(A) - CINPAC - Secret Serial 03791 of December 1942
(B) - THE COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC AREA and SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE
"1. On the night of October 11, Task Group 64.2 (SAN FRANCISCO, SALT LAKE CITY,
BOISE, HELENA, BUCHANAN, DUNCAN, FARENHOLT, LAFFEY, and MCCALLA) under Rear Admiral Norman
Scott, engaged a numerically stronger force of cruisers and destroyers. Careful preparation,
seamanship, and gunnery of a high order and resolute and aggressive leadership produced a
"24. Damage control readiness, and removal of fire hazards were
satisfactory. It is noted that in spite of heavy hits on two cruisers, neither had
serious fires except for the explosion in BOISE's handling room. That the BOISE and SALT
LAKE CITY were able to isolate flooded compartments and to maintain position in formation
after action, and that both of them put out fires quickly and efficiently, indicates
excellent training and damage control organization."
"27. Gunnery was excellent. First salvos usually hit. Patterns were
small, rate of fire was high."
"28. Ceiling permitting, illumination should be by starshell, except at
very close ranges, since search lights provide a good point of aim for enemy fire control.
Starshells in this action performed excellently, especially for the SALT LAKE CITY which had
trained in night starshell duels against other ships, and had replace bad lots of
"33. Personnel. The superior performance of our personnel in this action,
and the small number of the errors that inevitably appear under fire, are gratifying.
Against an able and hard hitting enemy, our ships showed that with the same advantage of
surprise the Japanese enjoyed at the first Savo battle, our light forces are equal or
superior. This clear cut victory resulted from an aggressive Commander leading well trained,
alert and determined men into battle."
Confidential Serial 9282 of October, 1942. Second Endorsement to CO, USS SALT LAKE CITY ltr
CA25/A16-3 Serial (0140) of 19 October 1942:
(C) - DISPATCHES RECEIVED BY THE SALT LAKE CITY
"2. Excerpts of this report are distributed to Task Force Commander in the South
Pacific Area for information, so that they may have the benefit of the practical battle
experience gained without delay."
"3. It is evident that the SALT LAKE CITY was well handled in the engagement, with
respect to her illumination and gunfire. The commanding officer and ship are deserving of
credit and commendation."
"4. The comments and recommendations in this report are well considered and should
be given dissemination and study throughout the service."
Secret Serial 00127a of 3 November 1942:
"3. An offensive mission following a previously arranged plan of action coupled
with excellent leadership and unswerving determination brought about a splendid victory."
"W. F. Halsey"
on 11, 12, and 20 October 1942 as indicated:
From: Admiral N. Scott, ComTaskGroup 64.2
Date Time Group 111925 Oct. '42
Text: "To the captains, officers and men, you have won a fine victory under the hardest
From: The Captain of the USS BOISE
Date time group 120100 Oct. '42
Text: "Your observations correspond almost exactly with mine. Please let me congratulate you
and your ship on a magnificent performance."
From: Rear Admiral N. Scott, ComTaskGroup 64.2
Date time group 120445 Oct. '42
Text: "CINCPAC sends congratulations."
From: The Captain of the USS SAN FRANCISCO
Date time group 122123 Oct. '42
Text: "The pride of officers and crew of SAN FRANCISCO in being associated with you in
battle deepens their sympathy over your loss of gallant shipmates."
(D) - LETTERS RECEIVED - AS INDICATED
From: Rear Admiral R. K. Turner, Commander Task Force 62
Date time group abbreviated procedure, visual, 20 Oct. '42
Text: "Well Done."
From: The Captain of the USS DUNCAN
Letter dated 15 October 1942
Text: "...We observed with admiration the demonstration of the fighting qualities of your
ship and her three sister cruisers of our Task Group during the destruction of the enemy
force in our engagement the night of 11-12 Oct.
My officers and men hope that they may remain together and return to this area in another
DUNCAN. If such be our good fortune, we further hope that we may have the privilege of
serving in the same force with the USS SALT LAKE CITY..."
(E) - COMMENTS ON AND SUMMARY OF OUTSTANDING EVENTS
From: H. W. Brown, S1c, USN, USS BOISE
c/o Ward "C", US NAVAL Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa.
