Steve Crandell wrote:
I keep thinking what a horrible tragedy it was when Halsey replaced Norman Scott with Callaghan just before the bloody engagement of 13 November, 1941. Scott might have been the leader the USN desperately needed then, and he was robbed of the opportunity. Time and again our sailors were robbed of good opportunities by poor leadership.
It turns out that it was Admiral Turner that made that decision, although Halsey didn't countermand it even though Halsey preferred Scott personally. The rationale was that Callaghan was promoted 15 days before Scott was. This was standard USN protocol in such cases I understand.
Callaghan was operating the general battle plan that Scott wrote up and recommended following Cape Esperance. Where Callaghan made a mistake was picking his old ship that he had been skipper of, the San Francisco, as his flag ship. SF didn't have an SG radar. He had to rely on the narrative of the Fletcher's SG operator over the TBS system. The TBS system was quickly overwhelmed with information overload and became useless. He didn't really know what was going on and hesitated.
Scott's flagship before he was sent to Savo Sound independently on a separate escort mission was also the San Francisco. That's how he ended up on Atlanta, another cruiser with out an SG. But would Scott have been on SF if it was him anyway, and in the same predicament that Callaghan found himself in?
Scott would probably have not wanted Juneau and Atlanta along if it was up to him. He had already submitted reports that the 5"/38 was virtually useless in a surface battle. He wanted bigger guns for surface battle. However sending in the AA cruisers was ordered by Turner.
What is sad and tragic is that Scott was probably killed by friendly fire from the San Francisco, just before Callaghan was cut down by fire from the Hiei. They both deserve our greatest respect and honor.