⒈ Matanikau

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Matanikau



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Unboxing TCS Matanikau

Sebree January-May Maj. John R. Hodge May April Maj. William H. Arnold November to inactivation. The th Infantry Regiment of the Americal Division went into action on Guadalcanal on 13 October as the first United States Army unit to conduct an offensive operation against the enemy in any theater. Elements of the Division defended Henderson Field against heavy enemy attacks, October, took part in the offensive across the Matanikau River in November, and attacked and took Mount Austen in January Organized resistance ended and the Division was relieved, 9 February. It moved to the Fiji Islands, beginning 5 March , to assume the defense of the main island of Viti Levu and to engage in extensive training.

During the period 25 December to 12 January the Americal Division landed on Bougainville, relieving the 3d Marine Division and was given the task of holding and extending the right half of a previously established perimeter. The Division went on the offensive in March , driving the Japanese east of Mavavia River, April, and seizing numerous strategic hill lasses during the rest of the month. Training and long-range patrol activity continued until 30 November when the Division was relieved. On 8 January , the Division began movement to Leyte and Samar, to take part in cleaning out remaining Japanese forces on those islands, and to invade Biri, Capul, Ticao, and Burias.

Relieved, 13 March , on Leyte, the Division landed on Cebu, 26 March, and seized the city and airfield by 28 March. Divisional combat teams made landings on Bohol, Negros, and Mindanao, where they cleared out pockets of resisting Japanese until 17 June when ordered to return to Cebu, arriving on 25 June. Henderson , a Marine aviator who was killed during the Battle of Midway. By 18 August the airfield was ready for operation. Allied troops encountered a severe strain of dysentery soon after the landings, with one in five Marines afflicted by mid-August.

A Japanese naval outpost was also located at Taivu Point, about 35 kilometers 22 mi east of the Lunga perimeter. On 8 August, a Japanese destroyer from Rabaul delivered naval reinforcement troops to the Matanikau position. On the evening of 12 August, a man U. Marine patrol, led by Division D-2 Lieutenant Colonel Frank Goettge and primarily consisting of intelligence personnel, landed by boat west of the US Marine Lunga perimeter, east of Point Cruz and west of the Japanese perimeter at Matanikau River, on a reconnaissance mission with a secondary objective of contacting a group of Japanese troops that U. Soon after the patrol landed, a nearby platoon of Japanese naval troops attacked it and almost completely wiped it out.

In response, on 19 August, Vandegrift sent three companies of the U. One company attacked across the sandbar at the mouth of the Matanikau River while another crossed the river 1, meters 1, yd inland and attacked the Japanese forces located in Matanikau village. The third landed by boat further west and attacked Kokumbuna village. After briefly occupying the two villages, the three Marine companies returned to the Lunga perimeter, having killed about 65 Japanese soldiers while losing four Marines. This action, sometimes referred to as the "First Battle of the Matanikau", was the first of several major actions around the Matanikau River during the campaign.

The Marine fighters went into action the next day on the first of the almost-daily Japanese bomber air raids. On 22 August five U. The army was to be supported by Japanese naval units, including the Combined Fleet under the command of Isoroku Yamamoto , which was headquartered at Truk. The 17th Army, at that time heavily involved in the Japanese campaign in New Guinea, had only a few units available. The different units began to move towards Guadalcanal via Truk and Rabaul immediately, but Ichiki's regiment, being the closest, arrived in the area first. A "First Element" of Ichiki's unit, consisting of about soldiers, landed from destroyers at Taivu Point, east of the Lunga perimeter, after midnight on 19 August, then made a 9-mile 14 km night march west toward the Marine perimeter.

Underestimating the strength of Allied forces on Guadalcanal, Ichiki's unit conducted a nighttime frontal assault on Marine positions at Alligator Creek often called the "Ilu River" on U. Marine maps on the east side of the Lunga perimeter in the early morning hours of 21 August. Jacob Vouza , a Solomon Islands Coastwatcher scout, warned the Americans of the impending attack minutes before Ichiki's assault, which was subsequently defeated with heavy losses to the Japanese in what became known as the Battle of the Tenaru.

After daybreak, the Marine units counterattacked Ichiki's surviving troops, killing many more of them. The dead included Ichiki, though it has been claimed that he committed seppuku after realizing the magnitude of his defeat, rather than dying in combat. About 30 survived the battle and joined Ichiki's rear guard of about , and these Japanese returned to Taivu Point, notified 17th Army headquarters of their defeat and awaited further reinforcements and orders from Rabaul. As the Tenaru battle was ending, more Japanese reinforcements were already on their way.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto put together a very powerful expeditionary force. Their aim was to destroy any American fleet units in the area, and then eliminate Henderson Field. This force sortied from Truk on 23 August. Several other reinforcements, support, and bombardment groups sortied from both Truk and Rabaul. Nagumo's force included three carriers and 30 other warships. The aircraft from the two fleet carriers would then attack the Americans. Simultaneously, the U. On 24 August, the two carrier forces fought. The American forces had two carriers, the Saratoga and Enterprise , and their aircraft. Enterprise was attacked and damaged. Both fleets then retreated from the area. After suffering heavy damage during the battle, including the sinking of one of the transports, the convoy was forced to divert to the Shortland Islands in the northern Solomons in order to transfer the surviving troops to destroyers for later delivery to Guadalcanal.

