November 14, 1942 – This Day During World War ll – Japanese gunfire sinks destroyer Preston (DD-379)

November 14, 1942 – Japanese gunfire sinks destroyer Preston (DD-379)
USS Preston (DD–379) was a Mahan-class destroyer in the United States Navy before and during World War II. She was the fifth Navy ship named for Lieutenant Samuel W. Preston (1840–1865).
On the evening of 14 November, Preston, with TF 64, sailed along the western end of Guadalcanal to intercept another Japanese run down the “Slot” to bombard Henderson Field and land reinforcements. Swinging around Savo Island, the force, two battleships preceded by four destroyers, entered the channel between Savo and Cape Esperance. At 23:00, the battleship Washington picked up the Japanese cruiser Sendai on her radar, and, at 23:17, the Third Battle of Savo Island began.
Sendai, accompanied by the destroyer Shikinami, had been following the Americans, but 16-inch (406 mm) projectiles drove them off. Soon after, however, the battle was rejoined. The Japanese force had been dispersed and within minutes of the battleship/cruiser encounter, enemy destroyers, edging along the southern shore of Savo, entered the fray. USS Benham and Preston followed. Gwin, which had been firing illumination shells toward the earlier gunfire exchange, came into the action in time to sight the cruiser Nagara and four destroyers closing in. Farther out, heavier Japanese ships were preparing to join in. The concentrated American destroyers were now central targets.
Approximately eight minutes after the enemy was engaged, USS Walke was hit. Soon after, Preston, preparing her torpedoes, was struck. One salvo from Nagara had put both firerooms out and toppled the afterstack. Her fires made an easier target and shells came in from both port and starboard; there is the possibility that the shells coming in from port were from friendly ships (Lundgren, 291f). The fires spread. At 23:36, she was ordered abandoned. Seconds later she rolled on her side. She floated for another ten minutes, bow in the air; then sank, taking 116 of her crew with her.

USS Preston (DD–379)

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