The battle of Midway was the first decisive victory of the US military in the Pacific War, which reversed the unfavorable situation of the Pacific allies.
At that time, the United States faced many adverse situations, such as poor domestic mobilization, heavy losses of allies in the Atlantic, and Germany’s continuous victory in the southern Soviet Union.
However, many important figures in the United States, the vast majority of leaders of the Navy, and even some personnel of the army staff want to use the Pacific War as a chip to expand the results of the counterattack.
In this strategic decision, it is proposed that the Pacific also has a “soft lower abdomen” similar to the so-called one.
It is believed that launching an attack from the front line between Hawaii and Australia can break through Japan’s fragile Southern defense line and destroy Japan’s main bases in Rabaul, new British island and Truk, Caroline group island.
Agree with MacArthur’s strategic plan.
On the one hand, it decided to let the U.S. ground forces fight against the enemy in 1942 and chose General Marshall’s student Dwight to command the North African campaign.
On the other hand, the theater boundary was redrawn in the Pacific battlefield, allowing Nimitz to control the operations in Solomon Islands, and limiting MacArthur’s direct command to the U.S. and Australian forces attacking New Guinea.
And formulated the operation plan codenamed “t Observatory”, whose goal is to seize new Britain, New Ireland, New Guinea and other regions.
General Ernest king, the commander of the US Navy, was responsible for formulating this plan.
He also took a fancy to Gua Island, which is located at the southern end of Solomon Islands, and planned to send a force to land on the island, making it not only a battlefield to curb the Japanese invasion to the South, but also a starting point for the US military to carry out amphibious operations and launch a counter offensive with the ultimate goal of Japan.
In August, the US Navy and Marines landed on Guadalcanal and its adjacent islands.
In September, MacArthur’s army and Australian troops advanced to Buna and New Guinea, opening the prelude to the Allied counterattack in the southwest Pacific and starting a six-month brutal sea, land and air war.
Guadalcanal Island, the abbreviation of Guadalcanal Island, is located at the southeast end of Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
It is 145 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide, with a total land area of about 6500 square kilometers.
It is a large island in the long chain Solomon Islands.
The island has rugged terrain, dense forests and few people.
For this small island, Japan also wants to make a big fuss here, shame on the tragic defeat of Midway Island, and build Guadao into an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the South Pacific, so as to expand the operational area of the Japanese Navy in the South Pacific.
By September 1942, the deployment of us and Japanese forces in the South Pacific was 350000 US Army and army aviation.
It also deployed most of its ships, including destroyers, in the Pacific and established a naval assault force centered on the only four large aircraft carriers.
Of the 10 battleships in the Pacific, only 2 are relatively new and can cruise quickly.
Two marine divisions and 15 aviation squadrons are also used in wars in the South Pacific.
The Japanese army in the South Pacific is the 17th army of the army.
The military headquarters is located in Rabaul, New Britain Island.
The commander is lieutenant general Baiwu, under the jurisdiction of 13 brigades.
Its main task is to capture Port Moresby.
The navy is the 8th fleet established in Rabaul.
The commander is lieutenant general Sanchuan.
It governs 5 corps and 2 brigades, with a total of 7 light and heavy cruisers, as well as several destroyers and submarines.
In Guadao, the Japanese army also has 240 police forces and 2700 construction forces.
At the end of June 1942, construction troops were sent to Guadao to build the airport, which was completed at an amazing speed in early August.
The Japanese army acted quickly and went to the island first to build an airport.
The U.S. military is also unwilling to fall behind.
While the Japanese occupied Guadao and built an airport, the U.S. military also formulated a counter offensive plan in the South Pacific.
According to the analysis of the general staff, the Japanese army’s use of Guadao airport will directly threaten the important bases New Hebrides and New Caledonia on the transportation line between the United States and Australia.
It must take the capture of Guadao and its nearby tulaji island as the first step in the implementation of the “t Observatory” operation, disrupt the Japanese army’s deployment and make it passive.
This operational plan is implemented by the South Pacific force under the US Pacific theater.
There are 32 aircraft carriers, 3 destroyers and 2 other warships under its jurisdiction.
The ground combat forces are part of the 1st Marine Division and the 2nd Marine Division of the Navy.
