Alexander Vandegrift Battle of Midway Battle of Savo Island Battle of the Tenaru Grumman F4F Wildcat Guadalcanal Guam Haruyoshi Hyakutake Henderson Field Japan Japanese Kiyono Ichiki Movies New Britain New Guinea New Guinea Campaign Pacific Theater Richard Tregaskis Royal Air Force Solomon Islands Stuart tank Tulagi U.S. Naval Intelligence U.S. Navy United States Marine Corps WWII

Marine Stand on Guadalcanal

During the Battle of the Tenaru, U.S. Marines annihilated a detachment of elite Japanese troops.
During the Battle of the Tenaru, U.S. Marines annihilated a detachment of elite Japanese troops.

Through the Battle of the Tenaru, U.S. Marines annihilated a detachment of elite Japanese troops.

By David Alan Johnson

At about 2:30 on the morning of August 21, 1942, U.S. Marine models east of Henderson Area on the embattled island of Guadalcanal have been woke up by a number of bursts of machinegun hearth. Marine outposts on the west financial institution of Alligator Creek additionally heard the firing. However the noise quickly slackened off, and everybody determined that the change had solely been a patrol motion between a listening submit on the perimeter and an advance Japanese unit.

This was nothing out of the bizarre. Each night time introduced some kind of contact with small enemy patrols. The Marines had been on Guadalcanal solely since August 7, precisely two weeks earlier than, however sure routines had already been established.

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The American landings on this island within the southern Solomons chain had taken the Japanese utterly unexpectedly. By the next day, the Marines had completed their goal of securing Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo, small islands north of Guadalcanal. That they had additionally completed their most important goal on Guadalcanal—capturing the vitally necessary Japanese airfield close to Lunga Level that was nonetheless underneath development. They named the airfield Henderson Area after Main Lofton Henderson, a Marine flyer who had been killed in motion on the Battle of Halfway two and a half months earlier than.

The Japanese Offensive on Guadalcanal

Whereas Henderson Subject was being accomplished, Marine models shaped a defensive semicircle round it. Maj. Gen. Alexander Vandegrift, commander of the Marines on Guadalcanal, realized that an enemy counterattack was solely a matter of time. Japanese cruisers and destroyers had already made their first transfer towards retaking the island and its airfield. On August eight, the night time after the Marine models landed on Guadalcanal, three American cruisers and one Australian cruiser had been sunk on the Battle of Savo Island, which had been fought within reach of the Marines on Guadalcanal.

All U.S. naval forces had been withdrawn from the world after Savo, leaving the Marines on their very own. A counterattack was the logical subsequent step for the enemy. Vandergrift ordered all 11,000 of his males contained in the defensive perimeter, together with all meals provides and ammunition. The Marines accomplished the airfield and waited.

Common Vandegrift was completely right in his assumption relating to a Japanese counterattack. Imperial Common Headquarters (IGHQ) in Tokyo might have been stunned by the landings, however the Japanese have been fast to react. The primary assembly of the joint Military and Navy contingents at IGHQ passed off on August 7, simply hours after the Marines had come ashore. At first, the senior officers concluded that what had occurred on Guadalcanal was solely a reconnaissance in drive, however aerial and naval reconnaissance offered proof that a whole division of Marines had landed.

This was an correct estimate. The unit that had come ashore was the first Marine Division, minus certainly one of its regiments. The analysis was summarily downgraded, nevertheless, when a senior employees officer from Rabaul flew to Guadalcanal to watch the enemy for himself. The officer couldn’t see very a lot motion from the reconnaissance aircraft, and it appeared to him that the Marine contingent was lots smaller than a division. He concluded that the People had withdrawn most of their troops due to their losses at Savo, and he reported his opinions to Tokyo.

On August 12, IGHQ assigned Seventeenth Military, commanded by Lt. Gen. Harukichi Hyakutake, the duty of retaking Guadalcanal. A number of of Seventeenth Military’s models had already been despatched to take part within the New Guinea marketing campaign, however the 35th Infantry Brigade, the 4th Infantry Regiment, and the 28th Infantry Regiment have been out there for task. The 28th Regiment, beneath the command of Colonel Kiyono Ichiki, was stationed at Guam and was closest to Guadalcanal.

