Guadalcanal Diary – Saturday August 8, 1942

I just finished reading Guadalcanal Diary last week, coincidentally on the anniversary of the first assault against the Japanes Empire.

Today, sixty-seven years ago, was also Saturday August 8.
“A runner came back from our foremost forward elements this morning to report that the airport, prize of the Guadalcanal invasion, has been reached and that, as yet, no contact has been made of the enemy.
But one of our sentries, who had a post last night art the outskirts of our cocoanut grove, said that, at just about daybreak, a patrol of about 150 Japs passed close by our bivouac and then took off into the bush.”

August 8 — by nightfall the marines had captured only a mile inland by 4 miles long piece of real estate. The weather was damp with lots of mud.


The Japanese had air superiority. They came down the slot daily to bomb the Americans. They came regularly. The main target was the airstrip. Japanese Navy Type 1 (“Betty”) land attack planes fly low through anti-aircraft fire during a torpedo attack on U.S. Navy ships maneuvering between Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the morning of 8 August 1942.
Note that these planes are being flown without bomb-bay doors.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

The catastrophic outcome of the Battle of Savo Island (9 August), with severe losses of American and Australian ships, and the withdrawal of Vice Admiral Fletcher’s carriers, forced the big transports and cargo ships to leave on 9 August, with invasion supplies still on board. Supply shortages plagued the invasion for months.

Although many think of Guadalcanal in terms of the land battles, there were more naval battles fought off the island in six months than the British Royal Navy fought in all of World War I.

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About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

5 thoughts on “Guadalcanal Diary – Saturday August 8, 1942

  1. The book is an amazing account of how one guy can be in the thick of it, yet only see a fragmentary, small glimpse of it, and still get shot-at. There's a lot of, “We watched the spectacular bombardment from a distant hilltop, cheering.” kind of thing in it.

    B&N – I think they were going after US ships and had to get down below the deck guns' elevation?

    Thud – Our first whack-back at the Japs! Many in America had no idea at all what was going on in India and Burma – and most didn't understand the quasi-war either.

    Nowdays the clueless nimrods would say, “The Japs bombed you, but you went to fight Hitler??”

  2. I must admit, I'm pretty amazed at the aviation chops being demonstrated by at least two of those Japanese pilots in that top photo.

    Can't be more than thirty feet off of the wet deck. Maybe less.

    Either they were that good, or we were forcing them that low.

  3. I worked with a guy many years ago who was a SeaBee on the 'canal.

    He told me this joke about how an officer saw him moving through the mud, which was chest deep. The officer asked him how deep the mud was. He said “I don't know, but you should see the bulldozer I'm driving.”

    Nice place, Guadalcanal.

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