Guadalcanal

After Midway, Japan emphasized defense, fortified Rabaul, built airfield on Guadalcanal. As part of the U.S. strategy in the Pacific following the July 2 JCS decision, Nimitz planned attack on the Solomons, codenamed Operation Watchtower on July 3. When radio intelligence discovered Japan builidng an airfield on Guadalcanal, the island became the first target, codename "Cactus." American forces were sent to New Caledonia held by the Free French.

"US Strategic Pacific Sites,"
from ILN 1941/03/01 - big
"US Strategic Pacific Sites,"
from ILN 1941/03/01
Solomon Islands,
from Buchanan - big

Army maps of SW Pacific (big) and Guadalcanal (big) and New Guinea (big)


Higgins boats, old Eureka model in front, new 1940 LCVP with ramp in back, from ILN 1942/03/28

Battle of Guadalcanal - Aug. 7, 1942 to Feb. 1943 (6 months)

Aug. 8 - Naval Battle of Savo Island - Mikawa vs. Jack Fletcher

Aug. 20 - Cactus AF on Henderson Field - key to defense

The Slot to Bougainville, from Time 1943/01

Aug. 21 - Battle at Tenaru sandbar

Sept. - US reinforced to 20,000

Sept. 15 - Torpedo Junction - Japan subs attacked US ships

October = "month of despair"

Army map 1942/10

Oct 11 - Battle of Cape Esperance

Oct. 24 - Matanikau River - Japan lost 1000 of 5600 in night attack

[Medal of Honor since 1863 = 2625 before 20th century, 1130 after 1900; Civil War = 1520, Indian Wars = 423, Korean 1871 Exped = 15, Spanish-American War = 109, Philippine War = 91, Boxer Rebellion = 59 Veracruz 1914 = 55, Central American interventions 1915-33 = 13 WWI = 123, WWII=433, Korea=131, Vietnam=239, peacetime = 192]

Hornet carrier sunk in Solomons by Japan suicide plane that hit tower, from ILN 1943/01/23
destroyer helps Hornet, from ILN 1943/01/23

Nov. 13-15 - Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (actually 5 naval battles)

Dec. - 1st Marines relieved

March of Time released "Naval Log of Victory" in December 1943 - U.S. resources were stretched thin to fight a 2-ocean war, but the balance of naval power had changed by the end of the year.

Feb. 6, 1943 - Guadalcanal declared secure

MacArthur's Papuan campaign - Nov. 30 to Jan. 3, 1943

Port Moresby to New Guinea, from Time 1942/09/21

Resources:


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