HISTORICAL NOTE (added for perspective - not part of the report):

Certain facts are now known which were not available to Captain Jenkins as he was writing this report in 1942.  These pertain to both the List Of Hits Received (enclosure “B”) and the Notes On Gunnery Engagement (enclosure “D”).  There was only one Japanese light cruiser present, the NAGARA, and all 5.5 inch and 3 inch shell hits on the ATLANTA had to be from this vessel, the only Japanese ship present with these type guns.  It is also now recognized that the Japanese had no 8 inch gunned cruisers present at this action.  The 8 inch hits were therefore the result of friendly fire.  Several noted historians now attribute this damage to mistaken identity gunfire from the SAN FRANCISCO.







1.         Four types of projectile hits were distinguished as follows:

            (Enclosure “D” defines ships “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D”.


            (a.)  A medium projectile of high capacity, instantaneous fuse, which exploded on contact with light structural plate, blowing a 2-3 foot hole in 1/4 inch plate and showing fragment scars on outside as well as behind the detonating plate.  Fragments from such shells riddled light structural work, but were easily stopped by 1.25 inch STS, and in several instances by 30 lb. STS; the flash ignited anything inflammable in the viscinity.  It is believed that these hits were received from ship “A”, the ship that illuminated ATLANTA, considered a CL, possibly one with special ammunition for shore bombardment of Guadalcanal; they are therefore tentatively identified as 5.5 inch H.C. projectiles.


            (b.)  A 3 inch common (or solid) believed to be from the AA guns of the CL.  One such which penetrated the lower vertical portion of the 1.25 inch face of turret 6 was definitely a 3 inch shell; other hits elsewhere appeared similar.


            (c.)  A 5 inch common.  This gave moderate penetration, exploding inside with a few large, relatively low-velocity fragments, and moderate blast.  It is believed that these hits came from ship “B” (the destroyer sunk by ATLANTA), her accompanying destroyers, and ship “C”, to left of the illuminating CL, probably also a destroyer.


            (d.)  An 8 inch armor piercing.  These were all from bearing about 250 degrees relative, from ship “D”, the heavy cruiser.  Of these hits, many passed through superstructure and light splinter plate without detonating, scattering green dye load throughout the areas of their passage.  A few fragments were recovered; one, a very heavy nose fragment, showing a short radius ogive with the cuts for attaching the cap; another showed a band score of width similar to our 8 inch projectiles; a third, a small base fragment, bore the lettering “No. 51”.


2.         Thirteen 5.5 inch H.C. hits were counted, as follows:


            (a.)  Base of director 1; killed lookouts, started fire in wiring, life jackets, gas masks, personnel’s clothing; fragments cut wiring in director wiring tube.  This fire spread upward into director 1.


            (b.)  After port corner of forward control; wrecked target designator system and killed all control personnel except three (two badly wounded).


            (c.)  Superstructure forward, immediately below bridge; set fire in “Senior Staff Officer’s Cabin”; fragments ignited 20mm ammunition at gun 2 and in forward 20mm loading room.  This fire spread, from explosion of ammunition penetrating decks, to two decks below in the wardroom.


            (d.)  Bridge splinter shield at port torpedo director; damaged director, killed torpedo control personnel and many signalmen, blew up port flag bags and fired debris.


            (e.)  Deck gear locker A-0102A, outboard of turret 3 upper handling room; blew down the after bulkhead (to admiral’s cabin); did minor splinter damage, but no damage to handling room 1.25 inch STS; fired deck gear inflammables.


            (f.)  Admiral’s bath A-0104L; six feet abaft hit (e) above; blew down the after joiner bulkhead (to Admiral’s cabin); fired clothing and bedding.


            (g.)  Director 4 (#2 - 1.1 inch director); wiped out director and crew; blew off weather deck door inboard; started fire in life jackets and clothing in #2 - 1.1 inch clipping room, which soon became an ammunition fire.


            (h.)  No. 2 - 1.1 inch trainer and sight, passing on to radio central B-0202C where it burst on bulkhead; started fire in radio room.


            (i.)  At boundary between Gunnery Officer’s and Engineering Officer’s staterooms (staterooms 0102 and 0104); blew down joiner bulkheads of these rooms and First Lieutenant’s stateroom (SR0101) across the passage; started fire in clothing and bedding of these three rooms.


            (j.)  In Supply Officer’s stateroom (SR 106), at overhead level, wrecked furniture and started fire in bedding.


            (k.)  In wardroom pantry A-106E, at overhead level; wrecked furniture and started fire in bedding.


            (l.)  In navigator’s stores A-105L; blew down joiner bulkheads and fired debris.


            (m.)  In port whaleboat; wrecked boat and bent after davit (no fire).


In addition to the listed damage, extensive fragment spray from the above hits wrecked the searchlights, riddled both motor launches, the stacks, the decks and bulkheads of the forward superstructure area.


3.         Probably five 3 inch hits were counted, as follows:


            (a.)  In turret 6 face (1.25 inch STS), in vertical portion, normal impact; penetrated; small fragment effect inside (possibly broke up).


            (b.)  Similar projectile deflected by the 30 degree inclined 1.25 inch STS face of turret #6.


            (c.)  Possibly a similar projectile blew off the pointer’s sight hood and projecting part of telescope, turret 6.