At this point, Tanaka withdrew and rescheduled the supply run for the night of 28 August, via the remaining destroyers. Meanwhile, the Japanese had launched an air raid on Guadalcanal, causing chaos and havoc. Meanwhile, on 25 August, the American carrier Wasp , after refueling, positioned itself east of Guadalcanal expecting Japanese movement to the area. No Japanese forces made any movement towards the area, and the Wasp was left idle.

Strategically, the Japanese had an opportunity here for a decisive victory; however, they failed to realize this potential. They allowed the Americans to step away with a view of victory. Additionally, the reinforcement of Henderson Field of Guadalcanal by Enterprise ' s aircraft established a precedent. This made daylight supply runs to Guadalcanal impossible for Japanese shipments. Only weeks before this, the Japanese had total control of the sea in this particular region; now they were forced to make supply runs only under the cover of darkness. Throughout August, small numbers of U. By the end of August, 64 aircraft of various types were stationed at Henderson Field. Marine Brigadier General Roy S.

Geiger , arrived with his staff and took command of all air operations at Henderson Field. Between 26 August and 5 September, the U. More than half of the U. The eight-hour round-trip flight from Rabaul to Guadalcanal, about 1, miles 1, km , seriously hampered Japanese efforts to establish air superiority over Henderson Field. Australian coastwatchers on Bougainville and New Georgia islands were often able to provide the Allied forces on Guadalcanal with advance notice of inbound Japanese air strikes, allowing the U.

The Japanese air forces were slowly losing a war of attrition in the skies above Guadalcanal. During this time, Vandegrift continued to direct efforts to strengthen and improve the defenses of the Lunga perimeter. These units added about 1, troops to Vandegrift's original 11, men defending Henderson Field. The Marines were impeded by difficult terrain, hot sun, and well-emplaced Japanese defenses.

The next morning, the Marines found that the Japanese defenders had departed during the night, so the Marines returned to the Lunga perimeter by boat. Small Allied naval convoys arrived at Guadalcanal on 23 and 29 August, and 1 and 8 September to provide the Marines at Lunga with more food, ammunition, aircraft fuel, aircraft technicians, and other supplies. The convoy on 1 September also brought Seabees to maintain and improve Henderson Field. By 23 August, Kawaguchi's 35th Infantry Brigade reached Truk and was loaded onto slow transport ships for the rest of the trip to Guadalcanal.

The damage done to Tanaka's convoy during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons caused the Japanese to reconsider trying to deliver more troops to Guadalcanal by slow transport. Instead, the ships carrying Kawaguchi's soldiers were sent to Rabaul. From there, the Japanese planned to deliver Kawaguchi's men to Guadalcanal by destroyers staging through a Japanese naval base in the Shortland Islands. The Japanese destroyers were usually able to make round trips down "The Slot" New Georgia Sound to Guadalcanal and back in a single night throughout the campaign, minimizing their exposure to Allied air attack.

The runs became known as the " Tokyo Express " to Allied forces and were labeled "rat transportation" by the Japanese. In addition, this activity tied up destroyers the IJN desperately needed to escort their convoys. Either inability or unwillingness prevented Allied naval commanders from frequently challenging Japanese naval forces at night, so the Japanese controlled the seas around the Solomon Islands during nighttime. However, any Japanese ship within range miles or kilometres of the aircraft at Henderson Field in daylight was at great risk from air attack. This tactical situation existed for the next several months of the campaign. Between 29 August and 4 September, Japanese light cruisers, destroyers, and patrol boats were able to land almost 5, troops at Taivu Point, including most of the 35th Infantry Brigade, much of the Aoba 4th Regiment, and the rest of Ichiki's regiment.

On 7 September, Kawaguchi issued his attack plan to "rout and annihilate the enemy in the vicinity of the Guadalcanal Island airfield". Kawaguchi's attack plan called for his forces, split into three divisions, to approach the Lunga perimeter inland, culminating with a surprise night attack. Oka's forces would attack the perimeter from the west while Ichiki's Second Echelon, now renamed the Kuma Battalion, would attack from the east. The main attack would be by Kawaguchi's "Center Body", numbering 3, men in three battalions, from the jungle south of the Lunga perimeter. About Japanese troops remained behind to guard the brigade's supply base at Taivu. Meanwhile, native scouts under the direction of Martin Clemens , a coastwatcher officer in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force and the British district officer for Guadalcanal, brought reports to the U.

Marines of Japanese troops at Taivu near the village of Tasimboko. Edson planned a raid on the Japanese troop concentration at Taivu. After destroying everything in sight, except for some documents and equipment carried back with them, the Marines returned to the Lunga perimeter. The mounds of supplies along with intelligence gathered from the captured documents informed the Marines that at least 3, Japanese troops were on the island and apparently planning an attack. Edson, along with Colonel Gerald C. Thomas , Vandegrift's operations officer, correctly believed that the Japanese attack would come at a narrow, grassy, 1,yard-long m coral ridge that ran parallel to the Lunga River located just south of Henderson Field. The ridge, called Lunga Ridge, offered a natural avenue of approach to the airfield, commanded the surrounding area and, at that time, was almost undefended.

On 11 September, the men of Edson's battalion were deployed onto and around the ridge. On the night of 12 September, Kawaguchi's 1st Battalion attacked the Raiders between the Lunga River and ridge, forcing one Marine company to fall back to the ridge before the Japanese halted their attack for the night. The next night Kawaguchi faced Edson's Raiders with 3, troops of his brigade plus an assortment of light artillery. The Japanese attack began just after nightfall, with Kawaguchi's 1st battalion assaulting Edson's right flank just to the west of the ridge. After breaking through the Marine lines the battalion's assault was eventually stopped by Marine units guarding the northern part of the ridge.

Two companies from Kawaguchi's 2nd Battalion charged up the southern edge of the ridge and pushed Edson's troops back to Hill on the center part of the ridge. Throughout the night Marines at this position, who were supported by artillery, defeated wave after wave of frontal Japanese attacks, some of which resulted in hand-to-hand fighting. Japanese units that infiltrated past the ridge to the edge of the airfield were also repulsed. Attacks by the Kuma battalion and Oka's unit at other locations on the Lunga perimeter were also defeated. On 14 September Kawaguchi led the survivors of his shattered brigade on a five-day march west to the Matanikau Valley to join with Oka's unit. The results of the battle now began to have a telling strategic impact on Japanese operations in other areas of the Pacific.

Hyakutake, with the concurrence of General Headquarters, ordered his troops on New Guinea, who were within 30 miles 50 km of their objective of Port Moresby, to withdraw until the "Guadalcanal matter" was resolved. Hyakutake prepared to send more troops to Guadalcanal for another attempt to recapture Henderson Field. As the Japanese regrouped west of the Matanikau, the U. On 18 September an Allied naval convoy delivered 4, men from the 3rd Provisional Marine Brigade the 7th Marine Regiment plus a battalion from the 11th Marine Regiment and some additional support units , vehicles, tents, aviation fuel, ammunition, rations, and engineering equipment to Guadalcanal. These crucial reinforcements allowed Vandegrift, beginning on 19 September, to establish an unbroken line of defense around the Lunga perimeter.

While covering this convoy the aircraft carrier USS Wasp was scuttled [90] after being hit by torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I southeast of Guadalcanal. One of these was the recently promoted Colonel Merritt Edson , who was placed in command of the 5th Marine Regiment. A lull occurred in the air war over Guadalcanal, with no Japanese air raids between 14 and 27 September due to bad weather, during which both sides reinforced their respective air units. The Japanese delivered 85 fighters and bombers to their air units at Rabaul while the U. On 20 September the Japanese counted total aircraft at Rabaul while the Allies tallied 71 aircraft at Henderson Field.

Navy and Marine fighters from Henderson Field. The Japanese immediately began to prepare for their next attempt to recapture Henderson Field. By now, though, the battalion had joined Oka's forces near the Matanikau. Tokyo Express runs by destroyers on 14, 20, 21 and 24 September brought food and ammunition as well as men from the 1st Battalion, Aoba Regiment, to Kamimbo on Guadalcanal. The Japanese planned to transport a total of 17, troops from these two divisions to Guadalcanal to take part in the next major attack on the Lunga Perimeter set for 20 October Vandegrift and his staff were aware that Kawaguchi's troops had retreated to the area west of the Matanikau and that numerous groups of Japanese stragglers were scattered throughout the area between the Lunga Perimeter and the Matanikau River.

Vandegrift, therefore, decided to conduct another series of small unit operations around the Matanikau Valley. The purpose of these operations was to mop up the scattered groups of Japanese troops east of the Matanikau and to keep the main body of Japanese soldiers off-balance to prevent them from consolidating their positions so close to the main Marine defenses at Lunga Point. The first U. Marine operation conducted between 23 and 27 September by elements of three U. Marine battalions, an attack on Japanese forces west of the Matanikau, was repulsed by Kawaguchi's troops under Akinosuke Oka's local command. During the action three Marine companies were surrounded by Japanese forces near Point Cruz west of the Matanikau, took heavy losses, and barely escaped with assistance from the destroyer USS Monssen and landing craft manned by U.

