "escalator clause" to allow
the French or Italians actually exceeded
construction of cruisers, destroyers, or
abide by the London Conference's qua
between Great Britain, Japan, and the
increases in different ship categories if
acceptable levels of auxiliary tonnage.
The conference concluded on 22 April with the signing of the London Naval
Treaty of 1930. The treaty extended tie battleship holiday through the end of 1936,
closed loopholes on certain ships not limited by the 1922 Washington Treaty, and set
limits on submarine displacement and armament. In addition to the aforementioned
compromise on heavy cruisers and submarines, the treaty permitted Great Britain
i
192,200 tons of 6.1-inch (or less) cruisers, the US 143,500 tons, and Japan 100,450
tons. The signatories also agreed to set aggregate tonnage on destroyers at 150,000
i
tons each for the US and Great Britain and 105,500 for Japan. Finally, the document
required another conference in 1935 to frame an extension for the naval disarmament
process since the 1922 Five Power Treaty and the 1930 London Treaty would expire
45


on 31 December 1936. Each country ratified the agreement, which went into effect on
1 January 1931.64 I
The 1930 London Treaty broughl heavy cruiser construction by Great Britain
and Japan to a halt. By the time the conference began, Great Britain had already
launched its limit of fifteen 8-inch cruisers while Japan's twelve were either finished or
near completion. Not restricted by treaty, France and Italy kept a wary eye on one
another. Both nations laid down their seventh heavy cruiser hull in March 1931 but
neither power built another 8-inch cruiser. The US, a late entrant to the cruiser race,
now played catch up. Some have argued that Congress would have been reluctant to
build more warships without the London Treaty.65 Now given the green light by the
treaty process, the US Navy lobbied for the tangible objective of building a "treaty
navy." In 1930 and 1931 the Navy laid aown seven hulls, two of the Portland class
and five of the New Orleans class.66 By !the time construction began on the New
Orleans class in September 1930, US naval engineers were well aware of the
i
Pensacola class' underweight problems. | Extra weight was added to the New Orleans
i
class in the form of increased armor. By the end of 1931 the US Navy's fifteenth
heavy cruiser hull, the maximum permitted by treaty, was under way.
64 See treaty text in Treaties and Agreements of the US. vol. 2, pp. 1055-1075.
65 O'Conner, p. 127. i
66 The two cruisers of the Portland class were laid down prior to the London
Conference's conclusion.
46


CHAPTER 5
THE RISE OF THE LIGHT CRUISER
Although the London Conference implemented a cap on heavy cruiser
I
construction for Great Britain, the 1930 treaty nonetheless permitted significant
tonnage in light cruisers. Britain, haviJg successfully stemmed the tide of the heavy
cruiser, began producing cruisers envisioned by the Admiralty to best meet the
Empire's operational requirements. From the fall of 1930 until the summer of 1935,
Great Britain laid down a total of twelve hulls for the Royal and Australian Navies.67
The Leander class displaced just over 7,000 tons while the Arethusa class displaced
around 5,400 tons standard. Due to their relative lightness and short bow length,
these ships were cheaper, easier to maintain, and required smaller crews.
I
Japan, like Britain, built to its limit of heavy cruisers by the time the 1930
I i
London Conference adjourned. Unlike the British or Americans, the light cruiser cap
i
imposed by the treaty allowed Japan very little room to maneuver. In fact, Japan's
existing light tonnage of 98,415 fell only 2,035 tons short of its 100,450 ceiling.68 But
the Washington Treaty permitted Japan to put down hulls for replaceable, overage
ships. The resulting Mogami class became the new standard in light cruiser
67 British Commonwealth ships counted as part of Great Britain's treaty totals.
68 Whitley, p. 181. i
47


construction. These ships were built with fifteen 6.1-inch guns, five inches of side
armor, and engines that produced a top
speed of 37 knots. They were faster and more
democracies responded to the Mogami
heavily armed than any other light cruiser afloat. Moreover, by 1931 the Japanese
Naval General Staff began planning for the end of the treaty era. Even though the
Mogami class were light cruisers by designation, they were built so that they could
easily be re-fitted with 8-inch guns.69 Each turret containing three 6.1-inch guns were
later refitted with dual 8-inch guns. Such Japanese "foresight" would undoubtedly be
called an outright treaty violation by the US and Great Britain. Regardless, both of the
class with ships of their own.
The US General Board throughout the 1920s debated the relative merits of the
6-inch and 8-inch gunned cruisers. Generally, the Board favored the heavier gun but
the 6-inch cruiser had its proponents, most notably Admiral William V. Pratt.
Although not a formal representative at London, Pratt served as an advisor to the
American delegation. Pratt's enthusiasm for the 6-inch cruiser may have played a part
in American willingness to reduce its demand for heavy cruisers in exchange for
aggregate tonnage in the light category. Another major factor lay with the cruisers
themselves. As the first 8-inch cruisers came into service, several features caused
dissatisfaction. Since the General Board sought to maximize armament and speed at
the expense of protection, some descri )ed "tinclads" such as the Salt Lake City as
69 Lacroix, p. 437,
48


"eggshells armed with hammers."70 Problems beset the 8-inch gun to the alarm of
naval commanders. The increased range and improved long-distance accuracy
afforded by the 8-inch gun were offset by its decreased rate of fire. As Admiral Harris
Laning argued:
If the range is held outside of 20,000 yards the very
limited ammunition supply will be exhausted in two or
three brief attacks and probably without doing effective
damage. If the range is
6-in-gun ships... would
closed to inside of 20,000 yards,
. be dangerous... Eight-inch
batteries are not well suited for dealing with a
multiplicity of fast-moving destroyer targets and they
have an insufficient number of 5-inch guns for that
purpose.
71
Some believed, therefore, that the 6-inch cruiser would be well suited as a battle line
support ship.
Ship design must delicately balance a myriad of factors, among them speed,
j
protection, and size of armament. With the Pensacola class, the General Board
j
sacrificed armor significantly in order to arm the ships with ten 8-inch guns. Admiral
George Rock of the Bureau of Construction and Repair lamented:
The various studies that have been made so far... all
point to the conclusion
. that 10,000 tons standard
displacement is too small a displacement on which to
secure a well-balanced aesign, if the ship be armed with
an efficient battery... and if high speed be an essential
requirement.72
70
71
72
As quoted in Friedman, p. 139!
As quoted in ibid., p. 132.
As quoted in ibid., p. 144.
49


73,000 additional tons of light cruisers.
Thus by reducing armament size to six inches, considerable weight would be saved and
a better balanced ship produced. The 6 -inch gun afforded more protection and in part
allowed US acceptance of the light cruiser.
Although initially considering light cruisers along the lines of the older, Omaha
scout-class cruiser, the General Board eventually settled on designs that approached
the 10,000 ton limit. The 1930 London Conference permitted the US approximately
Admiral Pratt and the General Board
requested seven 10,000 ton light cruisers, but little came of it while the frugal Herbert
Hoover remained in office. However, with the presidential election of former
Roosevelt in 1932, the US Navy found a true
lie works program, Roosevelt used warship
building as a means to alleviate unemployment. Buried in the language of the massive
National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), a provision allowed that, "if in the opinion
i
I
of the President it seems desirable, [he may commence] the construction of naval
vessels within the terms and/or limits established by the London Naval Treaty of
1930.1,73 After the NIRA became law, Roosevelt allocated $238,000,000 for naval
construction. The package included construction of four light cruisers. Roosevelt
later commented to Secretary of the Nayy Swanson, "Claude, we got away with
murder that time. "73 74
Undersecretary of the Navy Franklin D.
ally. As part of a greatly expanded pub
73 As quoted in Hyde, p. 238.
74 As quoted in ibid., p. 239.
50


The General Board looked at several proposed designs of light cruisers. More
moderate schemes called for a 6,000 ton cruiser armed with six or nine 6-inch guns.
In the end, the General Board decided that American light cruisers should be at least
as fast and have the same cruising radius as heavy cruisers.75 Upon completion the
ships exceeded 9,900 tons and, like the Mogami class, the Brooklyn class carried
fifteen 6-inch guns housed in five turrets. The basis for a number of subsequent
programs, the Brooklyn class turned out to be a very important design for the US
Navy. According to the 1930 London Naval Treaty, the US had to wait until 1933,
1934, and 1935, to lay down hulls for its sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth heavy
cruiser hulls. The Quincy and Vincennes, laid down in 1933 and 1934, respectively,
Orleans class. The eighteenth heavy cruiser,
'the same design. By following the Brooklyn
rounded out the seven ships of the New
Wichita, was originally intended to be o:
class design, the General Board discovered it could improve bunk space, stability,
protection, and anti-aircraft capability.76 j The stand-alone Wichita, laid down in
October 1935, later became the basis for the Baltimore class heavy cruiser on which
construction began in 1941. In turn, the 6-inch Brooklyn class served as design
predecessor for the Cleveland class light cruisers, the first of which would not be
completed until mid-1942.
75
76
Friedman, p. 185.
Whitley, p. 253.
51
I


With great dismay Great Britain observed the development of the Japanese
Mogami class and American Brooklyn class. The standards of cruiser construction
had yet again been redefined by the upper limits permitted by treaty. In late 1934
Great Britain laid down the first of its Southampton class. Initially intended to be of a
smaller type, the Southampton class eventually evolved into a vessel that displaced
9,550 tons, carrying twelve 6-inch guns.j These "heavy light cruisers" were not the
types of ships Britain had in mind at the London Conference as they cost just as much
to maintain, equip, and staff as did heavyjcruisers77
The London Naval Treaty called for another conference in 1935 to provide a
replacement treaty for the Five Power Treaty and London Naval Treaty, both of which
were set to expire at the end of 1936. Preliminaries began in mid-1934. London was
chosen again as the site for deliberations. The British once again put cruisers at the
center of their agenda. They fully expectejd to maintain the ratios on heavy cruisers
and set a lower tonnage ceiling for cruisers armed with 6-inch guns. With the
I
construction of 10,000 ton light cruisers already underway, the British asked that the
US and Great Britain each be permitted ten such ships each and the Japanese six.78
Britain was attempting to freeze 10,000 ton light cruiser construction as their proposal
77 Ernest Andrade, "Arms Limitation Agreements and the Evolution of
Weaponry: The Case of the 'Treaty Cruiseij,'" in Naval History: The Sixth
Symposium of the US Naval Academy, ed. Daniel M. Masterson (Wilmington,
Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1987)| pp. 185-186.
78 Andrade, "Cruiser Controversy," p. 117.
I
52;
i


matched exactly the number of ships under construction or authorized by each nation.
With various World War I cruisers reacliing obsolescence, Britain needed to build
numerous 6-inch cruisers, but could not afford the larger 10,000 ton type. Lowering
the tonnage ceiling on light cruiser construction became Britain's primary goal in
future discussion on naval construction.


CHAPTER 6
THE SECOND LONDON NAVAL CONFERENCE
The Washington Conference opened in 1921 amid optimism and hopeful zeal.
By the end of 1935, this idealism had been completely shattered. Mussolini rattled his
sword and Italian tanks rolled through Ehiopia. Hitler quit the League of Nations,
tore up the Treaty of Versailles, and started conscripting the Wehrmacht. Stalin, at
the cost of millions of lives, consolidated power in the Soviet Union.
the Far East bode no better. Japanese
s extremists in the military slowly dragged
Hamaguchi championed the 1930 London
wishes of the military. In November 1930 a
The anxious political situation in
liberalism steadily declined in influence a;
their nation toward war. Prime Minister
Treaty, ratifying it against the expressed
self-styled military patriot fatally wounded Hamaguchi, beginning a wave of attempted
I
and successful assassinations. In many cases, the soldiers guilty of these crimes
suffered little or no punishment.
In China the Japanese were on tie march. The army in 1931 poured into
Manchuria, and in four months Japan doubled its empire, absorbing 30,000,000
Chinese workers. On the heels of the invasion, riots and protests in Shanghai
provoked a military intervention and a month of street fighting. In January 1933 Japan
54


invaded and occupied the Chinese province of Jehol. Within the navy itself, extremists
gained influence and consolidated their power. Admiral Mineo Osumi led the "Osumi
Purge" beginning in 1933. Many moderate naval officers of the treaty faction found
themselves transferred to unimportant positions or forced into early retirement. By the
end of 1934 the fleet faction completely dominated naval affairs. The new hard-line
manifested itself during preliminary meetings for the next London Conference. On 30
December 1934 Japan announced its abrogation of the Washington Naval Treaty.
Under a dark cloud of pessimism, delegates met in December 1935 with the
forlorn hope of renewing or replacing the treaty structure first established in 1922.
The militarists in Japan had no interest in continuing arms control. The Japanese
meant to wreck the conference while ma'dng their demands appear justifiable. The
Imperial Navy's fleet faction sought nothing less than termination of the ratio system,
demanding full tonnage parity in all ship categories. The staunch refusal by a united
Great Britain and US to accede to this demand further calcified the Japanese into a
position of no compromise. Japan also called for the abolition of "offensive" warships
such as the aircraft carrier, a convenient means of preventing American operations in
the Far East.79 Since none of the three major naval powers wished to be saddled with
blame for the conference's failure, the dip
omats dithered for weeks until the Japanese
announced their withdrawal from the con 'erence on 16 January 1936.80
79 Friedman, p. 218. 80 Kaufman, p. 179.
55


France also sought changes in the ratio structure. Parity with the Italians gave
Mussolini's navy a distinct advantage in the Mediterranean. More alarming for the
French, however, was the Anglo-Germ an Naval Agreement, signed earlier in June
1935. Britain, in an attempt to curry favor with Hitler, negotiated terms for the
German Kreigsmarine that the Royal Navy deemed tolerable. The agreement
permitted Germany a surface fleet of 35 percent of that of Great Britain's.
Astonishingly, the treaty also allowed Germany 45 percent tonnage in submarines with
a provision that the tonnage could be raised to full parity in the event that the Germans
determined the measure "necessary.
1(81
In light of this agreement, the old ratio for
France was quite simply out of the question. Italy continued doggedly to hang on to
equality with France. Additionally, Italy refused to sign any agreement of quantitative
limits on naval construction unless Britain lifted the embargo imposed in the wake of
the Ethiopian invasion. The Italian delegation remained and participated throughout
the proceedings, but in the end, never signed any of the accords.
After Japan's withdrawal, the intractable positions of France and Italy made
any accord on quantitative limits impossible. Great Britain, the US, and France did
sign an agreement on qualitative limits on naval construction. At the behest of the
British, battleships were limited to 35,000 tons and 14-inch guns, although the
armament restriction would be raised to sixteen inches if Japan later refused to adhere
As quoted in Hyde, p. 263.
56


nine 18-inch guns. The Second London
conference created a new 8,000 ton limit
certainly did not favor this lower ceiling,
to this stipulation. Little did the democratic statesmen know that in July 1936 the
Imperial Navy approved the design of super-battleships Yamato andMusashi,82 The
most powerful battleships ever built, they displaced up to 70,000 tons and wielded
Treaty also limited aircraft carriers to 23,000
tons with 6.1-inch guns and submarines to 2,000 tons and 5.1-inch guns. Great Britain
successfully campaigned for a six-year building holiday on heavy cruisers. The
on light cruisers. The General Board
but the leaders of the American delegation,
Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Ambassador Norman Davis, and Admiral William H.
Standley, acceded in order to reach an agreement with the British.83
Even as late as 1936, western leaders still put some faith in disarmament by
example. No doubt domestic political concerns played a role in the decision to
produce a qualitative agreement. Appeasement reigned in London. The Nye
!
Commission and the Neutrality Acts hamstrung Roosevelt's foreign policy. Roosevelt,
the consummate politician, needed to be careful not to alienate the pacifists and
isolationists, upon whose support his domestic programs depended. Additionally,
Roosevelt faced reelection in the fall and he wished to avoid controversy. Despite the
impression that France, Great Britain, and
the 1935-36 London Naval Agreement in the face of fascist aggression, the treaty
the US had handicapped themselves with
82
83
Evans, pp. 370, 372.
Andrade, "Cruiser Controversy," p
117.
57


contained numerous escape clauses, especially regarding the tonnage and main
armament of battleships. After Japan refused to adhere to the qualitative restrictions,
the signatories invoked these clauses and by 1938 the treaty became a "dead letter."84
Since the Five Power Treaty and the 1930 London Treaty had already expired on 31
December 1936, naval limitations effectively disappeared.
84
Andrade, "The Case of the 'Treaty Cruiser,'" p. 186
58


CHAPTER 7
THE END OF THE TREATY ERA
The naval limitation treaty system ended as the international situation in
Europe and Asia continued to worsen. By 1936 Mussolini controlled Ethiopia, Spain
erupted into civil war, and Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. The "China Incident" of
July 1937, a brief clash between Chinese and Japanese troops, provided Japan with a
pretext for full-scale invasion of the Chinese mainland. In December Japanese forces
the gunboat USS Panay. Shortly thereafter
" American President Franklin D. Roosevelt
seized the opportunity afforded him by the sinking of Panay to call for increases in
naval spending. Representative Carl Vinson, at the prompting of the President,
introduced a second "Vinson Bill" in January 1938, which authorized the navy to build
to a strength 20 percent above treaty levels. During the debate, Roosevelt emphasized
the necessity of defending both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as the Panama
Canal Zone. The "hemisphere defense" argument divided isolationist and pacifist
opposition to increases in military spending, thus allowing the legislation to pass. The
j
1938 Vinson Bill authorized construction for three battleships, two carriers, nine light
attacked US and British ships, sinking
began the infamous "Rape of Nanking.
cruisers, twenty-three destroyers, nine submarines, and over 1,000 planes.85
85 Stephen E. Pelz. Race to Pearl Harbor: The Failure of the Second London
59


thought. Some naval officers, notably
operational needs would have required
Now that Roosevelt had managed to loosen the purse-strings, the General
Board debated what type of cruisers to build. For some time the US Navy had mulled
over various design schemes, all meant to abide by the 8,000 ton limit imposed by the
Second London Naval Conference. Opinions divided along two major lines of
destroyer commanders, preferred a
"destroyer-leader" design of around 3,500 tons. These ships would be used to
coordinate the execution of, and defense against, destroyer torpedo attacks. American
tonnage well above the 3,500 ton size
suggested by its proponents, and ultimately this approach was dropped. The second
approach to cruiser construction was to build an all-purpose "miniature Brooklyn"
cruiser.86 The 8,000 ton treaty ceiling prevented a satisfactory design so the General
Board shelved these plans as well.
US naval planners developed an entirely new approach, centering around
dual-purpose 6-inch guns. Dual-purpose guns could fire as regular naval armament
but also raise their elevation significantly to serve in an anti-aircraft role. This ability
j
met certain General Board fleet-screening requirements for cruisers. The Board may
have also been influenced by Britain's development of their Dido class anti-aircraft
cruiser. Technical problems beset the 6-inch gun thus preventing its immediate
Naval Conference and the Onset of World War II (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1975), p. 204.
Friedman, p. 218.
86
60


development. The heaviest anti-aircraft gun readily available was five inches in
diameter. The navy was loathe to develop a ship with mixed armaments of only one
inch difference. Additionally, a ship with both five and 6-inch batteries would
probably push the vessel above the 8,000 ton limit.
The Board finally settled on a cruiser armed with dual-purpose 5-inch batteries.
In December 1937 Admiral Thomas C. Hart reported to the General Board a building
estimate supporting the dual-purpose 5-i
ch cruiser:
For night action against any light forces, this type of
cruiser should have high
ighting value per ton. It
would be an excellent ship against destroyers, in any
conditions, firing on two, because the battery would be
quick in response to control. The ship would be
powerful in screening against air attack. She would be
eminently suitable for destroyer flotilla leaders... The
design is [the] simplest possible both for construction
and in operation.87
Although everyone involved would have preferred the employment of dual-purpose
6-inch guns, such weapons did not yet exist. Hart acknowledged the shortcomings of
a cruiser armed with 5-inch guns as its primary battery:
If possessed in limited numbers only, there seems no
possibility of such a type coming to be looked upon as a
mistake except in the light of fighting 6-inch cruisers
under good visibility conditions. We have a powerful
force of 6-inch cruisers p similarly armed ships.88 rimarily designed to combat
87 As quoted in Friedman, p. 233. probable author of the building estimatf supporter of the 5-inch cruiser. 88 As quoted in ibid. Emphasis no Note: Friedman stated that Hart is the cited. Hart was an ardent and well known added.
61


Hart recommended that the Navy build four 5-inch cruisers, giving time for the
dual-purpose 6-inch gun to be developed.
A direct result of the Second London Naval Treaty, the Atlanta class cruisers
displaced 6,825 standard tons, could range as far as 8,500 nautical miles, and achieve
speeds up to 32.5 knots. These ships bristled with sixteen 5-inch guns. Six
twin-turrets ran along the centerline, three fore and three aft. Designers placed two
more turrets abreast the after control station to provide star shell that could illuminate
the enemy during night actions. The guns could reach a maximum elevation of 85
degrees and fire anti-aircraft shells as high as 37,200 feet.89 In a turnabout from earlier
designs, the General Board placed torpeao tubes on the Atlanta class cruisers. As a
money-saving measure, the navy cannibalized quadruple mounts that had proven too
heavy for Sims class destroyers; with one such mount on either side, the Atlanta class
sported a total of eight 21-inch tubes. The first four hulls of the Atlanta class were
laid down in the Spring of 1940. A total! of eleven such cruisers eventually entered
service.
Great Britain faced a daunting challenge with the demise of naval limitations.
content to hide in isolation, Britain founc
hemisphere.90 Agitation by Germany,
As relations with France "remained distant if not positively chilly" and with the US
itself without a truly reliable ally in either
and Japan pressed upon Britain's empire
Italy.
89 Whitley, p. 256.
90 Stephen Roskill, The Period of Reluctant Rearmament. 1930-1939. vol. 2 of
62


urgency and promptness. In fiscal year
million pounds for naval spending. Two
from all sides. Whitehall could not afford to rearm leisurely as could the US. The
deteriorating strategic situation obliged Britain to launch into naval construction with
935-36 the British government provided sixty
years later, the 1937-38 estimate ballooned to
105 million pounds, an increase of over 70 percent.91
With its limit, of fifteen heavy cruisers already built, and future construction
technically tapped at 8,000 tons, the Royal Navy went about producing cruisers
considered ideal by the Admiralty. By October 1937, construction began on six Dido
screening, anti-aircraft fleet role, these ships
displaced just under 5,700 tons. Their primary battery consisted of ten 5.25-inch
dual-purpose guns. Able to raise their elevation to 70 degrees, the guns could fire an
80-pound projectile 46,000 feet into the air.92 First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral
Alfred Chatfield wrote that the Dido class, "appears to be a beautiful design. Eight of
these ships will be of inestimable value in the fleet and, as they age, for convoy work
I
j
also."93 In 1938 the Admiralty laid do\yn eight cruiser hulls of the Fiji class or
i
"Colony class" cruisers, essentially smaller versions of the Southampton class. Despite
the apparent breakdown of the treaty regime, Great Britain built these ships within the
class light cruiser hulls. Designed for a
Naval Policy Between the Wars (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1976),
p. 356. Hereafter cited as Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 2.
91 Ibid., p. 325. I
92 Whitley, p. 112. [
As quoted in Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 2, p. 331.
93
63


limits imposed by the Second London Naval Treaty. As such, the Fiji class displaced
8,000 tons and carried twelve 6-inch guns. Despite significant increases in overall
spending, in the end Britain could not afford to meet the defensive needs of both the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Historian Stephen E. Pelz wrote, "Out of financial
necessity, the British government had shut its eyes to the danger in the East and built
only enough ships to counter the growing threat in Europe."94 As it turned out, this
was barely enough.
Japan approached the end of the
had been plotting their abrogation of the
reaty era much differently than the
financially-limited British or the reluctant-to-rearm Americans. Japanese hard-liners
Five Power Treaty for some time and when
limitations ended, they broke out with a building program enormous in scope for a
nation with such limited natural resources. In 1937 the Imperial Navy began its
"Circle Three" plan, a six-year program meant to erase Japan's treaty-mandated
position of numeric inferiority. Not only did the General Staff intend to reestablish at
least a seventy percent ratio with the Americans, they also sought qualitative
superiority. The Circle Three plan provided for construction of the monster
battleships Yamato and Musashi, two Shbkaku class carriers, and sixty-four other
warships. In the cruiser category, the Japanese replaced the triple 6-inch mounts on
their four Mogami class cruisers with twin 8-inch turrets. Additionally, two Tone class
94
Pelz, p. 210.
64
I


cruisers, originally intended as light cruisers, were completed with eight 8-inch guns
housed in four turrets. Some commentators viewed the relative ease with which
Ironically for the "Fleet Faction
Japanese builders installed the larger batteries as evidence that the ships were intended
as heavy cruisers all along.95
of the Imperial Navy, the end of naval
limitations proved much more dangerous than previously imagined. The Second
Vinson Plan of 1938, a very modest increase for the US, created a huge stir among the
Naval General Staff. Japan, instead of hoping to achieve parity with the US Navy, was
now in danger of falling below even a 60 percent ratio. In response to the Vinson
authorization, the Japanese Navy approved its "Circle Four" plan in September 1939.
The Circle Four six-year expansion program authorized construction of two Yamato
class battleships, one fleet carrier, six escort carriers, six cruisers, twenty-two
destroyers, twenty-five submarines, and over 1,500 sea and land-based aircraft.96 The
"Circle Five" program, developed in the spring of 1940, was even more ambitious.
!
Circle Five called for three more Yamato class battleships, three carriers, two
"supercruisers," thirty-two destroyers, forty-five submarines, and almost 3,500
aircraft. With every shipyard full and the countiy stretched to its industrial limit, the
General Staff predicted that Circle Five would take at least nine years to complete.97
95
96
97
Whitley, p. 185.
Evans, p. 358.
Ibid., p. 359.
65


As Japan prepared for war, Nazi Germany started one. Adolf Hitler's
continued aggression eventually dragged the reluctant European democracies into
another worldwide conflict. With an apparently insatiable appetite for "living space,"
Hitler won the Saar by plebiscite in 1935, remilitarized the Rhineland in 1936, and
annexed Austria in 1938. Agitation over ethnic Germans living outside German
borders led British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to give away Czechoslovakia's
Sudetenland to Hitler at Munich in September 1938. In March 1939 German troops
marched into Prague to establish a "protectorate" over the remainder of
Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain's self-proclaimed "peace in our time" lasted less than a
year after he announced it. The entire facade of inter-war disarmament agreements,
peace treaties, and League of Nations resolutions came crashing down when German
tanks rolled into Poland on 1 September 1939.
The outbreak of war in Europe directly affected the worldwide naval balance
I
of power. Germany's early successes fojrced the Royal Navy to concentrate most of its
forces in the Atlantic. The fall of France in June 1940 tipped the scales fully in favor
j
of the Axis. Britain depended on France's navy to contain the Italian fleet in the
Mediterranean. Fearful that French ships might even be used against them, the
British, in a fateful decision, attacked French ships based in France and Algeria,
sinking several vessels and killing hundreds of sailors. Although the attacks poisoned
relations between France and Britain for some time, no French warship joined the Axis
66


powers. Nonetheless, the Royal Navy ceased to be a real factor in the Pacific in 1940
as Great Britain clawed for its life against Hitler's Germany.
With the fall of France, Washington found itself in a state of shock. On 14
June 1940 Congress appropriated funds for the 1938 Vinson authorization. Three
days later Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, asked Congress for
four billion dollars to build a "two-ocean Navy."98 In July, Congress passed the
awesome Two Ocean Navy Act authorizing the construction of 1,325,000 tons of
naval ships. Combined, the two acts provided funds for seven battleships, six
battlecruisers, nineteen carriers, over sixty cruisers, around 150 destroyers, and 147
submarines.99
If the 1938 Vinson Bill alarmed Japan's Navy General Staff, the Two Ocean
Navy Act created near panic. Japan's industrial capacity could not compete with the
outlays of the American program. One would think that America's enormous
resources and ship-building capabilities would have given the Japanese militarists
reason to pause. Instead, they responded with fantastic calls for further increased
spending that bordered on the surreal. ^ revised Circle Five program and Circle Six
98
As quoted in Samuel Eliot Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic. September
1939-Mav 1943. vol. 1 of History of the
United States Naval Operations in World
War II (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1947), p. 27. Hereafter cited as United
States Naval Operations, vol. 1. |
Pelz, p. 210. I
99
67


program called for seven Yamato class battleships armed with 20-inch guns! As
historians David C. Evans and Mark R.
Peattie observed:
The unrealism of such schemes... reveals a growing
insubstantiality and incoherence of the navy's
construction plans under the pressures of approaching
war and the American industrial challenge.100
In 1941 Japan still held a qualitative and quantitative advantage in the Western Pacific.
However, that situation could not last, given the large increases passed in the US in
1940. Despite possession of only a small window of opportunity afforded by Japan's
breakout from the treaty system in 1937, Japanese military leaders threw the dice and
committed themselves to war while they still held a material advantage.
The inter-war treaty process played a pivotal role in defining the character and
makeup of each signatory's naval fleets. The type and number of cruisers possessed by
each nation at the time of war is shown below:
i
TABLE 7,1; CRUISER STRENGTH ON THE EVE OF WAR101
(As of 1 September 1939) (As of 7 December 1941)
Great , United
Britain France Italy States Japan
Heavy Cruisers 15 7 7 18 18
Light Cruisers 49 12 14 19 18
Total 64 19 21 37 36
100
101
102
Evans, p. 359.
Whitley, passinr, Roskill, Naval Policy vol. 1, pp. 577-579.
Japan's totals do not include its three Katori class training cruisers.
68


Britain maintained predominance, France and Italy kept pace with each other, and
Japan, at least temporarily, attained parity with the United States. Many historians
have criticized the role of naval disarmament agreements in permitting the American
lapse.103 Whether Japanese parity originated from treaty system or instead was caused
he US is not the focus of this study. Instead,
of the individual ships themselves. For better
diplomacy, domestic support, economic
itary doctrine, among other factors, created the
cruiser fleets used in World War II. The deck had been dealt. Now each navy had to
play the cards it held.
by a lack of political or national will in
this thesis investigates the performance
or worse, the interplay of international
capability, political willingness, and ml
See Hyde, Chapter 25, "Epilogue: To Washington and Back," pp. 331-349;
Dudley W. Knox, "Introduction: The United States Navy Between the World Wars,"
in Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 1, pp. xxxi-lx for two examples.
69


