The Battle for Guadalcanal
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The Battle for Guadalcanal

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The Battle for Guadalcanal The Battle for Guadalcanal Presentation Transcript

  • The Battle for Guadalcanal
    By: John DeMars
    “No combat historians accompanied Marine Corps and Army troops into Guadalcanal. Records of this campaign are fragmentary and in some cases non-existant.” (Deweerd, 646)
  • Lead up to Guadalcanal
    Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941)
    Destruction of US Navy
    US goes on the defensive as they try to rebuild the Navy to its former power
    Island hopping campaign (Adm. Nimitz, Gen. MacArthur)
    US offensive against Japan
    Guadalcanal Aug. 7, 1942 – Feb. 9,1943
    187 days of fierce fighting
    First major offensive in the Pacific for the US
    US landed and met little to no resistance
    Japanese were caught off guard and had retreated
    (Deweerd, 647)
  • Americans
    ~60,000 men
    Fresh from training
    First time seeing the Japanese on the Defensive
    “The troops were heavily loaded with ammunition, packs, mortars, and heavy machine guns as they struggled through the thick, fetid jungle. The humid heat exhausted the men, whose strength had already been sapped by weeks aboard crowded transports. Salt tablets were insufficient in number. Troops in the Solomons needed two canteens of water per day per man, but the number of canteens available had permitted the issue of but one to each man. All these factors served to slow the advance of both regiments.“ (“United States Army in World War II”, 71)
    (The Guadalcanal Campaign, 10)
  • Japanese
    ~36,000 troops total
    Jungle Survivalist
    Veterans
    On the Defensive
    “They refused to surrender and fought until they were shot or blown up. Machine gunners fired their weapons until they were killed. When one gunner fell, another would take his place, a process that continued until all in the position were dead.” (United States Army in World War II, 66 )
    Bushido (the way of the warrior)
    7 virtues to live by
    Rectitude (rightness of principle and practice)
    Courage
    Benevolence (disposition to do good)
    Respect
    Honesty
    Honor (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT)
    Loyalty
    (The Guadalcanal Campaign, 21)
    (“Hell’s Island”, N/A)
  • Conditions on Guadalcanal for Americans
    Carrying Heavy munitions
    Low on salt tablets
    Nausea and severe Headaches plagued the soldiers
    Needed 2 canteens of water
    Only given one
    “Tired as the men were, and with many already suffering from the swain of the landings and combat around Gurabasu, even worse was that more than a dozen were now sick with the debilitating effects of diarrhea.” (“Ordinary Marines”, N/A)
    (United States Army in World War II, 66)
  • Conditions On Guadalcanal for the Japanese
    Carrying Heavy supplies
    Using hand tools to cut their way through the jungle.
    Men were lashed with canes to move faster
    Sgt. Hisakichi Hara of the 230th Infantry described the conditions vividly:
    "For a painful time before nightfall, vines armed with thorns wrapped around our necks and we continued stubbing our toes on tree roots and projecting rocks. After a few days of this, our uniforms were in tatters and we had many open sores constantly irritated by being soaked with sweat. [The jungle was filled with] rotting trees and luminous insects, which we took and smeared on the backpacks of each man, so we could see the [one] in front as we marched. … We trudged on at the bottom of an ocean of foliage that denied us the benefit of sunshine, in extreme discomfort. The trail had taken us through the jungle, but now high and steep mountains thrust up before us. Sweat streamed from us as we marched, and a canteen full of water was a lifeline. Scrambling up and tumbling down, we kept going. Thinking to fall by the way would be the end, we shrugged off the shadow of death and I urged myself on, saying, 'We have not yet engaged in battle with the enemy. Dying here would be dying in vain.'“ (Hell’s Island, N/A)
    (Hell’s Island, N/A)
  • Natural Conditions on Guadalcanal
    Thick fetid jungles
    Constant rain
    Humid Heat
    Disease was rampant
    Flooding was common
    Steep Long Hills
    (Miller, 31)
    One soldier described it as “breathing underwater”
    (Guadalcanal Marine , 33)
    "Marines Wade in Flooded Camp, Guadalcanal" was uploaded to FLickr by England@flickr.com.
  • Natural Conditions on Guadalcanal cont.
