US Navy ambushes the 'Tokyo Express'
11 October 1942: The US Navy begin to reclaim the seas around Guadalcanal in the Battle of Cape Esperance
The battles on and around Guadalcanal continued. The Marines had fought several intense engagements to defend their base at Henderson Field since the battle at Hell's Point and the air battles over the island were equally furious. The presence of the US Marine ‘Cactus Air Force’ on Guadalcanal posed a serious threat to the Japanese Navy during daylight, so they switched to bringing troops and munitions in overnight, mainly using destroyers rather than slow transport ships.
These quick night runs became known as the ‘Tokyo Express’ by the Americans - and ‘rat transportation’ by the Japanese. In response US Navy moved Task Force 64 into the area on the 9th October, having previously practised night action.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to World War II Today to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.