PART TWO
PERFORMANCE


PART TWO INTRODUCTION
The second part of this thesis analyzes the combat performance of light and
heavy cruisers during the Second World War. Each nation's navy built its ships to
meet unique logistical and operational needs, but the tonnage limits imposed on cruiser
construction by the Washington and London treaties created a degree of uniformity in
these vessels. The fact that all cruisers shared certain design characteristics invites
comparison on a broad scale. Specifically, what of gun caliber? Did the heavier-
hitting 8-inch gun prove superior to the smaller, yet faster-firing 6-inch gun? How did
the tonnage of a ship impact performance? Were the bigger, heavier cruisers more
likely to survive an engagement than the lighter more maneuverable ones? How did
torpedoes, or lack thereof, affect tacticjs and results? As shown, American and
Japanese admirals favored the bigger, lieavier 8-inch cruisers. The British Admiralty
preferred smaller, lighter 6-inch cruisers. When tested in the crucible of war, how did
each fare?
In order to answer these questions, this study presents several "test cases" from
naval actions during World War II. In
clashes, the closest attention is paid to
recounting and discussing the results of these
armament size. Armor, displacement, speed,
71


maneuverability, and seaworthiness also merit examination. Several parameters
actions presented by this study, except
determined the selection of each battle. For the most part, each surface engagement
involved combinations of light and heavy cruisers pitted against each other. Since
cruisers usually acted in concert with, and often against, destroyer groups, all of the
one, also involved destroyers.
All of the encounters were fought in the first few years of the war: The
Atlantic action occurred in 1939, Pacific actions took place from 1942-43. During
these periods, German surface raiders still prowled the seas, and the Japanese enjoyed
a material advantage in terms of ships and, most importantly, aircraft carriers. As the
war continued, several factors limited operations of the Axis Powers. Hitler recalled
the German surface fleet and focused primarily on the U-boat campaign. A critical
lack of oil often kept the Italian fleet anchored in harbor and out of battle until its
surrender in 1943. By 1944 the United States Navy dominated the Pacific, and victory
over the Japanese was only a matter of time. Therefore, most of the "classic" surface
actions took place early in the war, while the Axis navies still played a significant role
and before the Allies could harness the United States' immense industrial capacity.
This thesis does not address surface clashes in which capital ships played a
primary role. In battleship engagements, cruisers usually acted as screens while the
bigger ships dominated the action. Similarly, the presence of aircraft carriers greatly
limited surface action opportunities. Friendly cruisers stayed with their flat-tops while
72


enemy ships disengaged under the threat of air attack, a frequent occurrence in the
Mediterranean. Nor does this paper investigate the cruiser's effectiveness in such
varied duties as convoy escort, anti-submarine work, anti-aircraft screening, or
bombardment support.
Examination of a battle in hindsight can be a tricky business. The danger of
studying closely the efficacy of the 8-inch versus the 6-inch gun, lies in overestimating
the importance of this factor in the result of any engagement. Numerous elements
determine victory or defeat in a naval encounter. Unit efficiency is affected by
training, crew disposition and morale, and the quality of command and control. Also
technology such as radar, night optics, or the Japanese Long-Lance torpedo greatly
influenced combat. Tactics, such as thosje employed by the Japanese during night
fighting in the Solomon Islands, may havl played the largest role of all. Intelligence
and its use (or mis-use) and the determination of an enemy's disposition are other
I
factors to be calculated. Any comparison of the fighting capabilities of the heavy and
I
I
light cruiser must take place in light of suph considerations.
This study presents six different battles for consideration. After a brief
introduction, the order of battle is listed to show the types of ships employed. A
narrative follows with careful consideration given to the usage of heavy and/or light
cruisers. Assessments and conclusions are then drawn.
73
!
I


CHAPTER 8
THE BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE
(13 DECEMBER 1939)
Prior to the German invasion of Poland, sixteen U-boats and two surface
raiders, Deutschland and Admiral Graf Spee, slipped out of German ports. Assigned
to waters south of the equator for hunting grounds, GrafSpee sank nine merchant
ships in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Captain Hans Langsdorff, before
returning home for a badly needed engine overhaul, sailed his "pocket battleship" in
the waters near the Rio de la Plata estuary in search of prey along the busy shipping
routes there. Unbeknownst to Langsdorff, one of the Royal Navy's "hunting groups"
lay in wait in the very same waters in hopes of intercepting him.104 As dawn broke, the
taller Graf Spee spotted the British ships first. The Germans correctly identified
i
Exeter, but mistook the two light cruisers for destroyers. Langsdorff assumed the
ships to be the escort for a convoy group and he ordered Graf Spee to close in a most
i
fateful decision. I
104 As quoted in Stephen Roskill, White Ensign: The British Navy at War.
1939-1945 (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1960), p. 52.
74


TABLE 8,1: ORDER OF BATTLE. RIVER PLATE
German Kreiesmarine
Independent Surface Raider
Captain Hans LangsdorfF
Heavy Armored Cruiser
Graf Spee (Admiral Sheer class)
11,900 tons / six 11-in. / 26 kts.105
British Royal Navy
Hunting Group G
Commodore Henry Harwood
Heavy Cruiser
Exeter (Exeter class)
8,524 tons / six 8-in. / 32 kts.
Light Cruisers (2)
Achilles {Leander class)
Ajax {Leander class)
7,100 tons / eight 6-in. / 32.5 kts.105 106
As Graf Spee approached, the British quickly identified the raider, went to
battle stations, and radioed for reinforcements. With a main battery of six 11-inch
guns and eight 5.9-inch secondary guns
ships. Considerable doubt existed as to
Graf Spee greatly outclassed the three British
i whether the 8-inch guns of Exeter could
penetrate Graf Spee's armor. The British did not hesitate to attack, however. Exeter
fell out of line and turned to port while the two light cruisers raised all boilers and
continued fast to the northeast, weaving all the while to confuse the German gunners.
Harwood thus forced LangsdorfF to either split his fire or leave one attacking group
I
unhindered. Initially at 0614 Graf Spee fired salvoes at both groups. After the
105 Anthony Bruce and William Cogar, An Encyclopedia of Naval History (New
York: Facts on File, Inc., 1998), p. 2.
106 Approximate standard tonnage. Achilles displaced slightly more than Ajax.
See Whitley, p. 96.
i 75


Map 8.1: Battle of the River Plate107
Map reproduced from Ro skill, White Ensign, p. 54.
I 76


Germans realized that Exeter provided the most serious threat, both main turrets
targeted the British heavy cruiser.
its hull to reduce the ship's speed."108 T.
target. A near hit splashed in the water
From a range of 21,000 yards, the 11-inch batteries of Graf Spee opened up.
LangsdorfFlater wrote, "Impact fuses were ordered in order to obtain the greatest
possible damage to the lightly-armored urrets and superstructure and through hits on
'he German shells quickly zeroed in on the
amid ship, showering the ship with deadly
splinters. In addition to killing several crew members, the small, jagged pieces of
metal damaged the ship's electrical and fire control systems. Minutes later another
shell punched through the deck, through the sick bay, and out the ship's side without
detonating. The third hit proved more costly. In Captain F.S. Bell's words, the "B
turret received a direct hit from an 11-inch shell and was put out of action."* 109
Splinters from the impact killed most ojf the men on the bridge. With the wheel house
destroyed and communication to the engine rooms cut, the ship veered starboard.
Captain Bell, who had men on either side of him killed by the shower, saw the
wrecked bridge and made for the aft conning position to direct control of the ship.110
The crew, with much effort, brought the ship under control. Two more hits
rocked the ship and started fires, but Exeter continued. During the whole fracas,
108
Dudley Pope, Graf Spee: The
Life and Death of a Raider (Philadelphia: J.B.
Lippincott Company, 1957), p. 146.
109 Ibid., p. 165.
110 Ibid., pp. 167-168.
77


Exeter's guns, except for the knocked out turret, continued firing on the GrafSpee. A
torpedo officer launched torpedoes when the opportunity presented itself. Before the
torpedoes reached the German ship, Graf Spee spun around violently and began
making smoke. Exeter took a total of seven 11-inch hits. The sixth shell rendered the
second forward turret as inoperable as the first. The seventh started violent fires
throughout the ship's interior. Only after an electrical failure put the rear turret out of
action, did Captain Bell retire.
As Exeter took its pounding, Achilles and Ajax first fired at 0625 from a range
of just over 19,000 yards. The two cruisers coordinated the fire for better accuracy
and effect, with the gunnery officer on Ajax directing both ships. Langsdorff, fearing
torpedo attack, directed 11-inch gun fire on the Achilles. After several salvos, a near
side miss showered the ship with splinters, rendering the director control tower
temporarily inoperative. The blast also broke radio contact and coordinated firing
efforts with Ajax. Achilles maintained firing with local control. As the shots fell
wildly about the German ship, the gunnery officer aboard Ajax continued as if these
salvos were still under his direction. For several minutes Ajax's salvos fell short until
the crew realized that radio control had been cut.111
When GrafSpee turned and mJde smoke, Commodore Harwood believed
(correctly) that the raider was moving to finish off Exeter. Still inside Graf Spee's
m
Pope., pp. 160-163, 180-181.
78


killing zone at 17,000 yards yet too far away for his 6-inch guns to really be effective,
Commodore Harwood made a bold de :ision. He ordered Achilles and Ajax to close
on Graf Spee even though that meant taking the rear turrets out of action while still
absorbing the German ship's full broadsides. With their firing control difficulties
straightened out, however, the light cruisers' fire was much more effective. Each
turret fired on average three times per minute and Graf Spee soon became deluged
with 6-inch shells. Ajax launched torpedoes at a range of 9,000 yards to no avail.
Langsdorff concentrated his guns on the light cruisers, leaving Exeter which was now
burning badly. A hit on Ajax rocked the ship and disabled the two rear turrets. A
British observation plane warned of torpedoes bearing down on the cruisers, and they
turned to avoid them. As the ships continued to close, the cruisers peppered the raider
with 6-inch hits but apparently to no avail.
112
Harwood wrote:
By 0738 the range was down to 8,000 yards. At this
time I received a report that Ajax had only 20 percent of
ammunition left and hadj only three guns in action... The
hoists had failed in B turret and X and Y turrets were
both out of action
Graf Spee's shooting iyas still very accurate and she
did not appear to have suffered much damage.
I therefore decided to break off the day action and try
and close in again after dark. Accordingly at 0740 Ajax
and Achilles turned away to the east under cover of
smoke.113
112 Ibid.,pp. 180-184. 113 Eugen Millington-Drake, comp. . The Drama of Graf Spee and the Battle of the
River Plate: A Documentarv Antholom 1914-1964 (London: Peter Davies Ltd.,
1965), p. 222. 1
| 79


Just as the British ships turned away, a parting shot by GrafSpee shot away the
topmast of Ajax. Instead of pressing his advantage and attacking the lighter cruisers,
Langsdorff also retired. Langsdorffs choice, the source of much subsequent criticism,
was influenced in part by damage caused to his ship and the fact that he could maintain
sustained fire for only about 40 more minutes. Of even greater controversy was
Langsdorffs decision to make for Montevideo. The debate is too lengthy to discuss
here. Suffice it to say that Langsdorff personally surveyed the entire ship and
unilaterally judged that GrafSpee needed port facilities to undertake necessary
repairs.114 Regardless, the two light cruisers shadowed at a great distance with Graf
Spee occasionally firing warning salvos
The shelling by the British ships
to keep them at bay.
had not been as ineffective as Harwood
i
believed. One of the 8-inch shells had ripped a large hole in GrafSpee's port side.
Numerous 6-inch hits considerably damaged the ship's superstructure. The radio
direction-finder was damaged. The boiler that provided steam power to the fresh
water plant and oil lubrication purifier was out of commission. The galleys were
smashed, along with the baking apparatus and flour stores. Although the main battery
continued to operate fully, the forward ammunition hoists for the secondary battery
were out. Threats to the ship's seaworthiness and the ability to feed and water the
crew in part caused Langsdorff to make for Montevideo.115
114
See ibid., pp. 227-230 for a ful
115 Ibid., pp. 225-230; 305-307.
er discussion of Langsdorff s decision.
80


Once Graf Spee put into Montevideo on 14 December the die had been cast.
Bartering with the Uruguayan government for additional time for repairs was futile
since this would only give the British time to rally additional forces to ensure Graf
Spee's destruction. False radio traffic convinced Langsdorff that a strong Allied force
awaited his departure. After communicating with Berlin, Langsdorff scuttled his ship,
surrendered his crew, and shot himself
On paper, the Battle of the River Plate appeared to be a mis-match as the
superior fire-power and thick armor of Graf Spee clearly out-classed all three British
cruisers. Harwood's plan, however, of splitting his group and concentrating the fire of
his light cruisers worked well. Fortunately for the British, Exeter took most of the
punishment dealt by Graf Spee. Approximately 1,500 tons heavier than either
Leander class cruiser, Exeter by its sheer size rather than its slight increase in armor,
was better able to absorb numerous hits.
The Germans questioned their own use of impact fuses, in addition to
j
armor-piercing shells, after the battle, pommander F.W. Rasenack wrote:
We... underestimated the armour of the British heavy
cruisers... [We] did not use armor-piercing shells
against the Exeter, whicjh was her luck. With eight
direct hits, had they been armour-piercing shells, she
would have been blown
up.
116
Captain Bell refuted this view. He argued that the relative short distance between the
two ships meant the shells traveled in a
horizontal trajectory instead of plunging
116
Ibid., p. 458.
81


vertically down to the hull. Armor-piercing shells would simply pass right through the
thin British armor and out the other side of the ship before detonating, an event that
apparently occurred at least twice during the encounter.117
The timing of the battle greatly limited the efficacy of the light cruisers during
the battle. Since this was a daylight act .on, Ajax and Achilles were forced to lob shell
after shell from distances that had little chance of doing damage, even had they hit.
Out of 2,064 shells fired, only seventeen scored. Only when the light-cruisers closed
inside of 17,000 yards did their 6-inch shells land with any sort of accuracy and effect.
However, by the time the distance was down to 8,000 yards, Ajax suffered from an
11-inch hit and the attack had to be abandoned. Exeter's heavier shells fell with more
accuracy from long-range but as the battle showed, the British heavy cruiser could not
afford to slug it out indefinitely against the German 11-inch guns. Graf Spee's inability
to deal with three separate targets combined with superior British leadership won the
day for the Royal Navy. By aggressively engaging all three of his ships, Harwood
i
i
guaranteed that at least one cruiser would escape German fire as Graf Spee sported
|
only two triple-turrets as main batteries.
During the battle Graf Spee received three 8-inch hits from Exeter and
seventeen 6-inch hits from the light cruisers.118 Which hits forced Graf Spee to dock
117 Ibid., p. 269.
118 Ibid., pp. 456-457.
82
I


at Montevideo? The damage caused by the 8-inch shells surprised the Germans, who
believed the Graf Spee vulnerable only ;o battleships. Rasenack stated that:
...[Exeter's] marksmanship is astonishing and the
rapidity with which the salvoes follow each other
surprising. An 8-inch sblell goes through the armour
plate of one of our anti-aircraft guns of 10.5-cm on the
starboard side. It kills half the gun crew, goes through
two decks and finally explodes in the apparatus for
producing fresh water...
upper part of the bridge
One shell passes through the
without exploding and without
causing damage; the other passes a meter above the
armoured deck, passing through the starboard
longitudinal bulkhead and explodes finally amidships
between two other bulkheads... Only the continual and
rapid hits that our gunfire inflicted on the enemy and the
skill of our Captain prevented the Exeter from causing
more damage
119
The 6-inch shells did very little damage to the Graf Spee's interior but caused
much superstructure damage. Rasenac
£ wrote:
None of the [6-inch] hits... destroyed any vital
installations below deck! but above deck they have
punished us severely. What one sees is disastrous...
The floor is running with blood... The intermediate
deck is in terrible disorder... On all sides there is a smell
of fire, blood and iron.120
The light cruisers utilized delayed fuses and armor-piercing shells. Rasenack stated,
"three of them bounced off the armour of our control tower like turnips." Others
119
120
As quoted in ibid., pp. 456-457.
As quoted in ibid., pp. 230-231.
83


pierced the superstructure and passed beyond without causing harm. Rasenack
believed that had the British light cruisers used contact fuses, GrafSpee would have
suffered far more destruction and much higher casualties.121
With the benefit of hindsight, it appears that the damage to GrafSpee did not
merit the hazards of docking at Montevideo. All boilers were operational. All of the
main batteries could still fire. The problems of feed water could have been solved
while at sea. Still, whether Graf Spee iould have escaped, or fought off the two light
cruisers to quietly make repairs at sea is too speculative a question to answer. The
Battle of the River Plate provided an early boost of morale for the Allies. The
encounter also proved the merit of both the heavy and light cruisers. The armor of
Graf Spee was vulnerable to the 8-inch gunfire. Two light cruisers engaged a
quasi-capital ship and successfully diverted it away from the wounded Exeter. Speed
also favored the cruisers. Had Graf Spee fled at the first sign of British ships, it could
not have outrun them. Speed allowed the light cruisers to stay out of range while
maintaining contact with the German raider. Damaged, harried, and pursued, Graf
I
j
Spee put into port. Despite the apparejnt long odds, out of necessity the British fought
and won the first major surface encounter in the Atlantic. Hitler's prized raider lay at
the bottom of the Rio de la Plata.
121
As quoted in ibid., p. 231.
84


CHAPTER 9
THE BATTLE OF THE JAVA SEA
(27 FEBRUARY 1942)
The scope and speed of the Japanese offensive following the attack on Pearl
Harbor found the Allies entirely unprepared. Within a month the Gilbert Islands,
Wake Island, Hong Kong, Burma, and Thailand fell. Singapore, Britain's defensive
linchpin in Asia, surrendered on 15 Febniary 1942 after suffering 138,000 casualties to
Japan's 9,800.122 In the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur's boxed-in forces
prepared for siege on the Bataan Peninsula. The ultimate goal of Japan's southern
thrust, the resource-rich and oil-laden Dutch East Indies, was within reach.
to the Southwest Pacific, the Allies hastily
threw together a combined American, British, Dutch, and Australian Command
(ABDA). This force faced insurmountable problems. The Japanese blitz through
t
Burma and Malaysia cut off any hope of British or available Australian relief. Nor
i
could the US provide significant suppolrt. The Dutch forces in the area were mainly
provincial police forces with whom the colonial masters maintained a tenuous
relationship. The Japanese absorbed the islands piecemeal, and the disorganized Allied
defense did little to forestall their advance. On 11 January the assault on the Dutch
122 James L. Stokesbury, A Short History of World War II (New York: William
and Morrow and Company, 1980), p. 204.
In response to the threat posed
85


Full Text

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TREATY CRUISERS: AND PERFORMANCE by David tialone, Jf. B.A., University of qolorado at Boulder, 1991 thesis submitted to the University of Cblorado at Denver in partiall fulfillment of the requiremeJts for the degree of MastJ of Arts Hi$tory 1999

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c qavld Clalone, Jr. All rights reserved

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forI ,L{Cf qj

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Cialone, David lr. (M.A., History) I Treaty Cruisers: Conception and Perfonhance Thesis directed by Professor Emeritus Erhest Andrade, lr. ABSTRACT Between the First and Second W1rld Wars, the world's major naval powers entered into a series of naval arms agreerJents which placed quantitative and qualitative limits on various classes of naJlal warships. The 1921-22 Washington Conference created a ten-year building limiting capital ship construction. However, the Washington Conference failbd to address warship auxiliaries, including cruisers, giving rise to a decade-long "cruiser controversy as diplomats, political leaders, and military professionals attempted to broker agreements on non-capital ship classes. Another by-product of the Washington Conference was the creation of a 10,000 ton limit on auxiliary warships to prevent the building of IIsemi-capital class ships. The tonnage ceiling, instead of construction, established a new standard that naval powers felt obliged to meet. Ships built at or near the 10,000 ton limit during the inter-war era came to be kIiown as IItreaty cruisers. II Part one of this thesis traces the on cruisers during the inter-war era, from the 1921-22 Washington Conference the start of World War II. Much iv

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of the dispute centered on the size of guns that cruisers carried: 8-inch guns for heavy cruisers and 6-inch guns for light cruisers!. In general, the United States and Japan sought larger cruisers armed with 8-inch while Great Britain preferred smaller cruisers bearing 6-inch guns. The half of this thesis assesses the wartime performance of these ships through carefUl examination of six different World War II cruiser actions: The Battles of the River Plate, Java Sea, Savo Island, Cape Esperance, Komandorski Islands, and Empress Augusta Bay. Special attention is paid to the relative effectiveness of 8-inch heab cruisers and 6-inch light cruisers. Naval planners assumed that the gun's longer range and heavier shell would outclass the 6-inch gun. daylight encounters were rare in the Pacific thus calling into question the 8-inch gun'si slow rate of fire and inability to hit small, fast targets such as destroyers. Since tactics, leadership, and reconnaissance also played pivotal roles, the singular effect of. eight or 6-inch gun can be difficult to analyze. In general, however, the 8-inch proved superior during daylight engagements while the 6-inch gun perfonped well during night actions. This abstract accurately represents the cobtent of the candidate's thesis. 1 recommend its publication. Signed Ernest Andrade, Jf. v

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To my dear wife, Stacy.

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at Boulder for encouraging me to pursJ1 a graduate degree history. He is an worked on this thesis for the past two yeLs. Professors Frederick Allen, Mark S. Foster, and James Whiteside of the Univtrsity of Colorado at Denver History Department deselYe credit for their helPjl and continued support of my studies. Sue with tolerance and good cheer. Thanks to Jamison McGregor for his help in great thanks to my advisor, Ernest for his decency, patience, and

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CONiTENTS Maps Tables .......................... \. . . . . . . . . .. Xl Introduction ..................... XlI CHAPTER PART ONE: CONCEPTION \ PRELUDE: TOWARD A TREATY PROCESS \ 2. THE 1921-22 WASHINGTON C([)NFERENCE ....................... 8 3. THE CRUISER RACE BEGINS 18 4. ATTEMPTS AT ABATEMENT: FROM GENEVA TO LONDON ..... 32 5. THE RISE OF THE LIGHT CRU]SER .............................. 47 6. THE SECOND LONDON NAV CONFERENCE .................. 54 7. THE END OF THE TREATY ERA ................................. 59 Vlll

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PART TWO: RERFORMANCE Part Two Introduction ................................................. 71 CHAPTER 8. TIIE BATILE OF TIIE RIVEI PLATE (13 DECEMBER 1939) ..... 74 9. THE BATTLE OF THE JAVA SEA (27 FEBRUARY 1942) .......... 85 10. TIIE BAITLE OF SAVO ISlo (9 AUGUST 1942) ............. 105 11. 138 12. THE BATTLE OF THE KOMANDORSKI ISLANDS (26 MARCH 1943) ......... .1 .................................... 159 13. THE BATTLE OF EMPRESS tUGUSTABAY (2 NOVEMBER 1943) ....... 1 177 14. SUMMARY: CRUISER LESSONS OF THE WAR ................ 192 Conclusion .......................................................... 206 BffiLIOGRAPHY ........................ 210 1 IX

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MfS Map 8.1 Battle of the River Plate ..... '. . . . . . . . . .. 76 9.1 Battle of the Java Sea, DaylightAction ............................. 90 10.1 Allied Deployment Before the .............................. 109 ID.2 Battle ofSavo Island, 0132-200P ................................. 116 11.1 Battle of Cape Esperance, Opening Phase 146 12.1 Battle of the Komandorski Islan9s ................................ 165 13.1 Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, Established ................ 181

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Table TABLES 3.1 Warship Auxiliary Naval Progrbs (Authorization Years, 1919-1927) ................................. 30 7.1 Cruiser Strength on the Eve ofiWar ................................ 68 8. I Order of Battle, River Plate .. \ . . . . . . . . .. 75 9. I Order of Battle, Java Sea ... "\". . . . . . . . . .. 10.1 Order of Battle, Savo Island .. l' . . . . . . . . .. 108 1l.1 Order of Battle, Cape Esperance .................................. 143 12.1 Order of Battle, Komandorski ISlands ............................ 163 Order of Battle, Empress Augusta Bay ........................... 13.1 180

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INTRdnuCTION Between the First and Second WLd Wars, the world's leading naval powers entered into several arms control and reduction agreements which limited, quantitatively and qualitatively, certain types of naval war craft. The first of these, the Five Power Treaty signed at the 1921-22 asbington Conference, established a ten-year moratorium on battleship constrJction and placed limits on aircraft carriers but failed to limit shipbuilding below the ]0,000 ton displacement level. The 1920s and 1930s witnessed a "cruiser race" durilg which the various naval powers sought to enhance their military positions by "semi-capital" class cruisers. The Geneva Conference of 1927 and the London Conferences of 1930 and 1935-36 addressed questions regarding cruisers, submarines, lnd other auxiliaries. The discussions regarding cruisers centered not only on how many each nation should be allowed but on the type as well. The debate focused on the relative merit of either "heavy" or "light" cruisers, differentiated by their typj of armament: 8-inch guns for the "heavies" and 6-inch guns for the "lights." In the Udited States (US) the discussion over cruiser design was quite lively. While both designS had their proponents, the heavy cruiser design, in general, was seen as superior. The British preferred light cruisers, which

PAGE 13

design. The treaty process, in effect, crJted the cruiser classes used during the study. First, a discussion of why each world's naval powers entered into the detail since it provided the framework fJ naval construction and future agreements throughout the period. Primarily the thet focuses on the cruiser fleets of the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. France Ld Italy are examined only in tangent. The of the of the

PAGE 14

analyzes how the different cruiser designs performed in the crucible of war. Was the heavy cruiser, in fact, a superior fighting ship to the light cruiser as many American military planners argued during the interlwar period? Were armament questions immaterial in light of other factors, such las tactics and leadership? Several actions, especially in the Pacific theater, pitted light and heavy cruisers against each other. How did each fare in combat? XlV

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ONE:

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J J PRELUDE: TOWAfD A TREATY PROCESS The United States thrust itself U10n the world stage in 1898. Victory Spanish-American War and the acquisition of Spain's colonial possessions, especially the Philippines, heralded world power for the US. In addition to the Philippines, the US acquired Guam, the Hawaiian Istands, Johnston Island, and Palmyra Island in 1898. By the turn of the century, Wake Island and Tutuila (American Samoa) also became American territories. With newfound interests abroad, a rising tide of nationalism swept the US into its lIimpe+al stage, along with a desire to exert political influence and expand economically. After Commodore George Dewey cabled Washington with news of the Spanish fleet's destruction and his capture of the Philippines, President McKinley confessed, "I could not have told whereithose darned islands were within 2,000 miles! III However, the acquisition ofthb Philippines greatly impacted American diplomacy well into the 1900s. interests saw the islands as a springboard into the vast, untapped markets of China. :tv1anila Bay could serve as a port facility for As quoted in Robert Ferrell, Anierican Diplomacy: The Twentieth Century, 4th ed. (New York: W.W. Norton Gompany, 1988), p. 44.

PAGE 17

military purposes as well. But the PhiliiPines became something of a millstone, for they helped bring the US into direct conflict with another rising Pacific power, Japan. The United States' willingness td, be a player on the international stage became evident in 1899. As the Manchu declined and China fell into unstable chaos, foreign interests encroached more and jore upon the failing empire. As Japan, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, and other poJers prepared to carve out even larger spheres of influence, American Secretary of statl John Hay enunciated the "Open Door" policy. The Open Door attempted to lelitimize a policy that the US had long followed in China: that markets in China must rethain open to free economic competition. After the nativist revolt of the Boxer Retellion in 1900, Hay expanded the Open Door as a guarantee against further partition foreign powers. Rationale for American expansion also came from the military. The pivotal writings of theorist Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan helped justify policy-makers' visions of an international "manifest destiny" that depended upon colonies a strong navy.2 President Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent believer in Mahan's: strategies, greatly expanded the US Navy and then sent it around the world to prove America's might. Greater impetus for the US to exband its navy came from the First World War. Japan's aggressive expansion, German submarine strategy, as well as the mounting Robert Gordon Kaufman, Arms Control During the Pre-Nuclear Era: The United States and Naval Limitations BetWeen the Two World Wars (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 7. 2

PAGE 18

slaughter in Europe, prompted governmLt leaders to act.' The Naval Act of!916 called for a mammoth shipbuilding progrb. Its official goal: "A Navy second to none. The US was to have the world's navy at a cost of 600 million dollars with 156 ships of all classes to be comPlJ1ted by 1919.4 The continued sinking of American merchant ships combined with release of the Zimmermann telegram allowed President Woodrow Wilson's crusade for making the world "safe for democracy. American participation in tHe war, however, interrupted the 1916 program. Shipyards cranked out small JXiliary craft to combat submarines instead of larger warships that would take much lonker to produce. In 1919 Wilson asked for the resumption of the 1916 program. Significant political elements withi,n the United States opposed the naval buildup. The "irreconcilables, a coterie dfUS Senators, refused to ratify the League of Nations and obstructed any American political involvement abroad. Led by Senator William Borah ofIdaho, they wished to the United States return to its isolationist shell. Economic factors favored disarmament. With the return of peace, the government ended its wartime economic c,ontrols. Demobilization flooded millions of servicemen back into the workplace and ensued. Much of the public viewed a large navy as something of an unwanted :and expensive luxury. President Warren G. 3 4 8. 3

PAGE 19

of his Japan's rise to international protnence had been even more rapid and Japan out offeudal hibernation and Shobn rule. With Herculean effort, Japan of the century, Japan became Asia's strongest lotion. The Japanese demonstrated their resounding victory in the 1894-95 sinJJapanese War. A decade later, Russia's attempts to encroach upon China COllidld with those of Japan; the Russo-Japanese of the and territorial expansion continued thrJghout the early twentieth century as Japan of neutrality, China even more. January 1915, the presented the "Twenty-One Demands" to China!s government. EssehtiallY, the demands would create Japanese China. 5 diplomatic pressure, the Japanese avert1d confrontation and backed off, announcing

PAGE 20

that their demands were actually only 116 After joining the war on the side of the Allied Powers, Japan gobbled up Gelnanyls protectorate of Shantung Province in China and Germany's Pacific possessionsiofYap, the Caroline Islands, and the Marshall Islands. According to stated goals, no Allied Power could annex territory, but at the Paris Peace COnferen6e the League of Nations created a "mandate" which gave Japan control of all German north of the equator.7 Japanese naval policy was inextricably tied to goals of economic self-sufficiency and protection against interference in Asian affairs. The Navy brought victory in both the and Russo-Japanese Wars. Like the US Navy, the writings of Cap lain Mahan grJtly influenced lhe leadership of the Japanese navy.S Mahan himself believed that more of his works had been translated into Japanese than any other language.9 At the end of the First World War, Japan clearly represented the world's third leading navai power behind Great Britain and the United States. Japanese military and politicalleaaers viewed their naval status as critical to the maintenance and preservation of their burgeoning empire. 6 Harlow Hyde, Scraps ofPaper:i The Disarmament Treaties Between the World Wars (Lincoln, Nebraska: Media 1988), p. 36. 7 Raymond Leslie Buell, The Conference (New York: Russell Russell, 1922), pp. 54-55. ; For evidence of Mahan influence ppon Japanese naval planning and strategy, see David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie, *"aigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1997), pp. 70-71; 139-140. : 9 Ferrell, p. 57. 5

PAGE 21

fleet expansion program. The proposal rled for the construction of a total of 103 of maintaining of the 1916 program. Popular domestic sentilent for arms control prevailed not only in the the late 1800s, GTeat Britain's centurieSfOld reign as master of the seas began to of the 10 39. 6

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nations, and unable to protect her vast elpire adequately. To maintain her interests in Asia, Britain entered into an alliance Japan in 1902. A massive naval arms race with Germany in the decade prior to World War I taxed Britain heavily. By 1914 the British abandoned their "Two Power Standard," first established in 1889, which declared Jhat the Royal Navy would be equal in strength to the navies of any two other nitions combined. The wartime experience itself was incredibly harrowing in its and results. German submarines nearly strangled the island nation into sUbmissio*. Despite eliminating the German surface threat, the Battle of Jutland revealed seridus shortcomings in many British ships. Additionally, a number of older vessels Jeded replacement. World War I cost Britain dearly and created huge foreign debts, pJhing the island nation to its economic limit. In the early post-war era, Britain would severely tested to maintain pace with the two upstarts: the United States was building a navy "second to none, and Japan held hegemony in the Far East. Britain readily :accepted the invitation to discuss naval arms limitations.