    “’We crossed four or five rivers ranging from waist deep to shoulder height, extremely difficult on the short troopers. The foot trail was bad, with trees blocking it at several points with loose sand. The sand, ankle deep, made walking very difficult be sides slowing down the troops.’” (“Ordinary Marines”, N/A)
    “From the plantation, the Marines hiked inland. "The squad had to walk, Indian style, single file," Sorenson said. "The trail was practically overgrown plus thorny vines, and it began to seem like an everlasting journey, instead of six miles. The weight of the automatic weapons plus the heat was unbearable, like steam; we panted and gasped. Our group passed a couple of native farm clearings in the jungle where they had planted pineapples, mango, papaya, and banana trees. Orders were not to disturb the gardens. As the party filed out of the jungle and into Rego [there was a] village assembly of about a dozen huts on either side of the path. It was perched on a fifty-foot bluff overlooking a fast-moving stream, the sign of good cold water. That night no Japanese, but herds of mosquitoes.” (“Ordinary Marines”, N/A)
  • The Landing
    “The long fight for Guadalcanal formally opened shortly after 6AM on 7 August 1942, when the heavy cruiser Quincy began bombarding Japanese positions near Lunga Point” (Naval History, 1)
    “The first of the Marines came ashore soon after 9AM at "Red" Beach, a stretch of grey sand near the Tenaru River. By the afternoon of the following day they had pushed westwards to seize the operation's primary object, the nearly completed Japanese airfield near Lunga Point. The surviving Japanese, mainly consisting of labor troops, quickly retreated up the coast and inland, leaving the Marines with a bounty of captured materiel, much of which would soon prove very useful to its new owners.” (Naval History, 3)
  • Japanese attempt on Henderson Field
    Japanese attempt to reclaim henderson field was repulsed at the expense of Heavy losses.
    (“Hell’s Island”, N/A)
    “Attacking Marine positions along the Tenaru River late in the evening on August 20, 1942, the Japanese assault ended in a bloody shambles, as 777 of the colonel's 916 men became casualties.” (“Ordinary Marines”, N/A)
    The airfield’s inability to be retaken made it a “festering sore to the Japanese” (“Hell’s Island”, N/A)
  • The Japanese Strike back: Battle of Savo Island
    Japanese ships slipped through the American defenses.
    They fired torpedos on Allied ships
    Torpedos struck the Chicago and the Canberra
    After this attack the Japanese left to strike the American ships between Savo and Florida. They illuminated their targets briefly with searchlights, then put heavy fire into the American cruisers.
    The attacking vessels retreated away from the fighting
    the cruiser Kako was sunk by torpedoes from an American submarine.
    “The Battle of Savo Island was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by ships of the U. S. Navy. The enemy had taken them by surprise and defeated in detail the two forces on either side of Savo. The only enemy ship damaged was the Chokai, whose operations room was destroyed. The Vincennes and Quincy sank within one hour after being attacked. The badly hit Canberra burned all night and was torpedoed by American destroyers the next morning to sink her prior to the departure of the Amphibious Force. The severely battered cruiser Astoria sank about midday on 9 August. The Chicago and the Ralph Talbot had both been damaged” (“United States Army in World War II”, 227)
    "R.O.C. CNS DD12 丹陽軍艦-(Japanese destroyer Yukikaze)" was uploaded to flickr by Kent Huang.
    (“United States Army in World War II”, 227-229)
  • Edson’s Ridge
    Held as a defensive position of Henderson Field
    “A second attempt by 3,000 soldiers to push the Americans off MukadeGata (Ridge Hill) on September 12 produced bloody results” (“Ordinary Marines”, N/A)
    “Typical of the courageous battling on Bloody Ridge was the story of twenty-four-year-old Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige. The section chief would receive a Medal of Honor for his actions that night. His machine guns, with their timing cams modified to double the fire, were set up bordering the edge of the jungle that neared the ridge. When the enemy broke through, Paige and his machine gun crew of thirty-six was the only force standing between a wall of Japanese and their plan to shove the marines into the sea. He directed the fire until all of his men had been killed or wounded; then he single-handedly manned the first gun until it was put out of action by a burst from a Japanese weapon that shattered the firing mechanism. He took over another gun, then continued moving from weapon to weapon. When a new enemy force broke through, he picked up a forty-pound belt of ammunition, laced it around his shoulder, cradled the .30-caliber weapon in his arms, and headed for the oncoming Japanese, firing as he ran back and forth. The enemy must have thought a whole company was up there.” (“Hell’s Island”, N/A)
    “Some 2,500 Japanese had attacked Paige's platoon. The next morning 1,000 bodies were scattered in front of his position.” (“Hell’s Island”, N/A)
  • Japanese decision to Withdrawal
    After numerous failed attempts to retake the Island
    The Japanese Navy proposed it be abandoned
    The Japanese Army suggested that further efforts would be impossible
    Top Military Officials agreed
    December 31, 1942
    The Emperor of Japan endorsed the decision to withrawl
    “After a long succession of failures, the Japanese high command had at last decided to abandon its efforts to drive the Americans from Guadalcanal. This decision harked back to October and November of 1942, when the defeats had caused concern in Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo. The 1st Marine Division's successful defense of the Lunga airfields against the 17th Army reduced the number of Japanese troops available for campaigning in New Guinea. The Japanese clearly realized that the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns were integral parts of one whole.Attempting to reinforce Guadalcanal at the expense of New Guinea, the Japanese lost the campaign.” (United States Army in World War II, 336-337)
    (United States Army in World War II, 336-337)
  • Ke Evacuation
    Secretive evacuation carried out by the Japanese in early February signaling the end to the battle.
