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.