Coast Guard personnel. One of those was piloted by Douglas Munro , who was killed as he maneuvered his craft to protect the escaping Marines and became the only coast guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor. In the second action between 6 and 9 October a larger force of Marines successfully crossed the Matanikau River, attacked newly landed Japanese forces from the 2nd Infantry Division under the command of generals Masao Maruyama and Yumio Nasu , and inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese 4th Infantry Regiment. The second action forced the Japanese to retreat from their positions east of the Matanikau and hindered Japanese preparations for their planned major offensive on the U.

Lunga defenses. Between 9 and 11 October the U. The raids killed 35 Japanese at a cost of 17 Marines and three U. Navy personnel killed. Throughout the last week of September and the first week of October, Tokyo Express runs delivered troops from the Japanese 2nd Infantry Division to Guadalcanal. The Japanese Navy promised to support the Army's planned offensive not only by delivering the necessary troops, equipment, and supplies to the island, but by stepping up air attacks on Henderson Field and sending warships to bombard the airfield.

In the meantime, Millard F. Marine forces on Guadalcanal needed to be reinforced immediately if the Allies were to successfully defend the island from the next, expected Japanese offensive. Thus, on 8 October, the 2, men of the th Infantry Regiment from the U. Army's Americal Division boarded ships at New Caledonia for the trip to Guadalcanal with a projected arrival date of 13 October. To protect the transports carrying the th to Guadalcanal, Ghormley ordered Task Force 64, consisting of four cruisers and five destroyers under U. Rear Admiral Norman Scott , to intercept and combat any Japanese ships that approached Guadalcanal and threatened the arrival of the transport convoy.

Mikawa's 8th Fleet staff scheduled a large and important Express run for the night of 11 October. Two seaplane tenders and six destroyers were to deliver soldiers plus artillery and ammunition to Guadalcanal. Because U. Navy warships had yet to attempt to interdict any Tokyo Express missions to Guadalcanal, the Japanese were not expecting any opposition from Allied naval surface forces that night. During the exchange of gunfire, one of Scott's destroyers was sunk and one cruiser and another destroyer were heavily damaged.

In the meantime, the Japanese supply convoy successfully completed unloading at Guadalcanal and began its return journey without being discovered by Scott's force. The convoy of U. Army troops reached Guadalcanal as scheduled the next day and successfully delivered its cargo and passengers to the island. Despite the U. On 13 October, a convoy comprising six cargo ships with eight screening destroyers departed the Shortland Islands for Guadalcanal. The convoy carried 4, troops from the 16th and th Infantry Regiments, some naval marines, two batteries of heavy artillery, and one company of tanks. Over the next one hour and 23 minutes, the two battleships fired inch mm shells into the Lunga perimeter, most of which fell in and around the 2, m 2 24, sq ft area of the airfield.

Many of the shells were fragmentation shells, specifically designed to destroy land targets. The bombardment heavily damaged both runways, burned almost all of the available aviation fuel, destroyed 48 of the CAF's 90 aircraft, and killed 41 men, including six CAF pilots. The battleship force immediately returned to Truk. Despite the heavy damage, Henderson personnel were able to restore one of the runways to operational condition within a few hours. Army and Marine transport aircraft began to shuttle aviation gasoline from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal.

Now aware of the approach of the large Japanese reinforcement convoy, the U. Using fuel drained from destroyed aircraft and from a cache in the nearby jungle, the CAF attacked the convoy twice on the 14th, but caused no damage. The Japanese convoy reached Tassafaronga on Guadalcanal at midnight on 14 October and began unloading. Throughout the day of 15 October, a string of CAF aircraft from Henderson bombed and strafed the unloading convoy, destroying three of the cargo ships.

The remainder of the convoy departed that night, having unloaded all of the troops and about two-thirds of the supplies and equipment. Several Japanese heavy cruisers also bombarded Henderson on the nights of 14 and 15 October, destroying a few additional CAF aircraft, but failing to cause significant further damage to the airfield. Between 1 and 17 October, the Japanese delivered 15, troops to Guadalcanal, giving Hyakutake 20, total troops to employ for his planned offensive. Because of the loss of their positions on the east side of the Matanikau, the Japanese decided that an attack on the U. Therefore, Hyakutake decided that the main thrust of his planned attack would be from south of Henderson Field. His 2nd Division augmented by troops from the 38th Division , under Maruyama and comprising 7, soldiers in three infantry regiments of three battalions each was ordered to march through the jungle and attack the American defenses from the south near the east bank of the Lunga River.

To distract the Americans from the planned attack from the south, Hyakutake's heavy artillery plus five battalions of infantry about 2, men under Major General Tadashi Sumiyoshi were to attack the American defenses from the west along the coastal corridor. The Japanese estimated that there were 10, American troops on the island, when in fact there were about 23, On 12 October, a company of Japanese engineers began to break a trail, called the "Maruyama Road", from the Matanikau towards the southern portion of the U. Lunga perimeter.

The mile-long 24 km trail traversed some of the most difficult terrain on Guadalcanal, including numerous rivers and streams, deep, muddy ravines, steep ridges, and dense jungle. Between 16 and 18 October, the 2nd Division began their march along the Maruyama Road. By 23 October, Maruyama's forces still struggled through the jungle to reach the American lines. That evening, after learning that his forces had yet to reach their attack positions, Hyakutake postponed the attack to on 24 October.

