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Old “flush-deck” destroyers during the interwar period.
USS SAN FRANCISCO, CA-38 at Mare Island, CA. Circles show battle damage. Rear Admiral Norman Scott Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan
USS WASHINGTON, BB-56 Rear Admiral Willis A. Lee
USS MINNEAPOLIS, CA-36 Carleton H. Wright (as Vice Admiral)
USS HELENA, CL-50 at Battle of Kula Gulf before being torpedoed and sunk. The next ship astern is USS Saint Louis (CL-49). Photographed from USS Honolulu (CL-48). Rear Admiral Walden Lee Ainsworth
Bow of USS Saint Louis (CL-49), showing torpedo damage received during the Battle of Kolombangara. Photographed while the ship was under repair at Tulagi on 20 July 1943. USS Vestal (AR-4) is alongside.
Destroyer CRAVEN, from Moosbrugger’s DesDiv 12 Frederick Moosbrugger (as Captain)
USS DENVER, CL-58 Rear Admiral Aaron S. Merrill, (left) working with a maneuvering board on USS Montpelier (CL-57), during operations in the Solomon Islands, 23 December 1943. Captain W.D. Brown is also present.
Destroyer CHARLES AUSBURNE, DD-570 Captain Arleigh A. Burke, Commander Destroyer Squadron 23, during operations in the Solomon Islands, circa 1943.
Officers of Destroyer Squadron 23 enjoy a beer at Cloob Des-Slot, Purvis Bay, Solomon Islands, on 24 May 1944. Those present are (from left to right): Captain Arleigh A. Burke, Squadron Commodore; Commander B.L. Austin, Commander Destroyer Division 46; Commander D.C. Hamberger, Commanding Officer, USS Converse (DD-509); Commander Herald Stout, Commanding Officer, USS Claxton (DD-571).
Learning to Win: The Evolution of U.S. Navy Tactical Doctrine During the Solomons Campaign
The Evolution of U.S. Navy
Tactical Doctrine During the
• The Objective
• The Offensive
• Economy of Force
1919 – Doctrinal Principles
• Aggressive Action to Seize the Initiative
• Quick and Effective Gunfire
(Attack Effectively First)
• Decentralized Command and Control
(and Doctrinal Development)
1930s – Tactical Heuristics
• Balanced Exploration and Exploitation
• Fleet Problems and exercises
• Variability within the fleet
• No defined approach – little codified “doctrine”
• Hindered by emphasis on “Major Action”
U.S. Navy’s Learning
New Patterns, Old Doctrine (Jan-Jul 1943)
• Tassafaronga used as a model
• Cruiser gunfire emphasized
• Destroyer attacks subordinated
• Imperial Japanese Navy
counters with stealthy torpedo
Revolutionary Tactics (Nov
• CIC enables true coordination
• Each captain has a shared picture
• Destroyers make surprise torpedo attacks
• Gunfire after torpedoes are launched
• “At no time was there
confusion or lack of
• “… better than most drills.”
• “Track charts... superimposed
one over the other.”
Results – According to Burke
• U.S. Navy surface warfare doctrine evolved
• Two levels of learning (in theater & at fleet level)
• Variability led to experimentation
• Decentralized approach meant rapid exploitation
• Pacific Fleet codified effective approaches