When Japan’s Guadao airport had just been completed and had not been officially put into use, about 20000 people of the first US Marine Division took 23 transport ships, covered by air support formation and escort formation, and sailed to Guadao and tulaji on August 7, 1942.
Major general Archer van der grift, the commander of the 1st Marine Division, was in direct command of the landing operation.
This war was not easy for the US military.
First, the US military knew little about Gua Island, and the terrain of the island could only be judged from an old nautical chart, a stack of aging photos taken by missionaries and a short story.
Second, due to the torrential rain for days and the shortage of transport ships, the ammunition loaded by the landing troops can only last for about 10 days.
This is a worrying problem for the troops who are far away from the base and have great inconvenience in rear supply.
Third, although they have a huge fleet to escort them across the sea, they will not be covered by naval artillery and combat aircraft for a long time after landing, and the landing forces will be isolated.
Obviously, the Japanese army was also clear about the actions of the US Army.
On the same day when the US Army marched towards Gua Island, the 17th army sailed to Port Moresby from Rabaul in northeast New Guinea under the cover of the naval fleet.
Lieutenant general Baiwu complacently believes that as long as the navy can control the surrounding oceans, the army can land successfully.
Unfortunately, the front-line commander did not have all the information about the war situation.
He not only didn’t know that the Japanese were building an airport for the Navy on Guadao, but also didn’t get any news about the failure of the Japanese army on Midway Island.
Because after the tragic defeat of the Japanese army in Midway Island, the Japanese base camp was deeply afraid that the failure would cause the army to panic and tightly block the news.
On the contrary, Tokyo radio also boasted that it had occupied Aleutian, sunk two US ships and shot down 120 US aircraft.
Baiwu completely believed the nonsense that these US ships were sunk and US planes were shot down, and thus underestimated the possibility of the US counterattack.
In the early morning of August 8, the US military launched earth shaking bombing and shelling on Gua island and tulaji island.
The unsuspecting Japanese soldiers on Gua Island were still asleep and were killedAs a result, most of them were annihilated under the counterattack of the superior forces of the US Army.
From the 20th, US aircraft began to enter Guadao airport, and US air and sea blockade patrols were greatly strengthened.
After the defeat of the Japanese army’s leading force landing on the island, the Japanese general command immediately ordered the Japanese Navy joint fleet to sail to the South Pacific Ocean, and worked with the 17th army of the same day to recapture Guadao and annihilate the US ship.
The army is preparing to land on Guadao again with 1500 people from the shoyu Department of kiyoda and the Yamaguchi detachment of Qingye City: Yamamoto has only about 80 warships to form nine groups for transportation, cover, containment and assault tasks.
In order to achieve the combat purpose, the Japanese army adopted three-step tactics to lure the enemy.
First, a warning barrier composed of several submarines was laid at the mountain pass in the southeast of Guadao, and his troops were gathered on the sea 200 kilometers north of the South Solomon Islands to form an attack situation.
Second, the light aircraft carrier “Longwu” was used as bait to sail forward.
When the aircraft of the US aircraft carrier attacked the “Longwu”, the aircraft of the Japanese main aircraft carrier sank the US aircraft carrier.
Third, with a huge escort fleet composed of battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers, eliminate the US Marines and recapture the airport on the island.
However, the Japanese action attempt was discovered by the US reconnaissance plane and the Australian observation post, and the US military immediately dispatched the 61st special task force formation to meet it.
On the 24th, the two sides launched an offensive war, and the aircraft carrier “Longwu” as a bait was completely destroyed by U.S. bombers.
Then, the US aircraft carriers Saratoga and enterprise headed for the Japanese fleet.
At this time, general Nanyun of the Japanese Army thought that the three American aircraft carriers were concentrating on attacking the “Longwu” as bait, so he ordered to launch a fierce air attack to annihilate the American aircraft carrier fleet.
The enterprise has long been in full readiness, and the 53 wildcat fighters on board did not participate in the attack on the Longwu at all, so they were specially used at this moment.
They were already in formation in the thick clouds, waiting in the air for the arrival of the Japanese aircraft, together with the bombers that bombed the aircraft carrier “Longwu” who soon came to fight.
