Bibliographical Note

No historians accompanied the Army forces to Guadalcanal to observe operations, conduct interviews and critiques, and collect records for the preparation of a history of the campaign. As a result the extant manuscript histories, which were prepared long after the campaign, are not as detailed as those of later campaigns which were covered by historians. The following manuscripts are, however, useful.

Particularly helpful is the History of United States Army Forces in the South Pacific Area during World War II, 30 March 1942-1 August 1944. This four-part, typewritten work was written under the supervision first of Maj. Frederick P. Todd, USAFISPA Historical Section, and later, of Capt. Louis Morton, G-2 Historical Section, South Pacific Base Command. Prepared by competent historians, this comprehensive administrative and logistical history is invaluable for the student of South Pacific operations in general and of Army operations in particular. A copy of the history is in the files of the Historical Division, SSUSA.

Two manuscripts on the Guadalcanal campaign were prepared, beginning in 1944, by USAFISPA historians. The first of these, 147 typewritten pages in length, covers the entire campaign. It deals with Ghormley's general plans, the 1st Marine Division's plans and preparations, and operations on Guadalcanal and the Russells from August 1942 to February 1943. The second manuscript contains five typewritten chapters, and covers Ghormley's plans, 1st Marine Division's plans, and part of the operations on Guadalcanal; other chapters covering operations in November 1942, and January and February 1943, were not completed. These manuscripts were originally prepared for the American Forces in Action series. Based on the best sources available to USAFISPA historians, they are accurate but not thoroughly documented. The USAFISPA Historical Section also prepared a full set of maps relating to the campaign. These maps are the best of Guadalcanal available in the Department of the Army, and are much better than the operational maps used by


the combat troops during the campaign. They have been extensively used in the preparation of maps for this volume. Both manuscripts and maps are in the files of the Historical Division, SSUSA.

A work based primarily upon Marine Corps records is The Guadalcanal Campaign (Historical Section, Hq. U. S. Marine Corps, June 1945), prepared by Capt. John L. Zimmerman, USMCR, and circulated within the Marine Corps. The Guadalcanal Campaign deals fully with operations of the 1st Marine Division up to 9 December 1942. The chapters dealing with operations following the 1st Marine Division's relief are less adequate, since 2d Marine Division records are sketchy. Now a civilian, Mr. Zimmerman is preparing a revised version of his monograph which will be published by the Marine Corps.

Pending the completion of final Air Force histories, the chief source for Army Air Force operations has been Guadalcanal and the Origins of the Thirteenth Air Force (July 1945), Army Air Forces Historical Studies, No. 35, by the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Intelligence, Historical Division. This typewritten history, somewhat lacking in operational detail, is generally excellent. It clearly analyzes Air Force problems of administration, command, supply, and tactics in the South Pacific. It is in the Air Force Historical Office.

Official Records

This volume is based primarily upon official records. These records are of five general types: papers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff Planners, records of the U. S. Army, the U. S. Navy, and the U. S. Marine Corps, and Japanese documents.

Joint Papers

A study of the contents of these papers is essential to an understanding of the most important strategic considerations and decisions relating to the war in the Pacific. Those consulted, filed in Registered Documents, Plans and Policy Group, Plans and Operations Division, GSUSA, are as follows:

JCS Minutes of Meetings from the 1st Meeting to the both Meeting.

JPS Minutes of Meetings from the 1st Meeting to the both Meeting.


Army Records

Army records relevant to the campaign are voluminous, but are uneven in quality and content. They range from such documents as radiograms between the Chief of Staff and area commanders to the journals of battalions in combat. Some of the action reports and so-called histories of units in the field are inexact and sketchy; many are almost useless, but each one has been investigated because often an all but useless document explains a point which is covered nowhere else. Only the Army records which bear directly on the Guadalcanal campaign are mentioned below.

The Chief of Staff's Log, 1942-1943, filed in the Staff Communications Branch, Office, Chief of Staff, GSUSA, consists of the daily radiograms between General Marshall and the Army theater, area and task force commanders, and between General Marshall and such officers as General Harmon, who held a command subordinate to the Commander of the South Pacific Area. These radiograms give a succinct daily summary of the strategic situation throughout the world, throw light on joint and combined command, and summarize important plans and decisions.

Files of the Operations Division, WDGS (now Plans and Operations Division, GSUSA) on the Southwest Pacific Area and the Pacific Ocean Areas for 1942 and 1943 contain a large amount of data on the Operations Division's plans, opinions, and decisions regarding the conduct of the war in overseas theaters. Many of General Harmon's letters to the War Department are included in these files, as is an original, signed copy of the JCS directive of 2 July 1942.

Since USAFISPA did not come into existence until 26 July 1942, and Army ground forces were not committed to Guadalcanal until 13 October 1942, official USAFISPA records are valuable largely for the latter months of the campaign. A number of USAFISPA records were used.

Lt. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, The Army in the South Pacific (6 June 1944), is a brief narrative which was prepared by General Harmon as a guide to USAFISPA historians. It provides a useful summary of the Army's role in the planning and execution of the South Pacific Campaigns. A copy of General Harmon's report is in the files of the Historical Division, SSUSA.

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Headquarters, USAFISPA, the Japanese Campaign in the Guadalcanal Area, 7 August 1943, is a sound study based on captured documents, reports from the XIV Corps, and interrogations of prisoners. Careful, conservative and accurate, the study is an excellent summary


of Japanese operations during the early months of the campaign. It is filed in the Military Intelligence Library, Department of the Army.

Headquarters, USAFISPA, G-3 Worksheet Files and Periodic Reports for the latter months of the campaign yield some information on the Americal Division which is not to be found in that division's records. USAFISPA G3 documents are filed in the Organizational Records Branch, AGO, St. Louis, Mo.

