Chapter 2: The Battle for Guadalcanal

WITH the beachhead at Lunga Point secured, the B-17's of the 11th Bombardment Group settled back into a regular search routine covering the lower Solomons to a depth of 700 to 800 miles from Espiritu Santo on sectors ranging from 286° to 316°.1 Australia-based planes of the AAF continued to carry the primary responsibility for reconnaissance of the upper Solomons and Rabaul. It was the task of Saunders' B-17's to prevent enemy surprise of the forces feverishly at work consolidating the Guadalcanal beach head, and this they accomplished by following a long, grinding routine of daily flights over 1,600 miles of open water.

The planes operated under primitive conditions, their crews for a time finding what sleep they could under trees, under the wings of the planes, or even inside the aircraft. In the absence of service personnel, a large share of the burden of daily maintenance fell upon the combat crews as an extra duty. Spare parts were not available, nor was there equipment to handle and refuel the planes.2 At Espiritu there were no docks, no roads, and no unloading facilities, and the foot thick cover of soft, black dirt made a devil's brew in the heavy tropical rains. Even when boxes and crates were brought ashore, there was no certainty that the supply officers had received information of their arrival, with the result that thousands of crates piled up under the coconut trees awaiting identification.

More critical than any other single item during the early operations from Espiritu was the supply of fuel. The B-17's could not draw upon an integrated system of tank trucks, pipe lines, and elaborate bulk storage; there were not even gas trucks and trailers. All these refine ments lay in the future.3 Now steel drums of fuel were merely dumped


over the sides of the cargo vessels in Segond Channel at Espiritu, then towed ashore in a net where they were manhandled up under the trees for storage in dispersal dumps. Before the fuel could reach a plane it had to be loaded into a truck, rolled up on a stand, and poured out of the drums into tank wagons which then serviced the aircraft. Such was the sequence at Espiritu and later on Guadalcanal. Since one single B-17 drank up fifty drums of aviation fuel for each mission, these early operations taxed all personnel to the utmost; General Rose, Colonel Saunders, and all available hands worked a bucket line twenty hours straight through a driving storm on 6 August to put 25,000 gallons aboard the bombers. And yet even with such prodigious efforts strike missions were sometimes delayed because of the lack of service facilities. Wide dispersal of the squadrons and absence of reliable radio communications made it exceedingly difficult to maintain contact with all units and Saunders found that he could exercise direct control only over the fourteen B-17's based on Espiritu.4

Early Air Operations

Despite these handicaps, a handful of planes was able on 24 August to take part in the action known as the Battle of the Eastern Solomons against an approaching enemy task force covering a transport formation headed for Guadalcanal. Saunders accepted the risk of a possible night landing on the Espiritu strip, and in cooperation with the Navy's Enterprise and Saratoga air groups, he sent off seven planes in two flights to strike at the enemy surface units.5 Nearly 750 miles north west of their base both flights attacked and both claimed hits on carriers. One of them may have been Ryujo, already mortally hurt by Saratoga's dive and torpedo bombers; she was lying dead in the water when bombed. The other probably was the seaplane carrier Chitose, which was attacked at dusk by Maj. Allan J. Sewart's flight of four planes. Poor visibility prevented accurate observation; Sewart claimed hits and Chitose limped up to Truk with a flooded engine room, but enemy sources attribute the damage to two dive bombers.6 In any case, all this was good score for seven planes bombing 750 miles out from their base, though the mission was marred by loss of Lt. Robert E. Guenther and four men of the 26th Squadron when their plane crashed into a hill at the edge of the field at Espiritu while attempting to land in darkness amid a sudden rain storm.

The carrier planes under Vice Adm. Frank J. Fletcher, aided by the


Map 4: Solomon Islands


handful of B-17's, had stopped the enemy's air attack on the 24th, but his transports came on; during that night four enemy warships shelled the field on Guadalcanal. The heavy enemy attacks which the Marines expected at dawn did not occur. Instead, at 0835 on the 25th Marine dive bombers from Guadalcanal intercepted the occupation force only 125 miles from the island and hit it hard. Two hours later, as the destroyer Mutsuki stood by preparing to sink the damaged transport Kinyru Maru, eight B-17's came up from Espiritu and put three 500-pound bombs on the Mutsuki, sinking her on the spot.7 The Japanese had had enough. By noon of the 25th they were steaming north at high speed. Of the approximately ninety aircraft lost by them, the B-17's claimed five.8 Land-based and carrier aircraft together had turned back the first major attempt to retake Guadalcanal, but the enemy would try again. Meanwhile, the bombers would return to their ceaseless searching in a routine which wore down machines even more rapidly than men.9

On Guadalcanal the problem was to retain control of the small area around the unfinished airstrip, now unofficially named Henderson Field, but there could be no question of attempting to drive the Japanese completely off the island. Admiral Ghormley had withdrawn the amphibious force and the covering carriers on 9 August prior to completion of unloading, leaving the builders of the airstrip with little more than bare hands, a keen sense of urgency, and whatever items of equipment the fleeing enemy had abandoned. Using what they found scattered about the field, at top speed the Marine engineers and the 6th Seabee Battalion prepared the strip on the Lunga plain to receive fighters and dive bombers, the first of which came in on 20 August with the arrival of VMF-223 and VMSB-232.* Now there were nineteen F4F's and twelve SBD's on Guadalcanal. General Vandegrift felt that a turning point had been reached;10 until this day the area had been utterly defenseless in the air ever since the withdrawal of the carriers.

Two days later his force was bolstered by the arrival of five P-400's which had flown up from New Caledonia, crossing the 640 miles of open water from Espiritu under the guidance of a B-17. Led by Capt. Dale D, Brannon, these were the advance planes of the AAF's 67th Fighter Squadron, which now became the first AAF unit to operate a detachment from Henderson Field. When Capt. John A. Thompson flew in with nine more P-400'S on 27 August, the 67th was ready for

* U.S. Marine Corps fighter and scout bomber squadrons.


daily contact with the enemy under the operational control of Marine Aircraft Wing One (MAW-1).11 Ready, that is, within the limits of operating conditions on this front-line base, and-more significant within the limitations of the P-400. For rarely have pilots and ground crews faced more primitive and difficult conditions than those under which the Marines and men of the 67th operated on Guadalcanal. Here no comfortable quarters were available at a reasonable distance behind the front lines or on a carrier where there was every opportunity for rest. This was the front line, and there were few replacements for these pilots; men and machines would fly until either or both gave way under the strain. Facilities for servicing aircraft were almost completely lacking when the planes arrived, and personnel were left to shift for them selves.12 Open fires cooked the food, washing and bathing were carried out in the Lunga River, nearly all hands kept their clothes on continuously, and the unfloored, unscreened tents providing the sole cover against weather permitted the malarial mosquito to roam at will. Ground crews labored long and hard with primitive equipment in their efforts to maintain the aircraft in flying condition; no free time remained for them to spend in improving their own living quarters fourteen hours per day measured an average stint and a sixteen-hour stretch was not unusua1.13

All these factors were the normal accompaniment to early South Pacific operations. Much less acceptable to fighter pilots was the painfully inadequate performance of the P-400, which was no match either for the Zero or for the enemy bombers now striking Henderson from altitudes above 20,000 feet. As an export version of the early P-39 originally destined for the British, the plane lacked proper supercharging equipment and its oxygen system was of the high-pressure type. Since no supply of high-pressure oxygen bottles was available on Guadalcanal, regardless of the plane's other deficiencies, pilots were forced to do their flying at low levels, usually below 10,000 to 12,000 feet or less than half the altitude of the attacking bombers.14 As a consequence the high-scoring honors on Guadalcanal easily passed to the Marines in their rugged and effective Grumman Wildcats.