Half an hour later, hundreds of Japanese bombers and fighter planes roared and rushed over.
The US aircraft group, which was already in full battle, immediately greeted them, and the two sides launched a fierce air battle.
At the same time, the naval guns on the US aircraft carrier also fired fiercely at the Japanese aircraft.
In an instant, 90 Japanese planes were destroyed and the rest retreated in a hurry.
After winning the first offensive, the U.S. Army took advantage of the victory in continuous operations and bombed the Japanese landing transport fleet, making the Japanese military’s operation attempt completely bankrupt.
In this war, the US aircraft carrier “enterprise” was injured and paralyzed for two months, while 17 aircraft were lost.
After a series of setbacks in Japan’s attempt to capture Guadao, it was still unwilling.
It increased troops to Guadao day and night in an attempt to fight a decisive battle on land.
The Japanese reinforcements to Guadao were forced to be transported by high-speed ships at night.
Japan called it “mouse transport” and the United States called it “Tokyo express”.
From August 24 to September 4, the Japanese army transported Yamaguchi detachment and Kiyoshi troops in batches in this way, so that there were more than 6200 Japanese troops assembled on Guadao.
Because the Japanese army obviously underestimated the strength of the US Army, the army launched an attack on Henderson airport.
In the operation called “blood ridge”, the US Marines drove the Japanese back at the cost of 40 people, and the Japanese side suffered 1200 casualties.
The fiasco awakened Tokyo.
They realized that the US military on Guadao is a considerable force.
If Japan does not take strong measures to recapture Guadao, it may lose it forever.
At the same time, the Japanese troops stationed in Buna, New Guinea, have opened a passage from the mountains and descended along the southern hillside.
Despite the indomitable advance of the Australian resistance forces near Macbeth harbor.
At this time, the “Tokyo express” accelerated the combat operations, and up to 900 Japanese troops were transported through the narrow waterway of Solomon Islands every night.
A new infantry division of the Japanese army was transferred to the shotland islands to prepare for Guadao.
With the strengthening of the Japanese army on Guadao, the mental state of the US South Pacific theater command stationed in Noumea became worse and worse.
Nimitz sensed this pessimism and flew to the South Pacific for an inspection.
In Guadao, he found that although the Marines were haggard due to malaria, fatigue and lack of sleep, van der grift and his officers were convinced that they could hold Guadao.
He didn’t understand why the South Pacific theater command didn’t use the navy to attack the enemy’s “Tokyo express” at night? Why didn’t the South Pacific theater staff draw troops from the infantry division in New Caledonia to reinforce Guadao? Under the haste of Nimitz, gumli sent 3000 soldiers from New Caledonia’s garrison to Gua island.
Major general Norman Scott led a formation of cruisers destroyers to set out in advance for protection.
Soon, the pilot reported that a “Tokyo express” was traveling along the narrow waterway.
Scott occupied a blocking position near Savo island.
On the night of October 11, US rear admiral Norman Scott led four cruisers and five destroyers to intercept.
In the dark ocean, two fleets rushed head-on along the same route.
When the two fleets were 2000 meters apart, the U.S. fleet, which had not yet been discovered by the Japanese side, opened fire first, and a row of artillery shells fired at the Japanese flagship, which immediately set up dazzling fireballs on the ship.
The Japanese ships also responded immediately.
After a scuffle, five Japanese cruisers and five destroyers were sunk and five cruisers were injured.
The US military sank one cruiser, wounded two cruisers and one destroyer.
However, due to the false report of sinking “about 15” Japanese ships, the morale of the US military in Noumea was greatly boosted.
The Japanese Navy failed to attack the U.S. military in Guadao.
Instead, it was sunk and injured several warships.
Senior general Yamamoto became angry and decided to take retaliatory action against the U.S. military.
So he assembled his joint fleet of five aircraft carriers, five battleships, 14 cruisers and 44 destroyers to anchor and set sail to bombard Guadao to provide fire support for the Japanese Marines.
On October 13, a large number of Japanese carrier based aircraft carried out large-scale bombing of Guadao airport.
The US military did not get the air raid warning in advance, and the “wild cat” aircraft on the airport was destroyed before it could take off.
