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“BATLE OF GUADALCANAL”

“BATLE OF GUADALCANAL”
• The Guadalcanal Campaign, also
known as the Battle of
Guadalcanal, was fought between
August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943
on and around the island of
Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of
World War II. Fiercely contested on
the ground, at sea, and in the air, the
campaign was the first major
offensive launched by Allied forces
against the Empire of Japan.
TIME LINE
• From August 7, 1942 to February 9,
1943
• The landing at Guadalcanal was
unopposed, but it took the
Americans six months to defeat
the Japanese in what was to turn
into a classic battle of attrition.
PRIOR TO GUADALCANAL
• The Battle of Midway, fought in June
1942, must be considered one of the
most decisive battles of
World War Two. The Battle of Midway
effectively destroyed Japan’s naval
strength when the Americans
destroyed four of its aircraft carriers.
Japan’s navy never recovered from
its mauling at Midway and it was on
the defensive after this battle.
• The Japanese defeat at the
Battle of Midway had forced planners
in the Imperial Army to reconsider
their plans of expansion and to
concentrate their forces on
consolidating the territory that they
had captured. The victory at Midway
was also a turning point for the
Americans as after this battle, they
could think in terms of re-capturing
Where is Guadalcanal?
• Guadalcanal is part of the Solomon
Islands which lie to the north-eastern
approaches of Australia. Though it is
a humid and jungle-covered tropical
island its position made it
strategically important for both sides
in the Pacific War. If the Japanese
captured the island, they could cut
off the sea route between Australia
and America. If the Americans
controlled the island, they would be
better able to protect Australia from
Japanese invasion and they could
also protect the Allied build-up in
GUADALCANAL 7 AUGUST
1942
• The head of all US naval forces,
Admiral Ernest King, wanted a full-
scale attack on Guadalcanal to off-
set this threat. Despite the Roosevelt
-Churchill directive that gave the
European war zone priority, the Joint
Chiefs-of-Staff in Washington gave
the go-ahead for the first American
offensive campaign since
Pearl Harbor in December 1941. 
• The Americans arrived at the airfield on
Guadalcanal late on August 8th. Once
again, there were no Japanese there as
they had fled into the jungle. The news
that the Marines had reached the airfield
was greeted with joy in Washington and
Canberra. But this joy was shattered on
the night of August 8th/9th when a
Japanese cruiser force attacked the Allied
naval force at Guadalcanal and forced it to
withdraw. The Marines on Guadalcanal
were on their own. Though the landing of
equipment had been chaotic at times,
equipment had been landed. In this sense,
Vandegrift's men were not in a hopeless
• The Japanese hierarchy in Tokyo refused
to admit defeat and ordered yet more men
to Guadalcanal. In mid-November 1942,
planes from Henderson attacked a convoy
of ships bringing Japanese reinforcements
to Guadalcanal. Of eleven transport ships,
six were sunk, one was severely damaged
and four had to be beached. Only 2,000
men ever reached Guadalcanal - but few
had any equipment as this had been lost
at sea. On December 1942, the emperor
ordered a withdrawal from Guadalcanal.
This withdrawal took place from January to
February 1943 and the Americans learned
that even in defeat that the Japanese were
• The American victory at Guadalcanal
ensured that Australia was safe from
a Japanese invasion while the sea
route from Australia to America was
also protected. The role played by
the US in Guadalcanal was extremely
important for the overall success in
World War Two.
“SEABEES IN
GUADALCANAL”
• The events that led to the participation of the
Seabees in the battle for Guadalcanal in World
War II started with the actions taken by Rear
Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of Civil Engineers, and
the staff of the Bureau of Yards and Docks
(BUDOCKS) in the early weeks of the war. Captain
John N. Laycock, Civil Engineer Corps, was in
charge of the planning for Seabee units and
expanded on the early work of Commander
Walter H. Allen at the Great Lakes Naval Base
who had pioneered the concept of construction
units composed of naval personnel. When the war
began, Rear Admiral Moreell expanded and acted
on the planning that had taken place and began
to organize several units of Civil Engineer Corps
officers and skilled petty officers. On 5 January
1942, Rear Admiral Moreell's superiors directed
him to begin recruiting the men that were to form
the Navy's new construction battalions. Seabee
enlisted men were recruited with skills needed in
• Other Guadalcanal work, in addition to unit
encampments, was road construction,
bridge construction, gravel and coral pit
operations, Navy and Army docks, a
Marine railway, boat pool anchors, gun
emplacements, railways, fuel systems,
pipelines and booster stations, gasoline
bulk plant operations, tunnels, buildings of
all sizes and types, sawmills and logging
operations, an ice plant, power generation
and power distribution and radio stations.
In addition, stevedoring work and salvage
work on ships used Seabee labor.
• The Guadalcanal Campaign provided the proving
ground for Naval Construction Battalions and
their need for the campaigns to follow in the
Pacific. At its peak over 258,000 Seabees and
CEC officers were on duty in World War II.
Eventually, 150 Naval Construction Battalions and
41 Construction Battalion Specials were
established and served around the world on all
continents. One hundred thirty-five CBMUs were
formed. One hundred eighteen Construction
Detachments and five Pontoon Assembly
Detachments were also formed. Other services,
and the rest of the Navy itself, were lost on the
distinction among the unit types. They all became
known as Seabees
BELLIGERENTS
• ALLIED forces:
 -United States
 -Australia
-New Zealand
-British Solomon Islands
-Tonga
-Fiji

• ENEMY
-Empire of Japan
“GROUND FORCES”
• ALLIED FORCES
• 60,000 (ground forces)

• ENEMY
• 36,200 (ground forces)
“GROUND FORCES”
• ALLIED
• 7,100 killed
4 captured
29 ships lost
615 aircraft lost

• EMPIRE OF JAPAN
• 31,000 killed
1,000 captured
38 ships lost
683–880 aircraft lost
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