Common Hyakutake ordered an advance detachment of about 900 males to land on Guadalcanal earlier than the remainder of the regiment. This primary aspect, together with Colonel Ichiki himself, was put ashore by Destroyer Squadron 2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy on August 19 together with ammunition, provides, and sufficient rations for seven days.

The lads and their provides have been put ashore at Taivu Level at round 1 am. Colonel Ichiki left about 100 males behind to take care of the provides whereas he and the remaining started trudging by means of the jungle towards Lunga Level. Earlier than daybreak, Ichiki made camp about 9 miles from the Lunga defensive perimeter.

Colonel Ichiki had been an teacher on the Military’s Infantry Faculty, the place he acquired a popularity as a first-rate infantry tactician. He was additionally recognized to be impulsive and one thing of a hothead. Earlier than he left Truk for Guadalcanal, Ichiki was suggested to keep away from frontal assaults. It was good recommendation, however whoever gave it didn’t know Ichiki or his temperament.

As quickly as he got here ashore at Taivu Level, Ichiki radioed the Japanese base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain, “We’ve got succeeded in invasion.” Based on his orders, Ichiki was to attend till the second half of his unit arrived earlier than making an attempt to retake Henderson Subject, however he was assured that his males would haven’t any hassle wiping out any People they encountered.

Ichiki had little or no use for People and thought his males would have the ability to eliminate them with out the remainder of his unit. His confidence was given an added increase throughout his march eastward from Taivu. “No enemy in any respect,” he radioed Rabaul. “Like marching by way of a no-man’s-land.” It appeared to him that the cowardly People have been avoiding contact.

Japan’s Plans Revealed

Ichiki didn’t know that the People had damaged the Japanese naval code and that Common Vandegrift was properly conscious that an assault was imminent. On August eight, Station Hypo, an intelligence unit in Hawaii, intercepted and decoded a message that related Ichiki’s unit with Destroyer Squadron 2. Six days later, one other interception disclosed that “IKKI” detachment’s vacation spot was “RXI,” and will arrive on the 18th. RXI was the naval code for Guadalcanal. As quickly as he acquired this info, Admiral Chester Nimitz, the U.S. Navy’s senior commander within the Pacific, instantly notified Basic Vandegrift to anticipate an assault as early as August 20.

During the Battle of the Tenaru, U.S. Marines annihilated a detachment of elite Japanese troops.

Throughout a tropical rainstorm, Common A.A. Vandegrift (left), U.S. Marine commander on Guadalcanal, confers with Colonel Merritt A. “Pink Mike” Edson, whose 1st Marine Raider Battalion performed a key position within the protection of Henderson Area on Guadalcanal.

Vandegrift additionally acquired information of an imminent Japanese assault from different sources. On August 19, a drive of 60 Marines led by Captain Charles H. Brush was alerted by native guides that a Japanese patrol was approaching. Captain Brush and his males had already left the Lunga perimeter to research a report of a Japanese pressure to the east. They encountered the scouting patrol, 37 males despatched by Colonel Ichiki, round midday. In a battle that lasted lower than an hour, the Marines killed all however 5 of the enemy. The survivors ran off to warn Colonel Ichiki.

Captain Brush examined the lifeless Japanese and, primarily by their model new uniforms and glossy boots, concluded that that they had simply landed on Guadalcanal. Diaries and maps have been additionally discovered on the lifeless troopers. Brush and his males gathered all of the papers and headed again to the perimeter. Within the preventing, he had misplaced three males together with three wounded.

The papers disclosed that the Japanese had come from Guam and had simply landed on Guadalcanal, as Captain Brush had concluded, however the measurement of the enemy pressure was not talked about. Neither was its speedy intention. Vandegrift determined to remain contained in the Lunga perimeter and look forward to the Japanese to make the subsequent transfer. In the event that they needed to take the airfield, they must assault the perimeter no matter what number of had landed, and he can be prepared and ready.

Information of the power of Ichiki’s drive got here from an sudden supply. A local scout, Sgt. Maj. Jacob Vouza, found the Ichiki detachment on August 20. Vouza was a retired member of the British Solomon Islands Constabulary and volunteered to work for the People towards the Japanese. He was captured whereas trying to get nearer to the Japanese camp and delivered to Colonel Ichiki for interrogation.

When Vouza refused to reply any questions, his captors tied him to a tree and searched him. They found a small American flag hidden in his clothes, a memento given to him by the Marines. Incensed by this and by the truth that Vouza refused to speak, the troopers hit him within the face with their rifle butts, bayoneted him a number of occasions, and eventually stabbed him within the throat and left him for lifeless.

Though Vouza had been badly harm and was dropping blood, he was removed from lifeless. He managed to chew via the grass ropes that stored him tied to the tree and painfully made his means towards the Lunga perimeter. A Marine sentry discovered him, and Vouza was shortly rasping out an outline of the Japanese unit he had been observing. Vouza was taken to a area hospital, the place he started an virtually miraculous restoration. Inside two weeks, he was again on his ft.

An Impulsive Assault

By this time, Ichiki had already disregarded his orders and had begun his assault. First contact between the Japanese and the Marines was made at about 2:30 am on August 21. It quickly turned obvious that the noise that had woke up the Marines east of Henderson Area was not only a routine patrol motion. The Marines on Alligator Creek’s west financial institution have been startled by a inexperienced flare that arced overhead, a sign for Ichiki’s 2nd Firm to cost towards them.

Alligator Creek is just not a lot of a waterway, flowing primarily after a rainstorm. Its mouth is blocked by a sandbar. Two battalions of Marines had taken up positions on the west aspect of the creek and strung a single strand of barbed wire throughout the sandbar, operating north to south. A number of machine weapons and 37mm cannons additionally coated the sandbar. If the enemy determined to cost the Marine positions on the west financial institution, the sandbar was probably the most logical place to cross the creek.

That is precisely the place Ichiki meant to cross. He needed his males to cost by way of the Marine strains and seize the previous camp of the 11th Development Unit, which had been constructing the airfield when the People landed. Then they have been to take the airfield.

Ichiki’s impulsive nature had clearly gotten the higher of his capacity as an infantry tactician.  Two Marine battalions commanded by Lt. Col. Edwin A. Pollack stared throughout the sandbar on the gathering enemy assault.

There was not a lot to see—the night time was completely black—however Pollack and his males might hear the enemy troopers screaming and shouting, working themselves right into a frenzy. Earlier than 2 am, they heard sand crunching beneath boots. Somebody fired a flare. Its mild forged an eerie inexperienced glow on the Japanese attackers as they started advancing throughout the sandbar. The Marines waited till Ichiki’s males have been midway throughout earlier than opening hearth.

The Japanese charged on the Marine line, shouting and shrieking. “Squad after squad, platoon after platoon, burst from the masking darkness of the coconut grove to sprint towards the road,” reported one account. The Japanese ran in a barely stooped place with bayonets thrust ahead; officers waved their swords.  The firing from the Marine positions drowned out the shouting as the lads of Ichiki’s detachment ran ahead.

Rifles and machine weapons let unfastened with what appeared to be an unlimited single muzzle flash. The 37mm cannons added to the noise with rounds of canister that tore into the enemy. Though the hearth took its horrible toll, killing and wounding dozens of Japanese earlier than they might even get near the Marine strains, the survivors stored coming. Once they reached the western aspect of the sandbar, the barbed wire stopped them about 90 ft in entrance of the Marines. Extra of Ichiki’s males have been killed as they turned tangled within the wire.

During a tropical rainstorm, General A.A. Vandegrift (left), U.S. Marine commander on Guadalcanal, confers with Colonel Merritt A. “Red Mike” Edson, whose 1st Marine Raider Battalion played a key role in the defense of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

The half buried our bodies of Japanese troopers of the Ickiki Detachment, killed in motion through the Battle of the Tenaru on Guadalcanal, supply mute testimony to the ferocity and quantity of fireside leveled at them by U.S. Marines within the predawn hours of August 21, 1942.

A few of the Japanese officers thought the fence should have been electrified as a result of so many males have been stopped in entrance of it and have been analyzing the wire. For many of them, it was their final act on earth. Others weren’t as curious and minimize their method by means of it. Even after the canister, the machine weapons, and the barbed wire, sufficient of 2nd Firm managed to get past the fence to cost on the Marines with bayonets.

“Keep Low and Squeeze Them Off”

The Marines of G Firm arrange a 60mm mortar part and commenced dropping shells on the sting of the coconut grove. The mortars have been aimed virtually completely; our bodies and elements of our bodies flew into the air together with nice splashes of mud and bits of palm tree. Japanese troopers within the neighborhood tried to make a break for it and ran from the goal space as quick as they might. As quickly as they turned seen, they have been minimize down by rifle hearth from the opposite aspect of Alligator Creek.

Pollack’s males stood their floor regardless of the truth that this was the primary fight for many of them. An American author described them as “grass-green, however resolute.” As writer Richard B. Frank put it, “For all they knew it was all the time purported to be like this.”

Ichiki’s males have been something however inexperienced. They have been veterans. Most of them had been in fight way back to 1937 and confirmed it, charging into Marine positions with fastened bayonets as if they did it every single day. However the Marines have been simply as decided. A rifleman with 2nd Battalion recalled, “Colonel Pollack was standing and strolling round erect, telling everybody to remain low and squeeze them off.”

Pollack was doing his greatest to maintain his males’s morale up. One Marine remembered, “His Jeep was parked close by with bullet holes in it. Jap our bodies coated the sandspit from the water’s edge barely behind us to the other grove throughout the lagoon.”

One encounter between Ichiki’s males and Pollack’s 2nd Battalion concerned a three-man machine-gun crew behind a log and filth shelter simply yards from the sandbar. Personal Johnny Rivers fired his .30-caliber machine gun on the oncoming enemy till he was killed, shot within the face. As he died, Personal Rivers continued to fireside one other 200 rounds. Corporal Lee Diamond changed Rivers and stored capturing till he was wounded within the arm. The third member of the crew, Personal Al Schmid, took over and fired till an exploding grenade blinded him.

Schmid and Diamond then labored collectively to maintain the gun going. Diamond, who might see, directed Schmid’s hearth, and Schmid, who had using each arms, fired the place Diamond informed him. This episode was dramatized within the 1945 movie Satisfaction of the Marines. Diamond and Schmid each acquired the Navy Cross for his or her motion on the sandbar, and Schmid ultimately regained partial sight in a single eye.

“As soon as in There, Don’t Maintain Again”

The 37mm weapons additionally stored up their really withering hearth, expending a lot canister that their barrels glowed at midnight. The 2 weapons not solely performed a serious position in stopping Ichiki’s assault however apparently broke up a deliberate second assault as properly. Ichiki tried outflanking the Marine line by sending an organization across the barbed wire, by means of the surf. Machine-gun hearth and canister stopped this maneuver earlier than it might turn into an assault. Dozens of Japanese lifeless washed up on the shore and have been half buried within the sand.

All of Ichiki’s makes an attempt to interrupt by way of the American defenses had led to catastrophe. He ordered the remainder of his troops to tug again right into a coconut grove about 200 yards east of the sandbar, however the considered giving up had not occurred to him. The try and outflank the Marines by means of the surf had taken place at 5:30 am. When the solar rose a short time later, Ichiki and his males have been nonetheless mendacity low within the coconut grove. Apparently, the brand new plan was to attend till dusk earlier than charging on the Marines once more.  The People guessed what Ichiki was as much as.

“We aren’t about to let these individuals lay up there all day,” introduced Colonel Clifton B. Cates, commander of the first Marine Regiment. “We’ve received to get them out at this time.”

His technique for getting the Japanese out of the grove was to outflank them. Cates ordered 4 rifle corporations underneath Lt. Col. Leonard B. Cresswell to cross Alligator Creek a few mile and a half south of the sandbar and assault what was left of Ichiki’s unit. A platoon of Stuart mild tanks accompanied Cresswell’s males to provide them hearth help. Every Stuart carried a 37mm cannon and machine weapons. Earlier than setting out, Cresswell was advised, “As soon as in there, don’t maintain again.”

The advance started round eight am, however the Marines discovered themselves slowed by the thick jungle, which was actually impenetrable in some locations. The tank help additionally had issues. The dry creek mattress clogged the treads of the Stuarts, stopping them from following the riflemen. The assault was almost two hours late. Vandegrift was by no means joyful when he heard concerning the delay and gave Cates a tongue lashing Cates described as “billy-hell.”

The Marines crossed Alligator Creek, turned north, and chopped their approach towards the coconut grove. Three of the 4 corporations swung east away from the grove after which turned westward to strategy Ichiki’s place. Firm D continued north, parallel with the creek. The thought was to chop off all escape routes, again the Japanese into the ocean, and nook them towards the sandbar.

Firm C made contact with the Japanese round midday. Ichiki’s troops reacted with machine-gun hearth after which with the customary bayonet cost. The Marines stopped the cost with a fusillade of well-directed rifle hearth. The opposite three corporations continued towards the grove as shortly because the jungle would permit whereas encountering little opposition. By early afternoon, Ichiki’s males had been compressed right into a triangle-shaped space on the mouth of Alligator Creek, boxed in between the sandbar and the ocean.

Deciding that nothing must be left to probability, Cates ordered 4 Stuart tanks throughout the sandbar into the coconut grove. Correspondent Richard Tregaskis had been watching Japanese troopers operating alongside the strip of seashore alongside the northern fringe of the palm grove—“black violently shifting blobs.” Shortly afterward, Tregaskis heard rifle hearth from the Marine strains and noticed the black blobs drop onto the sand. The primary signal of the tanks was a rumbling of highly effective engines behind the correspondent. The 4 Stuarts clattered towards the sandbar and the Japanese positions past.

M3A1 Stuart: The Meat Grinder of Guadalcanal

The M3A1 Stuart was a light-weight (14-ton) tank, however it was good for this task. It was mild sufficient get across the palm timber and closely armed to pound the Japanese sheltering within the grove. Tregaskis watched because the “terrible machines” rattled towards the sting of the grove and commenced flushing the enemy troopers from among the many timber. “It was like a comedy of toys, one thing unbelievable, to see them knocking over palm timber,” he later wrote.

The 37mm weapons fired spherical after spherical at Ichiki’s troopers, spewing sheets of orange flame.  Typically the tanks would hearth into clumps of underbrush, the place Japanese machine-gun positions had been hidden. The rattle of machine-gun hearth would shortly be overcome by the heavier studies of 37mm cannon.

Japanese combat artist Sentara Iwara produced this image of Japanese soldiers preparing to embark on a patrol. The soldiers are dressed in full combat uniform. Note the long bayonet attached to the belt of the soldier at right. Japanese troops developed a reputation as ferocious jungle fighters early in World War II. OPPOSITE: The half buried bodies of Japanese soldiers of the Ickiki Detachment, killed in action during the Battle of the Tenaru on Guadalcanal, offer mute testimony to the ferocity and volume of fire leveled at them by U.S. Marines in the predawn hours of August 21, 1942.

Photographed the day after the Battle of the Tenaru, the our bodies of Japanese troopers killed by U.S. Marines lie within the tropical solar on the mouth of the Ilu River. Greater than 800 Japanese troops died within the nocturnal preventing of August 21, 1942.

One of many tanks got here to a sudden cease, crippled after one among its tracks was blown off by a grenade or antitank mine. The opposite three tanks moved to take away the crew. After performing their errand of mercy, the remaining Stuarts went again to their job of flushing out the enemy.

Cates, fearing that each one the tanks is perhaps knocked out with nobody to rescue their crews, despatched a radio message to the tank commander, ordering him to withdraw from the grove. However the commander, Lieutenant Leo Case, snapped again, “Depart us alone. We’re too busy killing Japs.”

The Stuarts went on blasting the enemy, operating over our bodies of Japanese lifeless and wounded. The roots of the coconut timber, which have been giant and thick and typically protruded a number of ft above the bottom, saved the lives of a number of Japanese. One of many lucky few was Sergeant Sadanobu Okada of Ichiki’s headquarters unit. Okada performed lifeless because the tanks rolled in. One drove proper over him, however a coconut root took the tank’s full weight. When the three Stuarts returned to the American strains, they actually dripped with blood. Vandegrift wrote, “The rear of the tanks seemed like meat grinders.”