Then, the Japanese aircraft launched a second attack, which blew up the valuable oil depot in the airport and destroyed many other facilities in the airport.
Following the bombardment of the previous two nights, the Japanese army conducted a third surprise attack on the evening of the 15thThe ship and a cruiser were sunk.
Two Japanese destroyers, a cruiser and a battleship were sunk.
The next night, the cruiser commanded by Sanhe shelled the airport.
At this time, the enterprise was coming from the south, and the mechanics on the deck were still in a hurry to repair the damaged part in October.
On November 14, the dawn just appeared in the sky.
Bombers taking off from the aircraft carrier “enterprise” and Guadao first attacked the fleet of Sanhe, sank one cruiser and seriously damaged three.
Since then, together with the B-17 bombers taking off from the island of San Espirito, they repeatedly attacked the transport ships with weak defense in Abe of the Japanese army.
By evening, six transport ships had been sunk and one struggled to escape back to the base.
Abe led the remaining four transport ships to advance tenaciously to Guadao.
In order to meet him, Kondo personally led the “fog island” battleship, four cruisers and nine destroyers from the north.
At the same time, the newly commissioned US Navy battleships “Washington” and “South Dakota” and four destroyers also came from the south.
They were separated from the aircraft carrier formation “enterprise” and commanded by rear admiral Willis’ A.
Lee on the “Washington”.
They first arrived at Gua island and made a clockwise turn around Savo island at night.
Li didn’t notice anything.
But Kondo found him.
Kondo hid behind Savo island and suddenly rushed out.
A burst of shells and torpedoes sank two American destroyers.
The South Dakota lost combat effectiveness with two other destroyers.
Lee had only the “Washington” left, but he used the advantage of radar to recover the defeat.
The 5-inch and 16 inch guns on Li Jizhong ship blasted at the fog island.
Soon, the fog island began to circle at sea.
Kondo ordered to abandon the battleship and another crippled destroyer and lead the rest of the ships to Truk island.
The stubborn major general Abe, who had fearlessly crossed the war-torn sea area, continued to approach Guadao and sent the remaining troops to Shanghai beach by four transport ships.
After dawn, it was found by the U.S. military that four transport ships were immediately buried in the gunfire.
The destruction of these ships ended the Guadao naval battle that lasted three days and three nights.
Guadao is firmly in the hands of the US military.
After the war, Admiral Nimitz, the Joint Chiefs of staff and President Roosevelt breathed a big sigh of relief.
General van der grift, who initially criticized the Navy for being too cautious, now praised them.
He said on the radio: “pay the highest tribute to the Guadao Garrison who raised the broken helmet and cheered the victory!” The disastrous defeat of Guadao made the Japanese commander-in-chief Yamamoto no longer risk putting the capital ship into the battle of Guadao and stop reinforcing Guadao.
In order to keep the Japanese garrison on the island alive, Abe formed the “Tokyo express” with fast destroyers, put the sealed barrels containing food and medicine into the water by the beach, and then withdrew quickly before dawn in order to support the remaining Japanese army to continue to contain the US Army.
However, it became more and more difficult to maintain the survival of the Japanese army on the island.
Abe’s destroyers must risk heavy aircraft bombing sooner or later and torpedo speedboat attack at night.
On November 11, Abe’s flagship sank after being attacked by a torpedo speedboat, and he was also injured.
Tokyo finally had to decide to give up Guadao.
However, it has become a difficult problem to safely withdraw the Japanese army on the island.
To this end, Japan spent weeks planning, preparing and diverting the attention of the US military with the movement of the joint fleet.
After three nights of rapid evacuation, 20 destroyers evacuated 12000 starving Japanese survivors from Guadao.
When the number of U.S. troops on Guadao increased to 50000 and completed the pincer attack on the Japanese position in early February 1943, the United States found that their prey had already slipped away from their hands.
In this way, both sides ended the battle with victory and defeat.
Among the 60000 US Army and Marine Corps officers and soldiers who participated in the war, 1600 were killed and 4200 injured.
Of the 36000 Japanese troops on the island, 14000 were killed and missing, 9000 died and 1000 were captured.
Of course, these figures do not include the number of Navy and air force casualties suffered by the allies and Japanese forces in supporting Guadao.