ARMY & NAVY: Savo & History

The worst blue-water defeat in the U.S. Navy's history was the battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal, in the dark of the morning of Aug. 9, 1942. Last week, on the fourth anniversary of the battle, the Navy opened most, but not all, of its books on the case.

The reasons originally offered to explain how four cruisers were lost in a half hour in a night attack by the Japs still stood: human exhaustion, inexperience of command, failure of radar and of radio communications. In a foot-high stack of action reports, the Navy went no farther. The new detail...

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