On 12 November 1942 three days of fighting began, in what came to be known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The battle began with Japanese air attacks on American ships which had just landed reinforcements, including units from the US Army’s Americal Division (learn more here). Over the course of the next three days, the battle would evolve into a monumental engagement between battleships, cruisers, and destroyers in the narrow confines of Iron Bottom Sound.
In this photo, USS President Jackson (AP 37) maneuvers while under Japanese air attack off Guadalcanal on 12 November. In the center background is smoke from an enemy plane that had just crashed into the after superstructure of USS San Francisco (CA 38), which is steaming away in the right center. National Archives image 80-G-32366.