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CiTER2 THE 1921-22 WASHINGTON CONFERENCE The First World War caused incrLble hardships, carnage, and human misery. Left in the wake of liThe Great Warwet millions of casualties. Amid destroyed and still-standing cities wandered amputees ahd refugees. Of the families that lost sons, husbands, or brothers, many believed thai the immense arms buildup by Europe's leading powers had been a primary cause of the conflict. A nation-state that built a large military would be more inclined to l!lse it. Public opinion provided great impetus for a major international conference for alms reduction in general, and naval disarmament in particular. American Secretary of State chJles Evans Hughes convened the Washington Conference on November 1921. Huglles electrified the assembled crowd by announcing, liThe way to disarm is to and then laid out the American proposal: 1. All capital ship buildinl programs, either actual or projected, should be abandoned. 2. Further reductions shohld be made through the scrapping of certain of the; older ships. 3. In general, regard should be [made] to the existing naval strength of the Powers concerned. 8

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4. Capital ship tonnage should be used as the measurement of strength for navies and a proportionate allowance of auxiliary craft prescribed. 12 The foreign dignitaries, expecting the mundane opening pleasantries, were shocked. Hughes essentially laid all the .4\merican cards on the table at the conference's outset. He outlined his for how each nation's navy might be adapted to the treaty parameters. Hukhes casually announced his expectation that the British would scrap their four dlass battle cruisers and battleship journalist Mark Sullivan that British Admiral Lord David Beatty: Came forward in his chair!with the manner of a bulldog, sleeping on a sunny doorstep, who has been poked in the stomach by the foot of an itinerant soap-canvasser seriously in any sense of the most ordinary proprieties br considerations of personal safety. 13 \ The crux of Hughes' proposal, an<:I the cause of all the uproar, actually reflected the existing balance of forces byi the leading naval powers. The Washington Conference established a "Five Power Treaty" and a 5-5-3-l.67-l.67 ratio in battleship and aircraft carrier tonnage for Great Britain, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy, respectively. Some adjustments anq exceptions were allowed, but by 1942 the treaty permitted 525,000 displacement tons for battleships and 135,000 tons for carriers in the American and British fleets.1 Japan was allowed 272,000 battleship tons 12 US Department of State, Confererice on the Limitation of Armament, Washington: November 12, 1921 -February 6, 1922 (Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1922), p. 60 .. 13 As quoted in Ferrell, p. 170. : 9

PAGE 25

and 81,000 for carriers. France and Itat y could have up to 175,000 and 60,000 tons for battleships and carriers, respectively!. For all nations, some degree of bompromise had been granted. United States military planners in drafting War Plan Orange, the hypothetical plan for war with Japan, assumed that the Philippines wJld be lost to invasion and then would need to be retaken. Army advisors at times wet more optimistic, and some believed that the American bases in the Philippines could hold out until a relief force arrived. Regardless, whether to relieve or the islands, a fleet would have to be assembled and then travel thousands 0, miles overseas to the Far East. Part of the US fleet would have to be used to maintain supply trains and lines of communication. Japanese auxiliary attacks, sub attacks, and air assaults from planes based in the Mandated Islands would further the number of ships available to the main battle force. Alfred Thayer Mahan's doctrine stated that a fleet lost 10 percent of its fighting effectiveness for every 1,000 traveled. As Manila lay nearly 5,000 miles from the Hawaiian Islands, the Board of the US Navy declared a 2-1 ratio as the only "safe" ratio to maintain with the Imperial Navy. 14 Japanese naval experts projectJd a hypothetical war scenario very similar to that of the US General Board. The JaJanese also believed that they could take the Philippines before significant help arrive from the American mainland. Then, as 14 Kaufman, p. 50. 10

PAGE 26

the US Pacific Fleet steamed toward the far East in a relief effort, it would be taken by surprise in a Tsushima-style climactic fuattIe at a location of the Japanese Navy's choosing. In order to defeat the attacking fleet, the Japanese General Staff of the Navy declared a 70 percent ratio as the rJinimum strength needed to guarantee the safety of the home islands.15 During the c10nference, Hughes forced concessions from every side. The 5-3 American-Japanese split the difference between the competitive advantage desired by each nation. Neither American nor Japanese naval leaders liked the agreement. One official privately commented that the 5-5-3 ratio "sounded to Japanese ears like Rolls-Roy4e: Rolls-Royce: Ford."16 Although formally conceding parity with the US, Great Britain, as part of the negotiations, demanded that her navy be ILger than the next two largest continental powers. Thus the treaty established a ratio of l.67 for both France and Italy. Even though France's capital ship tonnage fell the proposed allowance, the French delegation argued against equality with Italy. France's security needs lay in both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Italy coul,d concentrate all of its forces in the Mediterranean with a decided advantage. though this case sounded similar to the one made by Americans the they did not get their wish. 15 Evans, p. 143. As quoted in Nathan Miller, (New York: Scribner, 1995), p. 27. 16

PAGE 27

Although they viewed the ratio as the of their fleet, the French were convinced by Hughes to accept the 1.6Tatio." French acquiescence came with a price. The conference recognized that France's battleship "holiday" began in 1915, therefore France (and Italy) could begin replacement construction as early as 1927. Later, France's demands for submarine tonnage in excess of the 1.67 capital ratio derailed efforts to limit that type of craft.18 France's real concern lay not wiJh naval armaments but with the containment of Germany. The leader of the French delegation, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand, attempted in vain to draft the British into a continental military pact to guarantee the territorial provisions of the Treaty of Lailles." The Italians came away from the conference satisfied as parity with Franj. gave them the political prestige they desired. addition to the Five Power naral agreement, the Washington Conference produced two other significant treaties. : The Anglo-Japanese Alliance had agitated American diplomats ever since its in 1902. Originally, the British signed the pact as a means to stem Russian and German aggression in the Far East. By 1921, however, the association was less as Japan developed a much more aggressive posture, emboldened in part by Britain's tacit protection. New Zealand and As quoted in Yamato Ichihashi, ['he Washington Conference and After: A Historical Survey (Stanford University, California: Stanford University Press, 1928; reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1969), p. 67. Page citations are to the reprint edition. 18 94. 19 Kaufman, p. 63. 12

PAGE 28

Australia argued against outright abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, since they might face the wrath of an alienated Japan. 20 Instead of termination, the alliance expanded to include the United States Jd France. The Four Power Treaty, written in vague language, required no actual commitments. the event of aggression, the treaty called for party members to : ... communicate with one another fully and frankly in order to arrive at an undetstanding as to the most efficient measures to be jointly or separately, to meet the exigencies of th6 particular situation.21 Although the treaty asked members to each other's rights in the Pacific, these rights were not enumerated. If disputes arose, members were to attend a conference for resolution. Simply put, the Four poJer Treaty took the teeth out of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and, for HUghJ, was the necessary prerequisite for the conference to continue. Ironically, of the relatively meaningless Four Power Treaty later caused a "firestorm" ih the US Senate during ratification.22 Other colonial powers, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Portugal, along with a Chinese delegation, participated in what became known as the Nine Power Treaty. Essentially, the tried to codify the "Open Door" doctrine in 20 Ferrell, p. 172. : 21 US Department of State, Treaties land Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949, vo\. 2 (Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1969), p. 334. Hereafter as Treaties and Agreements of the US. 22 Hyde, p. 96. 13

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China, first enunciated by American SeJetary of State John Hay in 1899. The first article stipulated that the signatories: Respect the sovereignty, the independence, and the territorial and administrative integrity of China ... [ Allow] China to develop: and maintain for herself an effective and stable government... [establish and maintain] the principle of [equal opportunity for the commerce and industry of all nations throughout the territory of China.23 Upon its signing, the Nine Power Treaty appeared to guarantee Chinese political and territorial sovereignty. Events eventuall proved otherwise. As an inducement for Japanese aJprovai of the 5-5-3 ratio and the elimination of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, the United States and Great Britain agreed to a "non-fortification clause. Article XIX Five Power Treaty prohibited the US from building up additional bases on any its Pacific islands excluding the Hawaiian and Aleutian Islands. Britain could not strengthen any possession east of 110 degrees east longitude. This prevented reinforcerh.ent of Hong Kong but allowed the British to build their base in Singapore. For the JaJanese, the treaty outlawed fortification on, among other possessions, the Mandated, Kurile, Pescadores, and Bonin Islands and Formosa (Taiwan).24 Therefore, even though the United States helped to create a treaty committed to the Open Door. it ha1 surrendered a maior means of enforcing 23 US Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1922, vol. 1 (Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1938), p. 278. Hereafter cited as ForeignlRelations of the US; Treaties and Agreements of the US, vol. 2, p. 377. 24 Treaties and Agreements of the US, vol. 2, p. 356.

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that agreement. The 5-5-3 ratio allowed for Japanese naval supremacy in the Far East and the non-fortification clause preventr the US from building or expanding naval bases in Manila or Guam. No longer could a strong American presence pose a serious threat to Japan in the region. : The Five Power Treaty successJny limited battleship and aircraft carrier tonnage, declaring a ten-year "holiday" 1n battleship construction. The treaty did permit the replacement oftwenty-year-o'ld "overage" capital ships, with a tonnage limit 0,000 tons per ship. What Ofauxili1es? Hughes wanted the 5-5-3-1.67-1.67 ratio extended to all warship (non-capital class) auxiliaries, including cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. French FOfign Minister Briand started the "submarine controversy when he declared: But so far as the defensiie ships (light cruisers, torpedo boats, and submarines) are concerned ... it would be impossible for the FrencH Government, without running counter to the vote of the Chambers, to accept reductions corresponding to those which we accept for capital ships... which yoll! will certainly understand?5 The attempt to categorize some ships, snch as light cruisers, torpedo boats, and submarines, as "defensive" sparked Understandably, the British delegation did not consider the submarine to be a defeJsive weapon. German U-boats nearly strangled Britain during World Wax I, sLng 12,000,000 tons of shipping." Instead, Britain sought the submarine's abolition'l a motion which Hughes gladly supported. Foreign Relations of the US, vol. 1, p. 136. 25 26 Buell, p. 215. 15

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! Japan and Italy supported a condemnation in principle of the type of submarine warfare used in the last war, but they with the French that it served as a legitimate means of naval defense. Franqe flatly refused to extend the capIt ship ratIO to submarines. A lack of consensus the submarines killed discussions regarding the limitation of other class warships such as cruisers and destroyers. At the time, Charles Evans did not view the conference's inability to address auxiliaries as a major failure. F(ench obstinacy was seen as the primary CUlprit. Even had Briand been more malleable, however, other delegations would have proven just as divisive. The Japanese, Jilling to submit to a 3-5 ratio on capital ships, desired a 7-10 ratio in auxiliaries. The 13ritish, as later events revealed, fully expected to receive a significant advantage in France's noisy protestations hid other conflicts that would occupy negotiation:s for over a decade.27 To prevent signatories from building hybrid ships as a means of circumnavi-gating the agreement on battleships, the Five Power Treaty defined a capital ship as any ship greater than 10,000 tons displacement or any ship that carried a gun in excess of eight inches in caliber.28 Britain's redently-launched class cruisers displaced 9,750 tons and bore 7.5-inchlguns. The Admiralty in no way wished to see these new ships scrapped. AdditionallJ, the General Board of the US Navy had been 27 28 Kaufman, p. 65. Treaties and Agreements ofthe US, vol. 2, p. 355. 16

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considering a large-caliber, cruiser for some time.29 Inadvertently, these treaty definitions, meant to deter constnlction, became the new standard for cruiser development. The Washington concluded with the signing of the Five Power Treaty on 6 February 1922. Secrbtary of State Hughes declared, "This treaty ends, absolutely ends, competition in naVlal armaments. ,,'" Nothing could have been further from the truth. : 29 Stephen Roskill, The Period of Anglo-American Antagonism, 1919-1929, vol. 1 of Naval Policy Between the Wars (Lon40n: Collins, 1968), pp. 325-326. Hereafter cited as Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 1. 30 H d y e, Xlll. 17

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HMS Dreadnought, "all-big-gun" battleship. With a PrimJ battery often 12-inch guns, was 18,000 ton ship an unprecedented sPJ of21 knots. so outclassed capital ships. A naval race ensued and IbY the time World War I began Britain had protection for increased speed. Desiglers did not originally intend for battle cruisers to be used as part of the main battle but during the First World War these vessels

PAGE 34

of slower protected cruiser had less armor, was fJter, armed smaller guns, usually was assigned to trade protection or to patrol waters. Scout cruisers were small, in a "destroyer-leader" role. Armed me.lhant cruisers were simply merchant ships capital and auxiliary warships, instead bLe the new standard by which all future HMS Dreadnought made every armored cruiser afloat obsolle. N. soon as one maritime power built of the 1 Program

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1922. The program planned for a totallffiftY-nine ships, including six cruisers." d . fl d I h C". h .. Japan came un er cntlclsm as Its announcement ew lrect yIn t e lace 0 t e spmt engendered at Washington. The Japane1se military, however, was still determined to dominate China. Therefore, annulment iOfthe Anglo-Japanese Alliance provided a strong impetus for a military buildup in ship classes not addressed by the Five Power Treaty. 1922 the Japanese laid dowj a total of seven cruiser hulls. The first of these to be armed with 8-inch guns two class cruisers that had a standard displacement of7,213 tons. Ifhe General Staff began two more cruisers using the class design early in 1924. the fall, construction began on the first of Japan's A class (heavy) cruisers. The class represented the Imperial Navy's first full-fledged "treaty cruiser," built with a main battery often 7.9-inch (20cm) guns and a declared displacement df 10,000 tons. Upon completion, the actual standard displacement of these ships exceeded the treaty limit established at Washington by over one-hundred tons. The question of Japanese violations during the treaty era is a complicated one. Some historians argue that the JapanesJ did not willfully intend, at least initially, to exceed displacement limits." Others criticize the Japanese Naval General 31 Eric Lacroix and Linton Wells 1[, Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1997), p. 82. MJ. Whitley, Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1995), p. 167. S E ee vans, p. 229; LacrOlx, p. 83, fn. 6. 20

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Staff for its outright subversion of the trraty process.34 The creation of a weight ceiling using the artificial "standard tonrtage" caused problems for naval architects in every navy." The treaty process forCediPlanners to begin with the 10,000 ton limit and work backward. class) had a design displacement of 11,568 tons, yet still easily met the aJifiCial 10,000 standard tonnage limie6 Projecting a ship's tonnage from the design stage can be a tricky business at best, and Japanese builders could no longer depe,d on British expertise as they had prior to World War Much of the excess weignt came not from the initial design but in topside add-ons in the fonn of masts, anlennae, directors, and weapon improvements. should be noted, however, that same I"panese ships eventually exceeded their 34 See Hyde, Chapter 17, "ImplemJntation Ours ... Violation Theirs," esp. pp. 212-226. See also p. 129. 35 Prior to the Washington Conference there existed no common, uniform method of measuring ship displacement. "Normal" or "design" displacement meant the weight of the ship partially loaded (2/3 "trial displacement" for the Japanese) with fuel, oil, stores, and US negotiators at Washington argued that such measurements a bias against ship designs preferred by the Americans (i.e. ships with extensive cruising radii requiring large amounts offuel, etc.). The Five P6wer Treaty defined IIstandard displacement II as the IIdisplacement ofthF ship complete, fully manned, engined, and equipped ready for sea, including all armament and ammunition, equipment, outfit, provisions and fresh for crew, miscellaneous stores... but without fuel or reserve feed water on board. II See Treaties and Agreements of the US, vol. 2, p. 368. 36 Norman Friedman, US Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 471. Unless noted otherwise, this thesis uses Whitley when citing specific standalid tonnage weights for cruisers with the understanding that many of the cruisers designed during the treaty era later exceeded the 10,000 ton limit due to refits and eqJipment additions. 21

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declared displacements by thousands of tons. By the early 1930s, the influence of Japanese liberalism declined sharply with the abrogation of the naval treaties in sight, Japanese violations became more! flagrant. While Japan rearmed, Great Britain faced the early post-war era in a greatly weakened state. The huge monetary incurred during the war forced harsh \ economic measures upon the British. Tp help forestall excessive military spending, in August 1919 the British government adbpted the "ten year rule, in which the Cabinet declared that military spending would based lion the assumption that the British Empire would not be engaged in any war during the next ten years. 1137 With a wave of the pen, Parliament simply all potential military adversaries out of existence, forcing service departments t4 greatly reduce expenditure requests. 1922 former First Sea Lord, Sir Eric Geddes e!u'ned himself the enmity of the entire Royal Navy by wielding the "Geddes Axe, whifh eliminated hundreds of naval officers' positions. Well over a dozen of the capit!il ships, many of which were out of date or obsolete, were sacrificed at the Washington Conference. Naval spending dropped drastically. Construction did begin on battleships, and as permitted under the Five Power Treaty. With a vast empire upon which sun never set, Britain considered cruisers to be of special significance to her naval Protection of merchant shipping, 37 As quoted in Roskill, Naval Policy,1 vol. 1, p. 215. 22

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Britain's life-blood, required a large cruiser fleet to ward off commerce raiders and maintain communications. Although ran submarine warfare proved extremely effective during World War I, the British believed technological innovation greatly reduced this threat. In 1921 success, sea trials of recently developed asdic (sonar), "produced considerable euphoria among the Board of Admiralty. ,,38 Although ships would not be outfitted with effective ajdic units until the 1930s, the Admiralty nonetheless believed the sub menace tUld soon be rendered inert. Therefore, commerce raiders, for which cruisers Jere the solution, posed the biggest danger. Japan began construction ofits class cruisers, the British in 1924 laid down the lrulls for five treaty cruisers of their 0ln. The number of or class 8-inch cruisers eventually grew to fifteen. Quite simply, despite political and economic constraints, the Admiralty viewed cruilers as Britain's domain and greatly contested any attempt to be outclassed in this tJe of vessel. As one commentator observed, the attitude adopted by the Admiralty seetrted to be, "Geddes Axe and the budget deficit be damned! Fie on the Ten Year Rule! We've got to build some [8-inch] cruisers!"39 This belief greatly exacerbated between Britain and the United States, especially when Whitehall expected thb US to cancel England's foreign debt while simultaneously expanding its cruiser program. 38 39 346. Hyde, p. 136. 23

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The United States, from 1920 until 1924, authorized the building of no warships, with the exception of convJng the hulls of battle-cruisers and into aircraft carriers 1922. A parsimonious Congress was no mood to engage in an arms race in ships not limited by the Five Power Treaty and in January 1923 made the first of what became an bnual entreaty that asked the President to convene an arms conference to address larshiPs below the 10,000 ton displacement level. In response to the British and Japianese cruiser programs, Congress in 1924 finally authorized the building of eight cLsers. Appropriations of funds to start actual construction was another matter, and US Navy did not lay down the hull for the first of these ships until 1926. France and Italy embarked on their own cruiser "mini-race" with programs primarily directed at each other. In 192123, France laid down three hulls ofits .class cruisers. Typical of the more moderate designs of the period, the class displaced arou1t;d 7,400 tons and carried eight 6-inch guns. In the wake of the Five Power Treaty, France began to build its first treaty cruiser, in October 1924. Italy resp0rl:ded in February 1925 with construction of the first of its class cruisers. Both\the and the class displaced 10,000 tons and carried eight 8-inch guns\ France laid down hulls for six more treaty cruisers by the end of the decade. Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 1, p. 580. 24

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As the cruiser race developed wilhin the confines of the Five Power Treaty, each nation defined the cruiser's role differently, affecting ship design. Two types developed as defined by their armament. The heavy cruiser's main battery was made up of8-inch guns, while the light cruiser was defined as such because of its 6. I-inch (or smaller) guns. The British greatly fJored the latter for a variety of reasons. With its worldwide network of bases, Great Blitain needed a large number of cruisers. Light cruisers with 6-inch guns required less displacement and thus were cheaper to build. The financially-strapped British 110ked to cut monetary comers any way they could. Another requirement limiting cruiser size was that ship length had to be less than 615 feet in order to dock at statiLs." Treaty rules permitted only guns of up to six inches to be mounted on merchant ships during times of war, therefore the Admiralty viewed the 6-inch gun as sUffiLent armament. The 6-inch shell permitted hand-loading due to its lightness. At mok a 6-inch shell might weigh 150 pounds. The 8-inch shell, however, weighed from, 250 to 275 pounds, requiring elaborate loading mechanisms that reduced the rate of fire significantly. Another cruiser role, fleet support, depended on a high rate oflfire to defend the main line against fast moving targets ( destroyers) that the battle line. For Great Britain, the light cruiser best met the Royal Navy's logistid,al, economic, and tactical needs. The Admiralty advocated the 6-inch cruiser tIhoughout the treaty period. Whitley, p. 25

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More than any other naval poweL the United States favored the "big-gun," 8-inch cruiser. American bases in the pLifiC were few and far between. These vast distances necessitated a ship with an cruising radius and, therefore, greater displacement. War Plan Orange, the military's blueprint for war with Japan, required ships that could travel to the Philippines to relieve or retake US bases there. Although the British argued from fiscal restraint to build smaller ships, the US Navy revealed that its own studies found, "that the greltest fighting value per ton built was to be found in larger ships--which cost the least per ton. ,,42 The US General Board of the Navy also planned to use druisers in an independent role, thus the 8-inch cruiser would be better suited to face a ltronger foe, such as the four battle cruisers retained by both Great Britain Japl after the Washington Conference. Treaties permitted aircraft carriers to be armed +th 8-inch guns, and some believed during the inter-war period that the cruiser might called to engage such ships. The US Navy considered commerce raiding and communications interdiction a cruiser role as well. Therefore, the General Board wanted American cruisers to out-gun merchant ships that could potentially carry 6-inch gunsl With the building holiday on capital ships, cruisers became all the more valuable. Due to a lack of battleships, the cruiser would adopt a semi-capital role, best met by the bigger gun. 42 Friedman, p. 218. 26

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us Navy experts debated the merits of the two gun-types. The 8-inch gun had a longer range. At a 40 degree kgle, the 8-inch gun could fire a shell 34,000 yards; the 6-inch gun fired out to 26,000 The 8-inch gun delivered 40 percent more shell per broadside than the 6-inch: 2,000 pounds for the former; 1,200 for the latter.43 The question regarding the rate caused concern, however. Bureau of Ordinance Commander GJ. ROWcliffstJed: The 8-inch gun has alwayJ been a sort of mongrel type: it is not heavy enough to tie effective against an armored ship and has not been light enough to get much rapidity of fire. Ifwe could for this a performance of six to eight shots per it might be well to consider it; but I do not believe we Ican get anything like that, and we believe we can get it from the single 6-inch gun.44 A majority within the General Board disa1reed with RowclifPs assessment, believing that technological innovations in loading LeChanisms and targeting devices eventually would improve the 8-inch gun's rate of The Battle of Tsushima and the Battle of Jutland seemingly justified Mahan's axiom of large, pivotal naval battles detednining the fate of wars and nation-states. Japan's naval policy reflected such thinkink. In the 1920s, Russia headed Japan's list of most likely antagonists in a war; the US a close second. In a war with the US, Japanese naval planners, like their counterparts, assumed that US bases in the Far East would be lost early on and the Pacific Fleet would make an attempt 43 44 pp. 110-113. As quoted in p. 112. 27

PAGE 43

to retake them. The Imperial Navy hopJd to overcome the United States' numerical advantage with superior technology and /tactics. Adopting an attrition strategy, Japanese admirals planned to employ and destroyer torpedo attacks to reduce the numbers of the main US fleet. The Japanese Navy practiced night tactics so its smaller auxiliaries could approach close enough to the enemy battle line to deliver an attack. The Japanese placed emphasis on developing night optics and hand picked men with exceptional Jision to train as lookouts or spotters. attacks from planes based on the Manddtes would siphon off additional forces. Once the numerical odds had been evened, Imperial Navy would make a surprise attack in an area of its own choosing to annihilate the US Pacific Fleet in a large, climactic engagement. : In order to "outrange" the Japanese military technicians developed one of the most effective weapons of the World War: The type-93 "Long-Lance" torpedo. The Long-Lance, fueled by a propellant, measured twentyfour inches in diameter and almost thirty feet in length, weighed nearly three tons, and delivered over 1,000 pounds of exPlosire. At a maximum speed of 48 knots, the Long-Lance could travel over 20,000 at lower speeds distances as as 40,000 yards could be achieved.45 In comparis1on, the American Mark 14 could only run 4,500 yards at 46 knots or 9,000 yards!at 3l.5 knots.Wargame simulations 45 46 Evans, p. 267; Lacroix, p. 246.1 Douglas Murphy, "Hit or Miss,!" 28

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convinced the US General Board that their cruisers would rarely use torpedoes in combat. Since torpedo storage represeJed a significant fire hazard, the General Board elected to remove or plate in tubes on many of their cruisers.47 Mainly as a destroyer weapon, but also as a Cmiler armament, the Japanese used their Long-Lance torpedo with devastating effect during World War II. With both torpedoes and guns, Je Japanese maximized the offensive potential of their warships. To best meet their doctrinal requirements of an attrition strategy and outrange the enemy, the Japanese, lle the Americans, preferred the larger 8-inch gun. The Japanese Naval General Staff Jaw the cruiser primarily as a fleet support ship. Without long lines of merchant shiJping, the Japanese had little need for the cruiser to act as a deterrent against coJerce raiders. Nor would the Japanese target American commerce, as that was a strateky for an extended, protracted war against the US. The Japanese believed their only! hope of victory lay in a quick-striking, decisive campaign. Nor did they require cruising radii. On Japanese ships firepower took precedence over such factors as seaworthiness and stability. Although they would not protest as strongly as the kmericans against qualitative restrictions on cruisers, Japan did favor the heavy over tL light cruiser. Rapid construction in cruisers and! other auxiliary types alienated and dismayed many political and governmental leaders ih the early 1920s. Although warship building vol. 13, no. 4 (Spring 1998),lp. 59. 47 Friedman, p. 133. 29

PAGE 45

had virtually ceased in the US, other signatories from the Washington Conference were building at, what seemed to manyj an alarming rate: TABLE 3.1: W ARSIDP AUXILIARY NAVAL PROGRAMS (AUTHORIZATION YEARS, 1919-1927)48 Great Britain United StJtes 8 Japan France Italy 8-inch Cruisers 13 15 Destroyers 12 66 36 39 Submarines 13 3 56 41 15 The above table reveals the intensity with which the Japanese sought to carry out their foreign policy and strategic goals. ThJ corresponding lethargy in American construction is even more pronounced one remembers that six of the eight cruisers authorized by the US Congress in 1924 were not laid down until 1928. Several factors caused Americdn inactivity. Policy-makers tended to put their faith in the treaty process to come up with disarmament solutions. Isolationism and pacifism were in their heyday. Many believed that construction by the US, even within treaty limits, woufd spur a response within Great Britain or Japan. Clearly the failure of the Washington Q:onference to limit auxiliaries had actually prompted development in those same categories. In each of the Five Power signatory nations, including Japan, significant ddmestic support generated momentum for further 48 Roskill, Naval Policy, vol. 1, 580-583. 30

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naval arms negotiations. Unfortunately the consensus, so easily met with regard to capital ships in 1922, would not be repedted. 31

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CIjIAPTER4 ATTEMPTS AT ABATEMENT: FROM GENEVA TO LONDON The League of Nations addressJd the cruiser question in its Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference in 1925. Although not a member, the US did send representatives as with moist League meetings. The lengthy discussions resulted in much talk but very little real!action. The negotiations stalled over questions of land disarmament and French security. President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 bypassed the League process by sending to the signatories of the Five Power Treaty to attend a naval conference in Geneva. Initial events did not bode well. France, arm-twisted into accepting a limited ratio on capital ships at Washington, had little interest in limiting auxiliary warships. France feared a combined German-Italian threat and refused parity with Italy in cruisers,! destroyers, or submarines. Thus, the French declined to attend the upcoming Geneva Conference. The Italians, whose goal simply was to maintain parity with France, followed suit and likewise turned down the Americans' offer to join the talks. from Great Britain, Japan, and the United States opened discussions in July. Geneva differed from the Washihgton Conference in several important respects. Besides non-participation by France and Italy, the Allies no longer enjoyed 32

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the harmony of 1921. Anglo-American relations had been poisoned by the debt question and the elevation disputjr" Great Britain wished the US to cancel the huge loans still owed from World War Just as adamantly, Americans expected the debt to be paid. In March 1923 the US announced that it was going to raise the elevation of certain battleship guns, primarily so that their ranges would match those of British ships. Britain's government lade a legalistic challenge that the US would be in violation of the Washington agreemelts. Moreover, military men for both countries at times used inflammatory language in \which each identified the other as a potential combatant in a future war.49 This was a simple ploy to justify increases military spending or forestall further nJallimits, since no real chance for hostilities between the two countries existed. But such talk tended to raise the hackles of negotiators during debates. Most importantly, the British ana American approach to naval arms control differed greatly. Great Britain, out of a beed for fiscal restraint, favored qualitative restrictions on ship and armament size. also sought the idyllic, but greatly desired, goal of submarine abolition. views directly opposed the US perspective. American logistical needs tquired large ships, with large armaments, able to travel long distances. The Genelal Board preferred quantitative limits within which each nation could build the craft Best suited to its own specifications. The US 49 For examples see p. 354; pp. 433-434. 33

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of warship been to create a treaty that reflected thl situation "as it existed." The United States' Conference. At Geneva, US negotiatot would have to depend on America's ship-building potential, rather on Ltual ship strength. Although preliminary disCussi0t created tentative agreements on submarines session, the US outlined a plan to defJe a cruiser as any vessel from 3, 000 to 10, 000 tons displacement, armed with 8-inch lns or less. Replacement age was set at twenty of the would have been difficult the British to hold a more disparate position cruisers displaced tons or less, [carrying 8-inch guns. Light, or "second class," 50 of Naval of Colorado,

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years. 51 their particular logistical situation. Not Y were cruisers needed support their required protection. The Admiralty Viewrd merchantmen protection as vitally of the heavy (10,000 ton, 8-inch) cruisers and light ton, 6-inch) cruisers with an aggregate ceiling 0[600,000 tons. up!on this disclosure one British delegate noted, dismayed. 1152 Chief US Ibid., 52 53

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nfi one limiting future construction. f suggested that the aggregate total for cLsers be set at 400,000 tons each for both the light guns. A smaller class of cruiser would be acceptable to the American delegation. all auxiliaries, including cruisers, for bJth nations. Japan's total ceiling would be set at 325,000 tons. Large, 8-inch cruisers still be limited by a 12-12-8 ratio as "second class" or lighter cruisers still iarry 8-inch guns. The General Board

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of the given to the existing status of each in that particular respect. ,," Japan wanted continuation of Hughes' argument at iashlngton, the Japanese were bidding for a 70 cruisers. 56 on a back burner, however, as the Japlese played arbiter between the bitterly divided The Geneva Conference, a diPlbmatic fiasco, ended without an agreement on 4 agreement through bi-Iateral negotiatilns prior to the conference but a lack of preparation and no preliminaries prevlted compromise. 57 Professional naval advisors 55 56 57 ibid., Ibid., Ibid.,

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more accommodating. Because of his relatively low status as Ambassador to Belgium, Hugh Gibson, the United States' lead diJlomat may have been unwilling to force his views on the head military envoy, AdmiJal Jones. Contemporary observers especially criticized Jones for his stubbornness during the negotiations. One commentator claimed Jones, "viewed the world thrOuJh a porthole."58 The United States held a very weak hand at Geneva as compared to Washington Conference. The 1916 naval program provided negotiators at Washinkton with many bargaining chips that carried great weight during debate. By 1927, hJwever, US shipbuilding had virtually ceased, and the 1924 cruiser program was little more than a paper navy. Since any agreement would probably reflect the actual size OfrCh nation's navy and shipbuilding programs, it was probably impossible for a treaty tl be signed on American terms. Geneva's failure finally pushed the US into the cruiser race. President Calvin Coolidge, revealing his impatience with the negotiation process, sponsored a huge 71-ship bill, calling for construction of twenty cruisers. He also released funds to begin construction of the six remaining cruisers authorized by the 1924 program. The US Navy further encouraged Coolidge td appropriate the moneys by offering to name the first of these ships after the town whJre "Silent Calli had begun his political career as mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts. Shipbuilders laid down the hull of the 58 As quoted in O'Conner, p. 18.