After only four days' operations, no more than three P-400's of the original flight of fourteen remained in commission and squadron morale scraped bottom. General Vandegrift, very quickly recognizing that the P-400 was being called upon to perform a task quite beyond its ability, altered its assignment.15 From 2 September forward the 67th sent its


P-400's up and down the beaches and jungles of Guadalcanal, bombing, strafing, and harassing the Japanese ground units in close support of the Marine troops, and in this type of work the plane excelled. Soon its pilots were dive-bombing transports, barges, and destroyers, and they did everything but engage the enemy at high altitude. This last function remained almost exclusively a province of the Marines until newer models of the P-39's and finally P-38's arrived. Harmon continued to press AAF Headquarters for better fighters, citing the inadequacies of the P-400, and the War Department continued in its attempt to reassure the South Pacific commander that the plane could be used successfully.16 But Harmon well realized that his P-39 replacements could not fight at high altitudes, which was his chief need if the Japanese attacks were to be stopped. The P-38 was the only solution, but the P-38 was not to be available for combat until November.17

On Guadalcanal the chief factor which plagued air operations in the early days of the campaign was the lack of supply and the dependence upon surface transport to bring in fuel and the heavy equipment for base construction. Five weeks after the invasion Henderson remained unusable by medium or heavy bombers; except for the small detachment of the 67th Fighter Squadron, supported by personnel drawn from the other AAF fighter squadrons in the rear areas, no AAF unit was based on Guadalcanal until December. Fighters and other small aircraft could operate only when the rolled coral and earth surface was dry. Although P-400's had taken off in heavy mud at a time when other planes were grounded, the P-400's were not defending Henderson against enemy bombers--fighters that were defending it remained on the ground when the field was muddy.

There was no harbor at the island. Cargo vessels lay off Lunga to discharge food, fuel, and ammunition, then withdrew under threat of enemy air attack; and the threat was frequent, too frequent in fact for Ghormley to feel justified in permitting extensive unloading operations. The entire beachhead was anything but secure. Enemy bombers regularly struck at the airstrip during the daylight hours, and at night surface units shelled it, destroying equipment and planes and making it impossible for the aircrews to obtain badly needed rest. By 11 September, Harmon was increasingly apprehensive over the entire situation. He pointed to the growing concentration of enemy strength on Bougainville and in the Bismarcks, as well as on Guadalcanal itself; here was a ripe opportunity for the heavy bombers but so long as they were


forced to cling to their base 640 miles to the rear on Espiritu Santo their accomplishment was limited indeed.18 The B-17's could do little more than occasionally stage through Henderson in their effort to strike at enemy shipping in the Buin-Tonolei area at the southern tip of Bougainville, and the persistent lack of fuel on the island prevented even this procedure on anything more than a sporadic and limited scaIe.

By mid-September only a small amount of Marston mat had reached Henderson and, even more serious, the fuel reserve on the field could scarcely sustain current operations for four days; nor were there any prospects for improvement. All this was not the responsibility of COMGENSOPAC. It was the Navy's task, and Harmon was disinclined to criticize too severely, feeling that he was not "fully cognizant, nor perhaps appreciative of all the factors that go to influence Navy decision." But he was convinced that the existing lack of air facilities on the newly won island was traceable to the lack of vigor in bringing up surface transport to support the initial operation. While recognizing the difficulties facing the naval commanders, nevertheless he believed that they did not regard the seizure of Guadalcanal and its development into an air base as the first and immediate objective; it was not a "consuming thought with them," but was something that could follow along in its own good time. Repeatedly he urged Ghormley to speed the establishment of facilities for B- 17's at Henderson Field, from which point they could easily reach the Buin-Tonolei area where the enemy marshaled his surface craft for the assaults upon the lower Solomons, but throughout September not much was accomplished. In fact, halfway through the month Harmon strongly doubted that Guadalcanal could be held at all in the absence of more vigorous action on the part of COMSOPAC, and he believed that had Henderson been prepared for full air operations even within three weeks after its capture by the Marines, the serious difficulties facing Ghormley would not exist.19

Harmon was not far wrong. The grip upon Guadalcanal was tenuous, and the Japanese planned to make it more so. COMGENSOPAC had focused attention upon one cardinal feature of air operations in the Pacific island theater: despite all the mobility inherent in aircraft, here in the Solomons that mobility was bound down to a relatively narrow arc in front of the maximum advance of the line of supply. And that line of supply lay upon the surface of the water. Where the ships could not move with some reasonable degree of safety, or where


risk of their loss could not or would not be accepted, air operations not only were hampered-they came perilously close to a full stop.

Allocations for the Pacific

In the continuing debates over the merits of the European as against the Pacific theater of war it was only natural that the Navy, Marine, and Army air commanders who directly faced the enemy in the Pacific would state their case as forcibly as possible in frequent demands for more men and equipment. They could realize only with considerable difficulty that their task was regarded as inferior in importance to that of other theaters, yet this point repeatedly had been made clear in staff meetings. The Combined Chiefs and the Joint Chiefs of Staff took the long view of the war. It was necessary for both groups to maintain a delicate balance between the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters, one which frequently provided the Pacific commanders with equipment regarded by them as less than adequate for the task ahead. Yet in July 1942, when the decision was reached to abandon the project for an invasion of continental Europe in 1942, some promise arose that the pendulum might swing in favor of the war against Japan.20 On 24 July advocates of a higher priority for the Pacific theater were able to obtain from the Combined Chiefs of Staff a statement that over and above the U.S. forces required from BOLERO for operations in North and Northwest Africa, a total of fifteen groups should be withdrawn from current commitments to BOLERO for the purpose of furthering offensive operations in the Pacific.21 Such a course, had it been followed, would have sent into the Pacific three groups of heavies, two each of medium bombers, light bombers, fighters, and observation aircraft, and four groups of transport planes. Undoubtedly the commanders of all services in the South Pacific would have given a warm welcome to an increment of this magnitude, but their potential good fortune was short-lived; by the end of the month it was clear that the North African operation would absorb maximum production of the aircraft assembly lines.22

In any event, General Arnold was unwilling to commit his air force to an offensive in the Pacific at the cost of drawing air power away from the British Isles. His staff pointed out that if the major effort were to be swung away from Germany and sent toward Japan there would arise a military requirement for air operations directed against Japan from the Asiatic mainland as well as from the Pacific islands, and these


in turn were dependent upon the Allied grip upon the Middle East, where failure would jeopardize logistical support of India.23 Moreover, to General Arnold, Germany remained the primary objective, and the Allied air forces currently possessed the sole weapons able to exert direct pressure upon her. Only by continuous application of massed air power could air operations enjoy success against critical objectives, and this could be achieved only from bases located in the United Kingdom. Therefore he opposed the plan to drain off strength toward the Pacific prior to full implementation of BOLERO and the North African operation, and he clung to his original goal to carry out direct action against Germany from the British Isles as early as possible.24

Regardless of opinion currently held in Washington concerning the South Pacific, it was General Harmon who faced the Japanese in the field and who surveyed the theater's needs in terms of enemy capabilities shortly after his arrival in July. His criterion was not what might be available in Washington. He realized full well that BOLERO and the Middle East program could not go forward if his own ideal requirements were met. But he did aim to present a plan which he regarded as essential to discharge his own new responsibility.25 Accordingly, he noted a deficiency of three fighter squadrons, two of heavy bombardment, and two dive bomber squadrons, together with a full infantry division, two regiments of coast artillery (AA), and one battalion of coast artillery less one battery.26 His figures omitted the units necessary for contemplated Army garrisons on Guadalcanal and in the Santa Cruz group, but because he anticipated that determined attempts would be made to eject American forces from these areas immediately after their capture, his proposal carried the implication that even greater strength was required. The Marines should be relieved by Army ground troops as promptly as possible, and certain additional air units would have to be provided for the defense of the southern Solomons and for the development of plans and operations for the reduction of Rabaul. The fighter strength of this force should consist of two squadrons of P-38's, whose long range would enable them to negotiate the great distances between island bases, while the bomber strength included the entire 11th Group, in addition to one squadron each of medium and dive bombers. All these units raised the total additional requirements to six fighter squadrons, three of dive bombers, two of heavy bombardment aircraft, and one of medium bombers.27 It is significant to note that Harmon placed a request for dive bombers, a type


serving the Marines exceedingly well on Guadalcanal but discredited both by AAF Headquarters and experience in the Southwest Pacific. In conformance with these conclusions, General Harmon prepared an outline for the Chief of Staff, stressing the point that he stood face to face with painful realities and that in order to hold the key points in his theater reasonable force should be available. Consciously disregarding the question of availability, he asked for the immediate dispatch of three P-38 squadrons to New Caledonia, replacements for the 11th Group's lost B-17's, one medium bomber squadron for use at Guadalcanal, two B-17 squadrons for permanent station on New Caledonia and Fiji, and three dive bomber squadrons, one each for Guadalcanal, New Caledonia, and Fiji. Because the program envisioned substantial reinforcement for the South Pacific, it won strong concurrence from Admirals Ghormley and Nimitz.28

It was quite evident that Nimitz shared Harmon's apprehensions over the situation in the Solomons, neither of them believing that adequate forces were at hand to continue the pressure against the enemy with sufficient strength to hold positions already gained.29 During the early weeks of the Guadalcanal campaign the War Department was bombarded with requests from the Pacific, particularly for more aircraft. While Harmon stressed his needs from his headquarters on New Caledonia, Nimitz and Emmons pressed for reinforcements for the Hawaiian area, asking specifically for two heavy groups in the belief that the most urgent need was for heavy bombers.30 Emmons learned only three days prior to the landings on Guadalcanal that his demands conflicted with other commitments and that the fate of reinforcements rested upon plans then under study by the War Department. However, if additional planes and crews for the South Pacific could not be made available, the existing commitments might be shifted to the critical areas. With this in mind, Marshall authorized Harmon to divert, when necessary, aircraft passing through the South Pacific to Australia, and he informed the Navy that all Army air units assigned to the South Pacific were available for movement as directed by COMSOPAC.31

Two weeks of operations in Guadalcanal had passed when Harmon submitted a review of air strength and capabilities. On 21 August he could report the presence of twenty-four serviceable or repairable B-26's and thirty-three B-17's, of which two B-26's and four B-17's had been diverted from Australia. He assumed that a flow of heavy bombers would be maintained to meet the attrition of the 11th Group


and he planned to bring up the strength of the 69th and 70th Bombardment Squadrons (M) to twenty aircraft each; yet even this figure fell below requirements, and he felt that there should be twenty-four aircraft for each medium squadron with twelve for the B-17 squadrons.32 Nor did he regard the fighter situation as satisfactory. Instead of the allotted eighty-two aircraft in the Fijis, only one squadron with sixteen P-39's was available, and New Caledonia was equally poorly furnished. Harmon could report only twenty-seven P-4OO's, two P-39's, and two P-43's; after the dispatch of half the P-400's to Guadalcanal, New Caledonia was left with virtually no air defense other than the security afforded by Marine fighters which could be moved over from Efate in an emergency.33

By 25 August, General Harmon regarded the air situation in his command as critical. His minimum requirement now was a force of fifty B-17's and forty B-26's, all complete with combat crews. Despite the need for bombers, it was easier to obtain fighters. Thirty P-39's, diverted to New Caledonia from Australian allocations, were scheduled to arrive at Noumea in late September, and a like number of fighter pilots were coming down from Hawaii. And there the matter rested for the present.34 MacArthur had instructions to provide all possible support for COMSOPAC, Ghormley could shift at will all aircraft assigned to the South Pacific, Harmon held authority to divert temporarily bombers and aircrews en route to Australia, provided he could put them to more effective use in the South Pacific, and Nimitz had approval for the movement of any aircraft and crews, including fighter pilots of the Seventh Air Force, considered necessary to the success of the Solomons operation. But for the present no additional heavy bombers could be sent into the Pacific.35 There was little to add to the liberality of this arrangement so far as it concerned control over aircraft. Ammy planes all the way from Hickam Field to Guadalcanal were at the complete disposal of the responsible naval commanders, and Harmon had been instructed to cooperate fully with the admiral in command of his area. But all these dispositions were at best only inadequate substitutes for more aircraft, and on 20 August, Admiral King added his own plea, almost duplicating the list of requirements already submitted by Harmon on 4 August.36

General Arnold's reaction to the plan was terse and in line with the position taken on previous occasions: execution of the plan would serve merely as an additional diversion of inconclusive force. If successful,


it would make no material contribution toward winning the war; if unsuccessful, it would result in one more step toward defeat in detail; and under any circumstances the additional units "must come from the theaters where the war can be won." The only available reservoir was the force being prepared for North Africa, already regarded as insufficient to assure success in that venture. Therefore, he could not consider compliance unless the African operation were abandoned. In that event the units could be employed more profitably against Germany than against Japan's peripheral island outposts.37

And so the cleavage persisted between Army and Navy spokesmen over the respective merits of the several theaters. Army members of the Joint U.S. Strategic Committee firmly held that with the exception of the single heavy group already withdrawn from the United Kingdom and ordered to the Pacific, there should be no diversion of the fifteen groups until the forces for North Africa, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom had been built up. The Navy, on the other hand, presented a priority list in which the United Kingdom rested at the bottom, even though North Africa and the Middle East rated first and second, respectively.38

Admiral King himself led the assault upon the AAF position. Early in September he informed Arnold that, in view of the statement of 24 July by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, he believed a clear mandate existed to divert the groups from the European theater, particularly since the CCS had reached the decision prior to the increased urgency created by the enemy's bombings of Guadalcanal.39 Arnold's reply was a vigorous defense of his strategical concept. In his opinion there apparently was a "lack of common understanding as to the accepted overall strategic policy of the United Nations." He cited a previous decision of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, stating that an offensive with maximum forces should be conducted at the earliest practicable date against Germany, while a strategic defensive with minimum forces should be maintained in the other theaters; no subsequent agreement had in any way altered that fundamental concept.40 He called the admiral's attention to the impending North African invasion which had been granted highest priority by Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill, adding that diversions would jeopardize the success of that operation and in any case were not consistent with established priority. To General Arnold, accustomed to thinking in terms of rapid air movements, the European-African theater was all of one piece.* The very nature of the weapon

* See Vol. II, 60-66, 105-6, 279-85.


