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2 Carriers Hit, One Badly Damaged

2 Battleships and 3 Cruisers
Battered By Navy Fliers

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (AP) - Navy fliers struck a smashing blow at a Japanese fleet in the battle which cost the United States an aircraft carrier and destroyer, the Navy announced tonight, pouring bombs or torpedoes on two enemy carriers, two battleships and three cruisers.

And after this action one week ago in waters some 260 miles northeast of Guadalcanal Island in the Solomons, American warships returned to the fray Friday off Guadalcanal itself whence Japanese ships have withdrawn.

They blasted the foe's positions there with a two-hour cannonading which blew up artillery, buildings and boats. The American defenders ashore at Guadalcanal also hit the Japanese by land and by air.

Like Midway Battle

The sea engagement apparently represented a fight by the planes of opposing aircraft carriers like that in the battle of Midway last June when the carrier Yorktown was lost while her planes sank the Japanese carrier Hiryu and blasted opposing battleships and cruisers.

Carrier Badly Damaged

The Navy claimed no sinkings in the current battle, which was fought east of the Stewart Islands Oct. 26, but its account of the pounding given the Japanese made it appear likely that one of the carriers was definitely put out of action and that other targets were heavily damaged.

150 Planes Knocked Out

The definite destruction of more than 100 Japanese planes and the probable destruction of 50 more was reported. How many of these were shot out of the sky and how many blown up on the carrier decks was not specified.

Over Two Jap Carriers

The number of planes destroyed indicated that the Japanese had more carriers in action than the two which were damaged. Both of these were of the Zuikaku class of at least 17,000 tons, mothering 45 planes apiece. The two which were bombed are believed to be the only ones of this class - the Syokaku (Crane) and the Zuikaku (Lucky Stork), both launched in 1939 and completed last year.

Hold Name of U. S. Carrier

Identification of the United States carrier which was sunk is being withheld until the next of kin of the casualties are notified but after the loss of the Wasp Sept. 15 the fleet was left with only four in commission so far as has been disclosed - the Saratoga, Hornet, Ranger and Enterprise.

Each of these carries about 85 planes and if the blasting of the Japanese force was done entirely by these airmen, they exacted heavy vengeance for their ship. It is possible, however, that the United States had another carrier in action besides the one that was lost.

Hit Two Battleships

In addition to laying four to six heavy bombs on one carrier and two medium ones on the other, the American fliers landed heavy bombs on two battleships, two torpedoes in a heavy cruiser, torpedo and bomb hits on a second heavy cruiser and five medium bombs on a Tikuma (second) class cruiser of which there are two, the Tikuma and Tone. One of the battleships hit by two heavy bombs, was of the Kongo class, the same type as the battleship Haruna which Capt. Colin Kelly and his Army bomber were originally credited with sinking.

In announcing the sinking of the United States carrier last night, following earlier reports that she had been damaged, the Navy said that this ship and the destroyer Porter were the only American vessels lost in the engagement.

King Gets Report

The detailed report on the damage done the Japanese was made to Admiral Ernest J. King, commander-in-chief of the fleet and chief of naval operations, only this afternoon by Vice-Adm. William Halsey, who recently succeeded Vice-Adm. Robert L. Ghormley in command in that area.


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