The Americans remained unaware of the approach of Maruyama's forces. Sumiyoshi was informed by Hyakutake's staff of the postponement of the offensive to 24 October, but was unable to contact his troops to inform them of the delay. Thus, at dusk on 23 October, two battalions of the 4th Infantry Regiment and the nine tanks of the 1st Independent Tank Company launched attacks on the U. Marine defenses at the mouth of the Matanikau.

Marine artillery, cannon, and small arms fire repulsed the attacks, destroying all the tanks and killing many of the Japanese soldiers while suffering only light casualties. Finally, late on 24 October, Maruyama's forces reached the U. Over two consecutive nights Maruyama's forces conducted numerous frontal assaults on positions defended by troops of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines under Lieutenant Colonel Chesty Puller and the U. Marine and Army units armed with rifles, machine guns, mortars, and artillery, including direct canister fire from 37 mm anti-tank guns , "wrought terrible carnage" on the Japanese. More than 1, of Maruyama's troops were killed in the attacks while the Americans lost about 60 killed.

Over the same two days American aircraft from Henderson Field defended against attacks by Japanese aircraft and ships, destroying 14 aircraft and sinking a light cruiser. Further Japanese attacks near the Matanikau on 26 October were also repulsed with heavy losses for the Japanese. As a result, by on 26 October, Hyakutake called off any further attacks and ordered his forces to retreat. Leading elements of the 2nd Division reached the 17th Army headquarters area at Kokumbona, west of the Matanikau on 4 November. Decimated by battle deaths, combat injuries, malnutrition, and tropical diseases, the 2nd Division was incapable of further offensive action and fought as a defensive force along the coast for the rest of the campaign.

In total, the Japanese lost 2,—3, troops in the battle while the Americans lost around 80 killed. At the same time that Hyakutake's troops were attacking the Lunga perimeter, Japanese aircraft carriers and other large warships under the overall direction of Isoroku Yamamoto moved into a position near the southern Solomon Islands. From this location, the Japanese naval forces hoped to engage and decisively defeat any Allied primarily U. Allied naval carrier forces in the area, now under the overall command of William Halsey, Jr. Nimitz had replaced Ghormley with Admiral Halsey on 18 October after concluding that Ghormley had become too pessimistic and myopic to effectively continue leading Allied forces in the South Pacific area.

The two opposing carrier forces confronted each other on the morning of 26 October, in what became known as the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. After an exchange of carrier air attacks, Allied surface ships were forced to retreat from the battle area with the loss of one carrier sunk Hornet and another Enterprise heavily damaged. The participating Japanese carrier forces, however, also retired because of high aircraft and aircrew losses and significant damage to two carriers. Although an apparent tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk and damaged, the loss by the Japanese of many irreplaceable, veteran aircrews provided a long-term strategic advantage for the Allies, whose aircrew losses in the battle were relatively low.

The Japanese carriers played no further significant role in the campaign. In order to exploit the victory in the Battle for Henderson Field, Vandegrift sent six Marine battalions, later joined by one U. Army battalion, on an offensive west of the Matanikau. The operation was commanded by Merritt Edson and its goal was to capture Kokumbona, headquarters of the 17th Army, west of Point Cruz. The 4th Infantry was severely understrength because of battle damage, tropical disease, and malnutrition. The American offensive began on 1 November and, after some difficulty, succeeded in destroying Japanese forces defending the Point Cruz area by 3 November, including rear echelon troops sent to reinforce Nakaguma's battered regiment.

The Americans appeared to be on the verge of breaking through the Japanese defenses and capturing Kokumbona. At this time, however, other American forces discovered and engaged newly landed Japanese troops near Koli Point on the eastern side of the Lunga perimeter. To counter this new threat, Vandegrift temporarily halted the Matanikau offensive on 4 November. The Americans suffered 71 and the Japanese around killed in the offensive. Having learned of the planned landing, Vandegrift sent a battalion of Marines under Herman H.

Hanneken to intercept the Japanese at Koli. Soon after landing, the Japanese soldiers encountered and drove Hanneken's battalion back towards the Lunga perimeter. In response, Vandegrift ordered Puller's Marine battalion plus two of the th infantry battalions, along with Hanneken's battalion, to move towards Koli Point to attack the Japanese forces there. A gap existed by way of a swampy creek in the southern side of the American lines. On 12 November, the Americans completely overran and killed all the remaining Japanese soldiers left in the pocket. The American forces suffered 40 killed and wounded in the operation. Carlson's raiders, along with troops from the U. Army's th Infantry Regiment , were to provide security for Seabees as they attempted to construct an airfield at that location.

Halsey, acting on a recommendation by Turner, had approved the Aola Bay airfield construction effort; however it was abandoned at the end of November because of unsuitable terrain. With the rest of the companies from his battalion, which arrived a few days later, Carlson and his troops set off on a day patrol from Aola to the Lunga perimeter. Tokyo Express runs on 5, 7, and 9 November delivered additional troops from the Japanese 38th Infantry Division, including most of the th Infantry Regiment, to Guadalcanal. These fresh troops were quickly emplaced in the Point Cruz and Matanikau area and helped successfully resist further attacks by American forces on 10 and 18 November.

The Americans and Japanese remained facing each other along a line just west of Point Cruz for the next six weeks. After the defeat in the Battle for Henderson Field, the IJA planned to try again to retake the airfield in November , but further reinforcements were needed before the operation could proceed. The IJA requested assistance from Yamamoto to deliver the needed reinforcements to the island and to support the next offensive. Yamamoto provided 11 large transport ships to carry the remaining 7, troops from the 38th Infantry Division, their ammunition, food, and heavy equipment from Rabaul to Guadalcanal. He also provided a warship support force that included two battleships, Hiei and Kirishima , equipped with special fragmentation shells, which were to bombard Henderson Field on the night of 12—13 November and destroy it and the aircraft stationed there to allow the slow transports to reach Guadalcanal and unload safely the next day.

In early November, Allied intelligence learned that the Japanese were preparing again to try to retake Henderson Field. Army infantry battalions, and ammunition and food, commanded by Turner, to Guadalcanal on 11 November. The supply ships were protected by two task groups , commanded by Rear Admirals Daniel J. Callaghan and Norman Scott , and aircraft from Henderson Field. Around on 13 November, Callaghan's force intercepted Abe's bombardment group between Guadalcanal and Savo Island. In addition to the two battleships, Abe's force included one light cruiser and 11 destroyers. In the pitch darkness [] the two warship forces intermingled before opening fire at unusually close quarters.

Two Japanese destroyers were sunk and another destroyer and the Hiei heavily damaged. Despite his defeat of Callaghan's force, Abe ordered his warships to retire without bombarding Henderson Field. The Hiei sank later that day after repeated air attacks by aircraft from CAF and the carrier Enterprise. Because of Abe's failure to neutralize Henderson Field, Yamamoto ordered the troop transport convoy, under the command of Tanaka and located near the Shortland Islands, to wait an additional day before heading towards Guadalcanal.

In the meantime, around on 14 November, a cruiser and destroyer force under Gunichi Mikawa from Rabaul conducted an unopposed bombardment of Henderson Field. The bombardment caused some damage but failed to put the airfield or most of its aircraft out of operation. As Mikawa's force retired towards Rabaul, Tanaka's transport convoy, trusting that Henderson Field was now destroyed or heavily damaged, began its run down the slot towards Guadalcanal. Throughout the day of 14 November, aircraft from Henderson Field and the Enterprise attacked Mikawa's and Tanaka's ships, sinking one heavy cruiser and seven of the transports.

Most of the troops were rescued from the transports by Tanaka's escorting destroyers and returned to the Shortlands. After dark, Tanaka and the remaining four transports continued towards Guadalcanal as Kondo's force approached to bombard Henderson Field. In order to intercept Kondo's force, Halsey, who was low on undamaged ships, detached two battleships, the Washington and South Dakota , and four destroyers from the Enterprise task force. The U. Lee aboard the Washington , reached Guadalcanal and Savo Island just before midnight on 14 November, shortly before Kondo's bombardment force arrived. Kondo's force consisted of the Kirishima plus two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and nine destroyers.

After the two forces made contact, Kondo's force quickly sank three of the U. The Japanese warships then sighted, opened fire, and damaged the South Dakota. As Kondo's warships concentrated on the South Dakota , the Washington approached the Japanese ships unobserved and opened fire on the Kirishima , smashing into the Japanese battleship repeatedly with both main and secondary battery shells, and causing fatal damage. After fruitlessly chasing the Washington towards the Russell Islands , Kondo ordered his warships to retire without bombarding Henderson Field.

One of Kondo's destroyers was also sunk during the engagement. As Kondo's ships retired, the four Japanese transports beached themselves near Tassafaronga on Guadalcanal at and quickly began unloading. At , U. Only 2,—3, of the army troops reached the shore. Because of the failure to deliver most of the troops and supplies, the Japanese were forced to cancel their planned November offensive on Henderson Field, making the battle a significant strategic victory for the Allies, and marking the beginning of the end of Japanese attempts to retake Henderson Field.

One of Imamura's first priorities upon assuming command was the continuation of the attempts to retake Henderson Field and Guadalcanal. Because the Allied attempt to take Buna was considered a more severe threat to Rabaul, Imamura postponed further major reinforcement efforts to Guadalcanal to concentrate on the situation in New Guinea. The Japanese continued to experience problems in delivering sufficient supplies to sustain their troops on Guadalcanal. Attempts to use only submarines the last two weeks in November failed to provide sufficient food for Hyakutake's forces. A separate attempt to establish bases in the central Solomons to facilitate barge convoys to Guadalcanal also failed because of destructive Allied air attacks.