            (d.)  One deflected by 75 degree inclined roof of turret 3.


            (e.)  One through the side of the ship into compartment A-304L, added to damage of 5 inch hit in this area.


4.         Twelve 5 inch common hits were counted as follows:


            (a.)  Water line, frame 8, port; exploded in A-302A.  Ruptured decks above and below; pierced after bulkhead; allowed flooding of opened areas when ship settled, and started fire in A-203A (the compartment above).


            (b.)  Mess Attendant’s compartment A-205-1L, port, high; caused miscellaneous damage to bunks and lockers but no fire.


            (c.)  Living compartment A-304L, port; same effect as above; allowed flooding when ship settled from torpedo hit.


            (d.)  About frame 23, port, exploding in registered publication storeroom A-207AL.  Blew down the inboard bulkhead, blocking the only fore and aft passage on this deck, inboard of it; also blew off WT door to A-205-2L.  Set fire to debris.


            (e.)  About frame 24, port, exploding in the W.R. linen locker, blew down joiner bulkheads of locker and SR 202; killed repair party personnel in passage inboard; set fire in linen locker.


            (f.)  On 30 degree inclined portion of the face plate of turret 1 from directly in front of turret; penetrated on trainer’s side but broke up (unburned explosive seen); damaged training gear and killed four men.


            (g.)  On forward bulkhead of turret 2 upper handling room, at top, about 45 degree obliquity; broke up but partially penetrated, fragments going both inside and out, killing three men; fragments dented water seal and barbette sufficiently to jam turret against manual train.


            (h.)  On Senior Staff Officer’s Cabin, A-105L; miscellaneous damage added to destruction in this area.


            (i.)  Through blast shield of torpedo tube #2; killed trainer, wounded tube captain, detonated in crew’s washroom.


            (j.)  In #3 1.1 inch gun foundation.  Pieces of the gun platform were blown upward, jamming the mount in train; killed two men and wounded several.


            (k.)  Through foremast; possible cut TBS and SC leads.


            (l.)  Through mainmast, no damage.


5.         Probably nineteen 8 inch hits were counted, as follows:


            (a.)  Two through forward sky lookout splinter shield; passed on without exploding; missiles killed several men.


            (b.)  Three through flag plot, B-0301C, and athwartships passage A-105L, just above deck level.  One passed through the after starboard corner of the pilothouse.  All passed on without exploding, but missiles killed many bridge personnel.


            (c.)  Two through radio room and coding room; passed on without detonating, but missiles killed many communication personnel.


The above seven hits were of one salvo grouped within an area 6 yards high by 8 yards wide.


            (d.)  Two into turret 4, detonated; blew off top and back of turret, killed all but one man of crew, started fire in gas masks and clothing.  Fragments and missiles wrecked superstructure area inboard, caused many punctures in main deck and in second deck into C-306L.  Fire did not reach upper handling room.


            (e.)  Two passed through superstructure and wrecked turret 5, blowing off its outboard side, killing all but one man, and setting a bad fire in powder, clothing, and gas masks.  Fire did not reach upper handling room.


            (f.)  Two passed through superstructure and passed out through #5 - 20mm gun foundation and splinter shield, killing and wounding several.


The above six hits were of one salvo, grouped within an area 7 yards high by 20 yards wide.


            (g.)  One cut off muzzle of right gun in turret 3.


            (h.)  One passed through chase of left gun in turret 3, cutting out a segment 6 inches deep from the underside; fragments and missiles from this and the preceding hit punctured decks and did miscellaneous destruction in this area.


            (i.)  One (or more) entered compartment A-210AL or B-202L; killing or wounding most of repair II personnel and many of plot crew who were escaping, tearing up the deck and destroying the water-tight integrity of these spaces.


            (j.)  One through chase of left gun in turret 6; cut segment out of gun.


            (k.)  One across back of turret 6, just tangent to shield, deflected.


            (l.)  One into back of turret 6, blew off both rear access plates and pieces of rear shield plate.


6.         In addition to the damage listed for the above hits, there was considerable additional damage of an important nature, the result of the extensive destruction of water-tight integrity by fragment punctures in the general areas of the bursts.


7.         One certain torpedo hit was received in the forward engine room, port side.  In addition to flooding that space, the explosion of this torpedo:


            (a.)  Buckled the armored deck above it upward, shearing rivets and opening seams into compartment B-204L.  These buckled plates were well inboard, almost to the center line, with an undisturbed area outboard.  The ship’s side, above water, showed no torpedo damage.


            (b.)  Split and ruptured bulkheads to both firerooms, causing a very rapid flooding of the forward fireroom and somewhat slower flooding of the after one.


8.         An additional heavy shock, perhaps less intense than the above, was felt, which may have been a torpedo.  The location of this hit is uncertain, but may have been in the engineering spaces flooded by the above.


9.         The definite concentration of our CL adversary’s fire in the upperworks of the bridge structure is noted.  The 5 inch fire from at least two, and possibly three of four, destroyers, was considerably scattered.  There was no indication of the use of any incendiary ammunition.


10.       The immediate crippling of the ship as a result of the torpedo hit which vented fore and aft into the firerooms is also noted.  Such venting represents the path of least resistance for an explosion otherwise completely contained, above the water line, by armor.  It is strongly believed that this torpedo gave an under-bottom explosion.