under discussion did not permit England and Africa to rest at opposite ends of a priority scale, simply because the Germans would not abide by any such artificial line of demarcation. The Lufnvaffe must not be allowed to divert its aircraft to Africa. Instead, its fighters must be occupied by Allied planes operating from the United Kingdom. Arnold even foresaw the possibility of failure of the African operation should any of the fifteen groups be withdrawn from the European allocations. Finally, he pointed out that on z September, Nimitz had under his control in the Pacific a total of 472 Army aircraft, of which I 19 were heavy bombers either in the Pacific theater or on the way, and that these forces could be strengthened by October replacements consisting of twelve heavy bombers, fifteen medium bombers, and forty-four fighters.41

To the persistent requests for P-38's arising from the Pacific theater General Arnold replied with praise for the work of the P-40's in Australia, reminding the Navy that if the South Pacific needed P-38's to cover the broad distances between bases, so did the Atlantic. The success of the North African venture depended upon the presence of every possible P-38, because of all fighters then available only this one could cross the Atlantic or move from the United Kingdom down to Oran or Casablanca. If the P-38's were withdrawn, then the African invasion must be abandoned altogether.42

Despite the plea of men in the South Pacific that Tulagi and Guadalcanal could be held only by continuous support of strong air and naval forces, Arnold refused to retreat from his original position that the European area would yield the most profitable return on an investment of air power. The principle was clear enough: German vitals lay within reach of his heavy bombers while those of Japan as yet did not; in any event, German air strength must not be allowed to move unhindered to Africa. Moreover, G-2 estimates of the Japanese order of battle refuted the contention that the Pacific lacked strength. Intelligence reports indicated that by 1 April 1943 the Japanese air forces would total about 4,000 combat planes, against which the Allies would have deployed approximately 5,000, including carrier-based aircraft and those in China and India. Because many Japanese squadrons would be held in Asia, the margin of 1,000 seemed adequate without further diversions from Europe. It was also General Arnold's firm belief that facilities available in the South Pacific were inadequate to care for greater numbers of planes than those currently allotted.43

As the Japanese pressed down on Henderson Field, U.S. naval commanders


grew increasingly pessimistic, and General Harmon shared their concern.44 Admiral King pointed to the extraordinarily high attrition suffered by the Marine air squadrons on Guadalcanal, where the rate of loss based on the initial twenty-five days of operation ran to 57 per cent, a figure which led King to state unequivocally that the Navy could not meet such attrition and continue to operate its carriers.45 The security of Guadalcanal, he informed Marshall on 17 September, made it "imperative that the future continuous flow of army fighters be planned at once, irrespective of, and in higher priority than the commitments to any other theater."46 In reply to this powerful statement of the case, the Army's Chief of Staff referred once more to the authority already granted to Nimitz which permitted him to shift aircraft throughout the Central and South Pacific. Marshall reminded King that the War Department had not assigned to operations in the Solomons area a higher priority than that of any other theater. Instead, he declared, "priorities adhered to . . . conform to those prescribed by higher authority by whose decision the highest priority has been given to a special operation [TORCH]."47

Here, then, was the broad gulf between Army and Navy thinking; here was the first major clash between the supporters of the Pacific and the European theaters under the impact of critical operations in the field. And the debate did not slacken. In the latter part of September, General Arnold himself made a hurried visit to the Pacific, hearing at first hand the reports of the field commanders, among them Harmon, whose pessimism had grown as he watched the thin trickle of supplies and reinforcements reaching Guadalcanal and the gathering of enemy forces at Buin.48 By early October enemy troops and aircraft streamed into the New Britain-upper Solomons area from the Netherlands Indies and China in preparation for a massive assault upon the Guadalcanal positions.49 General Arnold continued in his belief that base facilities in the South Pacific remained inadequate to absorb more than the numbers already allocated to them and that the major problem was one of proper distribution. He regarded Hawaii as a reservoir of aircraft and personnel ready to support the South Pacific, although Admiral McCain, recently returned to the United States from his command as COMAIRSOPAC,* accepted this as an unduly optimistic analysis of the situation. McCain had found maintenance crews and parts arriving at the operating bases much later than the planes, and ground crews

* He had been succeeded in that command on 20 September by Rear Adm. Aubrey W. Fitch.


already at the forward bases often not equipped to service the types sent in as replenishments.50

As the debate over allocations reached its climax, there arose a wide divergence of opinion regarding the capacity of the airfields and the types of aircraft to be based along the route.51 It was a familiar argument. In nearly every category--fighters excepted--General Arnold reached a lower estimate than Admiral McCain, who was influenced perhaps by carrier practice where the planes' wings dovetailed in neat ranks upon the flight decks. McCain recommended a powerful force of twenty-seven fighters, eighteen scout bombers, eighteen torpedo bombers, and twelve long-range patrol craft or B-17's at each base across the Pacific, whereas AAF spokesmen were of the opinion that the fighters based along the line of communications were not being economically employed.52 But Japanese pressure in October had reached a point which precluded any further delay in settling the dispute.

Out on Guadalcanal the Marines prodded the debaters by sending in a predicted need for eighteen F4F's and a like number of SBD's every ten days, together with 100 per cent replacement of flight crews.53 And on 24 October the President expressed to the Joint Chiefs his apprehension over the critical situation then prevailing in the Solomons and his desire "to make sure that every possible weapon gets into that area to hold Guadalcanal, and that having held it in this crisis that munitions and planes and crews are on the way to take advantage of our success." It would be necessary to furnish adequate air support for both North Africa and Guadalcanal, "even though it means delay in our other commitments, particularly to England," for the President feared that the long-range plans of the Allies would be set back for months if less than full strength were thrown into the immediate and pending conflicts.54 He asked for an immediate and complete canvass of every possible temporary diversion of material for the active fronts.

General Marshall responded at once, indicating that in the South Pacific the entire situation hinged on the outcome of the current Japanese assault upon Henderson Field, and that the problem was not one of lack of troops in the Pacific but rather had its origin in the shortage of transports and the necessary escorts for these transports.55 To meet the current emergency he could report the presence in the South Pacific of 27 medium bombers and 133 fighters in addition to the heavy bombers; 23 heavies were being dispatched by air, with 53 fighters following by water. Furthermore, General MacArthur had been advised on 25 October that he should prepare to furnish on call


to the South Pacific bombardment reinforcements and attrition replacements for P-38 fighters, fifteen of which already were in the South Pacific with the newly activated 339th Fighter Squadron. After surveying the aircraft then available in the continental stations, General Marshall concluded that Guadalcanal could not possibly draw upon replacement training units within the United States without fatally reducing the flow of trained personnel to the several combat theaters. In any case, the Western Defense Command had only twenty-five heavy bombers, none of them suited for operations in the Pacific. The sole remaining source from which combat aircraft could be diverted to the South Pacific was the force of five heavy bombardment groups destined to execute diversionary or supporting missions for the North African operation, and these units even then were en route to or already in England.

But the long debate was nearing its end. On 22 October a complete schedule of deployment of all Army and Navy aircraft in the South Pacific had been discussed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and this plan met acceptance five days later.56 Although the schedule extended only to 1 January 1943, it undoubtedly imparted a certain stability to the plans of the Army and Navy commanders in the field. If its provisions were met, the South Pacific heavy bomber strength never would drop below 70, medium bombers on hand would number 52, and fighters 150, exclusive of the squadron at Canton, of that manned by the New Zealanders on Fiji, and of the forces at Palmyra, Christmas, Johnston, and Fanning. General Arnold agreed with Admiral Leahy that these figures represented a total, and that the aircraft should be at the complete disposal of the area commander for distribution where most needed.57 In conformance with this provision, on 14 November, Admiral Nimitz received complete freedom to deploy and distribute all available air forces assigned to the South and Central Pacific, provided, however, that he moved them to COMSOPAC as units and not as individual planes and pilots.58 Nimitz might deplore the lack of greater air strength at hand, but he could hardly have asked for any broader sanction for employment of the weapons he did have.