On 26 November, the 17th Army notified Imamura that it faced a food crisis. Some front-line units had not been resupplied for six days and even the rear-area troops were on one-third rations. The situation forced the Japanese to return to using destroyers to deliver the necessary supplies. Eighth Fleet personnel devised a plan to help reduce the exposure of destroyers delivering supplies to Guadalcanal. Large oil or gas drums were cleaned and filled with medical supplies and food, with enough air space to provide buoyancy, and strung together with rope.

When the destroyers arrived at Guadalcanal they would make a sharp turn and the drums would be cut loose and a swimmer or boat from shore could pick up the buoyed end of a rope and return it to the beach, where the soldiers could haul in the supplies. Tanaka's unit was centered on eight destroyers, with six destroyers assigned to carry between and drums of supplies apiece. Rear Admiral Carleton H. Wright , to intercept Tanaka's force off Guadalcanal. Two additional destroyers joined Wright's force en route to Guadalcanal from Espiritu Santo during the day of 30 November. At on 30 November, Tanaka's force arrived off Guadalcanal and prepared to unload the supply barrels.

Meanwhile, Wright's warships were approaching through Ironbottom Sound from the opposite direction. Wright's destroyers detected Tanaka's force on radar and the destroyer commander requested permission to attack with torpedoes. Wright waited four minutes before giving permission, allowing Tanaka's force to escape from an optimum firing setup. All of the American torpedoes missed their targets. At the same time, Wright's cruisers opened fire, quickly hitting and destroying one of the Japanese guard destroyers. The rest of Tanaka's warships abandoned the supply mission, increased speed, turned, and launched a total of 44 torpedoes in the direction of Wright's cruisers.

The Japanese torpedoes hit and sank the U. The rest of Tanaka's destroyers escaped without damage, but failed to deliver any of the provisions to Guadalcanal. By 7 December , Hyakutake's forces were losing about 50 men each day from malnutrition, disease, and Allied ground or air attacks. PT boat torpedo. On 12 December, the Japanese Navy proposed that Guadalcanal be abandoned. At the same time, several army staff officers at the Imperial General Headquarters IGH also suggested that further efforts to retake Guadalcanal would be impossible.

Upon the delegation's return to Tokyo, Sanada recommended that Guadalcanal be abandoned. The IGH's top leaders agreed with Sanada's recommendation on 26 December and ordered their staffs to begin drafting plans for a withdrawal from Guadalcanal, establishment of a new defense line in the central Solomons, and a shifting of priorities and resources to the campaign in New Guinea.

On 31 December, the Emperor formally endorsed the decision. The Japanese secretly began to prepare for the evacuation, called Operation Ke , scheduled to begin during the latter part of January By December, the weary 1st Marine Division was withdrawn for recuperation, and over the course of the next month the U. XIV Corps took over operations on the island. This corps consisted of the 2nd Marine Division and the U.

Army's 25th Infantry and 23rd "Americal" Divisions. On 18 December, Allied mainly U. Army forces began attacking Japanese positions on Mount Austen. A strong Japanese fortified position, called the Gifu, stymied the attacks and the Americans were forced to temporarily halt their offensive on 4 January. The Allies renewed the offensive on 10 January, reattacking the Japanese on Mount Austen as well as on two nearby ridges called the Seahorse and the Galloping Horse. After some difficulty, the Allies captured all three by 23 January. At the same time, U. Marines advanced along the north coast of the island, making significant gains.

The Americans lost about killed in the operation while the Japanese suffered around 3, killed, about 12 to 1 in the Americans' favor. On 14 January, a Tokyo Express run delivered a battalion of troops to act as a rear guard for the Ke evacuation. A staff officer from Rabaul accompanied the troops to notify Hyakutake of the decision to withdraw. At the same time, Japanese warships and aircraft moved into position around the Rabaul and Bougainville areas in preparation to execute the withdrawal operation.

Allied intelligence detected the Japanese movements, but misinterpreted them as preparations for another attempt to retake Henderson Field and Guadalcanal. Patch, wary of what he thought to be an imminent Japanese offensive, committed only a relatively small portion of his troops to continue a slow-moving offensive against Hyakutake's forces. On 29 January, Halsey, acting on the same intelligence, sent a resupply convoy to Guadalcanal screened by a cruiser task force.

Sighting the cruisers, Japanese naval torpedo bombers attacked that same evening and heavily damaged the cruiser Chicago. The next day, more torpedo aircraft attacked and sank Chicago. Halsey ordered the remainder of the task force to return to base and directed the rest of his naval forces to take station in the Coral Sea , south of Guadalcanal, to be ready to counter a Japanese offensive.

