H.M.A.S. Canberra and the Battle of Savo Island
Composition of Expeditionary Force
1. Carrier Group
Vice Admiral F. J. Fletcher USN in SARATOGA
, commanding the Expeditionary Force
Rear Admiral L. Moyes USN in WASP, Commander of Air Support Force
Three carriers - SARATOGA, ENTERPRISE, and WASP were supported by the new 35,000 ton battleship NORTH CAROLINA
Five heavy cruisers, MINNEAPOLIS, NEW ORLEANS, PORTLAND, SALT LAKE CITY and SAN FRANCISCO.
One light AA cruiser, ATLANTA and 16 destroyers.
2. Landing Group Rear Admiral R. K. Turner USN in McCAWLEY, Commander South Pacific Amphibious Forces.
Fifteen transports for Guadalcanal, 4 transports plus 4 destroyer transports for Tulagi.
Major General A. A. Vandegrift in command of 18,000 Marines of the 1st Marine Division and their equipment.
3. Naval Support Group under the command of Rear Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, RN (flying his flag in AUSTRALIA).
Six Heavy 8" cruisers:
HMAS AUSTRALIA (Captain H.B. Farncomb RAN)
HMAS CANBERRA (Captain F.E. Getting RAN)
USS CHICAGO (Captain H. A. Bode USN)
USS ASTORIA (Captain W.E. Greenman USN)
USS QUINCY (Captain S. N. Moore USN)
USS VINCENNES (Captain F.L. Riefkohl USN)
Two Light 6" cruisers:
HMAS HOBART (Captain H. A. Showers RAN)
USS SAN JUAN (Rear Admiral N. Scott USN)
Eight US destroyers for the fleet, BLUE, RALPH TALBOT, PATTERSON, BAGLEY, HELM, WILSON, BUCHANAN and MONSSEN.
Seven destroyers to screen the transports.
4. Air Task Force under command of Rear Admiral J. S. McCain USN. This force consisted of land and water aircraft from the Army, Navy, Marine and RNZAF. Most of McCain's aircraft were of short range. His available B17 aircraft had a 710 mile haul each way in daylight, to and from the Guadalcanal area.
AT THIS STAGE WHAT WAS HAPPENING WITH THE JAPANESE NAVAL FORCES?
After the Coral Sea and Midway Battles, the Japanese decided that Port Moresby would be attacked overland from Buna. A new 8th Fleet was designated, with Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa IJN given command. He hoisted his flag in the heavy cruiser CHOKAI on 26 July 1942 and also had 4 heavy Cruisers, 2 light cruisers and destroyers as available, added to his command.
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