Imperial Japanese Navy and Night Fighting

During surface battles in the Pacific, particularly in the restricted waters around Guadalcanal, Japanese naval doctrine called for night attack. When the enemy warships were spotted and ranges established, every ship in the battle line would fire torpedoes. Then, they would fire their main batteries timed in such a way that their shells hit the opposing ships the same time as their torpedoes. This had a devastating effect on the US Navy which was simply outfought by the Imperial Japanese Navy in these night surface actions. It took several years for the US Navy to develop a new doctrine to successful repel surface attacks by the Japanese Navy.

[Sources: The U.S. Navy Against the Axis: Surface Combat, 1941-1945 by Vincent P. O’Hara and Iron Men and Tin Fish: The Race to Build a Better Torpedo During World War II by Anthony Newpower.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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