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in April 1928. Constructiion of the other five ships of the class began by the end of the year. Poor Anglo-American relations, !exacerbated by Geneva, reached their nadir after bi-Iateral arms talks between Frande and Great Britain became public in July 1928. The secret negotiations, considet.ed anathema in the wake of World War I and in violation of League of Nations shocked the Americans. Additionally, the Anglo-French proposals outlined several provisions that flew in the face of well-known US positions regarding navL construction. Construction of surface ships under 10,000 tons, armed with guns betWeen six and eight inches (cruisers) would be limited, as would aircraft carriers over 10,000 tons. American aircraft carriers under could not meet the cruising lequirements needed to operate the Western Pacific. Incensed, the US Although Congress reduced the scope of the 71-ship cruiser bill, the resulting authorization was still sizable: fifteen cruisers and one aircraft carrier. Ironically, passage of the "Cruiser Bill" followed ratification of the illusory Kellogg-Briand Treaty, signed by sixty-two countries, which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy. The Senate ratified the Kellogg-Briand Treaty, labeled by critics as the "Drunkard's DatA," on 15 January 1929. Evidently Congress did not place much faith in the agreement since the cruiser bill passed less than a month later on 5 February.

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Anglo-American relations improred in 1929. First foremost, both nations' newly elected leaders, American President Herbert Hoover and British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald held strong, pacifisL convictions. Actual construction of cruisers by the US spoke louder than ant Congressional resolution, and in part spurred attempts at rapprochement by Great Negotiators tried to develop a "yardstick" by which different types of ships' efficiency could be equated. Although the yardstick formula proved ikpossible, it nonetheless increased discussion between the two countries and spurred within policy-making circles to work toward resolution of the issue. Hoover and MacDonald, each committed to improving relations between the two nations, met October to resolve differences over naval armaments. At Camp Rapidan in Northern Virginia, while seated on different ends of the same fallen log, the two leaders made: significant concessions. MacDonald reduced the minimum number of cruisers needed Jy the Royal Navy from seventy to fifty, fifteen heavy cruisers and thirty-five light [cruisers. Hoover reduced US requirements of heavy cruisers from twenty-five to Although MacDonald countered that eighteen was the maximum number abceptable by Great Britain, the ice had been broken. Returning home in triumph, MacDonald issued invitations to the US, Japan, France, and Italy for another naval arms liLtation conference. All four accepted. France, which had refused involvekent at Geneva, came round primarily because the French increasingly feared a German-Italian alliance. France was very 40

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interested in qualitative restrictions, especially in light of planned German warship construction. The French insisted "that lecurity must precede disarmament," and they sought political guarantees against aggression. 59 The Italians came along with the simple goal of maintaining parity wiJh France for reasons of prestige. As the French would not settle for a tonnage tJtal equal to that ofItaly, a quantitative agreement on cruisers ultimately proved impossible for France and Italy_ Although they sent negotiators to the conference, in general the Italian leadership and populace showed little more than apathy for the talks.60 The London Naval Conference 0f 1930 convened on 21 January. In stark contrast to the Geneva Conference, diplomats and politicians made up each delegation. Although Italy and Japan each had one brofessiOna! naval representative, in both cases these admirals also held civil governmJtal posts. Diplomats of considerable status led the American, British, and French deledations as well. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson represented the US, along WitJ Secretary of the Navy Charles Adams, three ambassadors, and two senators. The plignacious Admiral Jones and the politically astute Admiral William Pratt, not members, acted as advisors. Prime Minister MacDonald chaired the confeJence and acted as head of the British negotiators. The French brought both Premier Andre Tardieu and Foreign Minister Aristide Briand. The political Japan also provided optimism for reaching 59 Kaufman, p. 128. 60 O'Conner, p. 57. 41

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of Prime of military ito Americans and British with the excePtioJ of whether the US should be permitted easy. A more difficult question surrouJed the number of cruisers to be permitted 5-3 ratio in capital ships had been a bitter pill, thus they were determined to reach

PAGE 58

With both sides apparently committed, the US and Japan began bi-Iateral negotiations to broker a compromise. Talks quickly bogged down on the ratio question, but the Americans dropped thirr call for a 10:6 ratio on all auxiliaries due to intervention by President Hoover and aJilatiOn by Senator Borah. 61 Although the American delegation was satisfied with lhe resulting "Reed-Matsudaira Compromise, the settlement represented concession td nearly every one of Japan's demands.62 On paper, the US "won" a 10:6 ratio in heat cruisers but in practice this proved otherwise. The agreement permitted JaJan twelve 8-inch cruisers and eighteen for the us (an actual 10:6.67 ratio), but the Arriericans agreed to delay completion of the last three heavy cruisers until the expiration if the treaty. Therefore practice the ratio was really 10:7 in heavy cruisers until thl final year of the agreement. The sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth cruisers werLo be completed in 1936, 1937, and 1938, respectively. Japan also received a 7:10 ratio in light cruisers and destroyers. In 1 response, Japan agreed to extend the 5:3\ratio on capital ships an additional five years, through 1936. Japan also accepted the on submarine construction, since the agreement permitted each signatory a of 52,700 tons. The Reed-Matsudaira seen by the US General Board as a dangerous cave-in to Japanese demands, have been the most that American \ 61 Kaufman, pp. 134-135. Foreign Relations of the US, 1930, vol. 1, pp. 62-63; Andrade, "Cruiser Controversy," p. 116. 62

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diplomats could have hoped for, especially when one considers the weakness of the US in 1930. Japan already enjoyL parity with the US in submarines. The Japanese were at or near treaty limits certain categories and would soon have to cease new ship construction. Meanwhile, US ship strength fell well below treaty limits and would require several years re+ these limits. Additionally President Hoover, a penny-pincher and pacifist, continualliY delayed ship programs which Congress had already authorized and appropriated fuhdS for. The delays called for by the treaty all h .. probably would have been enacted by EIoover, anyway. Iroruc y, t e severest cntIcs of the compromise included the Imperil General Naval Staff. However, Prime Minister Hamaguchi rightly judged the agreement as a means to maintain Japan's naval superiority in the Far East while practiding fiscal responsibility. While the US and Japan reachea a compromise, France and Italy failed to achieve a cruiser agreement. As in earlier conferences, France sought continental security guarantees. The French consiLred any naval treaty not tied to land armaments as virtually useless. political guarantees of territorial protection, France demanded 100,000 tons cruisers and almost 100,000 tons of submarines to maintain unilateral protJction.63 For Great Britain to accede to these high aggregate totals required abandolent of its two-power standard in Europe, which the Royal Navy was unwilling t6 do. France feared two threats: Germany in 63 Kaufman, p. 13 6. 44

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of the hI hi.. h construction of cruisers, destroyers, orl submarines. The two powers did agree of the limits on submarine displacement and Lmament. In addition to the aforementioned compromise on heavy cruisers and suJmarines, the treaty permitted Great Britain process since the 1922 Five Power Tlty and the 1930 London Treaty would expire

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on 31 December 1936. Each country ratified the agreement, which went into effect on 1 January 1931.64 The 1930 London Treaty heavy cruiser construction by Great Britain and Japan to a halt. By the time the conference began, Great Britain had already launched its limit offifteen S-inch CruisJs while Japan's twelve were either finished or near completion. Not restricted by France and Italy kept a wary eye on one another. Both nations laid down their heavy cruiser hull in March 1931 but neither power built another 8-inch The US, a late entrant to the cruiser race, now played catch up. Some have argued that Congress would have been reluctant to build more warships without the LondoJ Treaty.65 Now given the green light by the treaty process, the US Navy lobbied tangible objective of building a "treaty navy. In 1930 and 1931 the Navy laid seven hulls, two of the class and five of the class.66 By!the time construction began on the class in September 1930, US nlval engineers were well aware of the class' underweight problems. Extra weight was added to the class in the form of increased annor. the end of 1931 the US Navy's fifteenth heavy cruiser hull, the maximum by treaty, was under way. 64 See treaty text in Treaties and of the US, vol. 2, pp. 1055-1075. 65 O'Conner, p. 127. 66 The two cruisers of the class were laid down prior to the London Conference's conclusion. : 46

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\ CHAPTER 5 THE RISE OF F LIGHT CRUISER Although the London Conferenbe implemented a cap on heavy cruiser construction for Great Britain, the 193(]) treaty nonetheless permitted significant tonnage in light cruisers. Britain, havidg successfully stemmed the tide of the heavy cruiser, began producing cruisers envisLned by the Admiralty to best meet the Empire's operational requirements. the fall of 1930 until the summer of 1935, Great Britain laid down a total of twelvb hulls for the Royal and Australian Navies. 67 The class displaced just over 7looo tons while the class displaced around 5,400 tons standard. Due to thJir relative lightness and short bow length, these ships were cheaper, easier to maiJtain, and required smaller crews. Japan, like Britain, built to its liqut of heavy cruisers by the time the 1930 London Conference adjourned. Unlike the British or Americans, the light cruiser cap imposed by the treaty allowed Japan verw little room to maneuver. In fact, Japan's existing light tonnage of98,415 fell onlY, 2,035 tons short of its 100,450 ceiling.68 But the Washington Treaty permitted J apan put down hulls for replaceable, overage ships. The resulting class becake the new standard in light cruiser 67 68 British Commonwealth ships coJnted as part of Great Britain's treaty totals. Whitley, p. 181.

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6. I-inch annor, and engines that produced a top rPeed of3? knots. They were faster and more Staff began of the class were light cruisers by delnation, they were built so that they could easily be re-fitted with 8-inch guns." Elch turret containing three 6. I-inch guns were later refitted with dual8-inch guns. sul Japanese "foresight" would undoubtedly be thi of the the of their of the 6-inch 8-inch gunned cruisers. GelerallY, the Board favored the heavier gun but the 6-inch cruiser had its proponents, Jost notably Admiral William V. Pratt. aggregate tonnage in the light categol' Another major factor lay with the cruisers Salt Lake City 69

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"eggshells armed with hammers."" prOilems beset the 8-inch gun to the alarm of naval commanders. The increased range and improved long-distance accuracy afforded by the 8-inch gun were offset by its decreased rate offire. As Admiral Harris Laning argued: If the range is held of20,000 yards the very limited ammunition supply will be exhausted in two or three brief attacks and without doing effective damage. If the range is closed to inside of20,000 yards, 6-in-gun ships... would be dangerous... Eight-inch batteries are not well suited for dealing with a multiplicity of destroyer targets and they have an insufficient nurrlber of 5-inch guns for that purpose.71 Some believed, therefore, that the 6-ineh cruiser would be well suited as a battle line support ship. Ship design must delicately a myriad of factors, among them speed, protection, and size of armament. With the class, the General Board sacrificed armor significantly in order t,o arm the ships with ten 8-inch guns. Admiral George Rock of the Bureau of Constnfction and Repair lamented: 70 71 72 The various studies that have been made so far... all point to the conclusionlthat 10,000 tons standard displacement is too small a displacement on which to secure a well-balanced tlesign, if the ship be armed with an efficient battery ... arid ifhigh speed be an essential requirement. 72 As quoted in Friedman, p. 139! As quoted in p. 132. As quoted in p. 144. 49

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Thus by reducing armament size to six inches, considerable weight would be saved and a better balanced ship produced. The 6[inCh gun afforded more protection in part allowed US acceptance of the light cruiser. Although initially considering lilht cruisers along the lines of the older, scout-class cruiser, the General Board jventUallY settled on designs that approached the 10,000 ton limit. The 1930 LondJ Conference pennitted the US approximately 73,000 additional tons oflight cruisers. Admiral Pratt and the General Board requested seven 10,000 ton light but little came of it while the frugal Herbert Hoover remained in office. However, the presidential election of former Undersecretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, the US Navy found a true ally. As part of a greatly expanded public works program, Roosevelt used warship building as a means to alleviate unemPllyment. Buried in the language of the massive National Industrial Recovery Act a provision allowed that, "ifin the opinion of the President it seems desirable, [he kay commence] the construction of naval vessels within the terms and/or limits established by the London Naval Treaty of 1930. After the NIRA became law, Roosevelt allocated $238,000,000 for naval construction. The package included coLtruction offour light cruisers. Roosevelt later commented to Secretary of the Naty Swanson, IIClaude, we got away with murder that time. 1174 73 74 As quoted in Hyde, p. 238. As quoted in p. 239. 50

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The General Board looked at several proposed designs oflight cruisers. More moderate schemes called for a 6,000 tol cruiser armed with six or nine 6-inch guns. In the end, the General Board decided 1hat American light cruisers should be at least as fast and have the same cruising radiJs as heavy cruisers.7s Upon completion the ships exceeded 9,900 tons and, like class, the class camed fifteen 6-inch guns housed in five The basis for a number of subsequent programs, the class turned oj to be a very important design for the US Navy. According to the 1930 London Treaty, the US had to wait unti11933, 1934, and 1935, to lay down hulls for sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth heavy cruiser hulls. The and laid down in 1933 and 1934, respectively, rounded out the seven ships ofthe class. The eighteenth heavy cruiser, was originally intended to be of the same design. By following the class design, the General Board dis coveted it could improve bunk space, stability, protection, and anti-aircraft capability.76! The stand-alone laid down in October 1935, later became the basis fot the class heavy cruiser on which construction began in 1941. In turn, 6-inch class served as design predecessor for the class cruisers, the first of which would not be completed until mid-1942. 75 76 Friedman, p. 185. Whitley, p. 253. 51

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With great dismay Great Britain observed the development of the Japanese class and American dlass. The standards of cruiser construction yet again been redefined by the uppL limits pennitted by treaty. late 1934 Great Britain laid down the first of its class. Initially intended to be of a smaller type, the class eveltUallY evolved into a vessel that displaced 9,550 tons, carrying twelve 6-inch guns. These IIheavy light cruisers II were not the types of ships Britain had in mind at the London Conference as they cost just as much to maintain, equip, and staff as did heavy cruisers.17 The London Naval Treaty called for another conference in 1935 to provide a replacement treaty for the Five Power Triaty and London Naval Treaty, both of which were set to expire at the end of 1936. pJliminaries began in mid-1934. London was chosen again as the site for deliberations. The British once again put cruisers at the center of their agenda. They fully expecte(l to maintain the ratios on heavy cruisers and set a lower tonnage ceiling for armed with 6-inch guns. With the construction of 10,000 ton light cruisers underway, the British asked that the US and Great Britain each be pennitted such ships each and the Japanese six." Britain was attempting to freeze 10,000 tal light cruiser construction as their proposal \ 17 Ernest Andrade, IIArms Limitation tgreements and the Evolution of Weaponry: The Case of the 'Treaty Naval History: The Sixth Symposium of the US Naval Academy, ed. Daniel M. Masterson (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1987)1 pp. 185-186. 78 Andrade, "Cruiser Controversy," p. 1117. 52: \

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matched exactly the number of ships under construction or authorized by each nation. With various World War I cruisers reaching obsolescence, Britain needed to build numerous 6-inch cruisers, but could not afford the larger 10,000 ton type. Lowering the tonnage ceiling on light cruiser construction became Britain's primary goal in future discussion on naval construction. 53

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THE SECOND LONDIDNNAVAL CONFERENCE The Washington Conference opeLd in 1921 amid optimism and hopeful zeal. By the end of 1935, this idealism had beL completely shattered. Mussolini rattled his sword and Italian tanks rolled through ELoPia. Hitler quit the League of Nations, of Versailles, Wehrmacht. of millions of lives, their nation toward war. Prime MiniS1 Hamaguchi championed the 1930 London Treaty, ratifYing it against the expreSSedjWishes ofthe military. In November 1930 a

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invaded and occupied the Chinese provlce of Jebo!. Within the itself, extremists gained influence and consolidated their bower. Admiral Mineo Osumi led the "Osumi Purge" beginning in 1933. Many mOde+te naval officers of the treaty faction found themselves transferred to unimportant pbsitions or forced into early retirement. By the end of 1934 the fleet faction completely dominated naval affairs. The new hard-line manifested itself during preliminary meetings for the next London Conference. On 30 December 1934 Japan announced its abJ1ogation of the Washington Naval Treaty. Under a dark cloud of pessimism, delegates met in December 1935 with the forlorn hope of renewing or replacing thl treaty structure first established in 1922. The militarists in Japan had no interest continuing arms contro!' The Japanese meant to wreck the conference while making their demands appear justifiable. The Imperial Navy's fleet faction sought nothing less than termination of the ratio system, demanding full tonnage parity in all ship lategOries. The staunch refusal by a united Great Britain and US to accede to this further calcified the Japanese into a position of no compromise. Japan also for the abolition of"offensive" warships 1 such as the aircraft carrier, a convenient A,eans of preventing American operations in the Far East.79 Since none of the three naval powers wished to be saddled with blame for the conference's failure, the dithered for weeks until the Japanese announced their withdrawal from the coJerence on 16 January 1936.80 79 80 Friedman, p. 218. \ Kaufman,p.179. :55

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France also sought changes in the ratio structure. Parity with the Italians gave Mussolini's navy a distinct advantage the Mediterranean. More alarming for the French, however, was the AngiO-GerJan Naval Agreement, signed earlier in June 1935. Britain, an attempt to curry [tor with Hitler, negotiated terms for the that the Royal tavy deemed tolerable. The agreement permitted Germany a surface fleet of35 percent of that of Great Britain's. Astonishingly, the treaty also allowed Germany 45 percent tonnage in submarines with a provision that the tonnage could be Jised to full parity in the event that the Germans determined the measure "necessary. In light of this agreement, the old ratio for France was quite simply out of the question. Italy continued doggedly to hang on to equality with France. Additionally, JtJy refused to sign any agreement of quantitative limits on naval construction unless BrJain lifted the embargo imposed in the wake of the Ethiopian invasion. The Italian remained and participated throughout the proceedings, but in the end, never signed any of the accords. After Japan's withdrawal, the iitractable positions of France and Italy made any accord on quantitative limits Great Britain, the US, and France did sign an agreement on qualitative limit, on naval construction. At the behest of the British, battleships were limited to 35,pOO tons and 14-inch guns, although the armament restriction would be raised Jo sixteen inches if Japan later refused to adhere 81 As quoted in Hyde, p. 263. 56

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to this stipulation. Little did the democratic statesmen know that in July 1936 the Imperial Navy approved the design of siper -battleships and The most powerful battleships ever built, displaced up to 70,000 tons and wielded nine I8-inch guns. The Second London\Treat y also limited aircraft carriers to 23,000 tons with 6 I-inch guns and submarines 0 2,000 tons and 5 I-inch guns. Great Britain successfully campaigned for a six-year blilding holiday on heavy cruisers. The conference created a new 8,000 ton limiJ on light cruisers. The General Board certainly did not favor this lower ceiling, but the leaders of the American delegation, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Ambassador Norman Davis, and Admiral William H. Standley. acceded order reach an 4eement with the British. Even as late as 1936, western leaders still put some faith in disarmament by example. No doubt domestic political coLerns played a role in the decision to produce a qualitative agreement. Appeasbent reigned in London. The Nye Commission and the Neutrality Acts Roosevelt's foreign policy. Roosevelt, the consummate politician, needed to be not to alienate the pacifists and isolationists, upon whose support his doniestic programs depended. Additionally, Roosevelt faced reelection in the fall and t wished to avoid controversy. Despite the impression that France, Great Britain, and the US had handicapped themselves with the 1935-36 London Naval Agreement in the face offascist aggression, the treaty 82 Evans, pp. 370, 372. Andrade, "Cruiser Controversy," p. 117. 83 57

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contained numerous escape clauses, especially regarding the tonnage and main armament of battleships. After Japan rlfused to adhere to the qualitative restrictions, the signatories invoked these clauses aL 1938 the treaty became a "dead letter."'" Since the Five Power Treaty and the 1930 London Treaty had already expired on 31 December 1936, naval limitations effedtivelY disappeared. 84 Andrade, liThe Case of the 'TrJaty Cruiser,'" p. 186. 58

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TER 7 THE END OF TIIE TREATY ERA Th all d d h al e nav ImItatIOn treaty system en e as t e mternation sItuatIOn Europe and Asia continued to worsen. By 1936 Mussolini controlled Ethiopia, Spain erupted into civil war, and Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. The "China Incident" of July 1937, a brief clash between chinele and Japanese troops, provided Japan with a pretext for full-scale invasion of the cLnese mainland. In December Japanese forces began the infamous "Rape of Nanking. American President Franklin D. Roosevelt seized the opportunity afforded him b the sinking of to call for increases in naval spending. Representative Carl ",inson, at the prompting of the President, introduced a second "Vinson Bill" in 1938, which authorized the navy to build to a strength 20 percent above treaty During the debate, Roosevelt emphasized the necessity of defending both the and Pacific coasts, as well as the Panama Canal Zone. The "hemisphere defensel' argument divided isolationist pacifist opposition to increases in military spen,ding, thus allowing the legislation to pass. The 1938 Vinson Bill authorized construction for three battleships, two carriers, nine light cruisers, twenty-three destroyers, nine submarines, and over 1,000 planes.85 85 Stephen E. Pelz, Race to PearllHarbor: The FaIlure of the Second London 59

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over various design schemes, all meanJ to abide by the 8,000 ton limit imposed by the Second London Naval Conference. divided along two major lines of thought. Some naval officers, notably idestrOyer commanders, preferred a coordinate the execution of, and defeJe against, destroyer torpedo attacks. American operational needs would have reqUirJ tonnage well above the 3,500 ton size suggested by its proponents, and UltimltelY this approach was dropped. The second approach to cruiser construction was build an all-purpose "miniature cruiser." The 8,000 ton treaty ceiling brevented a satisfactory design so the General but also raise their elevation significanhy to serve in an anti-aircraft role. This ability have also been influenced by Britain's Lvelopment of their class anti-aircraft cruiser. Technical problems beset the gun thus preventing its immediate

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development. The heaviest anti-aircraft gun readily available was five inches in diameter. The navy was loathe to develd p a ship with mixed armaments of only one inch difference. Additionally, a ship wiJ both five and 6-inch batteries would probably push the vessel above t e 8,000 ton lllrut. The Board finally settled on a jiser armed with dual-purpose 5-inch batteries. December 1937 Admiral Thomas C. reported to the General Board a building estimate supporting the dual-purpose 5-irCh cruiser: For night action against any light forces, this type of cruiser should have high fighting value per ton. It would be an excellent ship against destroyers, in any conditions, firing on two,1 because the battery would be quick in response to control. The ship would be powerful in screening agJinst air attack. She would be eminently suitable for deJtroyer flotilla leaders... The design is [the] simplest both for construction and in operation. 87 Although everyone involved would preferred the employment of dual-purpose 6-inch guns, such weapons did not yet Hart acknowledged the shortcomings of a cruiser armed with 5-inch guns as its battery: If possessed in limited numbers only, there seems no possibility of such a type/ coming to be looked upon as a mistake in the liglit of fighting 6-inch cruisers under good visibility We have a powerful force of 6-inch cruisers drimarily designed to combat similarly armed ships. 88 87 As quoted in Friedman, p. 233. iNote: Friedman stated that Hart is the author of the building estimate cited. Hart was an ardent and well known supporter of the 5-inch cruiser. 88 As quoted in Emphasis not added. 61

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dual-purpose 6-inch gun to be deve/opel. of the Atlanta displaced 6,825 standard tons, could as far as 8,500 nautical miles, and achieve twin-turrets ran along the centerline, thrL fore and three aft. Designers placed two more turrets abreast the after control st.lon to provide star shell that could illuminate the enemy dwing night actions. The gjs could reach a maximum elevation of 85 degrees and fire anti-aircraft shells as as 37,200 feet." a turnabout from earlier Atlanta money-saving measure, the navy quadruple mounts that had proven too Sims Atlanta Atlanta itself without 89 90

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from all sides. Whitehall could not afforr to rearm leisurely as could the US. The deteriorating strategic situation obliged Britain to launch into naval construction with urgency and promptness. In fiscal year 1935-36 the British government provided sixty million pounds for naval spending. TW1 years later, the 1937-38 estimate ballooned to 105 million pounds, an increase of over fO percent." With its limit of fifteen heavy cruisers already built, and future construction technically tapped at 8,000 tons, the Navy went about producing cruisers considered ideal by the Admiralty. By October 1937, construction began on six class light cruiser hulls. Designed for a lcreening, anti-aircraft fleet role, these ships displaced just under 5,700 tons. Their Jrimary battery consisted often 5.25-inch dual-purpose guns. Able to raise their 1evation to 70 degrees, the guns could fire an 80-pound projectile 46,000 feet into thj air." First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral Alfred Chatfield wrote that the "appears to be a beautiful design. Eight of these ships will be of inestimable value in the fleet and, as they age, for convoy work also."93 In 1938 the Admiralty laid eight cruiser hulls of the class or class cruisers, essentially smaller versions of the class. Despite the apparent breakdown of the treaty Jgime, Great Britain built these ships within the Naval Policy Between the Wars (AnnaJoHs, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1976), p. 356. Hereafter cited as Roskill, Navhl Policy, vol. 2. 325. 92 Whitley, p. 112. 93 As quoted in Roskill, Naval PoJ[cy, vol. 2, p. 331. 63

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Fiji of both Atlantic Pacific Ocean,;. Historian 1tephen Pelz wrote, "Out of financial only enough ships to counter the growink threat in Europe. ,," it turned out, this had been plotting their abrogation of the Power Treaty for some time and when limitations ended, they broke out with a Lding program enormous in scope for a position of numeric inferiority. Not Onl)did the General Staff intend to reestablish at Yamato Musashi, Shlkaku their four class cruisers with twilS-inCh turrets. Additionally, two class 94

