Photographs of the USS Laffey (DD 459) in the South Pacific Theatre
Courtesy of Tom Fern
In harbor, probably at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, with survivors of USS Wasp (CV-7) on board.
The Wasp had been sunk by a Japanese submarine (I-19), on 15 September 1942
Steaming alongside another US Navy ship - probably a carrier - taking on fuel. At sea on 4 September 1942
Maneuvering alongside a cruiser (either Salt Lake City or Pensacola), with survivors of USS Wasp (CV-7) on board, probably at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. Note the engines in reverse
Cruiser in the right bacfkground is the USS Juneau (CL-52)
A haunting picture
The Laffey alongside a cruiser (either Salt Lake City or Pensacola) with survivors of the USS Wasp (CV-7) on board.
Among these survivors there were members of the 459 crew that would eventually lose their lives in subsequent actions.
Note the fully outfitted life raft.
A closeup of the survivors
A Short Action Summary
Operating with U.S. cruisers and destroyers, Laffey took part in two night gun anbd torpdo battless near
Guadalcanal. In the first, the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11-12 October 1942, she helped repulse a
Japanese bombardment group. A month later, on the night of 12-13 November, she participated in the
first surface action of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. As part of the van group of the U. S. battle line,
she engaged the Japanese battleships Hiei and Kirishima, then was torpedoed in the stern by the destroyer
Teruzuki. USS Laffey was sunk shortly, thereafter, when her after ammunition magazines exploded.
USS Laffey's wreck was discovered and examined in the mid-1992, nearly a half mile below the surface of
Iron Bottom Sound, off Guadalcanal. She is upright and largely intact from the bow to amdships, but her
after third had disappeared. Both forward 5-inch guns are trained out to port, and her amidship's superstructure
bears a hole where a Japanese 14-inch battleship projectile passed through her in the darkness of
13 November 1942
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