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Author Topic: THE TIDE RECEDES: GUADALCANAL - 1942  (Read 16 times)
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PzLdr
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« on: August 07, 2018, 04:43:59 pm »

It started as one of Japan's operations to isolate Australia from the U.S.  While Carrier Division 5 was getting savaged by the american Navy [SHOKAKU suffered heavy damage, ZUIKAKU suffered heavy combat aircraft losses, the Light Carrier SHOHO was sunk], for the loss of the SARATOGA, and heavy damage to YORKTOWN. Japanese troops occupied the Marianas islands, with Tulagi being the primary objective, but with Guadalcanal, to its south, slated for an airbase from which Japanese aircraft could interdict the approaches to both Australia and New Guinea. Japanese engineers began to work on that airfield almost immediately after the occupation, with the U.S. and Australia almost immediately aware of what was going on.

A Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal would not be allowed to stand. And so on this date, in 1942, United States Marines invaded Guadalcanal, driving the Japanese engineers and their support troops into the jungle, and seizing the airfield. The stage was now set for a series of battles, both on land and at sea, that would eventually see the Japanese withdraw the reinforcements they had sent in, mostly by fast destroyers [part of the "Tokyo Express"]. But before that happened there would be fierce fighting on land [where Americans first dealt with the "Banzai" charge, in the air, and at sea [Savo Island, the shelling of Hickham Field by the battleship KONGO, and other actions].

And when it was over, the U.S. not only held the island, but over the period of fighting had attritted not only significant numbers of Japanese on the island, but had severely reduced Japanese air power in the region, as well as sinking major elements of the Imperial Japanese Fleet.

And it all started today, in 1942.
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