Ichiki’s males fought again. As Cresswell’s rifle corporations superior from the jungle, Japanese rifle and machine-gun hearth stunned the Marines. A number of of them have been hit.

“There was now bitter preventing within the grove,” Tregaskis famous. “We realized that the tanks had not mopped up utterly, for we might nonetheless hear the snapping of Jap machine-gun and rifle hearth.” Cresswell’s males stored shifting ahead.

“Like everybody else,” a Marine with the headquarters firm recalled, “Burnham and I had fired our rifles and emptied our cartridge belts—100 rounds after which some.”

The one escape for the Japanese was the ocean. Lots of them made a run for it however have been reduce down by rifle hearth earlier than they might get so far as the seashore. Those that managed to get to the water bobbed about on the floor, with solely the black dots of their heads displaying. Marines shot on the dots and killed many extra of the enemy within the water.

Those that managed to flee headed east, away from the grove, and bumped into Creswell’s fourth rifle firm, Firm C, and newly arrived Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter planes. The Wildcats, which had arrived on the 20th, strafed the seashore. The remaining handful of survivors straggled again to Taivu Level.

“These Individuals Refuse to Give up”

The Battle of the Tenaru, because it was referred to as, was over by 5 pm. The battle was truly misnamed. The Marines thought they have been preventing on the Tenaru River, which is definitely about 2,000 yards to the east, so historical past books continued to name the battle by its incorrect identify for years afterward. And Alligator Creek itself is definitely misnamed—the reptiles that inhabit it are in truth crocodiles. The struggle is also referred to as the Battle of the Ilu River.

Marines wandered out into the coconut grove to get a better take a look at the scene, gather souvenirs, and have a tendency the wounded. A few of Ichiki’s males weren’t about to let the battle finish and determined to take at the very least one of many enemy with them once they died. Japanese troopers pretending to be lifeless shot a number of Marines; others used grenades to blow themselves up together with an unsuspecting Marine. Three officers, together with Cresswell, have been startled when a Japanese sergeant out of the blue sat up and tried to shoot them. When his automated pistol failed to fireside, he turned it on himself. This time it labored, and blew the highest of his head off.

The phrase unfold shortly—Japanese who seemed to be lifeless ought to nonetheless be thought-about harmful. Taking no possibilities, the Marines put bullets into each enemy corpse that occurred to be close by.

“I watched our males standing in a shooting-gallery line, thumping bullets into the piles of Jap carcasses,” Tregaskis wrote in his diary. “The sting of the water grew brown and muddy. Some stated the blood of the Jap carcasses was staining the ocean.”

This ruthless preventing got here as a shock to People. Even senior officers have been shocked. “These individuals refuse to give up,” Vandegrift wrote to Marine Corps commandant Common Thomas Holcomb. “The injured wait till males come as much as look at them … and blow themselves and the opposite fellow to items with a hand grenade. You possibly can readily see the reply to this.”

Ichiki’s males definitely most popular demise to give up. Solely 15 Japanese have been taken prisoner, and just one gave himself up voluntarily. The remaining have been lifeless—790 males. Amongst them was Colonel Ichiki, though precisely how he died has by no means been found. In response to the official Japanese model, Ichiki ordered the regimental colours burned after which dedicated ritual suicide. Nevertheless, Japanese witnesses insist that he was killed within the preventing within the neighborhood of the sandbar.

Marine Pfc. Andy Poliny claimed to have shot Ichiki. In response to this account, Poliny noticed a wounded Japanese officer roll over and shoot a Marine within the face with a small-caliber pistol. Poliny rushed over together with his Browning Automated Rifle and fired a number of rounds into the officer. He was sure that the Japanese officer was Colonel Ichiki.

The Marines have been relieved that the battle was over and much more relieved that that they had lived via it. Thirty-eight of their quantity had been killed within the preventing, and one other 78 have been wounded. However there was virtually as a lot revulsion as rejoicing over what had taken place within the coconut grove and on the sandbar.

