Can someone explain Yuudachi and the Nightmare of Solomon thing to me?

This started out as a short post, I swear.

Yuudachi distinguished herself in particular during the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, which was part of the Solomon Islands Campaign.

On the IJN side, the Vice Admiral Abe Hiroaki was using a storm that began at 2200 as cover for the IJN task group on their approach to Savo. At 2350 they got into range of Savo Island, but the visibility was so poor that effective bombardment of the island was impossible. Because of maneuvering during the storm and due to their approach to Savo, Squadron 4 (Asagumo, Murasame and Samidare) ended up behind the main body of the fleet by 9000 yards. The left wing of Squadron 10 (Yuudachi, Amatsukaze and Teruzuki) ended up straggling, preceding the Nagara by a few thousand yards and off the Hiei's port beam. Abe ordered Squadron 4 to scout out Savo Sound(also known as Ironbottom Sound), unaware that they were actually far behind the main body of the fleet. When the storm ended at 0130 and visibility cleared with a slight haze and since none of the scouts that he thought were far ahead of the main fleet reported any American activity, the IJN Battleships loaded Type 3 HE incendiary shells in preparation for land bombardment.

On Friday, November 13, 1942 at 0124, the USS Helena detected the Yuudachi, which was unaware that it had actually become the lead ship in the fleet, with SG radar at 27,000 Yards and the main body of the Japanese task force at 35,000 yards. Rear Admiral D. Callaghan, the commander of American task group, ordered his column on a heading to intercept the Abe's task group. However, many ships in the American fleet were equipped with inferior radar, including the flagsihp San Francisco, so orders relied upon information being relayed from more advanced warships. The reports often did not match and were sometimes even contradictory. The American fleet knew the Japanese fleet was approaching, but did not have accurate real-time information. The Japanese assumed the region was clear due to the misplacement of Squadron 4.

The American Fleet attempted to cross the Japanese T, Callaghan waited too long in giving the order and failed in the maneuver. USS Cushing, the lead ship in the column was ordered to turn north, but only the first few lead ships made the turn. At 0141, Cushing had spotted the lead ships in the Japanese fleet at 3000 yards crossing ahead of her. The captain of the USS Cushing prepared to attack and awaited orders to open fire from fleet command.

With the American column bearing straight amidships, the Yuudachi was completely caught off guard. She swerved to avoid a collision and sounded the alarm to the rest of the Japanese fleet trailing far behind her. Vice Admiral Abe was shocked at the development, trying to figure out where the Yuudachi was(and probably wondering wtf his scouts were doing). USS Cushing lost its opportunity to attack Yuudachi due to delayed orders, and the American column disintegrated due to the maneuvering of the lead ship and Yuudachi. At 0145 the American fleet was still on orders to standby. Eventually the situation for the American fleet went from going on an attack vector to desperately maneuvering to avoid collision with other ships in their own column. The San Francisco had to maneuver to avoid collision with the Atlanta, which was trying to avoid collision with the O'Bannon, which was trying to avoid ramming the Sterett. All this with Admiral Callaghan demanding what was going on.

At 0148, even though visibility conditions were good, the Hiei, Nagara and Akatsuki illuminated their searchlights. Hiei's searchlight settled on USS Atlanta, which fired blindly without orders back into the beam of light. Hiei, Nagara, Inazuma, Ikazuchi and Akatsuki had acquired the USS Atlanta as their target.

When both sides opened fire in earnest at 0150, it looked like this

The San Francisco was the first to open fire on Yuudachi from 4000 yards, followed by the Portland at 6200 yards. The Battleships on the Japanese side still had their Type 3 shells loaded, so could only screen for other ships. The Yuudachi and Harasame maneuvered to the starboard of the American column(or zig zag, whatever it turned into), with the Yuudachi and Akatsuki in lead positions attracting most of the fire as Inazuma and Ikazuchi used the opportunity to launch 12 torpedoes at 1000 yards, silencing the Atlanta at 0153.

Shortly after the Hiei had illuminated her spotlight, her deck was swept by a concentrated barrage of fire from the lead Destroyers from the front of the American column swarming her. The Akatsuki, which also had turned on her spotlight, took a direct hit to her bridge from the Atlanta(I guess that shit does attract fire). The American destroyers around Hiei were pummeled both by the IJN battleship and American shelling intended to hit the Hiei. After this point, the flagships of each fleet were passing on opposite courses 500 yards from each other, exchanging broadsides. With Hiei, Kirishima and Nagara all focusing on her, the San Francisco was caught in a crossfire, and her crew, including Admiral Callaghan and Captain Young were cut down.