Japanese Counterattacks

During the debates in Washington over the relative needs of the South Pacific theater, the enemy prepared to make a supreme effort to recover Guadalcanal. Steadily he had been pushing small reinforcements


through the "Slot," as the seaway which funneled down to Guadalcanal from Buin was known to the defenders of that island. From the lower tip of Bougainville, where the harbor of Tonolei was the focal point for enemy shipping moving down from Rabaul, Palau, and Truk, the enemy prepared his reinforcements, and this time they would include two fresh and highly trained divisions, the 2d and the 38th.59 The B-17's could do little to interfere with these gathering forces; as often as possible, they staged through Guadalcanal to strike at the highly profitable Buin-Tonolei area, but lack of fuel held these efforts down to infrequent and light raids. It was obvious by September that the maximum efforts of the 11th Group were not sufficient for the job at hand and, on the 15th, General Emmons was ordered to send down the 72d Squadron of the 5th Bombardment Group (H), which joined the veteran 11th on 23 September at Espiritu, followed by two additional squadrons of the group in the following month.60

It was well that these fresh squadrons were coming down from Hawaii. There was work enough for all of them. The enemy's "Tokyo Express" steadily built up the ground forces opposing the Marines. Cruisers and destroyers would leave Buin-Shortland early in the afternoon and by steaming at thirty knots they would be off Guadalcanal after midnight. Here the vessels unloaded men and supplies, threw a few rounds at Henderson Field, then withdrew at high speed, only to repeat the performance again the next night. Not until well along in the afternoon would the B-17's, ranging up from Espiritu, be able to pick them up and report the contact to Henderson Field, and by then it was difficult for the dive and torpedo bombers on Henderson to catch the Express.61 The hostile force failed to enter the effective radius of action of Marine aircraft until late afternoon, thus limiting retaliatory attacks from Guadalcanal to a single mission before nightfall. Nor could the B-17's do much, for by the time Saunders' striking force could cover the 640 miles up to Guadalcanal the enemy usually was well out of range and dispersed up the Slot.62

Early in October the heavy bombers made a weak attempt to restrict the enemy's use of his Buka field when they executed three small raids from Guadalcanal, but they did little more than serve notice upon the Japanese commanders that their airstrips throughout the Solomons lay within reach of Guadalcanal. Nothing like a permanent offensive was possible; fuel was too scarce,63 a fact which lent support to the AAF's argument in the current debate over additional allocations. The B-17's


Map 5: Northwest Corner of Guadalcanal


continued to render their most useful service in their daily searches over the Shortland area for intelligence of the enemy's surface movements.

By 11 October the searchers had their information: a task force of cruisers and destroyers had been sighted boiling down on Guadalcanal only 210 miles out. That night in the battle of Cape Esperance, Rear Adm. Norman Scott drove them off with his cruisers; next day five B-17's struck again at Buka, followed by six more which divided their effort between Buka and Tonolei on the 13th.64

Back on Guadalcanal on the 13th the Bettys from Rabaul had smashed all afternoon at Henderson. They had an easy time of it. Pilots of the P-400's cruised around at 12,000 feet looking up at the enemy formations at 30,000, the P-39's struggled up to 27,000 and could go no higher, and the Marines' Grummans could not make contact in force because of insufficient warning.65 Then when all fighters had returned for refueling and rearming, another wave of bombers came over to bomb at will, inflicting casualties both on the field and among the 164th Infantry Regiment of the America1 Division, then disembarking down at Lunga Point. All day long the Seabees of the 6th Battalion raced up and down the strip with their pre-cut Marston mat and with their pre-loaded dump trucks, each carrying a load carefully measured in advance to fit the size of the anticipated craters, yet by noon thirteen holes were visible in the main runway.66 Prodigious effort barely held the field in operation when enemy artillery for the first time began to register on one end of the runway. This was "Pistol Pete," destined to gain ill repute among the men around the airstrip; when the P-400's prepared to take off in an attempt to track down the guns, the mission suddenly was canceled amid rumors of no fuel.67

That night the Express arrived on schedule. It was a big one. For eighty minutes Kongo and Haruna hit Henderson in a furious bombardment; heavy shells crashed into gasoline storage and an ammunition dump, and all over the field parked aircraft went up in clouds of smoke and flame.68 Early on the 14th amid the shambles of Henderson Field, Colonel Saunders led out his remaining B-17's, which temporarily had been operating from Guadalcanal, leaving behind two planes damaged by shrapnel and two that lacked parts.69 Henderson now was useless for heavy and medium bombers and would remain so for more than a month. Only five Navy dive bombers remained in commission to stop the Japanese task forces. Enemy gunners apparently could leisurely


shell Henderson out of existence.70 On the 14th Pistol Pete resumed his work. Seabees labored valiantly to fill the craters, but as they tamped one level another shell would dig at the field, scattering men and equipment. Between bursts four P-400's were loaded with 100-pound bombs while their pilots, with parachutes strapped on, waited in near-by foxholes. One at a time between explosions they would make a dash for their planes and so they took off, with the shells literally opening up fresh craters under the tail surfaces. But they could not locate Pete this day, and the necessity of saving every drop of fuel for vital fighter defense canceled all further efforts to knock out the enemy artillery.71 O

Henderson Field was out of operation by the afternoon of 14 October. For the Marine commanders the situation was indeed desperate. Providentially in September the Seabees had laid out a grass strip some 2,000 yards distant and parallel with Henderson; now the strip was rough and it was short, but it supported the light planes based on Guadalcanal during these critical days.72 Fuel was--as always--the primary problem. Without it the dive bombers and the P-400's and P-39's now serving as dive bombers could not strike at the enemy's transports and escorts. Gasoline was even siphoned out of the abandoned B-17's left behind by Saunders, this windfall permitting one more mission, but the enemy came on with his ships. Never before and never again did he succeed so well in destroying aircraft grounded on Guadalcanal as during these mid-October nights. And not much was left of Henderson Field by the evening of the 14th.73 O

By midmorning of the 15th gas had begun to arrive, ferried in by C-47's; throughout the day the transports came in from Espiritu, each carrying twelve drums or enough to keep twelve planes in the air for one hour. All day Marines scoured the beachhead for any stray cache of fuel which might have been overlooked or forgotten in some of the widely dispersed dumps.74 ONow the task was to destroy the five invasion transports lying between Kokumbona and Doma Reef where the enemy's td Division was pouring ashore only eight miles from Henderson Field.75 The days that followed saw a weary succession of missions shuttling down to Kokumbona and back to Henderson for rearming and refueling; on the 16th the old P-400's and the P-39's made seven separate attacks on the area, bombing, strafing, and harassing the Japanese without respite.76 But the enemy continued to push through his Express; his bombers hit Henderson daily and all along the line there was evidence that Japanese pressure was increasing.