USAFISPA Historical Section's Russell Islands Folder contains valuable material on the planning for the Russells invasion. This folder is in the Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, AGO.

Some miscellaneous documents, which were forwarded by USAFISPA to the Historical Division, SSUSA, contain some scattered reports from combat units on Guadalcanal. These will be forwarded to the Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, AGO.

Most of the records of the XIV Corps and its assigned units are in Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, AGO. Because the Corps headquarters was never numerically adequate during the campaign, its records are scanty. There is no comprehensive action report on file, nor have any G-1, G-3, or G-4 reports yet come to light. The most useful documents from the XIV Corps, besides G-2 translations, G-2 summaries, and G-3 Journals and periodic reports, are XIV Corps' Informal Report on Combat Operations, submitted to General Harmon on 3 June 1943, and the G-2's Enemy Operations on Guadalcanal, 24 April 1943. The Informal Report is not a complete record of the campaign. It is the result of a questionnaire on weapons, tactics, logistics, etc., sent by USAFISPA headquarters to the XIV Corps. The Corps headquarters and component units answered the questions in detail. The report furnishes the student with a summary of tactical and logistical problems and procedures. Enemy Operations on Guadalcanal presents a detailed analysis of enemy order of battle, strength, plans, and operations, but it exaggerates enemy strength and presents several contradictory conclusions.

There are at least 100 separate files, documents, reports, and histories from the Americal Division, but they vary greatly in usefulness. The division's action report provides only an outline. Historical Data, Task Force 6814 and Americal Division, is a valuable compendium of orders, troop lists, and reports. Lt. Col. Paul A. Gavan's Personal Experience Account of an Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, includes helpful information on command decisions and operations. The G-2 and G-3 Journals and periodic reports are complete. The most valuable single Americal Division document is the Intelligence Annex to the Combat


Experience Report, Americal Division, Guadalcanal, 18 November 1942 to 9 February 1943. Prepared by Lt. Col. William D. Long, it presents a large amount of information on enemy order of battle, dates of landings, orders and operations. A cautious, conservative report, it has been proved to be generally accurate. Reports and histories from the Americal Division component units, though often inadequate, have had to be relied upon. The 132d Infantry's History is lengthy but not always accurate; the unit reports and journals are fairly complete, but occasionally err. The 164th Infantry's operation reports are generally reliable; some of the unit reports covering the Koli Point and Matanikau operations in early November are missing. The 182d Infantry's operations reports are fair, but the journal entries for the period 18-31 January 1943 are missing.

Records of the 25th Division, though less voluminous than those of the Americal, contain more information. There are no G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 reports as such. The 25th Division, however, prepared a report which is a model of its kind--Operations of the 25th Division on Guadalcanal, 17 December 1942 to 5 February 1943. After the campaign General Collins conducted a series of critiques on the action, which were attended by virtually all the division's officers and by key enlisted men from each unit. The record of these critiques, compiled as 25th Division Operations, is an excellent source. It includes data on the functioning of the engineer, quartermaster, medical, and signal troops as well as a detailed analysis of infantry and artillery operations. Held to establish and clarify the lessons learned in combat and to avoid future errors, the critiques are honest and frank. 25th Division Operations is the most valuable single Army divisional source relating to the Guadalcanal campaign. Most of the reports and histories of the 25th Division's component units are identical with the relevant sections of 25th Division Operations.

The main source for the Russells operation is the 43d Division's Report of the Occupation of the Russell Islands, 9 February-2 May 1943, which includes, besides a narrative account, task force and divisional plans, field orders, troop lists, and shipping schedules.

Navy Records

Several naval documents were consulted. Unless otherwise indicated, naval documents consulted are in the files of the Office of Naval Records and Library. The following records have been used:

Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Narrative Account of the South Pacific


Campaign, 20 April 1942-15 June 1944 (distributed 3 September 1944). This work serves the same function as General Harmon's Army in the South Pacific. A copy is filed in the Historical Division, SSUSA.

Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet [COMINCH] (FF 1/A 3-1/A16-3 (5), Serial 00322, Basic Plan for the Establishment of the South Pacific Amphibious Force [Lone Wolf Plan], 29 April 1942. A copy of this plan is filed in Registered Documents, Plans and Policy Group, Plans and Operations Division, GSUSA.

Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet [CINCPAC and CINCPOA] (A4-3/FF 12/A16 (6) Serial 01994), Basic Supporting Plan for Advanced Air Bases at Santa Cruz Island and Tulagi-Guadalcanal, 8 July 1942. A copy of this plan is filed in Registered Documents, Plans and Policy Group, Plans and Operations Division, GSUSA.

--(Serial 00749), Cruiser Action off Savo Island on the night of August 8-9, 1942, 26 April 1942.

--(Serial 00599), Solomon Islands Campaign from Fourth Battle of Savo, 30 November 1942, to Munda Bombardment, 4-5 January 1943, 9 March 1943 (The Fourth Battle of Savo has been renamed the "Battle of Tassafaronga.")

--(Serial 00618) Solomon Islands Campaign from 6 January 1943 Through Vila Bombardment, 23-24 January 1943, 19 March 1943.

--(Serial 00712), Solomon Islands Campaign, Fall of Guadalcanal, Period 25 January to 10 February 1943, 17 April 1943.

South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force, War Diary, 1 May 1942-30 June 1943. This diary contains the radios between COMSOPAC and his superiors and subordinates. Messages are, in general, reproduced in full, with their time groups in Greenwich Civil Time (Z time).

Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force (A4-3/A16-3, Serial 0017), Operation Plan No. 1-42, 16 July 1942.

--(Serial 4083), