On 29th-30th January 1943, the battle of Rennell Island took place between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Guadalcanal campaign of World War II. Fought in the South Pacific, off the coast of Rennell Island in the Solomon Islands, the battle resulted in a Japanese victory with the US Navy forced to withdraw.

As a result of Japanese air attacks, the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) was sunk and the destroyer La Valette (D-448) was heavily damaged. The below photograph was taken from the deck of USS Winchita (CA-45) on 29th January (prior to the Japanese night air attack off Rennell Island) while cruisers of Task Force 18 were en route to Guadalcanal. USS Chicago (CA-29) can be seen in the right centre with USS Louisville (CA-28) in the distance.

To read more about the tactics, operations and engagements of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific Theatre of World War II pick up a copy of Mark Stile’s detailed and highly illustrated, The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War.

The original image can be found here.