During this exchange Yuudachi had broken the American line. As the battle raged around Hiei, Yuudachi and Harasume were ahead in the van. Seeing their flagship under fire, Yuudachi turned and dove back into the thick of the fighting with shells falling all around her, leaving Harusame it her wake. At 0155, Yuudachi launched 8 torpedoes, then cut in-between USS Juneau and USS Aaron Ward, swapping salvos with the light cruiser and destroyer and then causing them to nearly collide with each other. At 0158, her torpedo volley struck USS Portland, tearing open a 45-foot long section of hull and warping the Cruiser's structure, causing it to go in a circle for the rest of the battle. Yuudachi returned from her charge at 0210 and exchanged gunfire with USS Aaron Ward and USS Sterett, then withdrew to reload her torpedo tubes.

At 0215, the Yuudachi came under friendly fire from the Harusame, which had just finished sinking her own target.

At 0220 she encountered the Sterett again, but did not open fire, mistaking it for Harusame, which had just opened fire on her 5 minutes previous. As Yuudachi flashed recognition signals to the USS Sterett, the Sterett's gunfire hit Yuudachi's bow and no.1 boiler room, which finally caused Yuudachi to return fire. The Teruzuki arrived to assist Yuudachi, driving Sterett away burning and dead in the water. Yuudachi was not damaged as badly as the Sterett, but still left without power. Yuudachi's Captain ordered 'sails' to be put up on the Yuudachi to maintain morale. Samidare came by shortly after to pick up Yuudachi's crew, but failed to scuttle her with 3 torpedoes.

At 0630, the Portland, which was still running in circles from Yuudachi's torpedo salvo, fired six gun salvos from 12500 yards at the hulk of the half-scuttled Yuudachi, finally sinking her.

TL;DR - Yuudachi stopped the American Fleet from T Crossing the Japanese fleet with her actions when encountering the head of the American column, then broke the American line entirely less than 10 minutes later by charging into the American formation and disrupting it with her maneuvers and engaging multiple ships from point-blank range, taking out a Heavy Cruiser in the process. This turned what would have been a devastating IJN loss into a tactical stalemate with both sides withdrawing, though strategically the American side won as they were able to keep Henderson Field.

Yuudachi also played a role in sinking the USS Gregory (DD-82) and USS Little (DD-79) during her Tokyo Express runs a month previous.

Historically, her performance and the valor of her crew goes well above and beyond that of a run-of-the mill destroyer, or most any ship in the war. Romantically speaking, she went down in a blaze of glory that you often see popularized in media and was nothing short of heroic and ideal in the spirit of the times.

In Kantai Collection, her exceptional offense which is comparable to a Heavy Cruiser, is representative of her taking out USS Portland. Her art and voice changes at Kai-Ni from the casual and average look that most other DDs have. Her speech pattern retains a lot of her old mannerisms but at the same time what she says and how she says it becomes more aggressive. She gets ears and a change to a more confident, swaggering posture to show the wildcat nature exhibited in her last battle. Her torpedoes become the more prominent armament due to them doing most of the damage in her engagements. The white scarf on her neck are the sails that her captain ordered raised when all hope was lost in order to maintain morale. The two Sakura pins on her lapel - the rank of Sub-Lieutenant - are possibly in memory of Kikkawa Kiyoshi, her captain. Commander Kikkawa Kiyoshi survived to make his account of the war, whether he was a Sub-Lieutenant or Commander at the time I am not sure. It's a level of detail that most of the other fleet girls have not received - the artist did a great job of it.

Ironbottom sound, the area where Yuudachi and many other ships on both sides of the conflict went down has a BGM in the game "Return to Ironbottom Sound". It was also the E-5 map for the Autumn 2013 event.

The whole Nightmare of Solomon can be interpreted by a Gundam reference, but the Nightmare of Solomon in Gundam is actually an allusion to Yuudachi. Anavel Gato single-handedly holds off an Earth Federation force during the Battle of Solomon, allowing his allies to withdraw and survive. During the Solomon Islands campaign, Yuudachi thwarts the American fleet's attempt to intercept the IJN task group she is a part of, breaking their line and creating a tactical stalemate, allowing her allies to withdraw and survive. Thus, the Nightmare of Solomon.

/r/kancolle Thread