Battle Of Guadalcanal
By: Richie Lambright Hr. 2
Impact on World War II
The Allies prevented the Japanese to build an airfield that was a threat to Australia by sending 11,000 Marines. The Japanese Navy had an attack on American and Australian ships around the island and caused the rest of the boats to retreat leaving the Marines without any supplies so they set up a perimeter around the shore and held of the Japanese and the Japanese General Torashiro Kawabe even said "as for the turning point, when the positive action ceased or even became negative, it was, i feel, at Guadalcanal."
Up until August 1942, the Allies had been on the defensive in the Pacific Theatre. The offensive capability of the Japanese had been reduced following the naval battles of Coral Sea and Midway. However, Japan was still on the offensive and was planning invasions of Fiji, New Caledonia, and Samoa. By August 1942, the Imperial Japanese Navy was in the process of constructing a series of bases in the Solomon Islands that would provide a staging area for these planned invasions and offer protection of their major base at Rabaul. The Allies saw this as a major threat to Australia. The Japanese were in the process of constructing an airfield on Guadalcanal that could increase Japanese air cover for their naval forces advancing in the South Pacific.
On 7 August, 11,000 Marines of the 1st Marine Division under the command of Major General Alexander Vandergrift landed on Guadalcanal. The only resistance the Marines faced was the jungle itself. On 8 August, they successfully secured the Japanese airfield, which the Marines named “Henderson Field.” During the night of 8 August, the Japanese Navy surprised the Allied warships and sank one Australian and three American cruisers. The Navy could not afford to lose another carrier, so they left the Marines without unloading needed equipment and supplies. The Marines formed a perimeter around Henderson Field and small contingent of American aircraft, known as the “Cactus Air Force,” stationed there. The Japanese landed thousands of troops throughout the month and continually attacked the Marines in an attempt to recapture the airfield. Finally, in February of 1943 the Japanese withdrew their forces from the Island.