US Victory at the Battle for Henderson Field | Battle 360 | History


[MUSIC PLAYING] NARRATOR: November 14, 1942. For two days, USS
Enterprise and the US fleet have been fighting the battle
of their lives in the waters off Guadalcanal. [PLANE ENGINES WHINING] Now in the darkness of
night, an enemy gunship force led by battlewagon
Kirishima is about to pound the US forces on the island
with a massive barrage. [MUSIC PLAYING] But what the Japanese don’t know
is that Enterprise battleships South Dakota and USS
Washington have just been sent to stop them dead in the water. From the bridge
of the Washington, Admiral Lee sends a
fighting message to the rest of the fleet, “Stand aside. I am coming through!” [MUSIC PLAYING] USS Washington is
a North Carolina class battleship right out of
the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Overall length, 729 feet. Displacement, 35,000 tons. Her weaponry is
nine 16-inch guns, 20 5-inch rifles,
and more than a dozen automatic anti-aircraft guns. [MUSIC PLAYING] 12:15 AM. Radar on battleship Washington
picks up the location of enemy warships east
of the volcanic peak known as Savo Island. [MUSIC PLAYING] 10 miles away, battleship
Kirishima and an enemy fleet head right for Guadalcanal
on their mission to hit the Marines. But the USS Washington
has the Imperial battle wagons dead in sight. [MUSIC PLAYING] [GUNFIRE] Washington’s big 16-inch rifles
open fire before the Japanese know what’s hitting them. Her first victim takes
a load of American lead, as Washington roars out
a storm of heavy fire that devastates the
Imperial warship. [EXPLOSIONS] In another clash
of iron, Imperial and American vessels square
off with a gruesome display of firepower. [GUNFIRE] In less than three
minutes, USS Washington hammers out an amazing 42
rounds from her main battery. [MUSIC PLAYING] Now she squares off with
battleship Kirishima. [GUNFIRE] [EXPLOSIONS] The thunder of 14-inch and
16-inch rifles and cannons echoes across the sea, as
Washington mauls the battleship Kirishima with her broadsides. [EXPLOSIONS] During that battle,
it’s interesting that you have a preponderance
on each side of their preferred weapon of choice. The Americans bring much
heavier gun power to the fight. The Japanese, for
their part, bring much heavier torpedo firepower. And yet, in this
particular fight, the Japanese are not able
to make that advantage in torpedoes tell. NARRATOR: From the coconut-lined
banks of Guadalcanal, Enterprise pilots and Marines
can clearly see the blaze of the nighttime slaughter. [GUNFIRE] It was 20 miles away,
but it sounded like out just next door to your
tent, these battleships having at each other. From where we were, we
could see the flash of the big battleship cannons and cruiser
cannons and the lesser ones down to 5-inch going
off, and the– the Japs were shooting at us. It was a horrendous,
horrendous battle. [MUSIC PLAYING] NARRATOR: Battleship
Kirishima is finished. Her hull and superstructure are
torn by the American shells. With fires raging
over her decks, the enemy crew is
forced to abandon ship. [MUSIC PLAYING] [GUNFIRE] USS Washington is the
only American battleship to actually sink
an enemy battleship in the Second World War. [GUNFIRE] Now, she and South Dakota
lay into Japanese cruisers and destroyers, firing
rapid broadsides from 16-inch and 5-inch guns. [GUNFIRE] 242 Americans and 249
Japanese are killed. Then the following day,
battleship Kirishima is scuttled. She joins her sister Hiei in
a watery grave in the depths of Iron Bottom Sound. [MUSIC PLAYING] For the Japanese, defeat
in the November clash at Iron Bottom Sound
destroys any hope for victory at Guadalcanal. They will simply have to let the
Americans keep Henderson Field.

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