    “The 17th Army began its withdrawal to Cape Esperance on the night of 22-23 January. The rescuing destroyers ran down the Slot to Esperance three times and evacuated troops on the nights of 1-2, 4-5, 7-8 February.63 The 38th Division, some naval personnel, hospital patients, and others left first, followed by 17th Army headquarters and the 2d Division on 4-5 January, and by miscellaneous units on the last trip.64 The Americans claimed that three of the destroyers were sunk and four were damaged.65 About 13,000 Japanese�12,000 from the 17th Army and the rest naval personnel�were evacuated to Buin and Rabaul.” (United States Army in World War II, 350)
    “In post-war interviews the Japanese commanders ironically expressed their gratitude over their escape. The Americans, they felt, had moved toward Cape Esperance too slowly and stopped too long to consolidate positions. General Hyakutake stated that resolute attacks at Cape Esperance would have destroyed his army” (United States Army in World War II, 351)
  • Aftermath
    Americans (Victory)
    1600 killed
    4245 wounded
    Japanese
    14,800 killed or missing
    9000 died of disease
    1000 taken prisoner
    "Soldiers Pass Dead Enemy Soldier", Uploaded to Flickr.com by England@flickr.com
    (United States Army in World War II, 351)
  • Conclusion
    Guadalcanal was an important yet bloody battle for both sides of the war. With it’s fall the Japanese were on the defensive and were short on key supplies. It was the beginning of the end for the Japanese.
    “The exhausted and bewildered troops called Guadalcanal Jigoku no shimu--"hell's island." The equally war-weary marines referred to the campaign as "our time in hell." Both were right.” (“Hell’s Island”, N/A)
    “It is to be hoped…that never again will this country be faced with such a war.” (Miner, 110)
  • Works Cited
    Review: [untitled]
    H. A. DeWeerd
    Reviewed work(s): Guadalcanal: The First Offensive by John Miller, Jr.
    The American Historical Review Vol. 55, No. 3 (Apr., 1950), pp. 646-648
    Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Historical Association
    Jersey, Stanley C. "Hell's Island." World War II 22.9 (2008): 44-51. Academic Search Elite. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.
    Jersey, Stanley C. "Ordinary Marines." World War II 21.6 (2006): 46-51. Academic Search Elite. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.
    Lane, Kerry.     Guadalcanal Marine / Kerry L. Lane. -- Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c2004.     xv, 358 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
    Miller Jr., John. "Guadalcanal: The First Offensive." U.S. Army Center Of Military History. U.S. Army, 16 Nov. 2000. Web. 20 Mar. 2011.
    Miner, William D. Indiana Magazine of History Mar. 1950: 106-10. JSTOR. Indiana University Department of History. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.
    United States. Marine Corps.     The Guadalcanal campaign. -- New York, Greenwood Press, 1949 [reprinted 1969]     vi, 189 p. illus., facsim., maps, ports. 27 cm.
    United States. United States Army. Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific. Ed. Kent R. Greenfield. Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, 1949. Online Bookshelves: WWII-Asiatic-Pacific Theater. United States Army Center of Military History, 1995. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.
    United States. United States Navy. The Director of Naval History. Naval History and Heritage Command. United States Navy. Web. 19 Mar. 2011.