“Properly in fact I went down and seen the battlefield,” a Marine officer said. “If you haven’t seen warfare earlier than and also you see the stays of 700-800 males mendacity lifeless, it’s a shattering expertise….You appeared and thought, ‘There however for the grace of God go I.’”

By the next day, unburied Japanese our bodies had begun to swell and alter shade within the tropical warmth, however on the day of the battle that they had not but began to show. A number of the lifeless appeared fairly peaceable, as if that they had drifted off to sleep at low tide.

Photographed the day after the Battle of the Tenaru, the bodies of Japanese soldiers killed by U.S. Marines lie in the tropical sun at the mouth of the Ilu River. More than 800 Japanese troops died in the nocturnal fighting of August 21, 1942.

Three U.S. Marine artillerymen service a 75mm pack howitzer on Guadalcanal.

There was nothing peaceable concerning the scene within the grove. “We noticed teams of Jap our bodies torn aside by our artillery hearth, their stays fried by the blast of the shells,” one observer wrote. Cates remarked that he had not seen something extra horrible all through World Warfare I.

Photographers took nonetheless footage and movie of the enemy lifeless. One photographer was advised by his superior to cease filming—the pictures have been too graphic, he was informed. They confirmed the warfare because it was, and the American public was not prepared for something that uncooked. The Marine did what he was informed. He stopped taking footage however did ship the movies he had taken of the lifeless to Marine headquarters. His commanding officer was flawed. The movement footage he had taken have been launched to the newsreels with no single minimize.

One officer appraised Ichiki’s assault bluntly.  “Ichiki was a idiot for attacking so swiftly,” he stated a few years after the struggle ended, “not ready for the remainder of his regiment.”

“The Marines’ First Stand-Up Battle”

When information of the Ichiki debacle reached Rabaul, the studies have been initially dismissed. On the night time of August 21, the Seventeenth Military headquarters acquired a message, “The First Echelon of the Ichiki Detachment was virtually annihilated this morning at some extent close to the airfield.”

Lieutenant Colonel Hiroshi Matsumoto, the operations officer who had met with Ichiki shortly earlier than his detachment left for Guadalcanal, advised the commander of Seventeenth Military that it was a false report. It didn’t appear potential that Colonel Ichiki, a veteran whom Matsumoto knew personally, had been killed together with most of his males.

Two days later, the Japanese at Rabaul have been optimistic. “Gunfire nonetheless heard close to the airfield,” learn one report. “Plane with lights are flying all over.” IGHQ in Tokyo was knowledgeable, “The Ichiki Detachment continues to be in fine condition close to the airfield. They’re apparently nonetheless storming it.”

A report from one of many survivors of Alligator Creek introduced house the horrible fact. At 10 am on August 23, Lieutenant Yoshiaki Sakakibana radioed Rabaul from Taivu Level, “The detachment’s losses have been pretty giant, however now we’re holding firmly the world round Taivu Level and we now have some ammunition and foodstuffs.”

Sakakibana went on to report that Colonel Ichiki had been killed within the preventing and that 100 males have been remoted at Taivu Level. Each Tokyo and Rabaul have been utterly shocked.

Basic Hyakutake did his greatest to place a courageous face on the sudden rout and radioed Tokyo: “The assault of the Ichiki Detachment was not solely profitable.” He additionally steered that one other try and retake the airfield be deliberate as quickly as potential.

For the People, the battle proved that they might struggle Japanese troops within the jungle and win. The Marines had confronted a veteran Japanese unit and prevailed. “They ain’t supermen,” a Marine corporal defined. “They’re simply tough bastards.”

U.S. naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison stated the identical factor considerably extra elegantly: “The Marines’ first stand-up struggle with the much-touted jungle-fighting Jap, it [the battle] proved to the Corps and their countrymen that the American was the higher preventing man, even on the enemy’s chosen terrain.”

Six months after the Battle of the Tenaru, the Japanese withdrew from Guadalcanal. The marketing campaign for management of the island proved a turning level within the Pacific Conflict and steeled American troopers and Marines for extra brutal preventing that lay forward. One American historian wrote, “If the Japanese needed to battle to the demise with no quarter requested or given, the Marines have been able to oblige them absolutely.”

Initially Revealed October 17, 2016