Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Turning Point: Guadalcanal
If you saw the first part of HBO's 'The Pacific,' that was Guadalcanal. One of the toughest battles of the Pacific War. The United States and the Allies were to stop the Japanese advance in the Solomon Islands in order to maintain communications between the U.S. and Australia. U.S. troops were intially met with no enemy fire and the airfield that was being constructed near Lunga Point was quickly captured and re-named Henderson Field after a Marine pilot killed at Midway.
One of the keys to the Battle of Guadalcanal was reinforcement. Both sides were forced to find ways to find ways to build up troops on the island and keep them resupplied. The Japanese began what Allied forces called the "Tokyo Express," a system of night deliveries of troops and supplies from Rabaul to Guadalcanal and other Solomon Islands. After six months of heavy battle, seven naval battles, the loss of 25 U.S. ships, 615 U.S. aircraft and over 6,000 U.S. troops, the Japanese advance had been stopped and the tide of war had turned in the favor of the Allies.
There is so much more to this battle, come see the Guadalcanal exhibit in the new George H.W. Bush Gallery. There is an oral history kiosk where you can listen to six men tell their stories. There is also a map table that will take you through the entire battle with photos and full color animated maps, an FM-2 "Wildcat," pictured above, and more.