The enemy now had up to 29,000 men on Guadalcanal and his optimism over the outcome was indicated by a German broadcast, relying upon a Tokyo report, which announced capture of two important airfields from U.S. forces in the Solomons.77 Not quite, but very close. The U.S. Navy had revealed on 16 October that more enemy troops and equipment had landed, but little beyond that. A hint of the highly critical situation reached the public, still in ignorance of the battle for the island, in a statement of Secretary Knox's "hopes" that Guadalcanal could be held.78 A fuller and surprisingly accurate analysis was presented to the public by the New York Times commentator, Charles Hurd, who assumed that defensive air power at Henderson had been overwhelmed. So it was, but only temporarily. Prodigious labor soon had erased the pockmarks from the airstrip, and the public learned that the field was in operation on both 16 and 17 October, but enemy artillery continued to harass the strip, which was out of operation again on the 22d.79

Vice Adm. William F. Halsey relieved Ghormley on 20 October. Halsey immediately abandoned a plan to occupy Ndeni in the Santa Cruz Islands, sending the 147th Infantry to Guadalcanal instead. He instituted construction of a second bomber strip at Koli Point, approximately twelve miles southeast of Henderson, and his general aggressive spirit soon imparted a rare tone of optimism to the reports reaching Washington from General Harmon.80 But Guadalcanal came through with a narrow escape. The enemy made his supreme effort to slash through the Marine and Army lines around Henderson Field on 24 and 25 October. The field had been put back into operation by the 23d, and the Americans began to inflict crushing losses on the enemy's naval air force. During one raid on the 23d in which sixteen bombers and twenty-five fighters were met by twenty-four F4F's and four P-39's, no less than twenty-two Japanese planes fell to the Marines, who incurred no loss whatsoever to themselves;81 and the enemy continued to take losses which proved a severe drain upon the Japanese naval air force. On the ground, his troops threw themselves against the defense lines around the airstrips on the 23d and again on the following two days in a poorly coordinated attack which cost them dearly, yet their utmost efforts never once carried the shrieking waves of assault troops closer than one mile to the fighter strip.82 Meanwhile, northwest of the Santa Cruz Islands and steaming down from Truk came a powerful task force, the greatest


yet marshaled against American positions in the Solomons; and here on 26 October carrier planes from the Hornet and Enterprise fought out the violent air action known as the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. With three of his carriers hit and nearly 100 aircraft lost, including many of the precious pilots saved at Midway, Vice Adm. Nagumo retired to Truk, although not before his planes had sunk the Hornet.83

In these actions B-17 participation had consisted for the most part in providing searchers to detect the enemy surface forces. Lt. Mario Sesso of the 5th Group, out on his first mission in the area, found one section of the force on the afternoon of the 25th. He clung to his contact for over a half hour, then escaped from seven Zeros which attempted to shoot him down.84 On the next day a flight of eleven B-17's and another of four both bombed the surface forces but neither could report any hits. The issue at sea was decided by the carriers, and on land by the ground forces defending Henderson together with the handful of planes left on that battered field.85

Thus ended the most critical of the battles for Guadalcanal to date. By 27 October, Harmon believed that the immediate crisis had passed and that the situation did not necessitate emergency dispatch of any additional heavy bombardment units from the mainland. He now had forty-seven B-17's available, of which thirty-five were ready for combat; eight B-24's of the fresh 90th Group were en route from Hawaii to Australia, and seven B-17's of the worn 19th Group* were being held in Fiji in conformance with instructions to COMSOPAC to make use of these transient units if needed to meet the current emergency.86 Yet not one of these planes could operate from Guadalcanal to strike at the great numbers of ships the enemy now was massing at Rabaul and in the northern Solomons for another and even greater effort to push the invaders off Guadalcanal. Two fresh Japanese divisions were preparing for the task; the 20th was staging at Rabaul, the 6th on Bougainville, and on 11 November the searchers from Henderson could report at least sixty-one ships in the Buin-Tonolei area.87 To push this force down the Slot the Japanese possessed a definite superiority in surface craft and in land-based aircraft; to meet it at sea Halsey's sole remaining carrier was the damaged Enterprise, supported by two new battleships and an inadequate force of light and heavy cruisers.

Eleven enemy transports left the Shortland area on 12 November carrying 13,500 fresh troops and supported by a heavy bombardment

* See below, p. 111.


force of cruisers and two battleships, the Kirishima and Hiei.88 If they could break through the air defenses of Guadalcanal, Henderson Field would be useless and the two divisions could pour ashore unhindered, provided they could slip past Halsey's surface forces. They did neither. That night Rear Adm. Daniel J. Callaghan's cruisers checked them in a wild and costly action off Savo Island, and all day on the 12th planes had rushed across to Guadalcanal from Espiritu. Maj. Dale D. Brannon brought in eight P-38's of the new 339th Fighter Squadron (TE), while COMSOPAC sent in Marine and Navy air reinforcements to raise the island's total strength to forty-one F4F's, thirty SBD-3's, nineteen TBF-1's, and two P-4OO's, in addition to the P-38's.89 General MacArthur had been called upon to send eight P-38's and these planes of the 39th Fighter Squadron arrived on the 13th, flying direct from Milne Bay across to Henderson where they remained until 22 November.90 Further to support Henderson, both the 69th and 70th medium squadrons moved their B-26's to Espiritu, the 69th coming up under command of Maj. James F. Collins, pilot of one of the two surviving B-26's which had attacked the enemy carrier force at Midway.91

With these forces, bolstered by torpedo planes and fighters from the Enterprise, the air defenders of Guadalcanal wrought havoc upon the heavily laden transports. They found the battleship Hiei, crippled by Callaghan's cruisers on the 12th, and they bombed it mercilessly, aided by seventeen B-17's which came up from Espiritu to score hits upon it. Hiei was down by the morning of the 14th but she died slowly, subjecting Henderson to a damaging bombardment before she sank. Early on this same Saturday morning, the Enterprise was ordered to attack the convoy, and ten B-26's of the 70th Squadron were sent across to Guadalcanal.92 Now while dive and torpedo bombers pounded the retiring bombardment force of cruisers and destroyers, the transports moved down, closer to the base where the short-legged SBD's and TBF's could hit them. For the enemy the outcome was complete disaster. One after another, seven of his transports went down or were set afire under the attacks of the Henderson planes, supported by a flight of fifteen B-17's from Espiritu, which claimed one hit on a transport. Only three of the transports and one cargo vessel were able to reach Guadalcanal; and these four were beached near Tassafaronga, where air and artillery bombardment, supplemented by surface bombardment, quickly destroyed them.93

Repulse of the final enemy thrust was all surface action. On the night


of the 14th, Rear Adm. Willis A. Lee with South Dakota and Washington met a powerful Japanese force, sank Kirishiwa in a radar action, and, in spite of losses, forced the Japanese to retreat. Never again did they make such a frontal attack either by land or by sea. Now they would resort exclusively to the Tokyo Express to sustain their troops on Guadalcanal, meanwhile building up their air strength at Rabaul. But they could maintain slight hope for recovery of Guadalcanal, even though the campaign was to drag on into February. Shipping losses had been high in the November action, reaching 77,000 tons exclusive of the combat craft sunk; clearly for the Japanese the Solomons were absorbing air and naval strength at an appalling rate.94

With the collapse of the two massive enemy efforts the outline of future operations became reasonably clear. The aggressive personality of the new theater commander had created an air of optimism, and to support whatever plans lay ahead there now was a schedule of allocation of aircraft for the theater. The maximum effort of the Japanese had been met and turned back, and many of the initial problems of the South Pacific had been overcome. The solution for others must wait, but there was an awareness among an increasing number of personnel that service loyalties were subordinate to the primary task: defeat of the Japanese.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)

Notes to Chapter 2:

1. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 20 Aug. 1942; History, 98th Bomb. Sq.; History, 11th Bomb. Gp.

2. Interview with Brig. Gen. L.G. Saunders, 14 Apr. 1943.

3. Memo for Harmon from Saunders, 15 Aug. 1942, in History, 11th Bomb. Gp.

4. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 18 Aug. 1942.

5. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 26 Aug. 1942.

6. CM-IN-11091 (8-27-42), Harmon to Marshall, 144, 27 Aug. 1942; ltr., Saunders to Hale, 26 Aug. 1942; History, 26th Bomb. Sq.; USSBS Memo Nav. 11, 16 Oct. 1945, p. 4; USSBS, The Campaigns of the Pacific War, pp. 110-11.

7. ON1 Combat Narratives, Battle of the Eastern Solomons, p. 65; USSBS Memo Nav. 11, 16 Oct. 1945, p. 15; USSBS Intr. 252, 1 Nov. 1945, Capt. Y. Toyama, p. 5.

8. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 26Aug. 1942; History, 26th Bomb. Sq.; ONI, Battle of the Eastern Solomons, pp. 65-66; The Campaigns of the Pacific War, p. 113.

9. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 26 Aug. 1942.

10. Hq. 1st Marine Div., Division Commander's Final Report on Guadalcanal Operation (Vandegrift Report), 24 May 1943, Phase III.

11. 67th Fighter Sq. Operations Rpt., 20 Aug.-24 Sept. 1942.

12. Vandegrift Rpt., Phase III.

13. Ltr., W. W. Evans, Medical Officer, USMC to Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 22 Dec. 1942.

14. Ltr., Harmon to Arnold, 28 Aug. 1942.

15. 67th Fighter Sq. Operations Report; History, 67th Fighter Sq.; CM-IN-1874 (9-5-42), Emmons to WDCSA, 2706, 4 Sept. 1942.

16. CM-OUT-2926 (9-9-42), AFRAD to Necal, 1286, 8 Sept. 1942; CM-OUT-3629 (9-11-42), AFACT to Necal, 1309, 10 Sept. 1942; CM-IN-5418 (9-13-42), Harmon to AFRAD, 249, 13 Sept. 1942.

17. Ltr., Harmon to Kuter, 11 Sept. 1942.

18. Ibid.

19. Ltr., Harmon to Arnold, 15 Sept. 1942.

20. JPS 22d Mtg., 10 July 1942.

21. CCS 94, 24 July 1942. 14 July 1942.

22. CCS 34th Mtg., 30 July 1942.

23. Memo for Arnold, n.s., Transfer of Major Military Objective from Bolero, 14 July 1942.

24. JPS 48, 28 Aug. 1942, Tab A, memo for C/S from Arnold, 29 July 1942.

25. Ltr., Harmon to St. Clair Streett, 5 Aug. 1942.

26. Incl. A (ltr., COMSOPAC to CINCUS, A3-1/A16-3 [3] Serial 0048, 6 Aug. 1942), ltr., Harmon to COMSOPAC, 4 Aug. 1942.

27. Ibid.

28. Ltr., COMSOPAC to CINCUS, 6 Aug. 1942, as cited in n. 26, and 1st ind., CINCPAC to CINCUS, 6 Sept. 1942, A163 (9) (86) Serial 0199W.

29. Sources in n. 28; ltr., Harmon to Marshall, 11 Aug. 1942.

30. CM-IN-9744 (8-26-42), Emmons to WDCSA, 2504, 25 Aug. 1942.

31. CM-OUT-1424 (8-5-42), WDOPD to CGHD, 5238, 4 Aug. 1942; CM-OUT-2792 (8-9-42), Marshall to Necal, 890, 9 Aug. 1942.

32. Cited in R&R, Arnold to AC/AS A-3, 31, Aug. 1942.

33. Ibid.

34. CM-IN-9889 (8-26-42), COMGENSOPAC to WAR, 137, 25 Aug. 1942; CM-OUT-9008 (8-29-42), OPD to COMGENSOPAC, 1158, 28 Aug. 1942; CM-OUT-8628 (8-27-42), WDOPD to CGHD, 5743, 27 Aug. 1942.

35. CM-OUT-8255 (8-26-42) WDOPD to CGHD, 5718, 26 Aug. 1942.

36. Cited in memo for AC/AS Plans from Kuter, 21 Aug. 1942.

37. Memo for AC/AS Plans from Kuter, 21 Aug. 1942.

38. JCS 97, 5 Sept. 1942.

39. Incl. A (JCS 97/2, 15 Sept. 1942), memo for Arnold from King, 5 Sept. 1942.

40. Incl. B (JCS 97/2, 15 Sept. 1942), memo for CINCUS and C/NO from Arnold, Need for Army Aircraft in the Current Solomons Operation, 14 Sept. 1942.

41. Memo for CINCUS from Arnold, Air Reinforcements for the Guadalcanal-Tulagi Area, 5 Sept. 1942.

42. Incl. 4 (R&R, AFAEP to AFDAS, 7 Sept.1942), memo for CINCUS from Arnold, Combat Performance of Army Air Forces Aircraft, 4 Sept. 1942; memo for CINCUS from Arnold, Air Reinforcements for the Guadalcanal-Tulagi Area, 5 Sept. 1942.

43. JCS 32d and 33d Mtgs., 8 and 15 Sept. 1942.

44. Ltr., Harmon to Kuter, 11 Sept. 1942.

45. Memo for CSA from CINCUS and C/NO, Fighter Plane Reinforcements to Guadalcanal, 17 Sept. 1942.

46. Ibid.

47. Memo for CINCUS and C/NO from Marshall, 30 Sept. 1942.

48. Ltr., Harmon to Arnold, 15 Sept. 1942. General Arnold gives his own account of this trip in Global Mission (New York, 1949). pp. 336-50.

49. USSBS Intr. 497, Lt. Gen. S. Miyayo. JCS 36th Mtg., 6 Oct. 1942.

50. JCS 36th Mtg., 6 Oct. 1942.

51. JCS 97/5, 22 Oct. 1942, Tab A, Recommended Capacity of Certain Airfields in the South Pacific.

52. JCS 97/5, 22 Oct. 1942, Tab B, Recommended Strength of Certain Airfields in the South Pacific; JCS 97/5, 22 Oct. 1942; R&R, AFCAS to AC/AS Plans,3 Oct. 1942.

53. Incl. (R&R, AFCAS to AC/AS Plans, 24 Oct. 1942), msg. from COMAIRWING 1, 23 Oct. 1942.

54. Incl. (same R&R), memo for Leahy, King, Marshall, and Arnold from Pres. Roosevelt, 24 Oct. 1942.

55. Memo for the President from Marshall, 26 Oct. 1942.

56. JCS 97/5, 22 Oct. 1942, Tab C, Table 11; JCS 39th Mtg., 27 Oct. 1942.

57. JCS 39th Mtg., 27 Oct. 1942.

58. Incl. 2 (memo for Gen. Deane by C/S, n.d., OPD 320.2 PTO [10 Nov. 1942]), draft of dispatch for CINCPAC from CSA and COMINCH; memo for Arnold from King, 21 Dec. 1942.