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cruisers, originally intended as light cruisers, were completed with eight 8-inch guns housed in four turrets. Some commeJators viewed the relative ease with which Japanese builders installed the larger bieries as evidence the ships were intended as heavy cruisers all along.95 Ironically for the "Fleet Factionl" of the Imperial Navy, the end of naval limitations proved much more dangero s than previously imagined. The Second Vinson Plan of 1938, a very modest inJease for the US, created a huge stir among the Naval General Staff. Japan, instead of hoping to achieve parity with the US Navy, was now in danger of falling below even a percent ratio. In response to the Vinson authorization, the Japanese Navy apprTed its Circle Four" plan in September 1939. The Circle Four six-year expansion program authorized construction of two blhi 1 ... c ass att es ps, one eet carner, SIX escort earners, SIX cruIsers, twenty-two destroyers, twenty-five submarines, and over 1,500 sea and land-based aircraft.96 The "Circle Five" program, developed in thl spring of 1940, was even more ambitious. Circle Five called for three more class battleships, three carriers, two "supercruisers," thirty-two destroyers, forty-five submarines, and almost 3,500 aircraft. With every shipyard and Je country stretched to its industrial1imit, the General Staff predicted that Circle take at least years to complete." 95 96 97 Whitley, p. 185. Evans, p. 358. p. 359. 65

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Adolf Hitler's continued aggression eventually dragge1 the reluctant European democracies into Hitler won the Saar by plebiscite in 1931' remilitarized the Rhineland 1936, and marched into Prague to establish a "pro,ectorate" over the remainder of year after he announced it. The entire ofinter-war disarmament agreements, peace treaties, and League of Nations rlSOlutions came crashing down when German of war of power. of its of the against sinking several vessels and killing hundledS of sailors. Although the attacks poisoned relations between France and Britain fJ some time, French warship joined the Axis

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powers. Nonetheless, the Royal Navy ceased to be a real factor in the Pacific in 1940 as Great Britain clawed for its life agailst Hitler's Germany. With the fall of France, wasrun10n found itselfin a state of shock. On 14 June 1940 Congress appropriated fimdl for the 1938 Vinson authorization. Three days later Admiral Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, asked Congress for four billion dollars to build a "two-ocel Navy. ,,98 In July, Congress passed the awesome Two Ocean Navy Act authonLng the construction of 1,325,000 tons of naval ships. Combined, the two acts Prlvided funds for seven battleships, six battlecruisers, nineteen carriers, over sJty cruisers, around 150 destroyers, and 147 submarines. 99 If the 1938 Vinson Bill alarmed Japan's Navy General Staff, the Two Ocean Navy Act created near panic. Japan's capacity could not compete with the outlays of the American program. One kould think that America's enormous resources and ship-building capabilities would have given the Japanese militarists reason to pause. Instead, they with fantastic calls for further increased spending that bordered on the surreal. .t} revised Circle Five program and Circle Six 98 As quoted in Samuel Eliot MoriJon, The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939-May 1943, vol. 1 of History ofthelUnited States Naval Operations in World War II (Boston: Little, Brown and COItipany, 1947), p. 27. Hereafter cited as United States Naval Operations, vol. 1. 99 Pelz, p. 210. 67

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program called for seven class battleships armed with 20-inch guns! As historians David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie observed: The unrealism of such schemes... reveals a growing insubstantiality and incoherence of the navy's construction plans undet the pressures of approaching war and the American iridustrial challenge.loo In 1941 Japan still held a qualitative quantitative advantage the Western Pacific. However, that situation could not last, kven the large increases passed the US in 1940. Despite possession of only a smLI window of opportunity afforded by Japan's breakout from the treaty system in Japanese military leaders threw the dice and committed themselves to war while still held a material advantage. The inter-war treaty process Pllyed a pivotal role in defining the character and makeup of each signatory's naval fleetsl The type and number of cruisers possessed by each nation at the time of war is ShowJ below: TABLE 7.1: CRUISER STRENGTH ON THE EVE OF W ARlol (As of 1 1939) (As of 7 December 1941) Great United Britain France Italy States Heavy Cruisers 15 7 7 18 Light Cruisers 49 12 14 19 Total 64 19 21 37 100 101 102 Evans,p.359. Whitley, Roskill, Naval Policy vol. 1, pp. 577-579. Japan's totals do not include three class training cruisers. 68 JapanlO2 18 18 36

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lapse. '" Whether Japanese parity origiLted from treaty system or instead was caused by a lack ofpolitical or national in the US is not the focus of this study. Instead, this thesis investigates the PerformanJ of the individual ships themselves. For better 103

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PART TWO! PERFORMANCE

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The second part of this thesis lyzes the combat performance oflight and meet unique logistical and operatiOna11.eds, but the tonnage limits imposed on cruiser construction by the Washington and Jndon treaties created a degree of uniformity in bitting 8-inch gun prove superior to thl smaller, yet faster-firing 6-inch gun? How did the tonnage of a ship impact PerfoJce? Were the bigger, heavier cruisers more preferred smaller, lighter 6-inch cruiseJ.. When tested in the crucible of war, how did of these

PAGE 87

maneuverability, and seaworthiness also merit examination. Several parameters determined the selection of each battIJ For the most part, each surface engagement involved combinations oflight and hll cruisers pitted against each other. Since cruisers usually acted in concert with, and often against, destroyer groups, all of the actions presented by this study, except one, also involved destroyers. All of the encounters were fought in the first few years of the war: The Atlantic action occurred in 1939, Pacific actions took place from 1942-43. During these periods, German surface raiders prowled the seas, and the Japanese enjoyed a material advantage in terms of ships Ld, most importantly, aircraft carriers. As the war continued, several factors limited lperations of the Axis Powers. Hitler recalled the German surface fleet and focused JrimarilY on the U-boat campaign. A critical lack of oil often kept the Italian Jchored in harbor and out of battle until its surrender in 1943. By 1944 the United States Navy dominated the Pacific, and victory over the Japanese was only a matter of time. Therefore, most of the "classicl! surface actions took place early in the war, wIVle the Axis navies still played a significant role and before the Allies could harness the! United States' immense industrial capacity. This thesis does not address sukace clashes in which capital ships played a primary role. battleship engagements, cruisers usually acted as screens while the bigger ships dominated the action. Sidularly, the presence of aircraft carriers greatly limited surface action opportunities. FliendlY cruisers stayed with their flat-tops while 72

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Mediterranean. Nor does this paper inJrStigate the cruiser's effectiveness such bombardment support. the importance of this factor in the resull of any engagement. Numerous elements influenced combat. Tactics, such as employed by the Japanese during night and its use (or mis-use) and the determiltion of an enemy's disposition are other of the of the of battle narrative follows with careful COnsideratit given to the usage of heavy andlor light

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(13 D,EMBER 1939) raiders, and Grj slipped out of German ports. Assigned Graf Spee returning home for a badly needed engL overhaul, sailed his "pocket battleship" in the waters near the Rio de ]a Plata in search of prey along the busy shipping of the lay in wait in the very same waters in hdpes of intercepting As dawn broke, taller spotted the British shiPl first. The Germans correctly identified Exeter, Graf Spee

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TABLE 8.1: ORDER IDF BATTLE, RIVER PLATE German Kreigsmarine Captain Hans Langsdorff Heavy Armored Cruiser class) 11,900 tons / six II-in. / 26 kts.105 British Royal Navy Commodore Henry Harwood Heavy Cruiser class) 8,524 tons / six 8-in. /32 lets. Light Cruisers (2) class) class) 7,100 tons / eight 6-in. /32.5 letS.106 As approached, the 1ritish quickly identified the raider, went to battle stations, and radioed for reinforcements. With a main battery of six II-inch guns and eight 5.9-inch secondary guns] greatly outclassed the three British ships. Considerable doubt existed as to whether the 8-inch guns of could penetrate armor. The did not hesitate to attack, however. fell out of line and turned to port while two light cruisers raised all boilers and continued fast to the northeast, weavin$ all the while to confuse the German gunners. Harwood thus forced Langsdorffto either split his fire or leave one attacking group unhindered. Initially at 0614 fired salvoes at both groups. After the 105 Anthony Bruce and William An Encyclopedia of Naval History (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1998), p. 2. 106 Approximate standard tonnage. displaced slightly more than See Whitley, p. 96. 75

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107 __ .__ \ #. J 1-' ,,.._. ... ... 7. '_. o 2 Stolt ill SlO 1" ,.'--_. ..... 6.J6 Map S.l: Battle of the River Plate107 Map reproduced from Roskill, "Wihite Ensign, p. 54.

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Germans realized that Exeter provided the most serious threat, both main turrets targeted the British heavy cruiser. From a range of21,OOO yards, die II-inch batteries of opened up. Langsdorlf later wrote, "Impact fuses te ordered in order to obtain the greatest possible damage to the lightly-armored turrets and superstructure and through hits on its hull to reduce the ship's speed."108 The German shells quickly zeroed in on the target. A near hit splashed in the water amid ship, showering the ship with deadly splinters. In addition to killing several 9rew members, the small, jagged pieces of metal damaged the ship's electrical and bre control systems. Minutes later another shell punched through the deck, through the sick bay, and out the ship's side without detonating. The third hit proved more jbostl In Captain F.S. Bell's words, the "B turret received a direct hit from an l1-irch shell and was put out of action. 11109 Splinters from the impact killed most o,tthe men on the bridge. With the wheel house destroyed and communication to the eJgine rooms cut, the ship veered starboard. Captain Bell, who had men on either sIde of him killed by the shower, saw the wrecked bridge and made for the aft position to direct control of the ship.IIO The crew, with much effort, brrUght the ship under control. Two more hits rocked the ship and started fires, but continued. During the whole fracas, 108 Dudley Pope, Graf Spee: The ILife and Death of a Raider (philadelphia: lB. Lippincott Company, 1957), p. 146. )1 165. pp. 167-168. 77

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guns, except for the knocked out turret, continued firing on the A torpedo officer launched torpedoes WheJ the opportunity presented itself Before the torpedoes reached the German ship, spun around violently and began making smoke. took a total of sJen II-inch hits. The sixth shell rendered the second forward turret as inoperable as Je first. The seventh started violent fires throughout the ship's interior. Only afte} an electrical failure put the rear turret out of action, did Captain Bell retire. As took its pounding, and first fired at 0625 from a range of just over 19,000 yards. The two coordinated the fire for better accuracy and effect, with the gunnery officer on directing both ships. Langsdorff, fearing torpedo attack, directed II-inch gun fiJ on the After several salvos, a near side miss showered the ship with sPlintJs, rendering the director control tower temporarily inoperative. The blast also ibroke radio contact and coordinated firing efforts with maintained firing with local control. As the shots fell wildly about the German ship, the gunnFry officer aboard continued as if these salvos were still under his direction. Fdr several minutes salvos fell short until the crew realized that radio control hadi been cut. When turned and mJde smoke, Commodore Harwood believed (correctly) that the raider was moving finish off StilI inside 111 Pope., pp. 160-163, 180-181. 78

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killing zone at 17,000 yards yet too f1 away for his 6-inch guns to really be effective, Achilles Ajax on even though that meant laking the rear turrets out of action while still Graf Spee with 6-inch shells. launched torpLoes at a range of9,000 yards to no avail. Exeter burning badly. hit rocked Je ship and disabled the two rear turrets. British observation plane warned of toredOeS bearing down on the cruisers, and they with 6-inch hits but apparently to no m Harwood wrote: Ajax --GraJ Spee's off the Ajax Achilles Ibid., of the

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Just as the British ships turned away, a parting shot by shot away the topmast of Instead of pressing his advantage and attacking the lighter cruisers, Langsdorff also retired. Langsdorffs choice, the source of much subsequent criticism, was influenced in part by damage caused to his ship and the fact that he could maintain sustained fire for only about 40 more milutes. Of even greater controversy was Langsdorft's decision to make for MontLdeo. The debate is too lengthy to discuss here. Suffice it to say that Langsdorff prSOnailY surveyed the entire ship and unilaterally judged that needed port facilities to undertake necessary repairs.114 Regardless, the two light cruisers shadowed at a great distance with occasionally firing warning salvos lo keep them at bay. The shelling by the British ships had not been as ineffective as Harwood believed. One of the 8-inch shells had ripped a large hole in port side. Numerous 6-inch hits considerably dJaged the ship's superstructure. The radio direction-finder was damaged. The boiler that provided steam power to the fresh water plant and oil lubrication purifier was out of commission. The galleys were smashed, along with the baking apparats and flour stores. Although the main battery continued to operate fully, the forward ammunition hoists for the secondary battery were out. Threats to the ship's seaworthiness and the ability to feed and water the crew in part caused Langsdorffto makl for Montevideo.115 114 See pp. 227-230 for a fuller discussion ofLangsdorffs decision. pp. 225-230; 305-307. 115 80

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Graf Spee Graf destruction. False radio traffic lonVinCed Langsdorffthat a strong Allied force awaited departure. After with Berlin, Langsdorff scuttled ship, On paper, the Battle of the Plate appeared be a mis-match as the Graf Spee cruisers. Harwood's plan, however, 01 splitting his group concentrating the fire of Exeter punishment dealt by APpJximatelY 1,500 tons heavier either class cruiser, by its sh1er size rather slight increase in armor, Exeter, Ibid.,

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vertically down to the hull. Armor-piereing shells would simply pass right through the thin British armor and out the other Sidj of the ship before detonating, an event that apparently occurred at least twice dUriJ the encounter. '" The timing of the battle greatly Jimited the efficacy of the light cruisers during the battle. Since this was a daylight action, and were forced to lob shell after shell from distances that had little lhance of doing damage, even had they hit. Out of2,064 shells fired, only sevenJ scored. Only when the light-cruisers closed inside of 17,000 yards did their 6-inch land with any sort of accuracy and effect. However, by the time the distance was down to 8,000 yards, suffered from an II-inch hit and the attack had to be abandoned. heavier shells fell with more accuracy from long-range but as the babe showed, the British heavy cruiser could not afford to slug it out indefinitely against the German II-inch guns. inability to deal with three separate targets combined with superior British leadership won the day for the Royal Navy. By aggressivly engaging all three of his ships, Harwood guaranteed that at least one cruiser escape German fire as sported only two triple-turrets as main batterier' During the battle re6eived three 8-inch hits from and seventeen 6-inch hits from the light cJisers.118 Which hits forced to dock 117 118 269. pp. 456-457. 82

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at Montevideo? The damage caused b the 8-inch shells surprised the Germans, who believed the vulnerable only to battleships. Rasenack stated that: marksmanslp astonishing and the rapidity with which the follow each other surprising. An 8-inch sHell goes through the armour plate of one of our anti-Lrcraft guns of 10.5-cm on the starboard side. kills hhlrthe gun crew, goes 'through two decks and finally explodes in the apparatus for producing fresh water... One shell passes through the upper part of the bridge without exploding and without causing damage; the passes a meter above the armoured deck, passing Ithrough the starboard longitudinal bulkhead and explodes finally amidships between two other bulkheads... Only the continual and rapid hits that our gunfite inflicted on the enemy and the skill of our Captain preJented the from causing more damage.The 6-inch shells did very little Clamage to the interior but caused much superstructure damage. Rasenack wrote: None ofthe [6-inch] hitl ... destroyed any vital installations below but above deck they have punished us severely. 'fhat one sees is disastrous ... The floor is running with blood... The intermediate deck is in terrible disorder... On all sides there is a smell of fire, blood and iron. do The light cruisers utilized delayed fuses and armor-piercing shells. Rasenack stated, "three of them bounced off the arrnou1 of our control tower like turnips. 120 As quoted in pp. 456-451As quoted in pp. 230-231. 83 Others

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believed that had the British light cruiSl. used contact fuses, would have casualties. With the benefit ofhlndsight, it lppears that the damage to did not merit the hazards of docking at All boilers were operational. All of the Graf Spee ak .1 Battle of the River Plate provided an eLI boost of morale for the Allies. The Graf Spee quasi-capital ship and successfully diVjd it away from the wounded Speed Graj of British Graj Spee

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CHAPTER 9 THE BATTLE OF THE JAVA SEA (27 FEBRUARY 1942) The scope and speed of the Iaplese offensive following the attack on Pearl Harbor found the Allies entirely unprepked. Within a month the Gilbert Islands, Wake Island, Hong Kong, Burma, ihailand fell. Singapore, Britain's defensive linchpin Asia, surrendered on 15 February 1942 after suffering 138,000 casualties to Japan's 9,800.122 In the Philippines, Geheral Douglas MacArthur's boxed-in forces prepared for siege on the Bataan Penintla. The ultimate goal of Japan's southern thrust, the resource-rich and oil-laden IDutch East Indies, was within reach. In response to the threat posed the Southwest Pacific, the Allies hastily threw together a combined American, British, Dutch, and Australian Command (ABDA). This force faced insurmountable problems. The Japanese blitz through Burma and Malaysia cut off any hope QfBritish or available Australian relief Nor could the US provide significant suppdrt. The Dutch forces in the area were mainly provincial police forces with whom thl colonial masters maintained a tenuous relationship. The Japanese absorbed islands piecemeal, and the disorganized Allied defense did little to forestall their advahce. On 11 January the assault on the Dutch 122 James Stokesbury, A Short History of World War II (New York: William and Morrow and Company, 1980), p. 204. 85

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First, and perhaps most importantly, few Allied aircraft were available. The service was difficult enough during the period of the war, and the problems non-representation the top echelon command in ABDA. The Dutch were committed to defending the Dutch E..l Indies to the bitter end unlike the British and

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Islands.Helfrich sunrused correctly that the initial Japanese invasion would come from the west. He ordered the concen+tion of his naval units under the command of Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) Admiral Karel Doorman. For several nights, the Allies made nighttime sweeps north of java in hopes offinding the Japanese invasion flotilla. A last-ditch attempt to deliver desperately needed fighter-cover failed when Japanese aircraft bombed and sank the rerican carrier and thirty-two Curtis P-40s fifty miles south of Tjilatjap on 27 February. That same day, the Allied Force sailed into Surabaya in the afternoon to refuel. At 1427 hours, however, Dotman received news that a Dutch catalina had spotted the Japanese invasion flotilla ne'ar Bawean. Doorman immediately turned his ships around to intercept. Although nJrlY numerically equivalent to his Doorman suffered from several drawbabks. His crews were worn out from continuous nighttime patrols. At 1240 Doorman ired Helfrich, describing men's physical and mental state, "This day the personnel reached the limit of endurance: tomorrow the limit will be exceeded. 124 At the onset, exhaustion compromised the fighting efficiency of the entire ABDA force. T:he Allied ships had never performed operations together, and there been no time 1 develop an operational plan. ABDA command 123 Samuel Eliot Morison, The Rising Sun in the Pacific, 1931-April1942 vol. 3 of History of United States Naval Operati6ns in World War II (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1950), p. 338. Hereaftdr cited as United States Naval Operations, vol. 3. 124 As quoted in David A. Thomas/ Battle of the Java Sea (New York: Stein and Day, Publishers, 1968), p. 160. 87

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never created a common code oftactica1 signals to be used by the multi-national force battle. Radio communications were since Doorman's orders had to be translated from Dutch and then tranSmitfed to which then relayed the message to the other English-speaking ships. The lack of common flag-signaling was partially ameliorated by stationing American and British signalmen aboard Additionally, rear lITet remained out of action due to a Japanese air attack from earlier in the month. ThJ ship could not be spared to retire and make repairs. The Allied ships, expecting an air attack the night before, had left their float-planes onshore. ABDA used their few remaining fighters to cover a small flight of dive bombers attempting to find the convoy. Japanese air supremacy permitted reconnaissance aircraft to tracJ and drop flares over the ABDA force, keeping the Japanese commanders consltly informed as to the location of Doorman', ships. Finally, the Allies knew nothing of:Japan's trump card, the 60.9 em, type-93 Long-Lance, a much more formidable w9apon than any torpedo in the ABDA arsenal. Even before the battle began, significant Jdvantage lay with the Japanese. 12S F.C. van Oosten, The Battle of the Java Sea (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1976), p. 72. 88

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TABLE 9.1: ORDER OF BATTLE, JAVA SEA ABDA Command Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman (RNN) Heavy Cruisers (2) class) 9,150 tons / nine 8-in. /32.5 kts. class) 8,524 tons / six 8-in. /32 kts. Light Cruisers (3) class) 6,776 tons / ten 5.9-in. /31 kts. class) 6,545 tons / seven 5.9-in. /32 kts. classy26 6,939 tons / eight 6-in. /32.5 kts. Destroyers (5 US) Destroyers (3 British) Destroyers (3 Dutch) Japanese Imperial Navy Rear-Admiral Takeo Takagi Heavy Cruisers (2) class) class) 10,160 tons / ten 7.9-in. /35.5 kts. Light Cruisers (2) class) class) 5,195 tons / seven 5.5-in. /35.25 kts. Destroyers (14)127 The three British destroyers fornied the van of Doorman's attack column. His flagship, was followed in turl by and then 126 Also known as "Modified See Whitley, p. 19. 127 van Oosten stated, "There has some confusion about the number of destroyers [Morison listed thirteen], but Japanese sources indicate that there were fourteen. See van Oosten, The Battle otithe Java pp. 42-43; Paul S. Dull, A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945 (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1978), p. 76.

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161SJ -:J JINTSU .. "dIU8 "' ....... 1 .. 5 N -17210. -. ,' 1&18 .. 1701 ",. ----------"r. ----!ti;z ----.. "o()o __ ____ __ ,/ : n07 --.. _ 13'1633 : ... --------, t.1-f. 1711 Battle of the Java Sea 1616 tom9 ---_-----. "o .... 1100 ___ __ Map 9.1: Battle of the Java Sea, Daylight Action128 128 Map reproduced from Davld Thomas, The Battle of the Java Sea (New York: Stein and Day, Publishers, 1968), p. 185. Used by permission of David Thomas. \ 90

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the remaining destroyers.Approximately 30 miles northwest of Surabaya, spotted one cruiser, unknown number large destroyers."130 Doorman ordered flank speed, quickly outdistancing his Dutch destroyers. The Japanese traveled in three separate groups. The light cruiser and eight destroyers were closest to the Allied line. Further east steamed the heivy cruisers and To the north the light cruiser led a train of six fstroyers. A clear sky, a light easterly breeze blew, and high visibility greeted the combatants as the battle began. At 1616 hours the Iapanese heat cruisers opened fire at extreme range, around 28,000 yards. From the outset, Doorman held a disadvantageous position. and brought all twenty 01 their main guns to bear while moments later the Allies could only respond with the six undamaged 8-inch guns of and two fore turrets. Moreover, if ID a orman continued to sail northwest, the Japanese would quickly cross his liT. Nor could he simply turn and parallel the enemy, for by doing so only the rear tw1 guns of the would be brought to bear, still giving the Japanese a significant twenty to twelve advantage in 8-inch guns. The Striking Force needed to close with their light cruisers quickly to bring their preponderance of 6-inch guns into the battle. Doorman swung his column 20 degrees to port, not quite parallel with the Iapante, thus allowing the Allied force to close but had been fully repaired frob damage received at the Battle of the River Plate. The British Admiralty sent \to the Pacific after Japan's entry into the war. 130 As quoted in Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 3, p. 343.

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Exeter's De Ruyter Communication problems beset re Allied Striking Force from the battle's commence firing. The Captain aboard rs D.L. Gordon, gave permission for his 8-inch guns to fire before receiving ford from Doorman who was aboard his De disengaged port bow. The DUilh destroyers trailed behind. Nachi Haguro De Ruyter Exeter. of the convoy. The air mission proved fruitleJ as the planes failed to prevent one transport from disembarking its troops and materi1. 131 132 Ibid., ibid.,

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De Ruyter Naka, Nachi Haguro, toward the Allied line at a speed of35 the face of intensive Allied fire, the of the Naka turned hard to starboard, made smoke, Ld began distancing themselves from Doorman's ships. The smoke obscured le two opponents, giving total advantage to essentially blinded the Allies, who had nLther aircraft nor radar-directed guns. 133 spotting, and numerous straddles, the Jatanese could not land a significant blow. Houston De Ruyter, maIfunctioned neither detonated. Qte of the had even grazed an oil tank 133 Ibid.,

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Naka's For the Japanese, matters bec.Je critical. To the north, aboard his flagship Nachi, the horizon. The Allied force was close to its ultimate objective. Takagi second torpedo attack, time from squadron, commenced. At a speed of of 8,000 an explosion ripped but thJ destroyer's advance continued. the ships approached a range of7,000 yards, the destroyer-line launched over sixty ships. 136 Japanese landed a blow that proved to bl the turning point of the entire battle. 8-inch shell ripped into Plunging!thrOUgh one of the secondary batteries, Exeter, best speed could make was 1 Jts. As had been the case at Rio de 1. Plata a 135 136 Ibid., ibid., Ibid.,

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few months earlier, fell out ofline, turning hard to port almost directly due south. The lack of proper ship-to-ship communications created havoc amid the Allied line. The captain of directly aLem of assumed that Doorman bad ordered a course change which his ship to receive. wheeled hard to port, inside of as if to execute a fine-ahead to line-abreast formation change. The Australian cruiser and Dutch rser likewise assumed a course change had been ordered and followed suit. Thr American d.estroyers scrambled to avoid collision with the cruisers that bore down upon them. captain, realizing plight, wheeled his ship around lin a broad sweep to lay smoke and cover for the damaged cruiser. The Dutch destroters found themselves to port of the southward steaming cruisers. At 1715 a torpedo ritped into The Dutch destroyer broke in half, both bow and stern rising rertiCallY into the air; eyewitnesses reported that men even clung to the now-expose1 rudder.137 The Allied Striking Force, nearly within visual range of the invasion convd y moments earlier, was now in complete disarray. bad continued by itselffor several minutes. Doorman then steered southwest in an attempt to ,egrou p Iris force into some semblance of order. At 1720 Doorman signaled, "All ships follow me" and then changed course to the northeast in order to cover Jjtirement. '" 137 138 19l. As quoted in p. 194. 95

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British destroyers to mount their own 1sault. At the moment they were disordered, The British destroyer emerge, from a bank of smoke alone to confront the Jintsu completely ovelWhelmed as it a1proached. and emerged Encounter, Jupiter, Witte de successfully performed as rearJd for the retiring suffered some damage when abrupt maluvering dislodged a depth charge which off the Exeter sailed line ahead, in the lead flnowed by and then the remaIDing destroyers. The Japanese n01 enjoyed total supremacy in 8-inch guns. Houston's Nachi Haguro's Houston, 196 1

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amount. To make matters even worse, rhe only available shells were in the disabled aft turret's ammunition store. Under combat conditions the crew arduously transferred the shells forward. The resolute Doorman pressed onward. After plowing through the screen of smoke, the Allied column discovered thl Japanese steaming on a parallel course. At a range of slightly less 20,000 yards and opened fire and quickly achieved a straddle on could only reply sporadically due to its lack of ammunition. At almost 1800 hours, destroyer flotilla closed in for another torpedo attack. Due to the smoke and lening gloom, the destroyers came as close as 4,400 yards. Doorman turned the entirj column south to comb the torpedoes, which sped past without scoring a hit. 139 Doorman, reduced to hand flags and signal lights for ship-to-ship communication, at 1806 flashed a signal Ito Commander T.H. Binford aboard The signal ordered, very simply, "Counter-attack." Binford immediately wheeled his four US destroyers northwatd. Before the "four-stackers" could comply with Doorman's order, however, the Ambcans received a second signal: Cancel counter-attack." third message fOllowld: "Make smoke." By now the destroyers lay between the Japanese and Allied cruJer columns. At 1815 Doorman sent yet another signal. The fourth message vaJelY stated, "Cover my retirement.""" Binford 139 p. 200. 140 As quoted in p. 201. 97

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debated what Doorman's message meant. His destroyers could make smoke, form a protective line astern the Allied cruiserl, or attack. Binford chose the latter course as the proper means for destroyers to covL a cruiser line'. withdrawal. The destroyers made for the Japanese line, launched but failed to hit, although a 4-inch shell may have scored a hit on The destroyers then attempted to return to the Allied column. Ali the opposing battle ines separated, scored a 6-inch hit on the heavy cruiser causing only superficial damage.142 Historians differ on Binford's strltegy. Samuel Eliot Morison described Binford's attack as in lithe right spirit. David Thomas called the choice sensible, while Dutch author F.e. van Oosten that Binford disobeyed Doorman, attacking strictly on his own initiative. 11143 Regardless, the entire Binford episode illustrates just how bad communications were among the multinational, multilingual, Allied force. Takagi did not pursue the Allied IStriking Force for fear of straying too far from his precious transports. A lull in tJe battle ensued as the two lines disengaged. Doorman attempted to steam northeast Ld then northwest to circumnavigate the Japanese warships and get at the invasiol convoyl. As Japanese aircraft dropped flares to indicate the Allied Striking every move, Takagi easily kept his 141 Morison, United States Naval Oderations, vol. 3, p. 353. 142 van Oosten, "Fall of the Dutch Indies, p. 936. 143 See p. 352; Thomas, p. 2011; van Oosten, "Fall of the Dutch East Indies," vol. 3, no. 2 (1967), p. 936. 1 98

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ships. 144 Night fen as Doonnan blindly stied about in search of the invasion flotilla. Nachi Haguro standstill to recover float planes. At a jge of 13,000 yards the ships spotted each other. The Japanese fired boilers and smoke. Doorman believed torpedoes had been launched after he turned his shits away contact was lost. In an effort to The Allied ships steamed westward whiljl hugging the island's coastline. torpedoes spent and Iowan fuel, the shiPl would have been little use to Doorman. Aboard Commander Binford dLlared, not going in there after brains. 11146 destroyer struck a mine. The shid went down four hours later. The last Allied destroyer, was dispatched at 2217 Doorman's line discovered Ibid.; ibid.,

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survivors adrift from At 2300 upon their arrival at Surabaya, the US destroyers received a relayed message frlm Doorman ordering Binford to refuel and rearm at Tanjong Priok and then rejoin tAe Allied force. Binford considered the dash along Java's coast to Batavia to be Assuming responsibility, Binford wired Doorman that his intentions were to refull and then head southward out of the Java Sa The depleted ABDA Striking FOTe now consisted of and steaming line-ahead.fhey headed north, still in pursuit of the Japanese transports. At 2300 the Allies found heavy cruisers and instead. The two columns paralleled eaJ other. Due to depleted ammunition stores and crew exhaustion, both sides exchangL sporadic fire. At 2322, at a range of 14,000 yards, Takagi launched torpedoes 147 This time the Japanese found their mark. At 2332 an explosion rocked when torpedo struck amidship, rending the Dutch cruiser's hull and stopping it dead. With later quickly flooded in, sank fifteen minutes later. also caught a torpedo at about the same time as The Long Lance struck Doorman's flagship well aft lnd an explosion touched off ammunition and pyrotechnic stores. Flames engulfed lhe entire stern of the ship. Crew members who could made their way fore to avoid the firestorm. As the inferno spread, 147 Dull, p. 85. 100