In the meantime, the Japanese 17th Army withdrew to the west coast of Guadalcanal while rear guard units checked the American offensive. The Japanese and Americans each lost a destroyer from an air and naval attack related to the evacuation mission. On the nights of 4 and 7 February, Hashimoto and his destroyers evacuated the remaining Japanese forces from Guadalcanal. Apart from some air attacks, Allied forces, still anticipating a large Japanese offensive, did not attempt to interdict Hashimoto's evacuation runs. In total, the Japanese successfully evacuated 10, men from Guadalcanal. Their last troops left the island on the evening of 7 February, six months to the day from when the U.

After the Japanese withdrawal, Guadalcanal and Tulagi were developed into major bases supporting the Allied advance further up the Solomon Islands chain. Besides Henderson Field, two additional fighter runways were constructed at Lunga Point and a bomber airfield was built at Koli Point. Extensive naval port and logistics facilities were established at Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida. The anchorage around Tulagi became an important advanced base for Allied warships and transport ships supporting the Solomon Islands campaign. Major ground units were staged through large encampments and barracks on Guadalcanal before deployment further up the Solomons.

After Guadalcanal the Japanese were clearly on the defensive in the Pacific. The constant pressure to reinforce Guadalcanal had weakened Japanese efforts in other theaters, contributing to a successful Australian and American counteroffensive in New Guinea which culminated in the capture of the key bases of Buna and Gona in early The Allies had gained a strategic initiative which they never relinquished. In June, the Allies launched Operation Cartwheel , which, after modification in August , formalized the strategy of isolating Rabaul and cutting its sea lines of communication. The subsequent successful neutralization of Rabaul and the forces centered there facilitated the South West Pacific campaign under MacArthur and Central Pacific island-hopping campaign under Nimitz, with both efforts successfully advancing toward Japan.

The remaining Japanese defenses in the South Pacific area were then either destroyed or bypassed by Allied forces as the war progressed. It strained logistical capabilities of the combatant nations. For the U. A failure to achieve air supremacy forced Japan to rely on reinforcement by barges, destroyers, and submarines, with very uneven results. Early in the campaign, the Americans were hindered by a lack of resources, as they suffered heavy losses in cruisers and carriers, with replacements from ramped-up shipbuilding programs still months away from materializing. Navy suffered such high personnel losses during the campaign that it refused to publicly release total casualty figures for years. However, as the campaign continued, and the American public became more and more aware of the plight and perceived heroism of the American forces on Guadalcanal, more forces were dispatched to the area.

This spelled trouble for Japan as its military-industrial complex was unable to match the output of American industry and manpower. Thus, as the campaign wore on the Japanese were losing irreplaceable units while the Americans were rapidly replacing and even augmenting their forces. The Guadalcanal campaign was costly to Japan strategically and in material losses and manpower. Roughly 30, personnel, including 25, experienced ground troops, died during the campaign. As many as three-quarters of the deaths were from non-combat causes such as starvation and various tropical diseases. Japan also lost control of the southern Solomons and the ability to interdict Allied shipping to Australia. Japan's major base at Rabaul was now further directly threatened by Allied air power.

Most importantly, scarce Japanese land, air, and naval forces had disappeared forever into the Guadalcanal jungle and surrounding sea. The Japanese could not replace the aircraft and ships destroyed and sunk in this campaign, as well as their highly trained and veteran crews, especially the naval aircrews, nearly as quickly as the Allies. While the Battle of Midway is viewed as a turning point in the Pacific War, Japan remained on the offensive, as shown by its advances down the Solomon Islands. Strategic initiative passed to the Allies, as it proved, permanently. The Guadalcanal campaign ended all Japanese expansion attempts in the Pacific and placed the Allies in a position of clear supremacy.

The "Europe first" policy agreed to by the Allies, had initially only allowed for defensive actions against Japanese expansion, in order to focus resources on defeating Germany. However, Admiral King's argument for the Guadalcanal invasion, as well as its successful implementation, convinced Roosevelt that the Pacific Theater could be pursued offensively as well. Perhaps as important as the military victory for the Allies was the psychological victory. On a level playing field, the Allies had beaten Japan's best land, air, and naval forces. After Guadalcanal, Allied personnel regarded the Japanese military with much less fear and awe than previously. In addition, the Allies viewed the eventual outcome of the Pacific War with greatly increased optimism. Guadalcanal is no longer merely a name of an island in Japanese military history.

It is the name of the graveyard of the Japanese army. Said Kawabe, "As for the turning point [of the war], when the positive action ceased or even became negative, it was, I feel, at Guadalcanal. The remains of military equipment and of several aircraft can be seen in this well-kept open-air museum. Several memorials for the American, Australian, Fijian, New Zealand and Japanese soldiers who lost their lives were erected as well.

The Guadalcanal campaign was the subject of a large amount of high-quality reporting. News agencies sent some of their most talented writers, as it was the first major American combat operation of the war. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Guadalcanal campaign. Austen Naval Savo Is. Solomon Islands campaign. Further information: Battle of Guadalcanal order of battle and Guadalcanal naval order of battle. Further information: Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu—Tanambogo. Main article: Battle of Savo Island.

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