The Battle of Savo Island 8-9 Aug 1942

The Battle of Savo Island, was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign, and the first of several naval battles in the straits later named Ironbottom Sound, near the island of Guadalcanal.

The Imperial Japanese Navy, in response to Allied amphibious landings in the eastern Solomon Islands, mobilised a task force of seven cruisers and one destroyer. The task forces sailed from Japanese bases in New Britain and New Ireland down New Georgia Sound (aka "the Slot"), with the intention of interrupting the Allied landings by attacking the supporting amphibious fleet and its screening force.

The Allied screen consisted of eight cruisers and fifteen destroyers under BritishRear Admiral Victor Crutchley VC, but only five cruisers and seven destroyers were involved in the battle.  In a night action, the Japanese force thoroughly surprised and routed the Allied force, sinking the Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra and three American cruisers, whilst suffering only light damage in return.