No traces of the American fleet were left in the Solomon waters. In five battles fought in three days in the vicinity of Bougainville, Tokyo radio had annihilated the enemy force. Within the period from October 27 to November 17, the Japanese Air Force destroyed 80 ships most of which were battleships, forty landing crafts and more than five hundred planes. There was nothing left for the desperate attackers but to flee in disorder to their Australian base.
There were a few suckers who fell for this nonsense with which the Japanese propagandists attempted to cover up their losses. Even the most myopic saw through the paradox. Everybody argued: “If the American fleet really suffered such damaging losses, how come they are able to advance and land in other islands, although the pace was too slow for the expectation of coffee shop strategists?”