Letter Undated - received in March, 1943
Text: "My friends, and I use these words of greeting sincerely. While looking through
"Time" of March 8, I ran across the accompanying article. Although it is somewhat belated,
it is richly deserved. I'm sure all the boys on the BOISE feel as I do, and will ever have
your welfare at heart. May we be in company again. Good luck." /signed/
From SALT LAKE CITY War Diary, October 1942 - CONFIDENTIAL:
"1. COMMENTS ON AND SUMMARY OF OUTSTANDING EVENTS:
On the night of October 11-12, 1942, the SALT LAKE CITY, Captain E. G. Small, USN,
Commanding, a unit in company with Task Group 64.2, Rear Admiral Norman Scott, USN,
Commander, USS SANFRANCISCO, Flagship, engaged a Japanese force of unknown strength off Savo
Island, Solomen Islands, and sank on NACHI or AOBA class heavy Cruiser, one destroyer, one
auxiliary of unknown type, and heavily damaged four other ships of unknown type which were
sighted on fire. The engagement was fought at ranges from 2,000 to 9,500 yards; dark night,
clear atmosphere, no moon, wind; 7 knots, from 120 degree (T), clouds; cirrocumulus, 70%
coverage; calm sea, with moderate swells from east-northeast. This ship fired a total of 296
rounds of 8"/55 caliber Armor-piercing shells, director controlled; 125 rounds 5"/25 caliber
illuminating; and 50 rounds 5"/25 caliber common. At least 150 8" shells hit enemy ships.
Fire was opened on a NATORI class Light Cruiser at 4,000 yards, at 2347, and all firing
ceased at 0016, except for 2 starshells fired at 0051 to illuminate a ship believed hostile
but discovered to be the SAN FRANCISCO.
The highlight of the engagement occurred between 0011-0017. The BOISE was observed to haul
out of column to port with fire blazing around her forward turrets, but notwithstanding
maintaining a most heavy volume of fire from her after turrets. The SALT LAKE CITY altered
course to starboard and shifted main battery fire to an enemy Heavy Cruiser observed hitting
the BOISE. After receiving the first salvo from SALT LAKE CITY, the enemy fired no more.
Four additional salvos were put into her and she was seen to sink.
At 2355, a "short" detonating 30 yards abreast gun #3, sprayed the ship with fragments,
causing personnel casualties and minor local damage. At 0014 the SALT LAKE CITY received an
8" hit at frame 29 at waterline, 20" below top of armor, starboard side, which did not
penetrate but flooded compartments A-3-F, A-5-F, A-409-A, A-509-A; and another 8" hit at
0016, frame 48, above second deck level, starboard side, which penetrated #1 boiler room,
exploding in front of #1 boiler, putting the boiler room our of action, and starting a fire.
Excessive heat from the steam escaping from the boiler room caused abandonment of forward 5"
ammunition relay station, and Repair I, on second deck forward, Central Station, on first
platform; Battle Dressing Station in Wardroom, on main deck; and 5"/25 caliber gun #4 on
Communication Platform. This hit also disrupted power and light circuits, causing steering
failure from bridge, necessitating shift to steering aft, and loss of low pressure air to
turrets. An erroneous report of fire forward led to intentional complete flooding of
A-511-M, A-511 1/2-M, and partial flooding of A-408-M, A-411-M. Total personnel casualties
were five killed, and fourteen wounded, all enlisted men.
Fire discipline, gunnery performance, damage control, and engineering performance were
excellent. The rapidity and accuracy of the 8" full salvo fire, the damage inflicted
thereby, and the perfection of the starshell illumination were particularly noticeable. The
behavior under fire of the entire ship's company was beyond praise and in keeping with the
highest traditions of the Naval Service."
EXTRACT FROM CHRONOLOGICAL REPORT - SALT LAKE CITY WAR DIARY
"0015....Engaged heavy cruiser, range 5,000 yards, bearing 070 degrees (R), enemy course 145
degrees (T), speed 22. During the interval 0013-0015, own ship swung first to the left and
then to the right in avoiding the BOISE as she fell out of formation, received hit mentioned
above, and obtained solution to the problem. Fire was opened in following rapid succession:
1. starshell spread; 2. searchlight shutters opened; 3. main battery - 10 gun salvo.
Searchlights opened full on target and were turned off when starshell spread burst.
Illumination provided by these means showed first salvo straddled over. Enemy heavy cruiser
fell silent. Four more salvos were fired into her while starshell illumination was
continued. This opponent was observed to sink."
EXTRACT FROM COMMANDING OFFICER'S BATTLE REPORT-SALT LAKE CITY WAR DIARY
(F) - COMMAND OFFICERS, USS BOISE - BOISE War Diary, October 1942
"VI. COMMENDATIONS WERE MERITED:
It is a privilege to record that every member of the ship's company performed his duty in a
quiet, efficient manner. The striking feature of the action was the unified functioning of
all people aboard. In these circumstances it is difficult to point out individuals whose
performance merits special commendation."
"(d) Captain Ernest Gregor Small, US Navy, Commanding USS SALT LAKE CITY, was especially
commended to the Board of Awards for such consideration as may be deemed warranted. Captain
Small, disregarding his own safety, seeing BOISE with two turrets on fire and receiving
additional damage from an 8" gun cruiser, brought SALT LAKE CITY into a position to assist
BOISE. By his maneuver the two ships were able to silence the enemy cruiser, but not before
SALT LAKE CITY had sustained damage as a result of this decision."