Allies on the Offensive Landing at Guadalcanal by elwatad


									With the Japanese thrust in the central Pacific blocked, the Allies devised a plan to
prevent the enemy from occupying the southern Solomon Islands and using them as
bases for attacking Allied supply lines to Australia. To accomplish this goal, it was
decided to land on the small islands of Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tamambogo, as well as on
Guadalcanal where the Japanese were building an airfield. Securing these islands
would also be the first step towards isolating the main Japanese base at Rabaul on
New Britain. The task of securing the islands largely fell to the 1st Marine Division
led by Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift. The Marines would be supported at
sea by a task force centered on the carrier USS Saratoga, led by Fletcher, and an
.amphibious transport force commanded by Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner

On August 7, the Marines landed on all four islands. They met fierce resistance on
Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tamambogo, but were able to overwhelm the 886 defenders who
fought to the last man. On Guadalcanal, the landings went largely unopposed with
11,000 Marines coming ashore. Pressing inland, they secured the airfield the next day,
renaming it Henderson Field. On August 7 and 8, Japanese aircraft from Rabaul
attacked the landing operations. These attacks were beaten off by aircraft from
Saratoga. Due to low fuel and concerned about further loss of aircraft, Fletcher
decided to withdraw his task force on the night of the 8th. With his air cover removed,
Turner had no choice but follow, despite the fact that less than half of the Marines'
equipment and supplies had been landed. That night the situation worsened when
Japanese surface forces defeated and sank four Allied (3 US, 1 Australian) cruisers at
.the Battle of Savo Island

To top