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Doorman gave the order to abandon ship The Dutch Admiral radioed and told and not to pick up survivors, or1ering them to retire and make for Batavia. 148 The captain of complied with this difficult order, first feinting to the southeast and then steaming west. Following tradiJion, Doorman and the Dutch captains chose to go down with their ships. The Battle rr the Java Sea was over. During the battle's aftermath, the rulies fared no better. The Japanese effectively closed the Sunda Strait, trapplg the remainder of the Allied Striking Force. Although and dealt some aamage when they chanced upon some berthed transports at Banten Bay late in the evening on 28 February, they both took tremendous damage and sank the ensuL Battle of Sunda Strait on March I. The destroyer became beached in th1 strait sometime later. The damaged along with destroyers and also failed to run the gauntlet of Japanese ships. Four Japanese cruisers and two as well as aircraft from the carrier quickly overwhelmed the three srubs on I March. Only the four US destroyers which had disobeyed Doorman's order to Irejoin the battle escaped the Java Sea. Takagi's ships completely annihilated the Striking Force. The Allied results were pathetic: at the cost of two heavy cruiseJ three light cruisers, and seven destroyers, ABDA Command delayed Japanese invasion of Java by one day. 148 Morison, United States Naval OpJrations, vol. 3, p. 357; Thomas, pp. 212-213. 101

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Several handicaps led to this Allied defeat. The lack of air cover and air reconnaissance stand out as two glaring teakne"es. Doorman's force blundered about while Takagi knew nearly constantly the disposition and location of his enemy. Aerial spotting assisted Japanese fire conLI teams. ABDA insistence that the Striking Force remain at sea in a state of Lnstant readiness led to crew exhaustion by the time they finally met the enemy. The involved with a multi-national forces under a combined command are Differences in tactics, protocol, and procedures led to misunderstandings and uncoordinated response. These complications multiplied with the language and communication problems between Dutch and English-speaking commands. rtimatelY, the Japanese effort was well-planned and rehearsed whereas the Allied response was haphazard and represented a stop-gap measure to slow 1wn the Japanese advance. The Battle of the Java Sea revealek the difficulty of hitting fast-moving targets at extreme ranges, thus nullifying one of the major justifications for preference of the 8-inch over the 6-inch gun. One might arkue that the Japanese gunnery performed miserably at long-range, especially in the early stages. Nonetheless, and maintained barrages which held tt Allied Striking Force at bay, which was Takagi's primary assignment. The 10ng-dtance gunfight played completely to the Japanese's advantage. Not only did the Jtanese have more 8-inch guns, but their fire was more effective thanks to aerial spotting. The Japanese 8-inch hit on the li02

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Houston, Java, Perth mistakenly followed the crippled cruiser the south. independent movement as destroyer -leadLs. The Japanese light cruisers successfully Although most of the Long-Lances Doorman nonetheless had to account for their potential threat constantly during thi fight. When the Allied line fen apart in wake of hit, a torpedo finally sJck home on the doomed Additionally, the light cruiser provL extremely tough when attacked in a weak, discombobulated effort by three British dLtroyers. quickly succumbed to Jintsu's of his Doorman's gradual1ine of approach madj his Allied light cruisers little more than bystanders for much of the daylight stage the battle. was nearly completely of the off to light cruisers to operate independently, communication difficulties the lack of a rehearsed battle-plan precluded but simplest of attack formations. Likewise

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scored, a concerted destroyerllight cruisl attack might have forced Takagi to change thl of the stores, no aerial reconnaissance, and a lJk of comnrunication and unit cohesion, posed little threat to the Japanese forces. Surf ole fire was spotty and ineffective. During the for torpedo use by cruisers. Yet here wete the Japanese cruisers, launching "fish" into of the of the Long-Lance, maintained his line-ahead cJumn indefinitely during the battle's night stage, providing inviting targets to Japanle torpedomen. To the Japanese, their torpedo technology represented a great iUaliZer to the numerical inferiority imposed torpedo tactics paid o!ffor the Japanese Js fires on and lit up the night of the of the

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Developed in the wake ofthe PiJtal Battle of Midway, America's newfound "offensive-defensive" strategy focused the Solomon Islands chain north of the Coral Sea. The ultimate objective of "o,eralion Watchtower" was to break the of formidable of New Ireland, all centered around the island-fotess ofRabaul. Guadalcanal immediately of the Chief Robert L. Ghormley assembled forL to land and take the island. The entire endeavor quickly gained the dubious niclame "Operation Shoestring" because of its haphazard, thrown-together nature. The llan called for Admiral Richard Kelly to Vice Admiral Frank J. Fletcher's carri.J group 61), which consisted of carriers and the newll-cornmiSsiOned battleship

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of Royal disembarkment zone quickly became coJested as the Allies were ill-equipped to deal of landing ("Bettys") scored a torpedo hit on a destrbyer, stopping it dead the water. Another Japanese bomber crashJ into the transport Fires rendered the ship inoperable and the creJ abandoned ship. The threat of air attack created an even larger problem for Turn,s amphibious operations late the Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa's Striking !"rce. The Japanese flotilla of ships, five

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of the to sink the transports prevent the inton. Although spotted several times by alarm. Most importantly. Turner and cJtchley misinterpreted the sketchy intelligence attack with certain victory the traditiJal night attack of the Imperial Navy. May each one calmly do his utmost!"'" It wJ fitting for the Japanese that Mikawa lead the of the Battle of Savo Island. the most defeat in United States Naval history.

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TABLE 10.1: ORDER OF BATTLE, SA VO ISLAND Japanese Imperial Navy Vice-Admiral Gunichi Mikawa Heavy Cruisers (5) ( class) 10,007 tons / ten 8-in. /35.5 kts. class) class) 7,213 tons / six 7.9-in. /34.5 kts. class) class) Performance numbers as Light Cruisers (2) class) 3,281 tons / four 5.5-in. /33 kts. class) 2, 936 tons / six 5.5-in. /35.5 kts. Destroyer Allied South Pacific Command 62.6 Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley (RN) Heavy Cruisers (6) class) class) class) 10,298 tons / nine 8-in. /32.7 kts. class) 9,150 tons / nine 8-in. / 32.5 kts. class) class) 10,007 tons / eight 8-in. / 31.5 kts. Light Cruisers (2) class) 6,825 / sixteen 5-in. /32.5 kts. class) 7,105 tons / eight 6-in. /32.5 kts. Destroyers (8y50 Three separate approaches to Allild beachheads required coverage by surface ships. Light cruisers along destroyers and patrolled the eastern area, from which submarines posed the most dangerous threat. To the west, Savo ISlaJd divided the channel between Florida and Guadalcanal Islands into what later becaml dubbed, "Iron Bottom Sound." Protecting 150 Does not include destroyers with 108

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lSI / 110"." P .. SoY' Hobo" j'jA, Map reproduced from Warner, p. i9. 109

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Australia Canberra and which steamed line-ahead Lth destroyers and Australia, Vincennes, Quincy Astoria Helm Wilson. Vincennes, commanded the northern group which wl. minus a flag officer. In the event of combat, Riefkohl was expected to comld ship as well as the northern line. They Blue Ralph Talbot surface ships as well as aircraft. UnfortuJatelY, proximity to land often created echoes Blue Ralph Talbot's of the of this of the arrival ofJapanese ships. Crutchley beli1ed the radar's range to be six miles, yet on Blue's

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range of 5,000 yards. To make matters Torse, the destroyers operated independently. With no coordination between and a large gap often existed between the two, rendering ViSUallOOkoJts ineffective. Nonetheless, the Allied commanders put their complete faith in dubious sentries. Fletcher's decision to withdraw his carriers created a crisis for the Allied leaders left behind. How to proceed? Almiral Turner called Crutchley and Vandegrift for a face-to-face conference aboard his flagship which was anchored off Lunga Roads, the main disembarkment pLnt for Allied troops. Crutchley received the message at 2045 reading, "Please come ol board as soon as possible. 11152 Believing time to be of the essence, the British colander declined to transfer over to one of his destroyers. Crutchley took the fastest and safest means possible to rendezvous with Turner: he went aboard Crutchley failed to inform either the northern or eastern groups of his meeting, both of LhiCh rightly assumed that Crutchley was still minding the store. his absence, cJtchley appointed Captain Howard D. Bode aboard as temporary commlnder ofthe southern covering force. Bode's first decision as group commander was an unfortunate one. He left at the rear of the line. Under the impression that Crutchley would be absent only a few hours (Crutchley, in fact, had said "he might or 9ht not return") and wishing to avoid nighttime maneuvers, Bode lost the initiat1le to lead his group in the event of enemy 152 As quoted in p. 98. 111

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153 Although Crutchley arrived quickly, vaJegrift was delayed considerably, tired, but these two [Crutchley Tuml1100ked ready to pass ou!."',. Tumer still seethed over Fletcher's decision to take hIS carrier fleet south "He's lefl us bare ass, 155 plane report that spotted but misinterpretld Mikawa's ships as three cruisers, three destroyers and either two gunboats or s.JPlane tenders off the coast ofBougainville.'" part of a surface attack flotilla. crutchle1 concurred. Once again attack seemed to 153 of the 155 ibid. Ibid.,

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tougher. Turner made his decision to Wiidraw the transports contingent upon Australia southern surface group. He wished t1 avoid night maneuvers, especially since "but Australia anchored just outside of the transport arJs destroyer screen. Crutchley turned for of his of the of the screen knew where their flag officer was in the eve of the battle. The fighting force as a whole, after the previous two days' coJant activities involved in amphibious operations, was exhausted. The ships opiated under Condition readiness, meaning balfthe crew was at station while the rem1nder rested. Every Allied cruiser captain 157

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As the Allied captains slept, MikaJ a continued his stealthy advance. Conditions were perfect for the Japanesei A light, 4 knot wind blew. The moonless night, partly overcast sky, and periodic JUa11s oflight mists and haze shrouded the strike force, limiting visibility to about fe miles. The planes returning from their daylight raid reported enormous destructl'on of Allied ships, adding to the Japanese's sky-high confidence. The force arrayed i selfline-ahead with at the head, followed by and Light cruisers and followed as destroyer brought up le rear. Mikawa's plan called for the flotilla to enter by the southern passage, torpedo the ships off Guadalcanal, turn north to Tulagi attacking any ships encountered tllere, and then exit the sound via the northern channel. The Japanese then hoped to steJm well north before sunrise, back to the safety of their land-based fighters and awly from American carrier planes. At 2312 Mikawa launched search they approached Savo, spotted one and broadcast, "Warnlng --Warning: Plane over Savo headed east. ,,'" The Allied ships dismissed the pLe's importance. They assumed it was friendly since Turner had given no and the running lights were visible. The Japanese plane went about its task, unmollsted and without raising alarm, informing Mikawa of the location and disposition 01the Allied ships. Furthennore, none of the 159 As quoted in Samuel Eliot Morisoh, The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942-February 1943, vol. 5 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War (Boston: Little, Brown and 1949), p. 34. Hereafter cited as United States Naval Operations, vol. 5. 114

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ships of the northern covering force rela led warning to either the southern covering force or to Turner at Guadalcanal. Meanwhile a storm cloud drenched Savo Island around 2330. The Istorm cloud drifted southeast into the sound, masking the northern and southern covering forces from each other. Mikawa could not have asked for better conditions for Js attack. Lookouts aboard spotted favo at 0500 hours on 9 August. Moments later, using their special night-optic binoculars, the Japanese spied slowly making its way right across the striking force's palh. Mikawa reduced speed to 22 knots to minimize the wakes made by his ships. also turned his course slightly to enter by the northern channel. Then the Japanese rieWed steaming away toward the north. With all guns trained on rikawa debated briefly whether to attack. The American destroyer, oblivious to the line of Japanese ships, simply reversed course after reaching the northern end of lts patrol route. Mikawa changed his mind again and directed his fleet toward the salthern entrance, past the ineffective Allied sentries. 160 Shrouded within the edges of the eloud bank and with Savo as his backdrop, Mikawa entered Savo sound, increasing steed to 30 knots. At 0133 Mikawa gave the signal, "All ships attack." 161 A moment later was spied to port. The American 160 161 Frank, p. 103; Warner, p. 114. As quoted in Frank, p. 103. 115

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162 ISLAND Map 10.2: Battle of Map reproduced from p. 1 Island,0132-0200162 Used permission of William J. Clipson. 116

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of the fire although did launch some tlrpedoes. gave no signal either because the radios had previously been Jndered inoperable or because the Japanese Canberra Chicago. Mikawa swung to port and ordered, "Indlpendent firing."!" At 0138 four Long Lance torpedoes sped toward the cruisers. At Jat same time Japanese lookouts, somehow through the gloom haze, glim1sed to the northeast at an Chokai's announcing the presence of enemy ships the sound. Canberra Chokai bank that clung to Savo Island. The bridJe scrambled to alert the captain and sleeping illuminating the ship. First and thL and respectively opened up with gunfire and launched torpldoes. turned to starboard in a Australian Canberra 163 ibid.,

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hits.l64 Before its crew could even fire a single 8-inch battery, listed, burned, and coasted to a halt. trailing had little more warning but fared no better. first turned to starboard to avoid torpedoes but then to port as more fish were spotted. Separated from attempted to return fire, but had trouble seeing the enemy who had the darkened Savo as a backdrop. Star shell malfunctioned and failed to illuminate. T{e attempt to avoid torpedoes had been in vain. Around 0147 a Long-Lance from exploded on the starboard bow, rocking the entire ship. second torpedo hit the lide of the cruiser but failed to detonate. the ensuing action, did score a hil on with its secondary battery, a five-inch shell that caused over forty casu1ties.165 Captain Bode stood helpless on his bridge, allowing his cruiser to continue wlt away from the battle. Bode gave no commands to his destroyers during the actn and, more importantly and most grievously, he failed to broadcast to the relt of the fleet that he was under attack from Japanese ships. Commander Frank R. Walker of finally displayed alertness, intelligence, and initiative. He came to his bridge earlier when his ship heard the report of unidentified planes flying over Savo. At 0146 spotted a ship. Walker sounded general quarters, frantically signaled and by 164 165 105. 106. 118

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blinker light, and immediately sent a radio message: "Warning! Warning! Strange ships entering harbor! ,,'" The destroyer Lmed hard to port and opened fire. Walker yelled for torpedoes to be launched, but the belching guns masked his order. played a deadly game of cat mouse with the cruisers; its searchlight illuminated the enemy while the destroye1 zig-zagged to avoid their gunfire. Walker repeated his warning over the radio. A snell struck the destroyer, taking out its aft battery. the Japanese cruisers disappJared into the fog, crew fuught to quell the fire that engulfed the rear of the ship.161 Destroyer caught off the starboard bow of as the attack commenced, spotted the Japanese and r.Jponded immediately as well. Unfortunately, as the ship swung hard to port, the starboLd torpedo tubes could not be launched as crews could not insert firing primers quickly enough. After the destroyer swung around 180 degrees to fire port torpedo.J, the advantageous firing angle had been lost. The Japanese cruisers ignored as ley concentrated fire on the larger Allied cruisers. With the southern screening force in shambles, Mikawa turned his attention to the northern group of Allied cruisers. However, the Japanese flotilla botched a course change and the force split unintentionally. made a gradual turn to 050 degrees followed by and lhe burning drifted across the 166 As quoted in Warner, p. 119. 167 Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 5, p. 38. 119

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Furutaka Tenryu trailing also turned noih. The lone Japanese destroyer, fell cruisers speed or it stayed behind as a Pilet for Mikawa's backside. Later the Japanese destroyer encountered Jd attacked it to no apparent effect before it linked up with the Japanese line back nokeast of Savo. Regardless, Mikawa's force the battle commenced in soujern Savo Sound, the northern cruiser group situation. Riefkohl was missing two big Jieces of the puzzle: he did not know that with the southern group. Riefkohl believL any approach by surface ships would have Australia of the by Japanese destroyers to draw away the northern approach. Star shell was not utilized since the northern group did ilt want to give away its position. Some 168 Furutaka Kinugasa.

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speculated that the southern group might be involved in anti-submarine actions. Possibly the southern group fired on Japanese land positions on Guadalcanal island itself. Riefkobl held position but increas1 speed to 15 knots. '" did receive warning over short-range Talk Between Ships (TBS) radio: "Warning to all ships --Three ships coming in at table end. ,,170 The TBS operator relayed the message to the radio control room. Incredibly, the message did not reach the bridge, POSSibit because was busy ordering course changes to other ships in the grout. Thus the northern group lacked critical intelligence as Mikawa's ships plowed through the murky night. At 0150 searchlights snapped on, illuminating the three northeri Allied cruisers, Riefkohl, still under the illusion hat the ships were his own, flashed recognition lights and broadcast over the rs, "We are friendly!"171 The Japanese responded by letting loose with full salvos. On an evening full of calamities, nbne was more tragic than the scene played out on bridge. Aboard the souJemmost Allied cruiser, gunnery officer Lieutenant Commander William H. TrueJen manned his upper director station as the first shells hit. Twice he requested that thl bridge sound general quarters but the acting bridge officer, Lieutenant commJer James R. Topper, did not give the 169 170 171 Warner, pp. 142-146. As quoted in p. 146. As quoted in p. 147. 121

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episode, could take it no longer: on his Jwn volition he sounded the alarm himself Astoria's of no facts, with his ship already undt fire, Greenman demanded of Topper, "Who sounded the general alarm? Mr. Tlpper, think we are firing on our own ships. hasty. firing! Astoria bickered, Truesdell watched the enemy jps close in. He shouted from his "Japanese cruisers! Request permission t1 resume firing The bridge talker frantically relayed the message to captai1 Greenman: "Mr. Truesdell said, 'For God's them. ibid.,

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Astoria superstructure and started a raging inf,l amidship, providing a wonderful point of their searchlights and seemingly disappeJ into the darkness. and the eastern line ofJapanese Lers, took deadly aim From a range of of shells forced the abandonment of engineering leas. A hit on the mainmast cut communications. Most of the batteries wlere put out of action. managed Kinugasa's Chokai. The 8-inch shell exploded in a forward tuLet, splitting an 8-inch gun and killing twenty men.'" glided to a halt, a burninJ mass of metal. At 0216 Greenman ordered everyone onto the bow of the ship. A setnd group huddled aft. Although the Japanese launched several torpedoes, nonr scored Peppered with

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Of all the ships lost that night, absorbed the most punishment and suffered the most spectacular demise for the Allies. Captain Samuel N. Moore manned his bridge as the Japanese searclilights illuminated his cruiser. After flashing recognition lights, Moore received two over TBS: Increase speed to 15 knots and fire on searchlights.The captain gave the order to commence firing, but his battery crews were not ready. At 0153 shells from landed on the aft deck. Several hits crashed into the ship's superLcture. Ammunition ignited in one of the 5-inch batteries, and they began to "bum fike roman candles. ,,'" Another shell blew up a float plane that the crew had unsuccessfully tried to eject into the ocean. Gasoline spread everywhere and the other four fiot planes, all fully loaded with gasoline, created an enormous fire aft. liThe ship las lit up like a city, commented one sailor. The eastern group of Japanese cruisers continued their deadly fusillade. Now the western group joined in as well. and guided by searchlight, pumped in more shells, catcJng in a deadly crossfire. With the rear turret out, the American cruiser COull not respond to the western Japanese ships. Ahead of also reCeivJ tremendous punishment from gunfire and 177 178 Frank, p. Ill. As quoted in As quoted in Warner, p.I63.

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torpedoes. The nighttime slugfest produ ,ed an array of shells and tracers; explosions and fires lit up the sky. An officer aboarJ the stated: Such counter efforts merely made a colorful spectacle, and gave us no concern. by second, however, the range decreased, and now we could actually distinguish the shapes of running along the decks of the enemy ships. [The fight was getting to close quarters. 180 Inadvertently, the Japanese cruisers swep close to swerved hard to avoid collision. let loose with 1rything, including machine-gun fire, into the blazing cruiser as the range closed preciPltouSIY. astern of turned to starboard, separating from the Japanese line. 181 Either to avoid collision with or as a vain attempt to get out of the Japanese kill zone, Moore turned his ship hard to starboard, aiming it directly at the Japanese eastern cruisers. He yelled to his fire-control teams, IIWe are going doJn between them -Give them hell! 11182 was the last order heard from bridge] Several8-inch shells from landed on One punched through just behind the bridge, exploding in the oHerations room. Another took out an aviation crane. demise made a vid impression upon crew. One Japanese officer commented: 180 181 182 From a group of three enemy ships the center one bore out and down on us as if irltending to ram. Though her entire hull from amidships was enveloped in flames, As quoted in p. 166. 165. As quoted in Frank, p. 112. 125

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of battle, Chokai targets. 183 however. At 0204 two torpedoes from slammed into port side. At torpedo, this time from struck the ltarboard side at 0216. The crew abandoned ship, went under t 0238. Aboard Captain Riefkhhl realized his awful plight as Japanese shells Vincennes shell loaded its on the Japanese ships. One American shlll hit and put the Japanese cruiser temporarily out of control, swerving to pirt. Another hit near waterline (J;hokai Vincennes Quincy. Astoria Quincy, Vincennes buckled under from the accurate Japane.l barrages. A shell-hit in the hanger ignited Chokai into Vincennes' From the west came Riefkohl, believing these to be friendly, ran up a flag and illuminated it, brt when the Japanese saw the large red

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At 0203 a torpedo from explode in the number one fireroom. A gun deck officer raced to the bridge to tell Riefkohl that no guns still operated. A request to make smoke could not be carried out btse no living engineer could carry out the order. More shells showered the superstructure. Finally around 0215 the Japanese shut their searchlights off of rhe cruiser was finished. Riefkohl ordered the ship abandoned at 0230 and sank at 0258.184 While the battle raged, perfonned poorly. received, and did not, Riefkohl's order to attack at 0152. spotted and tracked a ship to the southeast. A flash lightening revealed the ship to be back to the north, saw the northern cruisers illuminated from searchlights to the east. charged thl-ough the Allied line, passing between and only to nearly COllide with tried to maintain the same course as the cruisers, spitting out 5-inch shells when the opportunity presented itself. To avoid sped up to 30 knots and veered out of the way. The Japanese cruisers ignored these two ships for the most part as they concentrated fire on the Allied cruisers. At 0220 Mikawa signaled, "All ships withdraw. ,,185 The Japanese ships steamed to the northeast out ofSavo soJnd. the Allies' ineffective 184 Frank, pp. 113-114; Morison, States Naval Operations, vol. 5, pp. 48-49. 185 As quoted in Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 5, p. 50. 127

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sentry ship, lay in their path. A searchlight from focused on the destroyer. exchange of gunfire left worse f01 wear. Several shots from the Japanese line hit torpedo tubes, the charthouse, the wardroom, and one of the 5-inch batteries. which had fired torpedoes to no scurried off to the safety of a nearby rain squall. 186 As the Japanese force cleared the channel between Savo and Florida Islands, Mikawa faced a momentous decision. Sliould he regroup and go back after the transports? Or should he not tempt fate 19ain and make good his escape? The original intention of the strike force was destruction of the ships unloading off Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Several factors influenced his decision. His force, especially the eastern cruiser group, was scattered. Reforming his ships into line would take at least a couple of hours. By then the wea er would clear and daybreak would be near. Mikawa believed attack by carrier aircraft to be inevitable. He had no idea that Fletcher's force had fled. Mikawa still to bait the carriers north into the range of Japanese land-based aircraft. The enJunter with may have put a scare into Mikawa: Were there more unaLunted Allied ships out there? Additionally, Mikawa may have been Jen by the closeness of some ofthe sheIls that had hit ship, especially the one that wJrcked the chartroom. Lack of ammunition may have been a concern, although the force still had about 60 percent of 186 51. 128

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its shells bis Cho i hits, but many were duds and failed to dJonate. took a couple of bits that of the The force was not home yet, however. Srbmarine spotted four of the cruisers Kako, Despite its mangled bow, could ltill steam. limped home after its narrow escape from Mikawa's ships. iires on proved too to put Selfridge of finishing off the canberJ. Selfridge Selfridge Canberra after one torpedo bit, two ran deep and to detonate and a fourth exploded in the wake of another destroyer, wbich just arrived at the scene. mistook for a Japanese ship and lobbed letts at it from 5,000 yards, scoring several

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Ellet Canberra Astoria explosion in a forward magazine rocked ship. The ship began taking serious water Astoria 1939 the ship, and Turner, had delivered rhe remains of Ambassador Hiroshi Saito to of goodwill. .l1.storia August. The expected Japanese air a!tacl never came. Apparently the planes searched for the carriers only to find haPIlss still limping from the area, which the planes bombed and sank. By mid-aftlmoon sufficient supplies, enough ammo for For the Allies, the Battle of Savo Island was a total, abject defeat. The Allies lost heavy cruisers and Heavy cruiser of the on ". 1,077 men were lost Ld 700 wounded. "9 This does not include

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casualties from that went down w'th all hands, some 233 men. Any survivors from the air attack would have drifted at sea until claimed by dehydration, delirium, or sharks. Although the loss of heavy cruiser tempered Japanese enthusiasm somewhat, no ship was lost or seriously tmaged during the surface encounter. Including casualties from apanes, losses were 129 killed and 85 wounded.19O Like Pearl Harbor, Savo Island prmpted an official investigation. The "Hepburn Report" listed the obvious reasons for defeat, among them misplaced confidence in the radar capabilities of and inadequate readiness, failure to recognize the threat of attack, Jnd failures in communication and leadership. '91 Captain B ode, who faced slriOUS criticism of his performance, committed suicide two weeks after Jerrogation. By the time the report reached Admiral Ernest King's desk, however, thj prevailing sentiment was that there was so much blame to spread around that to punish anyone particular officer would be unfair. In the words of one investigating officer) does not necessarily follow that because we took a beating somebody must be the goat. 11192 Admiral Kelly Turner later reflected that the Americans considered 1emselves technically and mentally superior to the Japanese. overconfidence in American abilities and a corresponding Florida: Exposition Press of Florida, Inc.[1987), p. 30. 189 Frank) p. 121. 191 Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 5, p. 62. 192 As quoted in Frank) p. 123. 131

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prejudiced view of Japanese capabilities created, ... a fatal lethargy of mind which induced a confidence without readiness... this psychological factor a cause of our defeat, was even more important than the element of surprise. 11193 Although Mikawa scored a spectLlar tactical triumph, his was not a strategic victory. Had he returned into IronbottOJ! Sound and taken out the transports, it is very likely that the "Watchtower" camp gn would have been snuffed out before the American offensive could begin. As it stlod, Guadalcanal would soon be the scene of six bloody months of fighting, eventually claiming 7,000 American and 30,000 Japanese lives as the war's tide turned. Investigating the differences of the heavy and light cruisers during the Battle of Savo Island is difficult. The battle primry was fought between the heavies. Both of the Allied light cruisers served in the eastern screen away from any action. In hindsight, Crutchley should have let des+yers troll for subs while concentrating cruisers to the western side of Savo Island. Light cruisers and not only found themselves at the rear of the JapanLe line but became separated as well. The southern group of Allied ships were disJayed and demolished by the time the Japanese lights passed by. After the Japlese split forces, the light cruisers formed the western group, trailing and did tangle briefly with destroyer putting the smaller, more manLverable ship temporarily out of action. 193 As quoted in 132

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Tenryu Yubari foremost, the battle showed what would be like: convoluted, confusing, chaotic s1ugfests often fought at exlrem+ close range. The range advantage of the of emptying every barrel on its deJ as the dying charged the Japanese line. it turned out, most of the firing Lcurred inside of 6, 000 yards. The common hidden against the backdrop of Savo IslJd itself Ranging and determining targets in such conditions was more difficult with Je big, cumbersome 8-inch guns employed by

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remarkable. The same study revealed only a 2.1 percent accuracy rate for the Allies. 194 Such inaccuracy can hardly be considered desirable or acceptable. Six-inch guns firing at a rate of ten times a minute would zeJ in on targets much more quickly than the bigger guns that could fire once every twlnty seconds or so. case is moot: the Australian ship sank without firing a tot from its main battery. The 8-inch shell, when it did score, landed with devastating effect. The damage wrought by 8-inch shells cut colunications, rendered batteries inoperative, peppered superstructures, ignited fires, .L caused the general mayhem, destruction, casualties that reduced Allied fighJ capacities. in all likelihood, was not hit by a torpedo but destroyed entirel} by gunfire.195 Shellfire completely demolished as well. is unlikely that would have survived even had the ship not suffered three Long-Lance h' s. But even so, the illuminating fires provided Japanese torpedomen with a nic1e, bright target in the dark night. Only was primarily lost to during the battle. Japanese shells were made more effective by the large amount ammo stores, fully-fueled float planes, and gassed-up motor boats that littered the decks of all the Allied ships. Once ignited, they fueled the firestorIDs that engulfed each the ships. the wake of the battle, the Allies enacted a number of protocol meatres which included the scraping off of 194 Kilpatrick, pp. 28-29. Note: Thelnumber ofS-inch star shell rounds used is unknown. Were possible to account for illumination rounds, accuracy rates would increase for 195 There IS consIderable debate on tHis tOPiC. See Frank, p. 105, fn. 8. 134

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Tenryu, all likelihood, The Japanese light cruiser reJorted engaging a destroyer, "using searchlights, and sinking the ship. ,,"6 did not sink, but the shell hit the number 4 gun shelter, ignited powder, ,eloped part of the ship flames and put two Ralph Talbot. Tenryu searchlight, and fired from a range of 4,500 to 6,000 Talbot, ships American, flashed recognition lighJ The Japanese checked fire momentarily, as passed at close range. Thiky seconds later, opened up again, escape. could manage to respond IWith only one torpedo. The 6-inch guns of Yubari destroyer. Had not fOItUi+Sl Y hid a nearby rain cloud, might of the 196 197

