The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands (25-27 October 1942) was a naval battle fought between the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy off the Solomon Islands during World War II. The battle occurred as a part of a combined naval and land offensive launched by the Japanese against American forces on Guadalcanal, with the Japanese hoping to recapture Henderson Field and destroy the American fleet. The Americans were also seeking a decisive naval battle with the Japanese to decide which fleet controlled the waters around Guadalcanal, and the two adversaries confronted each other just north of the Santa Cruz Islands. After the two sides exchanged air attacks, the Americans were forced to retreat, as they had been forced to scuttle USS Hornet. However, the Japanese suffered high aircraft and aircrew losses plus significant damage to two carriers, the Junyo and Zuiho, losing several veteran pilots; the Americans lost a few replaceable pilots in battle.