By April, 1942, the Japanese Navy had accomplished all of its missions originally scheduled for the opening phase of the Pacific War. Since December 7, 1941, it had severely crippled the United States fleet in Hawaii, supported landings, invasions, and seizures of southern areas rich in resources sorely needed by Japan, and had gained control of the sea lanes of the central and western Pacific. And all of these objectives were achieved at far less cost than had been anticipated.
Japanese staff studies for the planning of second-phase operations were initiated as early as January, 1942. By February plans had been worked out and developed between Navy Section of Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo and Combined Fleet. Members of both staffs were so enthusiastic over the early successes that they were now firmly in favor of going ahead with plans for further conquest, before the United States had a chance to recover.
1. See Midway, The Battle that Doomed Japan, The Japanese Navy’s Story by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya, U. S. Naval Institute, 1955.
2. Operation Watchtower, a s the Allied offensive was termed, employed one battleship, three carriers, 14 cruisers, 31 destroyers, 23 transports, six submarines, and lesser craft to a grand total of 89.
3. The initial American landing on Guadalcanal consisted of 11,000 U. S. Marines from sixteen transports.
4. The times given in this article are Zone −9, which was the Rabaul time kept by the Japanese. Allied forces were using Zone −11 time. Accordingly, the main action opened at 2337 Japanese time and two hours later by Allied time.
5. The U. S. destroyer Ralph Talbot.
6. This ship was the U. S. destroyer Blue.
7. Four cruisers, the USS Astoria, Quincy, and Vincennes and the Australian Canberra, were sunk, over a thousand Allied naval personnel killed, and the Chicago and Ralph Talbot severely damaged.