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as they went after the "big boys," another reason why only 6-inch guns scored hits on destroyers. In hindsight, the errors of the Allirs were myriad. Questions of communication, reconnaissance, and readiness aside, what of Crutchley's deployment? Crutchley believed that no more foJ cruisers could operate effectively together within the sound. If the Allied force coJisted of eight light cruisers instead of six heavies and two lights, might his defense plan have been different? Crutchley seemingly banished his light cruisers to tHe eastern screen, obviously placing his faith in his S-inch guns to repel any surface attlck. Ship size and crew makeup primarily determined his deployment, however. and had never operated with the Australian cruisers befLe. In addition, in the hope of defending the three approaches to the transports, crutcrey split his ships and placed cruisers at the three entrances. A United States Naval "Secret Information Bulletin" written after the battle determined the soundness ofthis sJategy to be lacking: is felt that the basic conbept of the defense of our transports off GuadalcanalS-9 August was wrong. Our cruisers should have been kept concentrated, and our destroyer scouts, in as a number as could be, should have been projected far enough westward to ensure timely and sure watning. The fallacy of dividing defending forces is as old war.198 The report also found fault with choice of patrolling in a five-by-five-mile box formation. single line of lruisers, steaming perpendicular to the 198 quoted in Warner, p. 216. 136

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western approaches, would have been m0re effective. As the striking force entered through either channel, the Allies might Jave had the chance to cross the Japanese This strategy worked with devastating effect for the Japanese at Tsushima in 1905 and later for the Americans at the Battle Gulf All historians Denis Peggy Warner wrote: If the concentrated force in line ahead had crossed the T on Mikawa'r squadron, the problem that Crutchley envisaged in leading an Allied force of more than four heavy ships woJld have been minimized, even without voice communication. The ships that sank that night would, in all have been Japanese, not American and Australian. The aforementioned naval "Secret Bulletin" stated as much: "Speed is the best protection for cruisers and destroyers> high-speed patrol west of Savo Island should have been more effective. 11200 Rear Admiral Norman Scott followed this advice effectively two months later during the sLond Battle of Savo Island, or as it later came to be known, the Battle of Cape Esperance. 199 236. 200 As quoted in p. 216. 137

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position on GuadalcanaI. Japanese and lerican troops, weapons, equipment and supplies poured in as much as circumstJces allowed. Vice Admiral Ghormley met a request for reinforcements on the island Jy sending an infantry regiment aboard The two transpol, escorted by three destroyers and three destroyer-minelayers, departed from N oJmea on the morning of 8 October 1942. went well, Admiral Tumer's convoy JOuld arrive at Lunga Roads early on 13 October. with the initial landings in lugus!' Allied command expected these operations to be contested. Ghormley aSligned three surface groups the job of escorting the transport group. Aircraft ler task force cruised some 180 miles southwest of Henderson Field. Anlther group, led by the battleship protected the eastern flank taking station some fifty miles east of GuadalcanaI. Rear Admiral Norman scoh,s battle group consisted of heavy cruisers Salt Lake City San Francisco, Boise Helena,

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destroyers. Admiral Ghormley's orders for Scott: "Search for and destroy enemy ships and landing craft. ,,'01 Scott's task las a daunting one. First, had to quickly develop an American strategy for the nighttime surface fighting. The Imperial Navy had refined and practiced its techniques for decades. Scott had less than a month to prepare force. Secondly, throughout be Navy permeated an intense pressure make amends for the Americans' path eli, performance at Savo Island. In late September and early October Admiral Cliester Nimitz, commander of all Pacific forces, visited American bases in the sOllmons. His clear message: "We the next one! ,,202 Scott developed a plan which his ships rehearsed for a period of about three weeks. Task Force 64 would lurk south rf Japanese land-based bomber range until mid-afternoon when it would make its way to Rennell Island. If aerial reconnaissance or coast watchers spotted Japanese ships making their way down the Slot, then Scott's ships would race north to reach Savo Island about an hour before midnight. The Allied ships would sail line-ahead, with dlstroyers in both the van and the rear. Once radar contact had been made (all of his Jps carried radar), float planes would be launched to find and drop flares over the remy. Destroyers would illuminate opponents with searchlights at the first OI!lportunity. When possible, destroyers would attack large ships with torpedoes and smlller ships with gunfire. Cruisers would fire 201 202 As quoted in Morison, United Naval Operations, vol. 5, p. 148. As quoted in Kilpatrick, p. 38. Efuphasis not added. 1139

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If the simple and pragmatic, but with some flaJ.. For example, the nine-ship chain was over three miles length. Targets within the destroyers' firing range would most likely have difficulty employing torpedoes. ThlSOO-yard spacing between ships left very San Francisco, were Jted with the older SC radar, which was the same type that and u.ld so ineffectively at Savo Island. The newer class light cruisers bore imProJd "SG" surface radar. The SG type was much more accurate, picking up ships at range, and was much less prone to radar. Unfortunately, many Allied commLders, bred to maturity during the Age of Jutland, were distrustful of this newfouJ technology. Many preferred the tried and true method of star-shell fired from a S-iJch gun to illuminate an enemy at night. In short, they simply didn't realize what the1 had yet. Moreover, Allied radio intelligence detectors

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SG frequencies from distances outside the SO's effective radar range.203 Therefore, to give away their position. Since the Battle of Savo Island, tIle Japanese generally chose to deliver men and supplies to Guadalcanal piecemeal. Ships landed the materiel at night off Cape Esperance and scurried northward befor, sunrise. In early October, planes from Henderson Field had some success in slowing down the "Tokyo Express," much to Vice-Admiral Mikawa's chagrin.204 He Jd his air chief, Vice Admiral Jinichi Kusaka, devised a plan to deal with the pesky "callus Air Force," while reinforcing ground troops at the same time."" The Tokyo Elpress would run a large delivery of weapons, supplies men to Tassafaronga Point 111 October. Seaplane tenders and would transport four 150nun holitzers, two field guns, an anti-aircraft gun, various equipment, ammunition, and 280 men. Six destroyers served as escorts, five of which also carried infantrymen on deCK. Bombardment Group, a second flotilla, would make its way down the Slot to fiJ on Henderson Field with 8-inch shells armed with timed fuses to scatter the shrapnel aLveground, putting any airplanes there out of commission. To divert American Planis from attacking the ships during daylight, 203 As an analogy, imagine a lighthou1se searchlight. One could see the searchlight from a much greater distance than one cOlli ld illuminate an object within the search light's effective range. 204 Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 5, p. 149. 205 "Cactus" was the official code-wdrd for the GuadalcanallTulagi region. 1141

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would arrive smash the fighters as ,ly refueled on the ground.'" and the sporadic arrival of Japanese forl prevented a coordinated attack. Over fifty American fighters met the challenge, but rey tangled only briefly due to heavy cloud fighters were still aloft. The Japanese alck planes ineffectively bombed only jungle. Regardless, the diversion successfully pJvented any air attack on the two groups of ships that wound their way down the SIal. B-17 reconnaissance aircraft spotted the Like Task Force 64, the JapaneSelBombardment Group rehearsed its actions Japanese Imperial Navy. was they, n01 the Americans, who displayed overconfidence and complacency at cap1 Esperance. 206

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TABLE 11.1: ORDER OF BATTLE. CAPE ESPERANCE Japanese Imperial N ayY Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto Heavy Cruisers (3) class) 7,213 tons / six 7.9-in. /34.5 kts. class) class) Performance numbers as Destroyers (2) Allied South Pacific Command207 Rear Admiral Norman Scott Heavy Cruisers (2) class) 9,242 tons / ten 8-in. /32.5 kts. class) 10,298 tons / nine 8-in. /32.7 kts. Light Cruisers (2) class) class) 9,923 tons / 15 6-in. /32.5 kts. Destroyers (5) A moonless, slightly overcast sky, occasional distant flashes of lightning and a mild 7 knot breeze greeted Task Force 61 as it took a healthy berth around Guadalcanal's northwest coastline. the cape, Scott slowed to 20 knots to reduce wakes. Each cruiser carried only one float plane. The rest had been transferred off as fire hazards: the hard ILson learned at Savo. Mimicking Mikawa's strategy, Scott ordered each float plane ILnched. Two shot off into the night without mishap. failed to receive the ordir and dumped the plane in the ocean as a fire hazard. At 2159 plane, after launch, caught fire when flares in the 207 All ships belonged to the US 143

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minutes. Some worried: have the Japanlse detected our presence? Scott ordered his ships into attack formation at 2223. DesLoyers and led, followed by cruisers and Destroyers brought up the rrar. Some fifty miles north, Goto's fOre steamed toward Savo Island. flagship, Aoba, Furutaka Kinugasa Aoba Hatsuyuki Fubuki starboard. Lookouts spied a distant yelldw glow toward the cape's coast. Although the burning float plane cLsed the illumination, Goto assumed the light to be a flare or message from the rekorcement group, and he responded with blinker lights. lack of response raised 1 few eyebrows on bridge, but Goto dismissed the incident. The Japanese misled other warning signals of the approaching attack. A Japanese sub spotted Task Fole 64 at 2122, but quickly dived without J

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A series of events unfolded that ruld have been disastrous for the Americans, but instead resulted Admiral's Scott's risers crossing the of the Japanese line. One of Scott's two remaining float Plan, reported at "One large, two small the message? Earlier reports indicated ttt Scott would arrive prior to the Japanese ships. Was this a second group or had eTlier reconnaissance been faulty? the off the plane reported the enemy ships to be sixtLn miles east of Savo, one mile north of about course change to the southwest, 23r degrees. Normally the lead ship, in Farenholt, Everyone heard the order correctly with Jne exception: Scott's own conning party simultaneous 209 ibid., Ibid.

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Phase Map reproduced from Frank, p. 3 Used by permission of William 1. Clipson. 46

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movement. Aboard a perplexed and somewhat unnerved Captain Edward J. Moran watched as turned inside of the destroyers and not in their wake. If Moran followed the destroyers is ordered, would be alone and out of formation. If he turned and followed the flagship, then the destroyers would be pitched 'out in right field" and ofthe battle-line.'" Following centuriesold protocol, Moran ordered to follow as did the rest of the Allied line.To regain position in the vk increased speed to 25 knots. As the task force steamed southJest, crew operated their SG radar in violation of Scott's orders. By 2332 they tracked targets some 27,700 yards distant bearing course 120 degrees at a speed ofB5 knots. radar operators did not report the contact. They assumed scott'1 change in course meant he was aware of the ships. At 2341 reported, "Surface radar contact bearing 298," to the northwest of the Allied ships.215 Scott, with his primitive SC radar, had no such contact. Was the radar contact actually his own destroyers? added further confusion when it reported contact with ships but reported them as five "bogeys," the 213 As quoted Kilpatrick, p. 48. 214 Morison in 1949 wrote that in a maneuver such as the one ordered by Scott, the destroyers make a column tub to allow the lead cruiser, in this case to initiate the column change. The lead destroyers then come up the redirected battle-line's starboard side to retake their position in the van. Morison declared "nothing unusual" about the procledure. See Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 5, p. 155. Others stated ito error had been made. See Frank, p. 299; Kilpatrick, p. 48. 215 As quoted in Kilpatrick, p. 49. ]47

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usual name given to unidentified airCraftr Scott ordered his destroyers to retake FarenhQ\lt Laffey Duncan, Boise Helena Japanese fleet. Batteries received coorrulates, and shells were loaded into breeches. of the forward guns! Even canJankerous SC radar picked up the Japanese flotilla. The commander ordered go1 trained, but placed little faith in the of the literally in the dark with regard to the IaPrese. Helena's of Rear confusion and the destroyer's unknown wJereabouts, Captain Gilbert C. Hoover 216 217 218 ibid. ibid., \

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abruptly demanded, "What are we going lo do, board them?"'" At 2345 Hoover radioed Scott +ard but once again protocol problems plagued the Americans. Using rtandardized signal procedure, Hoover meanings. "Roger" usually meant "messJge received," but under the existing signal procedure an unquaIified "Roger" also mLt "Open fire." perplexed Hoover repeated message less than a minute Jter: "Interrogatory Roger" Once again ::: ::::: fired full broadsides at the lead cruiser. The rapid-firing 6-inch guns other cruisers. took initial salvo a firing signal and joined in the barrage. prior to first salvo, Japanese 100Luts spotted three ships at a distance of of the 219 220

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disbelieving Goto ordered a course chan,e to starboard and once more flashed onA ba. Helena's perspective, the whole horizon must hav been filled with gun flashes. Fully realizing Aoba starboard. A projectile bit on the bridge laused numerous casualties, mortally wounding Goto as well. Two legends 10und the Rear Admiral's death. The first bastards," a disgusted reference to his ol transport group which he believed had could die in peace as his force had sunk to American cruisers. Some speculate Scott, upset that he had lost coJand and control ofbis force, ordered "Cease firing our ships," at 2347, and then Visitej bridge to ensure 221 222 Ibid.

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of his repeated the message as some ships eithl did not receive, or chose to ignore, the order. At 2349 Scott radioed Captain Tlbin aboard "How are you?" To which Tobin responded, "[Destroyer sqJ.dron 12 is okay." A more clarifYing "Farenholt McCalla Duncan the situation by radio was going nowherJ Scott ordered firing ceased once again and asked destroyers to tum on recognition 11ts. Spotting colors close to The concern for his destroyers wl well-founded. As fire commenced, was caught halfway up the fcan column's starboard side, with cruiser briefly illuminated the ship. Listing five to port, cut across the bow San Francisco Laffey, stuck in the crossfire, wisely went full spt astern and crossed behind out of Duncan offofAoba's bow. still attempting its lonely altack, brought guns to bear, while preparing to fire torpedoes. Unfortunately for the US cruisers mistook the gun flashes

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DuncJn 225 eventually consumed the wrecked hulk J the crew ditched into the water. To the Japanese, fire never to abate during Scott's fOUT minute search Aoba, swing around to starboard 180 degrees. witnessed plight and also turned starboard, covering the flagship's LthdraWal. now bore the brunt of American gunfire and by 2150 was struc, several times. A hit on the torpedo tubes Fubuki where, "At 2,000 yards her radar image 1es her look like a battleship. ,,'" Searchlights quickly revealed the target 1d an intensive barrage at near point-blank Fubuki Kinugasa intelligently veered hard to pot and away from the Allied line, suffering ,,227 Fubuki, 225 226 227 Ibid., Ibid., ibid.,

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successfully. "". The combative dLpite several direct orders, did not comply Duncan Furutaka Kinugasa, Boise. Although a fire started, amazingly the mabe failed to blow. By diligently following Boise's of powder turned to port and hauled out Ofthi Allied line, its retirement covered by hit the American helvy cruiser three times, but only one hit did any appreciable damage, temporarily sloJog to a speed of 22 knots. 228

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Aoba Kinugasa suffered minimal damage. Ldition to the loss of destroyer the Japanese also lost heavy cruiser when it sank twenty-two miles northwest of McCatla Duncan rescued 195 survivors. American sailors rSed "press-gang tactics" to fish out Japanese retreated to Noumea, American planes 1e air strikes against the retreating Japanese forces. They found two destroJers from Reinforcement Group dispatched to Hatsuyuki Furutaka Fubuki. Heavy cruiser required maior repai1s back in Japan. Heavy cruiser Hatsuyuki, The added destruction of two destroyers lorn a subsequent attack made a decent tally for the suddenly-vindicated Americls. The Japanese "sank" destroyer Salt Lake City Boise Farenholt. The attack did not prevent Japanese transborts from delivering men materiel to Guad alcanal. Admiral Turner's two transt0rlS delivered over 3,000 men as intended 229 Ibid.,

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designation for an unknown surface targlt instead of the misnomer "bogey" used by during the action. Other US coLders adopted Scott's formula as a tactical gospel for defeating the Japanese. unfoinatelY, some believed Cape Esperance battles. Analysis also glossed over other lhOrlCOmingS of Scott's plan, such as the Scott's feet, however. With limited time Ld resources, he prepared for executed a simple, effective battle plan that met wil success. For the Japanese, Cape of invincibility. Solomons campaign: chaotic, confused, llose-range slugfests. Additionally, the battIe of the Salt Lake City San

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expended 296 and 270 S-inch shells, respectively. The rapid-firing spent S03 6-inch shells; another JSO. Thus, 566 8-inch shells were fired compared to 1383 6-inch shells, not surpksing considering the smaller gun's rate offire was almost three times that of the 8-inchJ One estimate assigned the Americans a fire-accuracy rate of just over 5 percent. Although considered a terrible gunnery record by some, it better than doubled jerican precision at Savo Island.'" Perhaps such an accuracy rate should be called successful considering the conditions of a nighttime surface encounter. Visibility is limited. Smoke from gunfire makes matters worse, especially for the ships in a column's rear. Range finder operators peer through scopes into the gloom and darkness Only!1 0 lose their night vision to gun flashes and searchlights. Faulty fire-control also is t blame. Both and 8-inch accuracy shoula be noted. The heavy cruiser benefited from turning to port and away from the Allied line. Thus disengaged, gunners were able to take aim unhindered by Searlhlights, gunfire and the like. They displayed some impressive marksmanship by lanJ several hits on both and from ranges of around 8,500 to 9,5+ yards. Even skipper, Captain 230 Kilpatrick, pp. 70-7l. His estimate of 173 hits out of3,184 total rounds fired from cruiser primary and secondary batteries is, at best, an educated guess. 231 At the time, the US ships used radar-directed fire. The Japanese ships did not possess radar. i156

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Kinugasa ship's death blow. No American shell iJted a magazine, blew up a boiler room or disabled a ship's steering. other wordJ, no lone hit clearly vindicated the 8-inch gun's superior punching power. ank appear to have been overwhelmed by an inundation of shells rer than any particular Boise's storage protocol, the light cruiser might lve been blown to bits when the 8-inch shell from detonated within the mail fore magazine. For the Americans, fire-reduction measures enacted after sa,o Island successfully minimized damage. Aoba Had these same hits been from an 8-inch probably would not have survived. own T could just as easily have been crosloo had he delayed his column tum for a few moments. But what some call lucky, ols call good. Admiral Scott's forces were fresh, prepared, and organized; much mole so than Crutchley's. Goto's languid

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command and his lackadaisical attitude regarding the enemy's potential resulted in Japanese defeat more than any other factor 158

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The diversionary effort in the Alltian Islands by the Imperial Navy to lure American carriers north, away from MidtaY and toward their destruction, failed of Midway succeed in securing several of the Aleutils, including the large western islands of Attu and Kiska. the Guadalcanal increased in importance and against the I apanese. Combined with adtse Arctic weather and terrain difficulties, By the spring of 1943, American lttacks intensified in an attempt to break the fragile sea supply link upon which the IapLese garrisons were totally dependent. The campaign bore fruit when the Iapanese nar commander, Vice Admiral Boshiro of which

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of which were in short supply.'" HOSOgtya organized a second convoy consisting of Asaka Maru Maru, of two was sent ahead of the main with a single destroyer escort in order of the off the of Bering and its attending destroyer. Early on the morning of 26 March ships were instead American, Hosogaya Jdered the two transports to continue northward while his screening force tumeb south to meet the enemy. of the 233 of the Ibid.,

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Omaha Richmond. Salt Lake City from repairs at Pearl Harbor, rendezvoJed with the flotilla on 22 March. City's weapons, new gun directors, and added ldar technology. Having earned the nickname due to its prbnounced sheer, was now more top-heavy and prone to rolling in r,lgh water ever.'" The four destroyers long, steaming in a zig-zag pattern at a spled of 15 knots. At 0730 destroyer radar picked up three surface lntacts approximately 14,000 yards to the north. Initially the American ships spottJ the two transports and a destroyer. Ibid., 236 of History of United

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Excitement swept through the task force. McMorris immediately ordered his caravan to converge on his flagship. Even other masts began to appear over the horizon, McMorris still believed, "A Rolan holiday was in prospect. ,,237 American Intelligence led MeMo ris to believe that the Japanese convoy would screen the Japanese transports, but he in way expected what he found. Excitement turned to fear as more and more Japanese warships rose over the horizon. Worse still, the Japanese ships were slightly to the nolheast and blocked the path to the safety of American bases and air cover. The hUlltefs had suddenly become the hunted. One gunnery officer remembered, "The chickens had all turned to wolves and the door was locked. ,,238 During the inter-war period, the General Board of the US Navy foresaw future sea battles fought in broad daylight and .J long range. Although meeting the pre-war conditions envisioned by American Plannls, the Battle of the Komandorski Islands was an anomaly and a throwback to the diys of Jutland. No other Pacific theater cruiser battle was fought under like condiJions. The battle lasted several hours. Aircraft, with the exception of one or two Japanese float planes, were not involved. Against a force twice as powerful as his own, McMorris would have to depend upon the 8-inch guns of a tinclad treaty cruiser t save ships and his skin. 237 238 As quoted in Lorelli, p. 68. As quoted in p. 70. 162

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Attu Convoy Screen Nachi (Myoko Maya (Takao Tama (Kuma Abukuma (Nagara Hatsushimo, lkazuchi, Inazuma, Wakaba TaskForce 16.6 Salt Lake City (Pensacola Richmond (Omaha Bailey, Coghlan, Dale, Monaghan disposition and strength. Admiral McMJriS mulled over his options. The Japanese heavy cruisers were larger and better projected than his own. maximum speed 002 knots ranked beloJ rated speed of over 35 Richmond, of the of World disadvantage in terms of numbers. to one American officer, McMorris. turned east and accepted battIe, "He'd hajj gotten blown upl"'" His only real option 239 ibid.,

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was to attempt retirement by steaming wrst for a fighting withdrawal. he got lucky, maintained 15 knots while his remaining ships endeavored to catch up. The Bailey, O:oghlan, Richmond, Salt Lake City, Dale, Monaghan. led the train ofJapanese ships, fonlwed succession by Abukuma, Wakaba, Hatsushimo, IkazucJi Inazuma. was excellent. At 0840 opened on at a range of 20,000 yards. light cruiser. then focused on Lke as the other American ships caught up to its flag, closing formation. The JapLese heavy cruiser also launched eight ibid.

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S s 3 J Map 12.1: DftL Island,'" 241 Map reproduced from Dull, p. 263. Note: Times listed on map are relative to Japanese combat reports, not American used in text. 165

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McMorris increased speed to 25 rots, allowing to reply with 8-inch guns at 0842. also firer although the distance exceeded the effective range of the light cruiser's smaller guns'T As the two columns steamed toward each other, range closed rapidly. At 0845 McMorris steered his column 40 degrees to port, almost due southwest. When the range Jetween the two forces continued to close, McMorris increased speed to 28 knots. 0850 received the first of three hits, probably all 8-inch shells. One struck nelr the bridge, cut battery director communications, and started a blaze that was quickly extinguished. The second hit and damaged the mainmast. A third shell decimated a catapult, exploding in a torpedo storage compartment. By 0900 the Long-Lances launched by at the battle's outset reached the American flotilla. Lookouts on reported torpedoes passing under the bows. Discounting the possibility of such a weapon traveling up to 20,000 yards, the disbelieving McMorris chose not to take bvasive action. The decision almost meant the end of his flagship. As one blUejackJ recounted after the battle: Someone on the starb0 ardl side yelled, 'Torpedo amidships. I looked straight down into the water and saw the torpedo wake con!J.e out from under the ship and head out to sea--away frorb. the enemy.243 Another yeoman, a phonetalker on bridge, confirmed the story: 242 Morison wrote that Richmond did not fire at this point. Lorelli reported that Richmond's log states otherwise. See Mdrison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 7, p. 26, esp. fn. 6.; Lorelli, p. 79. 243 As quoted in Lorelli, p. 83. 166

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Standing up on that foretop, I know I saw a torpedo wake go right under the Bridge of the at almost a 90 degree angle It was a beautiful shot. It was just too deep. When the action was over and I tried to make the point... we ere kind of pooh-poohed by the brass.244 Fortunately for Task Force 16.6, even Long-Lance could malfunction on occasion. Hosogaya turned his ships southTest and a running, long-range duel developed between the 8-inch cruisers. At 0920 a Hit on caused a large spout offlame; the cruiser's speed abated momentarily. crew busied themselves with repairing electric leads to their gun directors. earlier hit forced to check fire for several minutes. Hosogaya chose to steam in a zig-zag pattern that permitted full broadsides but negated the 2 knot aJantage that his heavy cruisers enjoyed. and the four destroyers from the Japanese line and tracked the Americans from the north. At 0935 the srps closed to 20,000 yards only to be repelled by guns.245 By steaming away from the Japanese ships, fore turrets rarely had opportunity to fire. At 0945 MeMoliS radioed giving Captain Bertram J. Rodgers complete freedom ofLovement to maximize the heavy cruiser's firepower. now conformed to movements. Rodgers quickly utilized his newfound prerogative. Once again had crept up on the American's starboard side to a range of yards. turned hard to 244 As quoted in pp. 84-85. p. 92. 1167

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starboard, unleashing full broadsides at Zero of eight salvos scored, but amazed Miraculously, no shell or torpedd hit a US ship during the battle's first ninety minutes. Several times the Japanese werl convinced they had scored as of water, Salt Lake City rudder control. The ship veered to starbiard, away from the American line. Crews degrees or less, dangerously limiting the Lericans' maneuverability. The Japanese Abukuma deck, shooting through te side below the waterline. Crews stemmed off sections of the At this point Task Force 16.6 stelrned in a northwesterly direction. the Americans turned south, the Japanese coLd cut them off. McMorris fueed the difficult task of getting his ships home in one Pi1. He could expect help from Anny bombers, 246 Ibid.,

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ordering a smoke-screen. Destroyers and hugged tight to La/re and all three ships made smoke. Japanese gunners continued to fire whenever they could get a glimpse of the AmericJ heavy cruiser. Aided by the cold, Arctic air and minimal wind, the smoke screen paid dividends as Japanese fire lessened. At 1059, however, scored an 8-inch on the starboard catapult and tloat plane. Damage control teams promptly dumped the tlanung wreck and controlled the fire. The fire on deck convinced McMorris to make his move. At 1102 McMorris ordered his flotilla south, course 210 degrees, and increased speed to 30 knots, the fastest speed achieved by ahy American cruisers during the war.As began its turn, another hit rocked the ship at 1103. The shell punched through the ship's port side, deflecting or a propeller shaft, piercing one fuel tank and detonating in another. from stem to stern and felt like it was literally picked out of the water. ,,'" w.L gushed into the ship, flooding the aft engine room depth of four feet. Blilded by the smoke, and continued westward for several minutes, rnaware of the American's southward tum. McMorris steered due south at 1108. and fired several torpedoes, to no avail. At 1115 the Japanese ships turned south in pursuit. Internal flooding, some 700 to 1,(1)00 tons of water, caused to list 5 degrees. In some spaces, the water reached a depth of five feet. At 1125 water Kilpatrick, p. 242. As quoted in Lorelli, p. 113. 169

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ships on a heading of 150 degrees. led, followed by The Salt aft turrets, which had done Je majority of the firing, ran low on 8-inch shells. During full combat conditions, t1o-man teams ran dollies, each loaded with a At 1150, disaster struck During the chaos of attempting to pump water out of the ship, maintain SP.ld, and correct the ship's list, a crew member inadvertently connected the ship's fuellinl to a tank loaded with ballast sea water. The near-freezing Arctic water rushed into thi boilers, immediately putting all of them out. Aboard McMorris received a leries of grim messages from Rodgers: "My speed twenty-two. My speed fourteen.ly speed eight. My speed fOUf. My speed zero! ,,250 the ship coasted to a halt it Lrned to reveal full broadsides to the enemy. raised its "Speed zero" only to have an enemy shell rip right 250

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sat motionless in e water at 1155 with Japanese salvos splashing all about. For its crew, the engine failure was a death warrant. A sense of doom gripped the Americans, now hundleds of miles from home or help. As to their fate, an officer aboard declared, "It s not a question of if, it's a question of when. ,,251 On bridge, Cjtain Rodgers somberly shook hands with his command staff and said, "Well, I guess tfuis is it. ,,252 Many men chose not to don life jackets: the frigid Arctic waters would claim them well before any rescue could arrive. braced itselffor the immilent approach of the Japanese ships. As one gunner recounted: One of the firecontrolme turned to me and said, 'Well, I guess it won't be too long now, maybe when they get a little closer we can take a ,few with us.' I replied, 'You may be right on both All I could think of was McMorris :rlorn atrempt to save the heavy cruiser, to which the commander only responded, "Execute. ,,254 followed by whle1ed about at flank speed and sped right for the Japanese. trailed another h,ooo yards back. remained behind, continuing to make smoke and screen for As the ships made their valiant charge, destroyer commander Cap1tain Ralph Riggs radioed his ships, "Prepare 251 252 253 254 As quoted in quoted in p. 124. quoted in pp. 123-124. As quoted in p. 129. i71 \

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your torpedoes. Target is the big boys. T Everyone understood the destroyer charge to be an act of desperation. According to one observer aboard "There wasn't a dry eye on the bridge when they went out of sight. ,,256 The Japanese ships combined to launch a terrific fusillade at The American destroyer zig-zagged as tlnmdLous salvoes landed all about. Japanese commander later commented, "I do not Low how a ship could live through the concentration of fire that was brought to bear on the leading destroyer. ,,257 The ship closed to a range of 10,000 yards before a hit ripped into its starboard side. Riggs chanced fate no longer and at 1203 launched his fish from 9,500 yards, a long-shot for American torpedoes. Two shells struck le destroyer at that same moment, ripping holes in the forward fire and engine roo Is. the destroyers retreated, a fourth shell landed on The trajectory was so ow that the projectile simply carved a groove in the deck before skidding to halt witho t detonating. With all due haste and trepidation, sailors quickly rolled the unlploded 8-inch shell overboard. Events now unfolded and the folne ofthe battle changed so dramatically as to be labeled miraculous by the AmericaJ.. The efforts of engineers was nothing short of heroic. Men Walloled about in the dark, cold belly of the heavy cruiser in a feverish attempt to get the ship started again. Working only by lantern255 256 251 As quoted in p. 13l. As quoted in As quoted in p. 133. 172

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fuel lines Salt Lake With the ship throbbing with life oLe more, Rodgers told the priest excitedly, open! ,,258 away from Task Force 16.6. Even prior fo the destroyer attack, Hosogaya had of the Japanese did not detect ts of power. Ammunition ran low and "he ,,260 feared an air attack, believing it to be 1inent. The Americans may have encouraged Salt Lake City's of regular fired high-capacity rounds at the Japanel. The undyed shells caused while-plumed geysers that looked like bombs dropped aircraft from the low, overcast sky. The Salt Lake City 258 259 of the 260

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Salt Lake City The American ships made for Harbor. Although US airplanes failed to Td or attack either the transports or the retiring warships, McMorris could claim rictOry since three Japanese transports had definitely beaten long odds. The ImJerial Naval Staff summarily relieved Hosogaya of command for his inability tj destroy the Allied ships. required rePairs, as did the badly remained berthed at Japanese yards until [[ May.'" of the an incredibly stiff Japanese defense. Out rf the 2, SOO-strong garrison, only 262 263

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noses. Japan's northern defensive tier soon served as an American base for a series of raids on the Kurile Islands. Hosogaya's strategy of maintaining a long-run gun duel with McMorris was sound enough. The Japanese sported 1nty 8-inch guns to ten. At ranges of over 20,000 yards, however, Japanese gunnery failed to score a pivotal hit. Hosogaya would have been better served by his heavy cruisers by closing to a range of inside 19,000 yards. Thus, he would ha1e been inside of his 8-inch effective range while staying outside of effective range of around 14,000 yards. His 2-to-1 advantage in 8-inch guns was pjany nullified with his contentment to fire pot-shots from extreme long-ranges. Ul1matelY, Hosogaya was unwi11ing to pay the price of closing in on the Allied force, mainly to long reach. Due to the battle's extreme rangef, the 6-inch light cruisers played only a subsidiary role. fired for about twenty-one minutes during the battle's early stages with very little effect. lay have been responsible for the 1103 hit that caused flooding in the engineering spacJ.264 Apparently did not fire a shell or launch a torpedo during the entire encoulter.265 Reportedly during the battle, tW1hUndred 8-inch shells landed within 200 yards of Of the three Tior hits suffered by the American heavy 264 265 266 Dull, p. 264. 262. Friedman, p. 320. 175

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cruiser, two caused relatively minor damage. The 1103 hit, which mayor may not have been an 8-inch shell, is the one that nearly did in The shell exploded within the ship's interior, causi1ilg major flooding and blast damage. Yet even this instance, the ship would have maiftained speed had American engineers not accidentally extinguished all the boilers i, an attempt to correct the ship's list. The amount of damage suffered by seems especially fortuitous when one considers that and fired a tO al of 1,611 8-inch shells and twenty-four Long-Lance torpedoes during the battIer When the US Naval War College later replayed the battle on the game board, tHe results were much different: received a 95 percent damage rating while and suffered only 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively.268 Had classic, daylight surface encounters been more frequent in the Pacific, then the 8-inch gun certainly would have bee, the weapon of choice for cruisers. The advent of air warfare, Japan's emphasis on night warfare, and the geography of the South Pacific, made this battle the excepjion rather than the rule. More than any other Pacific encounter, the Battle of the KomLdorski Islands represented a clear vindication for the 8-inch gun. unfortunltelY for big-gun adherents of the inter-war era, this encounter was also the only one. 267 268 Lacroix, p. 316. Lorelli, p. 159.

