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AAJ KA GYAN
On the night of 14/15 July, another bombardment unit—TU 34.8.2—was detached from TF 38 to attack the town of Muroran on the south-east coast of Hokkaido. TU 34.8.2 was commanded by Rear Admiral Oscar C. Badger and comprised the battleships Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, the light cruisers Atlanta and Dayton, and eight destroyers. Admiral Halsey accompanied this force on board Missouri. The targets of this attack were the Japan Steel Company's facilities and the Wanishi Iron Works. Also that night, a force of four cruisers and six destroyers cruised along the east coast of Honshu seeking to attack Japanese shipping but did not locate any targets.
TU 34.8.2's bombardment began at dawn on 15 July. The three battleships fired 860 16-inch (410 mm) shells at the city from a range of 28,000–32,000 yd (26,000–29,000 m). Aerial observation and spotting of damage was made difficult by hazy conditions, and only 170 shells landed within the grounds of the two plants. Nevertheless, considerable damage was inflicted on the industrial facilities, resulting in the loss of two-and-a-half months of coke production and slightly less pig iron production. Damage to buildings across the city was also extensive. As with the bombardment of Kamaishi, photo interpreters underestimated the scale of the damage. TU 34.8.2 was highly vulnerable to air attack throughout the more than six hour period in which it was visible from the shore of Hokkaido, and Halsey later wrote that these were the longest hours of his life. The failure of the Japanese to attack his ships convinced Halsey that they were preserving aircraft for use against the Allied invasion force. On 15 July, aircraft flying from TF 38's aircraft carriers struck again at Hokkaido and northern Honshu, devastating the fleet of ships that carried coal between the two islands.