ⓘ Santa Cruz Islands order of battle


ⓘ Santa Cruz Islands order of battle

The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands was fought 25–27 October 1942 in the waters northwest of the Santa Cruz Islands by forces of the Imperial Japanese Navys Combined Fleet and the United States Navys Pacific Fleet. The battle resulted from a major Japanese offensive with the goal to drive the US forces from Guadalcanal.

The battle can be viewed as a tactical Japanese victory as they sank the American aircraft carrier USS Hornet and badly damaged another, USS Enterprise, while suffering heavy damage in return to carriers Shōkaku and Zuihō. In strategic terms, however, it was ultimately a victory for the United States, as the Japanese failed in their objective to destroy American forces on and around Guadalcanal and suffered significant losses of experienced air crew.


1. Forces deployed

Japanese forces

  • Combat ships: 3 fleet carriers, 1 light carrier, 4 battleships, 10 cruisers, 25 destroyers
  • Aircraft: 199

American forces

  • Aircraft: 136
  • Combat ships: 2 fleet carriers, 1 battleship, 5 cruisers, 14 destroyers

2.1. Japanese order of battle Advance force

Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo

Main body Vice Admiral Kondo

  • 2 heavy cruisers: Atago Kondos flagship, Takao
  • Cruiser Division 4
  • 2 heavy cruisers: Myoko Omoris flagship, Maya
  • Cruiser Division 5 Rear Admiral Sentaro Omori
  • 6 destroyers: Makinami, Kawakaze, Suzukaze, Naganami, Takanami
  • 1 light cruiser: Isuzu Tanakas flagship
  • Destroyer Squadron 2 Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka

Carrier group Rear Admiral Kakuji Kakuta

  • Carrier Division 2
  • Junyō Kakutas flagship
  • 20 Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters Lt. Yoshio Shiga
  • 7 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers Lt. Yoshiaki Irikiin†
  • 18 Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers Lt. Masao Yamaguchi†
  • 2 destroyers: Kuroshio, Hayashio

Support group Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita

  • 2 battleships: Kongo Kuritas flagship, Haruna
  • Battleship Division 3
  • 2 destroyers: Oyashio, Kagerō

2.2. Japanese order of battle Carrier striking force

Vice Admiral Chūichi Nagumo

Carrier group Vice Admiral Nagumo

  • Carrier Division 1
  • 21 Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers Lt. Cmdr. Mamoru Seki†
  • 24 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers Lt. Cmdr. Shigeharu Murata†
  • 22 Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters Lt. Hideki Shingō
  • Shōkaku
  • 20 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers Lt. Shigeichiro Imajuku†
  • Zuikaku
  • 24 Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers Lt. Sadamu Takahashi
  • 21 Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters Lt. Ayao Shirane
  • 19 Mitsubishi A6M "Zeke" fighters Lt. Masao Satō
  • 6 Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers Ltjg. Ichiro Tanaka)
  • Zuihō


  • 1 heavy cruiser: Kumano
  • 8 destroyers: Hatsukaze, Yukikaze, Maikaze, Hamakaze, Amatsukaze, Tokitsukaze, Arashi, Teruzuki

2.3. Japanese order of battle Vanguard group

Rear Admiral Hiroaki Abe

  • 2 battleships: Hiei Abes flagship, Kirishima
  • Cruiser Division 7 Rear Admiral Shoji Nishimura
  • 1 heavy cruiser: Suzuya
  • 2 heavy cruisers: Tone Haras flagship, Chikuma
  • Cruiser Division 8 Rear Admiral Chūichi Hara
  • 7 destroyers: Makigumo, Akigumo, Urakaze, Kazagumo, Yūgumo, Tanikaze, Isokaze
  • Destroyer Squadron 10 Rear Admiral Susumu Kimura
  • 1 light cruiser: Nagara

3.1. American order of battle Task Force 16

Rear Admiral Kinkaid in Enterprise


  • 14 SBD Dauntless dive bombers VB-10 – Lt. Cmdr. James A. Thomas
  • 20 SBD Dauntless scout bombers VS-10 – Lt. Cmdr. James R. Lee
  • Air Group Cmdr. Richard K. Gaines
  • Enterprise Capt. Osborne B. Hardison
  • 9 TBF Avenger torpedo bombers VT-10 – Lt. Cmdr. John A. Collett†
  • 34 F4F Wildcat fighters VF-10 – Lt. Cmdr. James H. Flatley


  • South Dakota
  • Battleship
  • 1 heavy cruiser: Portland Tisdales flagship
  • 1 light cruiser: San Juan
  • Cruiser Division 4 Rear Admiral Mahlon S. Tisdale
  • 2 destroyers: Porter, Mahan
  • Destroyer Squadron 5 Capt. Charles L. Cecil
  • Destroyer Division 10 Cmdr. Thomas M. Stokes
  • 6 destroyers: Cushing, Preston, Smith, Maury, Conyngham, Shaw


3.2. American order of battle Task Force 17

Rear Admiral George D. Murray in Hornet


  • 16 SBD Dauntless scout bombers VS-8 – Lt. Cmdr. William J. Widhelm
  • Air Group Cmdr. Walter F. Rodee
  • 15 TBF Avenger torpedo bombers VT-6 – Lt. Edwin B. Parker, Jr.
  • Hornet Capt. Charles P. Mason
  • 38 F4F Wildcat fighters VF-72 – Lt. Cmdr. Henry G. Sanchez
  • 15 SBD Dauntless dive bombers VB-8 – Lt. James E. Vose


  • 2 heavy cruisers: Northampton Goods flagship, Pensacola
  • 2 light cruisers: San Diego, Juneau
  • Cruiser Division 5 Rear Admiral Howard H. Good
  • 4 destroyers: Morris, Anderson, Hughes, Mustin
  • Destroyer Squadron 2 Cmdr. Arnold E. True

4. Bibliography

  • Morison, Samuel Eliot 1948. The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942 – February 1943: Volume V of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 0-7858-1306-3.
  • Lundstrom, John B. 2005. The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat from August to November 1942 New ed. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-472-8.
  • Hammel, Eric 1999. Carrier Strike: The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942. Pacifica, California: Pacifica Press. ISBN 0-9355-5337-1.

Users also searched: