After the us strategic victories at the war of the Coral Sea (May 7–8, 1942) and Midway (June 4–7, 1942), the Japanese royal Navy was no longer capable of significant offensive campaigns, which allowed the Allies to begin their own offensive in the Pacific.

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Primary Image: On Guadalcanal, American servicemembers fought heat, mosquitoes, disease, dense vegetation, and unfamiliar terrain along with a determined Japanese opponent in an all-consuming, round-the-clock battle. (Image: The nationwide WWII Museum, 2002.069.144.)

Following its attack on Pearl harbor (December 7, 1941), the Japanese royal Navy inhabited islands transparent the western Pacific Ocean. Japan’s goal was to create a protective buffer against attack from the joined States and its allies—one that would certainly ensure Japan mastery over east Asia and the southwest Pacific. After ~ the us strategic victories at the war of the Coral Sea (May 7–8, 1942) and also Midway (June 4–7, 1942), the Japanese royal Navy was no longer qualified of major offensive campaigns, which permitted the Allies to begin their own offensive in the Pacific.

In august 1942, America mounted its very first major amphibious landing of people War II at Guadalcanal, making use of innovative landing craft constructed by Higgins markets in brand-new Orleans. Through seizing a strategic airfield site on the island, the unified States halted Japanese efforts to disrupt supply routes to Australia and brand-new Zealand. The intrusion ignited a ferocious struggle significant byseven significant naval battles, countless clashes ashore, and also almost constant air combat. For six long months US pressures fought to host the island. In the finish they prevailed, and also the Allies take it the first vital step in driving the Japanese ago in the Pacific theater.


The Battles

American forces an initial landed on the Solomon archipelago of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida on the morning of respectable 7,1942. After some fierce fighting, the us Marines cleared Tulagi and also Florida by august 9. The main pressures on Guadalcanal met little resistance on their means inland come secure the airfield in ~ Lunga Point, i beg your pardon was shortly renamed Henderson ar after Loy Henderson, an aviator eliminated at the fight of Midway. Nearly immediately, however, Japanese marine aircraft struck transport and escort ships, and also Japanese reinforcements arrived in the area. 

Over the following days, the very first of plenty of deadly naval war occurred—the Naval fight of Savo Island. The hit for regulate of Guadalcanal, its an essential airfield, and also the seas about them continued for months through both sides shedding men, ships, and also aircraft and with neither next able to journey the various other off the island. 

During the very first amphibious invasion in the Pacific, the United claims made plenty of initial mistakes, including not having actually the ideal resources top top the beaches to relocate men and also matériel inland. The logistical obstacles of transport and supply throughout the Pacific were likewise immense. An overwhelming jungle terrain, inhospitable weather, absence of infrastructure, and also a enemy that dealt with to the fatality gave the United says its first taste that what to be to come transparent the Pacific war. It appeared that every time the United says inched closer come victory, the Japanese would certainly resupply Guadalcanal through night and also be ready for an ext fighting the next day.  


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On Guadalcanal, American servicemembers combated heat, mosquitoes, disease, dense vegetation, and unfamiliar terrain along with a identified Japanese opponent in an all-consuming, round-the-clock battle. (Image: The nationwide WWII Museum, 2002.069.144.)


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Members of the U.S. 11th Marines v a 75mm load howitzer on Guadalcanal, 1942. (Image: national Archives and also Records Administration.)


Determined to attain a decisive victory, Japanese forces massed for an all-out attack in October 1942. Meanwhile, the Marines finally began receiving new reinforcements, including soldiers from the united state Army. The american strengthened your defenses at Henderson Field and also launched wild jabs to save the Japanese off-balance. When the Japanese Seventeenth army launched the attack on October 23, 1942, striking in ~ multiple points along the airfield perimeter over 4 days, tenacious fighting by united state Marines and soldiers threw back the attacks. American losses were significant, but Japanese losses were devastating. 

The fight at sea likewise heated increase in the loss of 1942. Top top October 26, American and also Japanese naval forces clashed turn off the Santa Cruz Islands. Japan secured a tactical victory, sinking the carrier Hornet, but paid a serious price in aircraft and also skilled aircrew. Climate from November 12–15, in the frantic Naval battle of Guadalcanal, American sailors and also airmen clogged Japan’s last effort to knock the end Henderson ar from the sea, at hefty cost. Together one Japanese officer noted, “This to be the fork in the road.” if fighting continued on the island, the Japanese withdrew their last men and also left the island come the Allies in February 1943.



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The Outcome

The Solomon Islands campaign cost the Allies roughly 7,100 men, 29 ships, and 615 aircraft. The Japanese lost 31,000 men, 38 ships, and also 683 aircraft. Over the next two and a fifty percent years, us forces captured the Gilbert archipelago (Tarawa and Makin), the Marshall archipelago (Kwajalein and also Eniwetok), the Mariana islands (Saipan, Guam, and also Tinian), Iwo Jima, and also Okinawa. V each island taken indigenous the Japanese, the united States relocated closer to Japan. Farming superiority in ~ sea and also in the air, and also in the variety of fighting men, gave the joined States raising advantages. Nonetheless, where US pressures met Japanese defenders, the foe fought long and also hard prior to being defeated.