59. USSBS Intr. 497, Lt. Gen. S. Miyazaki, 3 Dec. 1945, p. 4.

60. CM-OUT-5191(9-15-42), Marshall to CGHD, 155, 15 Sept. 1942; CM-OUT-5574 (9-16-42), Marshall to CGHD, 171, 16 Sept. 1942; interview with Lt. Col. Narce Whitaker, by author, 20 June 1944; Growth of Heavy and Medium Bombardment Units in the Seventh Air Force, 7 Dec. 1941-31 Aug. 1944; CM-OUT-5972 (10-19-42), Marshall to CGHD, 778, 18 Oct. 1942; History, 31st Bomb. Sq., Apr. 1944.

61. Interview with Lt. Col. R.C. Mangrum, USMC, 11 Nov. 1942. Mangrum commanded VMSB-232, the first dive-bomber squadron to operate from Henderson.

62. Saunders interview.

63. CM-IN-2996 (10-8-42), Harmon to Marshall, 523, 7 Oct. 1942; CM-IN-06795 (10-16-42), Harmon to Marshall, 637, 15 Oct. 1942.

64. CM-IN-06795 (10-16-42), Harmon to Marshall, 637, 15 Oct. 1942; Hq. USAFISPA GO 8, 5 Jan. 1943.

65. 1st Marine Div. D-2 Journal, 13 Oct. 1942; History, 67th Fighter Sq.

66. 1st Marine Div. D-2 Journal, 13 Oct. 1942; William Bradford Huie, Can Do! The Story of the Seabees, pp. 41-44.

67. History, 67th Fighter Sq.; Herbert L. Merillat, The Island: A History of the First Marine Division on Guadalcanal (Boston, 1944), p. 142; Capt. John A. Burden, USMC, Enemy Operations on Guadalcanal, 7 Aug. 1942-9 Feb. 1943.

68. MAG-23 War Diary, 14 Oct. 1942; History, 67th Fighter Sq.; interrogations of Admirals Kusaka and Irifune and Commander Hori, in USSBS, The Allied Campaign against Rabaul, 1 Sept. 1945, p. 44; USSBS, The Campaigns of the Pacific War, p. 119.

69. Saunders interview; History, 67th Fighter Sq.; Whitaker interview, 26 Oct. 1944.

70. Merillat, The Island, p. 145; History, 67th Fighter Sq.

71. Merillat, The Island, p. 145.

72. Huie, Can Do! p. 44. This field was first used on 9 September.

73. History, 67th Fighter Sq.

74. Merillat, The Island, pp. 152-53. Several thousand additional gallons of gas came in on the destroyer MacFarland on the 16th.

75. Ibid., p. 147; interview with Brig. Gen. P. A. Del Valle, USMC, 19 Dec. 1942, in Military Observers Report, Southwest Pacific Area, 26 Sept.-23 Dec. 1942. Japanese commanders state that six transports actually reached Guadalcanal; three were left on the beaches after discharging about 80 per cent of their cargo and all of their personnel. (Intrs. of Admirals Kusaka and Irifune and Commander Hori, in The Allied Campaign against Rabaul, p. 44.)

76. MAG-23 War Diary, 16 Oct. 1942.

77. New York Times, 17 Oct. 1942; The

78. New York Times, 17 Oct. 1942.

79. Ibid., 17, 18, 19 Oct. 1942; MAG-23 War Diary, 22 Oct. 1942.

80. Lt. Gen. M.F. Harmon, The Army in the South Pacific; Huie, Can Do!, p. 50; ltr., Harmon to Arnold, 31 Oct. 1942; msg., Harmon to Marshall, 31 Oct. 1942.

81. MAG-23 War Diary, 23 Oct. 1942; ON1 Combat Narratives, The Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, p. 29.

82. Capt. John A. Burden, Enemy Operations on Guadalcanal; Combat Intel. Center, Hq. XIV Corps, Brief Summary of the Battle for Guadalcanal, 12 Feb. 1943; Merillat, The Island, pp. 164-65.

83. USSRS Intr. 75, Comdr. M. Okumiya, 12 Oct. 1945.

84. Ira Wolfert, Battle for the Solomons, p. 108; Daily Tactical Rpt., 29 Oct. 1942, in AFSHO files; Hq. USAFISPA GO 118, 15 May 1943.

85. CM-IN-00244 (11-1-42), Harmon to Marshall, 945, 30 Oct. 1942.

86. CM-OUT-05331 (10-16-42), Marshall to Emmons, 734, 16 Oct. 1942; CM-OUT-08683 (10-25-42), Marshall to Emmons, 941, 25 Oct. 1942; incl. 2 (R&R, Gen. Anderson to Arnold, 31 Oct. 1942), memo for CGAAF, sub.: 90th Bomb. Group (H), 31 Oct. 1942; CM-IN-113OO (10-26-42), Emmons to WDCSA, 3834, 26 Oct. 1942; History, 93d Bomb. Sq.; CM-IN-11552 (10-27-42), Harmon to Marshall, 860, 27 Oct. 1942; CM-IN-1238 (11-3-42), Harmon to Marshall, 1021, 3 Nov. 1942; CM-IN-1239 (11-3-42), Harmon to Marshall, 1042, 3 Nov. 1942.

87. USSBS Intr. 497, Lt. Gen. S. Miyazalti, 3 Dec. 1945, p. 4; 1st Marine Div. D-2 Journal, 11 Nov. 1942; ONI Combat Narratives, Battle of Guadalcanal, p. 3.

88. Hq. USAFISPA, Results of our Air Action against the Japanese Transport Convoy, Shortland to Guadalcanal, Nov. 12-15, 1942, 14 Mar. 1943; USSBS Intr. 467, Comdr. T. Yamamoto and Capt. T. Ohmae, 20 Nov. 1945; intrs. of Admirals Kusaka and Irifune and Commander Hori, in The Allied Campaign against Rabaul, p. 44; The Campaigns of the Pacific War, p. 125. The claim for twelve transports IS not borne out by JANAC or by the detailed list of ships furnished by Capt. Ohmae and indicated in the Navy's report, which names only eleven ships. (See last source, p. 128.)

89. ONI, Battle of Guadalcanal, p. 34; History, 339th Fighter Sq.; Daily Aviation Sum. in COMAIRSOPAC Intel. Bull., 13-14 Nov. 1942, in USMC Hist. Div. files; MAG-23 War Diary, 15 Nov. 1942.

90. COMAIRSOPAC Intel. Bull., 24 Nov. 1942; History, 35th Fighter Gp., p. 22.

91. Daily Aviation Sum., COMAIRSOPAC Intel. Bull., 17 Nov. 1942; ONI, Battle of Guadalcanal, p. 34; History, 69th Bomb. Sq.; History, 70th Bomb. Sq.

92. ONI, Battle of Guadalcanal, p. 40; Air Intel. Sum., COMAIRSOPAC Intel. Bull., 17 Nov. 1942; History, 70th Bomb. Sq.; USSBS Intr. 467, Comdr. T. Yamamoto and Capt. T. Ohmae, 20 Nov. 1945, p. 5.

93. CM-IN-7611 (11-18-42), Harmon to Marshall, 1318, 17 Nov. 1942; USSBS Intr. 467, 20 Nov. 1945; Joint Army-Navy Assessment Comm., Japanese Naval and Merchant Losses during World War II,

94. USSBS Intr. 467, 20 Nov. 1945, p. 5; Intr. 503, Pt. 3, Vice Adm. S. Fukudome, 9 Dec. 1945, p. 42; ONI, Battle of Guadalcanal, pp. 55-56; USSBS Memo Nav. 11, 16 Oct. 1945.

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