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THE BATTLE AUGUSTA BAY the Solomons campaign COllled throughout 1943, Allied forces the island-fortress, Allied command hoPtd to invade Bougainville with the intention of coast, within Empress Augusta Bay, to ,e the least-defended and best-suited for Allied All of Empress Augusta Bay paralleled re situation at Savo Island the previous year. Japanese response. Au American crois, force, having already softened up

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coordinated gunfire at targets and kept tack offriend and foe alike. Upon contacting the enemy, Merrill planned to release his destroyers for an initial torpedo attack. Cruisers would hold fire until the torped es had a chance to strike any unsuspecting enemy. Destroyers would be given frJom of movement, not tied to the battle line. Merrill also intended to maintain a distaJee of 15,000 to 20,000 yards from the enemy in the hopes that his radar-directed fire 10uld prove superior to Japanese visual spotting.269 Unlike Admiral Crutchley, iho kept his force confined within Iron Bottom Sound, Merrill planned to push force approximately twenty miles west of Empress Augusta Bay to allow emil. complete freedom of movement. had taken a year, but the Americans were finrllY adapting to the exigencies of night fighting in and around the Solomons. Merrill's main body consisted offour class cruisers. Although these relatively recent arrivals were essentially an improved version of the class, they differed from their treaty cruiser predecessor in several respects. No longer constrained by treaty tonnage limits, the class cruisers weighed in at 11,93 1 standard tons. Although heavier, the srs were not appreciably larger, which caused problems with stability. Despite mountirg one less triple-gunned turret than the class, the class' additiOnal weight mostly came topside the form of added anti-aircraft weapons, directors and radar arrays. Engineering spaces were 269 Kilpatrick, p. 243. 178

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expanded somewhat, and the addition 0ihigh-pressure steam boilers allowed fire completely enclosed. Armor matched of the class. As military planners Cleveland eventually were completed as light aircrl carriers.'" To contest the Allied landings, 1ar Admiral Sentaro Omori's Torokina of two steamed south from Rabaul. Most of thi flotilla's sbips had seen extensive action and the crews were seasoned veterans. The Lception, light cruiser was completed of World Agano leader. As with other wartime designs, was heavier earlier counterparts; 270 271 Ibid.,

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plane that described, "Many transports Ur0ading troops. The ships actually were retiring minelayers which had put down a protective screen of mines north of Cape Torokina. Another plane reported, 1I0nl cruiser and three destroyers," fifty miles offshore, a gross underestimate of the 11 erican forces.273 At a speed of 3 0 knots, Omori's strike force approached Empres Augusta Bay. Merrill's ships raced north to intercept. TABLE 13.1: ORDER OF BArTTLE, EMPRESS AUGUSTA BAY Japanese Imperial Navy Rear Admiral Sentaro Omori Heavy Cruisers (2) class) class) 10,160 tons / ten 7.9-in. /35.5 kts. Light Cruisers (2) class) 5,195 tons / seven 5.5-in. /35.25 kts. class) 6,758 tons / six 6-in. /35 kts. Destroyers (6) Allied South Pacific Command Rear Admiral Stanton Merrill Light Cruisers (4) class) class) class) class) 11,931 tons / twelve 6-in. /32.5 kts. Destroyers (8) 272 quoted in Samuel Eliot Morisbn, Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier. 22 July 1941-1 May 1944, vol. 6 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II (Boston: Little, Brown and CompanYf 1950; reprint Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1964), p. 308. Hereafter cited as United States Naval Operations, vol. 6. Page citations are to the reprint edition. 273 As quoted in 180

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, 6'tO'S 0 .. Map 13.1: Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, Contact Established274 274 Map reproduced from p. 309. Used by permission of Little, Brown and Company (Inc.). 181

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he steamed across the approach to EmpJrss Augusta Bay. A light wind blew toward Ausburne, Dyson, Stanly Claxton three miles ahead of the main body of lsers. Merrill's flagship led Cleveland, Columbia, Denver, of the My6k6, Haguro, of the Sendai, Shigure, Samidare, Shiratsuyu. Agano, Naganami, Hatsukaze, Wakatsuki ofMy6k6 of about of the light rain caused night optics to fog up. jee minutes later, the van destroyers led by speed of34 knots in an attempt to delJr a torpedo attack otrthe Japanese port quarter. Merrill ordered the remainder 1fhiS ships to make a simultaneous tum 180

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southern destroyer group, now leading ie us cruisers, also detached from the main body and steamed west in an attempt to attack the Japanese starboard flank. Beginning at 0246, the American northt destroyers launched a total of twenty-five torpedoes. Burke radioed Merrill, "TorI1edoes are swimming."275 In the wake of this initial volley, the American destroyers 1arated in the darkness. A full hour passed before Burke was able to gather his ships into fighting order. Merrill initially intended to hold give Burke's torpedoes a chance to score, but a float-plane flare dropped over his column. Merrill commenced radar directed fire with his cruisers at 0249. immediately came under "fierce shellfire," according to Omori.'16 severl6-inch hits landed on jamming the rudder and setting the ship ablaze. EithJ due to the rain of salvos or because had turned too sharply in an attempt to LOid torpedoes, and collided. The two damaged Japanese dltroyers turned completely about. steamed south to link up with one of the other Japanese columns, launching torpedoes at distant gun flashes. Omori ordered a r to starboard at 0250 to get his ships in a line-ahead fighting formation, unwittinglY causing all of Burke's torpedoes to miss. Merrill's cruisers managed to score six 6linch hits on but in a sad display of 275 As quoted in Kilpatrick, p. As quoted in Morison, United Naval Operations, vol. 6, p. 311. 183

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American ordnance, four of the shells W1re duds. The two detonating shells caused only minor damage and a small fire. and made a circle loop as lookouts searched vainly for the enemy. Japanese star shell fell short, f1ng to illuminate the American ships. As Omori completed his loop and turned dUj south, they accidentally crossed into line. The light cruiser sped safely ahead, but attempted to cut between the two heavy cruisers. collided with the destroyer at 0307, shearing off part of the starboard bow and two to pedo tubes. Omori mistakenly believed the smaller ship to be lost. During this time, Merrill's southern cruisers missed a golden opportunity to launch torpedoes at the J panese cruisers from a range of 5,000 yards when the radar plot incorrectly identifie the ships as friendly.278 Japanese star shell fell about ts cruisers, Merrill at 0251 turned to course 200 degrees, maintaining their distance jt an approximate range ofl9,OOO yards.'" At 0301 the American light cruisers made ie first of a series of countennarches that resulted in the flotilla steaming in an enormous figure-eight pattern. As the Japanese heavy cruisers closed, Merrill turned awly to try to stay outside the reach of Long Lance torpedoes. Additionally, the movl helped remove his own southern destroyer 277 278 279 Kilpatrick, p. 245. p. 246; Morison, United Naval Operations, vol. 6, p. 317, fn. 10. Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 6, p. 312. 184

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of the Foote, hastened to catch up to its squadron. AJ 0302 a torpedo intended for the cruisers struck in the stem, leaving the shit dead in the water without power or steering. Cleveland also swerved to avoid COlliSi1.. the confusion, also turned radically, accidentally colliding with The two destroyers managed to maintain his distance from the Japanese Ld to avoid running over hapless again. Omori turned to course 160 degrees to tse on Merrill. The heavy cruisers zeroed in straddled the Americans with star ,lll and salvos. By 0324, suffered three 8-inch hits from three separate SalTS. Although none of the hits struck vital Denver gunners while his own ships continued t1 fire under radar control. By 0329, the

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seven heavy cruisers and twelve destroylrs.'", Three Japanese destroyers were of the SemJai work 11281 Therefore the Japanese commander a general retirement at 0337. Some Haguro My6k6 of Merrill, Spence, Bernard L. Austin led and past the damaged The Japanese Spence and fired eight torpedoes. AlJoUgh two may have hit, did not sink. Samidare Shiratsuyu. senkai, approached. During a brief exchange, n1ther side hit despite nineteen torpedoes being fired from a range of around 3,000 yardJ by the Americans. retired at 0413, fuel line. Thdtcher Converse 280 281 Ibid., Ibid.,

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doomed and sinking The light tser went under around 0400. As his ships shelled a destroyer at 0425, Captain received a surprise message over the TBS, "Goddammit, that's mel" To which Burl. politely responded, "Sony but you'n have Spence friendly fire once more at 0459. This ti{e the culprit was Austin again Hatsukaze, its damaged bow, later fen prey to BurkL destroyers. They closed to a range of Claxton Foote tow, escorted by and The remainder of the force steamed south, passed over attacking the main bldY of cruisers just after 0800.'" Weather threw up a terrific barrage offlak. The JhiPS claimed seventeen planes while Japanese bombs managed only to disable one of catapults.

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During the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, the Americans gave more than they received. had been the only JhiP considerably damaged on the American side. The destroyer was towed back statside for repairs. returned to action within a week despite three shell hits. '" FasUalties were extremely limited for the Americans. The torpedo blast on killed nineteen men and wounded seventeen. The morning air attack wounded an addJiOnal nine men.285 Japanese manpower losses were much higher. went d01n with hands, some 250 men. A Japanese submarine rescued thirty-seven survivors" including the captain, from Although a handful of men reached Boulainville by raft, another 300 were missing. The collision between and did not prevent either ship from screening Japanese counter-landings at '&oromokina later in the week. Although not a resounding material victory, Merrill nonetheless achieved complete success his mission. He proJected the American beachhead with loss. Merrill deftly kept his ships out of lorpedo range, forcing the Japanese to flail blindly at the American's distant gun lasts. Ironically during the battle, it was the Japanese 8-inch heavy cruisers that attJpted to close distance to get within their gunners' visual range. Despite their ordnance, the Americans contented themselves by lobbing radar-directed shells from a distance of eleven miles, safely shrouded in rain and darkness. 284 285 255. Morison, United States Naval Operations, vol. 6, p. 322, fn. 13.

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My6k6 suffered only one or two hits, (four were dud shells), around five. Neither nor any of the deJryers suffered appreciable damage from of 4,591 6-inch shells. Even one gen10UslY assigns the Americans twenty shell-hits an of poor gunnery. The numerous splashes and volleys Omori into thinking that he faced seven heavy cruisers instead of four lights. AdktionallY, American accuracy improved whenever the Japanese ships closed insidb of 10,000 yards, and Omori himself chose not to get inside his own effective torpll range. escape would have been the shells might have ignited fires to profde the Americans with a brightly illuminated Haguro Eendai. was even less competent. The battle the limited effectiveness ofS-inch guns 286 Ibid.,

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during nighttime cruiser/destroyer actions at extreme range. The two heavy cruisers managed to land just three 8-inch hits oj none of which proved consequential. The Japanese fired at least forty-two toJedoes during the battle, all of which missed except the one that found tardy Denied the proper use of his torpedoes, Omori resorted to firing blindly at Merrill's distLt gun flashes. Omori's superiors, disgusted his performance, stripped him of hil command and sent him home where he spent the rest of the war as a torpedo school Jstructor. This battle revealed how the AmLcans had adapted to the contingencies of nighttime fighting in and around the sOllmons. Radar had improved significantly. Tactically, the Americans understood thlt the Long-Lance should be feared, even at ranges greater than 10,000 yards, and hJd adjusted accordingly. Improved reconnaissance exposed the enemy's 10Jtion well before arriving at the scene of battle. The American cruisers exhibited SUPeriJ command and control as they negotiated a series of difficult nighttime maneuvers tJoUghout the battle. took a year, but the Americans finally were developing and tactical answers for the problems posed by Japanese night-fighting Japan had neither the resources nor hn I 1 dd Am N h Impetus to pursue tec 0 oglca Innovatlbn as Its encan enemy. Ig optics previously had given the edge to the IapLese in numerous night battles. the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, improved SG ldar gave the Americans the initiative. 1190

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however. Soon the United States' eno4ous industrial capacity would come into play. Ship after ship, plane after plane, left shipyards and factories, while Japan's of Empress of the

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c The "Cruiser Controversy" occutied political leaders, diplomats, and military of annament and displacement levels doLated the debate. Due in part to logistical needs, service requirements, perceived slp roles, naval strategy, and economic OlO arose over how to deal with the heavy crser that "outclassed" the light cruiser. The greater fighting value, responded by try{g to limit these ships to as few as possible for of the by the treaty process, viewed the 8-inch within their strategy of outranging the

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due to its superior range and heavier Shk. During the Battle of the Java Sea's initial daylight stage, heavy cruisers Jd kept Admiral Doorman's striking force at bay for some time, providing thi Japanese with a tactical advantage. Without long-reaching 8-inch Admiral McMorris' task force might be resting at the bottom of the North pacifir. is much less likely that the British could Graf Spee Exeter Savo Island demonstrated the drastaling capabilities of the 8-inch gun. Given difficult to imagine that the Japanese h.Jvy cruisers could have enjoyed greater Graf Spee, supposedly impervious to such weapoJ. During the Java Sea encounter, a Japanese Exeter, !'ts

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of the disarray. On the evening of 12-13 NoveLber 1942, at the Sea Battle of Guadalcanal, Despite superior range and a herer, deliverable the 8-inch gun did not necessarily represent a quantum-leap in rent over the 6-inch gun, even Ajax Achilles Graf Spee, wounded retirement. On paper rhe engagement was a mismatch in favor of Graf Spee Exeter Mediterranean theater, described by soml as a "guerrilla" war, had very few fullpitched naval battles with combat only oLrring when one side or the other attempted and British cruisers exchanged salvoes. bUite often the British found themselves out-gunned of 8-inch batteries, at the Battle of Calabria or the Battle of 288

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Cape Spartivento. Yet neither action resWted in the loss of British ships. Most of these actions were inconclusive as one si1e or the other declined battle for various reasons. The point to be taken, howevJr that a preponderance of 8-inch over 6-inch guns during daylight encounters did not always translate into an easy victory. Other factors could play an even greater lOle, such as the proximity of reinforcements or the presence of aircraft. The lack of daylight surface encounters in the Pacific served to negate the 8-inch gun's primary strength of superior range. The Solomons campaign produced the majority of nighttime cruiser battles which usually did not begin until the combatants were practically on top of eJh other. In such environs, the 6-inch gun became desirable thanks to its higher ratj of fire. By only firing two to three times per minute, the 8-inch gun was a CUDlberso1 weapon, especially when employed against destroyers. The ability to strike quickly and strike first provided a given side with tremendous initiative. As Admiral King Ilmented after the Savo debacle: The enemy always seemed to sight our ships just before being seen, giving him that initial advantage that he used so well --he illuminated fitst, he shot first, he hit first, and after the first hit he ndeded no more illumination. In so many cases, the first hit started fires, disrupted fire control systems, put searchlights out of commission.289 At Cape Esperance, the shoe was on the foot for the Japanese. Thanks in part to radar-directed fire, and also in part to the rapid-firing capability of the 6-inch gun, 289 quoted in Friedman, pp. 316-317. [95

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Admiral Scott1s battle line completely surprised and overwhelmed Goto1s force Within minutes of their first volleys, the Lericans sank a destroyer, set alight two cruisers, and routed the Japanese Bomb i dment Force. Despite a decreased ability to peLtrate hulls, decks, or armor, the 6-inch gun dealt intensive barrages that could compromise an enemy ship's fighting efficiency As with at Cape EspeJnce, shells crashed into the bridge and superstructure, wrecking communicatiJ s and fire control, killing many of the command staff. Shells from 6-inbh guns incapacitated two 8-inch gun turrets and the main battery director."" The s 1 enteen 6-inch shells received by may in part have caused Captain Langsdorff to lose his nerve and disengage. At the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, Admiral Merrill's class light cruisers failed to land any "big blows, other than the hit that jammed rudder. The sheer volume of shells, however, created great confusion among the Japanese ships. Two destroyers collided forcing them out of the battle A third destroyer sank with no survivors after heavy cruiser rjed it. On balance, the higher number of shells delivered by 6-inch batteries more ban made up for any deficiencies regarding deliverable explosive per shell. Employment of the 6-inch gun during the night actions of the Solomons campaigns in no way guaranteed success for the US Navy. Two other factors, tactics 290 Frank, p 302

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of the Imperial Navy's inter-war emphasis on combat ideally suited the type of fighting involved in and around the SOlrons. Japanese night optics outperformed of Imperial Japanese with an advantageous weapon fo which the Americans had no real response over again. When war came, they were leadY. The type of combat found in the bOUth Pacific was opposite expected by the Americans. The US General Board bredicted daylight encounters fought with capital ships not auxiliary night battles. rerefore, the Americans developed their of command and control broke down f01 the Allies. The losses at Java Sea and Savo protocol as any other factor. At Cape Elperance, radio miscommunications almost of victory.

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fought on 30 November 1942, resulted in a Japanese destroyer flotilla sinking one and damaging four of the US cruisers. Afteri ards, Admiral King stated, "It is unsound and a waste of material to throw forces ,ogether just prior to an action with no opportunity for an OTC [officer tactit command] to issue instructions, doctrine, order, etc. We are paying heavily for Admiral Nimitz recognized another reason for the defeat. He called for "tnuLng, and MORE TRAINING. The Americans tended to align Jeir cruisers in a line-ahead formation, attaching destroyers as van and rear scrts. Steaming in line afforded the Japanese easier targets for their torpedoes. By remaining with the line, destroyers could not readily employ their main weapon, the t1rpedo. Even when torpedo opportunities were presented to American destroyers, usually occurred after guns had been fired. The Japanese understood that gnn flashjr gave away the presence and disposition of their ships and whenever possible they cfuecked fire to give their torpedoes a chance to score. Moreover, the US torpedoes suffered from technical problems, thus were inferior to the Long-Lance in terms of pLormance. Due to a lack of inter-war Congressional funding, improper testing,1 and reliance on big-gnn tactics, the Americans failed to develop or apprecia+ the potential of the torpedo.'" Most importantly, with regard to tactics, the is Navy made the mistake of assuming that 291 As quoted in Friedman, p. 323. 292 As quoted in Frank, p. 517. Emghasis not added. 293 Murphy, p. ,198

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Japanese torpedo performance numbers matched their own. The Americans only slowly discerned the truly awesome narure of the Long-Lance. The Battle ofKolombangara on 12-13 July 1943 serves as a perfect illustration. Light cruiser and five destroyers screened a convoy of five destroyer-escorts delivering 1,200 JapaLse soldiers to the island ofKolombangara. Rear Admiral Walden L. Ainsworth's talk force of three light cruisers and ten destroyers, steaming line-ahead, contestld the landings. Ainsworth planned to release the van destroyers for torpedo attack, Je with concentrated 6-inch volleys, then tum to avoid enemy torpedoes. AiDSwdrth'S ships completely swamped and sank the largest blip on their radar screens, the lilht cruiser In the action that followed, though, three Allied light cruisers re+ved torpedo hits, requiring extensive repairs.294 After the battle Admiral Ainsr0rth, falsely believing he had sunk five Japanese ships, stated: 294 295 Our ships are immeasurably superior to the [Japanese ships] in the control of Unfortunately the Japs again demonstrated in no: uncertain terms their ability to hit with torpedoes... These recent night actions seem conclusive proof that the!overall concept of employing small cruiser-destroyer forces ... using IISurprise lem and sink lem tactics is eminently sound. This task force commander the tactics employed by his force over a period ofthJ last six months, have also proved sound. For the ,ork at hand there is no instrument superior to the 6-inch cruiser for mobility and firepower. 295 Morison, United States Naval vol. 6, pp. 180-191. quoted in Friedman, pp. 323-324. 1199

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Unfortunately for the admiral, he only sank one light cruiser at the expense of three damaged cruisers and a sunken destrOyJ Although the 6-inch gun was a bltter weapon than the 8-inch for hitting fast-moving targets at night, it could nJ outrange the Long-Lance. Regarding Ainsworth's inflated claims. historian sluel Eliot Morison wrote retrospect: Our overestimates simmJr down to overconfidence in 6-inch gunfire, overconfidence in radar, and ignorance both of Japanese torpedol performance and of Japanese ability to track without radar. Some US Naval dfficers were gunfirerather than torpedo-conscious, light cruiser commanders were particularly proud o:f the 6-inch continuous rapid-fire technique ... We all believed in 1943 that, by closing the enemy to witHin 10,000 yards and using radar-controlled gunfire, pne could register with the first salvo and sink and disable any target before it could launch torpedoes. It worted OK on Morison criticized Pacific Fleet Intelligere for failing to inform the fleet of the LongLance's capabilities after capturing one as early as February 1943.297 Finally, at Empress Augusta Bay in November 1943, Admiral Merrill gave Japanese torpedoes the wide berth they deserved. From of 10,000 to 20,000 yards, Merrill steered his cruiser column in numerous course changes to foil enemy torpedo plots. Undoubtedly Merrill benefited from cloJd cover and poor visibility. but Long-Lances claimed only a lone US destroyer merely because it was where it should not have been. 296 297 Morison, United States Naval OJerations, vol. 6, p. 195. 196. 200

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of using combat. Japanese tactics, in general, mikmized such shortcomings. At Java Sea, the Exeter, of the Kortenaer De Ruyter Java. remembered that and rere lost primarily to torpedo damage.'" Japanese 8-inch gunnery was especially ror at Empress Augusta Bay. During that effective use of smoke by the Americans[ and unassertive Imperial leadership. guns seems almost immaterial. The moj notable surface action of any of the of the Mogami Tone off Batavia of the HMS Perth USS Houston landing force disembarking supplies and Loops. Converted heavy cruisers and soon arrived, engaging the Lo spent and already damaged Allied ships. Gunfire would in all likelihood have carrik the day for the Japanese; nonetheless Perth Houston 298 299

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"bigger is better" mentality that gripped the Imperial Navy General Staff cost the Japanese less cruisers other aTas of ship construction. Most foolish was the decision to spend tremendous resources and manpower on the construction of super-battleships and How much different might the war have been had the Japanese built six more fleet-Cjers instead? Many treaty cruisers received sejVere criticism for their lack of armor. The 10,000 ton limit often precluded a well-balanced design when builders sought to maximize other ship characteristics sucJ as gun power, endurance, or speed. a true linc1ad, took three larJe-Calibre sheIl hits at the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, suffering minor damage. Some commentators derisively labeled Italian warships such their treaty-era cruisers as "cardboard ShipS."300 Indeed, the British sank three cruisers at Cape Matapan, but increased armor would not have helped the Italians. aircraft bomb disabled one cruiser, and British battleships sank two others that remain1d behind to attend their sister ship. cruiser able to withstand the punishment dealt at Cape Matapan would have sunk under the weight of its own armor! Nor can a laJ of protection take blame for the Savo Island disaster. Poor air search plans, a lack offorce cohesion, the presence offire hazards, and a generally unprepared state are the primary culprits for the loss of four Allied heavy cruisers. In fact the class cruisers carried considerably more armor 300 As quoted in Sadkovich, p. 13. 202

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than the earliest class treaty design, yet Japanese 8-inch shells passed easily through even heavy turret-plating, mucJ to the US Navy's distress. is doubtful that satisfactory protection from 8-inch kUnfire could have been afforded treaty cruisers at the 10,000 ton level, the increased armor of the class did help with regard to five and 6-inch shells. The adoption offire hazard reduction measures in the wake of Savo Island imJroved American ship survival more than any minimal increase of armor would have afforded. The outstanding example is survival at Cape Esperance despite takiJ g an exploded shell in a main magazine. In several examples, cruisers built during the treaty era absorbed considerable amounts of damage without sinking. limped back to base from Cape Esperance despite receiving over forty hits. survived a terrific barrage during the Sea BattIe of Guadalcanal. The class heavy cruiser took forty-five hits, including two 14-inch shells. During that same engagement, two other cruisers might have survived had they been able tlo evacuate the combat area more quickly. interestingly. the light cruiser talk a beating similar to the anti-aircraft cruiser received forty-nine hits. Unfortunately at least nineteen came from which had inadvertently fired on its own ship. A torpedo struck as well. Shellfire pierced the sml11er, less armored ship, and it was soon ablaze and listing. Expecting enemy Shi,S the following day. was abandoned Friedman, pp. 317, 319.

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Juneau, Atlanta hit. sank in less a minute, tving only ten survivors out of a crew of 693 shells to disable the 8,500 ton 10 cover the crippled heavy cruiser's Ajax Achilles closed, struck with a 670-pound, II-inch shell, disabling the AlthoughAjax Graj the attack was aborted. A very fobnate by-product of the US desire for large ships with extensive cruising radii and iJcreaSed living spaces was their ability to that of thirty-one American cruisers toJedOed during the war, only seven sank. None sank from a single torpedo hit. The JapLese, on the other hand, lost three cruisers from single torpedo hits and twenty of leu twenty-four torpedoed cruisers."" Most 302 Ibid.,

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of the Japanese cruisers were sunk by mUltiple aerial or submarine torpedoes but tonnage size had played a role in their sirvivability. In late 1945 a specially-created Comstock Board drew upon wartime experiences to make recommendations Lgarding future warship and aircraft construction. One suggestion was to diLontinue the class (by then designated class) anti-aircraft light cruiser! The Comstock Board considered the 6-inch gun better suited for repelling destroyer torpedo attacks and destroyers sufficient for anti-aircraft screening.303 Admiral Nimitz disagreed, stating that the 6,000 ton cruiser was "an excellent type of ship for the of the screen commander of a carrier task force; it has a powerful antiaircraft battery, sound gear, and its size and tactical characteristics are such that it fits well iJto the destroyer screening circle. ,,304 Another investigative committee focused directly on ordnance questions. The Kraker Board found fault with US fire-control systems, ill-suited for the type of targets found in the Solomons night battles. The investigatiJn discovered that, in general, the 6-inch gun was well-liked. On the other hand, the rer Board criticized the 8-inch gun for its slow rate offire and cited problems caurd by fixed loading positions.'" 303 304 305 345. quoted in 347. 205

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CONCLUSION During the deliberations of the ll27 Geneva Conference, American delegate Rear Admiral Frank Schofield summL up the US Navy's position cruisers in his personal diary: To build cruisers of less gunpower [less than eight inches] for our purposes rould be highly ineffective, as at the point of tactical coptact such cruisers might be outclassed (out-gunned) by the 8-inch cruisers of other powers. Our lines of corlununication in the Pacific are so long and the necessity for protecting them so urgent that we could not afford to depend upon protection of those lines with a 6-inch cruiser or with two or three small cruisers, whetlJ. the convoy they were protecting might be attacked by 8-inch gun cruisers. So long as the 8-inch gun criliiser exists, it is to our interest and practically our to limit construction of cruisers to vessels of this class.306 Several actions justified Schofield's, and the General Board's, opinions. Most notably, the Battles of the River Plate, Java Sea, imd Komandorski Islands showed the value of the 8-inch gun. The possession of 8-inJ batteries directly affected the outcome of these daylight encounters. As quoted in Gerald E. Wheeler, Iprelude to Pearl Harbor: The United States Navy and the Far East, 1921-1931 (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1968), p. 144. 1206

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Many of the General Board's asrmptions regarding cruisers were flawed, screen supply convoys. Aircraft also lted the effectiveness of battleships and of the battleship, served as the primary caPitallshiP the Pacific. such, there was little need for cruisers to screen for, and act il concert with, battleship lines during "classic" Jutland-style struggles. The type offiJting envisioned by inter-war planners did not political leaders poorly against smaller, fast-moving c1 primarily destroyers. Most encounters the practice of night combat, the deve!opmlt of night optics, the Long-Lance

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of the of the heavy cruiser was reinforced after the B1tiSh built several of these ships in the 1920s. 8-inch.guns to be "the least successful Jmaments ever fitted to British warships in ,,307 the Battle of the River Plate, and on ocJsion Royal Navy commanders in the of Italian of the No. Would the deployment of either 8-iLh heavy or 6-inch light cruisers place of the other have affected the outcome of battles? Probably. During daylight Royal Navy correctly deduced that they Leded sheer numbers of cruisers for which 307 308 of the