Doing Plenty, Kinda Slow
- Jan 30, 2003
- Reaction score
- Snowiest place in VA
Though smaller and quite different from RB, ASL OWT is historically kind of a RB HASL of the Pacific war."WATCHTOWER" was mid-war, chronologically speaking. Early war per the American perspective.
For the Axis, Stalingrad and Guadalcanal were similar in that in both cases it was an Axis-expansion high-tide and an Axis loss of an entire army.
In both cases too the prevailing Allied force began their discovery of tactics that would carry them forward for the remainder of their war versus the losing Axis power.
Rightfully treating the G-T Blood and Sand HASL as p/o the Guadalcanal operation, ASL inclusion of G-T in an edition of the RS IJA module was kinda akin to inclusion of RB in an edition of BV.
[Maybe some future edition of RS will include OWT? Seems plausible. I only speculate.]
A Whitman's of various Guadalcanal histories both zoomed out and zoomed in (all paraphrased) --
In June '42 came reports of Japanese leveling an airstrip on Guadalcanal on the kunai plains on the Lunga R. It was a clear threat to the South Pacific shipping lane to New Zealand and Australia. The only available amphibious-trained unit was the 1st Mar Div of MAJ GEN Alex Vandegrift. He was a veteran jungle fighter from the Caribbean Banana Wars, as were many in the ranks of this 1940-formed division. Its elements were gathered from sea, Samoa, New Caledonia and Hawaii for a D-Day of 42.08.07, w/10 days of combat supply. Guadalcanal and Tulagi were the objectives.
History of WWII, LTC E. Bauer, 2000, Barnes & Nobel Books, pp 460-461
The unexpected news from Tulagi did not unduly alarm Imperial GHQ. They estimated not more than 2000 Americans were involved and that the action was just a reconnaissance in force. Their error was excusable. The IJN had not only kept secret from the IJA the extent of the Midway disaster, but had inflated American carrier and aircraft losses. IJN data did not allow for the possibility of a serious American offensive in the Pacific before 1943; none the less, GHQ moved w/urgency to counterattack & eject the Americans, so that work could resume on the IJN Guadalcanal airbase.
The Battle for Guadalcanal, Griffith, Univ of Illinois Press, 2000, p 44
The Marine Guadalcanal landing was unopposed but inexperienced coxswains and undersize shore parties landed only 37 days of food & four units of fire before the USN withdrew. Marines soon overran the worker-abandoned airfield and completed it using Japanese grading equipment. Defense and operation of Henderson Field (named for a pilot killed at Midway) became the primary US mission. In the ensuring campaign, airfield bombardments and repeated recapture attempts defined the Japanese counteroffensive as limited-objective US combat & recon operations kept the IJA off balance.
The History of WWII, LTC E. Bauer, 2000, Barnes & Nobel Books, pp 462-65
Many planes were dogfighting in & about the masses of cumulus clouds. I watched two, one chasing the other, pop out of the tower of cloud, trace a small, precise semi-circle, & go back in again. A few moments later, they made another circle, like two beads on the same wire. Other planes popped in & out of their levels in the cloud structure, & the whole area of the sky resounded w/the rattling of MGs; with so many guns firing at once, there was a cumulative effect as loud & as magnificent as thunder.
Richard Tregaskis, Guadalcanal Diary, The Modern Library, 2000, p. 200
I was sitting on the ridge, looking out over the valley into a throng of Zeros dogfighting w/our Grummans in the clouds. Suddenly, I saw foilage move in a tree across the valley. I looked again, and was astonished to see a man in the crotch of the tree. He seemed to be moving his arms & upper body. I was so amazed at seeing him so clearly that I might have sat there and reflected on the matter if my reflexes had not been functioning--which they fortunately were. I flopped flat on the ground just as I heard the sniper's gun go off and the bullet whirred over my head.
Richard Tregaskis, Guadalcanal Diary, The Modern Library, 2000, p 207
After the all-clear, I went to the airport and waited until our fighters came down. Most seemed almost hilariously elated as they taxied in and jumped down from their cockpits. It was not a bad score at all: three of our men, missing; 10 Bettys & 11 Zeros, shot down. We drove over the airfield on the way back to camp. In a neighboring field were lines of large craters; Jap bomb sticks (all missed the airport) had overturned a captured truck. That evening were the usual rumors of Japs on their way to attack us. Most of us slept w/our shoes on and w/our helmets nearby.
Richard Tregaskis, Guadalcanal Diary, Modern Library, 2000, pp 138-39
Shortly after midnight the din of firing grew so tremendous there was no hope for sleep. We knew that the Raiders, COL Edson's people, had their hands full. An artillery observer, his line blown out, came to our dugout to relay instructions over our phone. "Drop it five zero and walk it back and forth across the ridge," he said. We heard the loud voice of the battery officer: "Load...fire!" Minutes later, a runner came in from Edson's lines. "COL Edson says the range is perfect," he said breathlessly. "It's right on. It's knocking the hell out of 'em."
Richard Tregaskis, Guadalcanal Diary, The Modern Library, 2000, p 202
A grassy ridge S of Henderson led straight to the divisional cmd post & airfield. Astride it was a raider/parachute unit, just in from Tulagi, under COL Edson. A ridge attack was thought unlikely but, on 42.09.12, the ridge was probed; next night, in a heavy rain, 4000-strong Kawaguchi Force emerged fr/jungle; US flanking coys were smashed up onto the ridge center where, just 1000 yds fr/the cmd post, the defenses held: a bn of 105s smothered attack columns & assembly areas as reinforcing 5th Marine coys entered foxholes. By dawn, most IJA had vanished back into jungle.
The History of WWII, LTC E. Bauer, 2000, Barnes & Nobel Books, pp 465-6
The Battle of The Ridge ruined Edson's Paras (55 pct casualties) & Raiders (30+ pct); pursuit of Kawaguchi's troops (20 pct lost in battle) was impossible, but Kawaguchi's 3200 suffered mightily in the jungle: heavy equipment was abandoned or buried; food was gone by the 5th day of the 8 day trek. Barefoot, weak, clothed in tatters, and minus all but rifles, only 500 got back to IJA lines---to find no spare food there (Rabaul had planned on their capturing American food at Henderson Field); as one IJN officer noted later, ``The Army had been used to fighting the Chinese.''
Battle for Guadalcanal, Griffith, Univ. of IL Press, 2000, pp 121--125
Henderson Field covered US troop transport/supply ops while interdicting the IJN. By 43.01, this led to a 2:1 US troop advantage vs 25K isolated IJA troops who were incapable of offensive operations.
GEN Patch, a new US Guadalcanal CIC, was clearing the island when a massed IJN force gave him cause to pause in case of a direct invasion vs Henderson Field. But Rabaul had decided to evacuate: their campaign losses in ships, pilots, planes and troops had been staggering.
On the night of 43.02.07-08, 13K troops Dunkerqued-out; the Japanese never again advanced in the Pacific.
The History of WWII, LTC E. Bauer, 2000, Barnes & Nobel Books, pp 465-6
Piecemeal IJA reinforcement of Guadalcanal and the impetuosity of Japanese leaders played into American hands.
Typically, a few thousand would night-land on a flank and attack almost without delay; furious action at the point of contact would sometimes penetrate US lines, but then a fire brigade would arrive: a fresh bn, tank plt, extra bn of artillery, or a flight of dive-bombers---perhaps all of these at once---and the Japanese would be thrown back by killing fire.
The battle lasted six months; not once did the intensity slacken.
It was "the Stalingrad of the Pacific."
The History of WWII, LTC E. Bauer, 2000, Barnes & Nobel Books, p 465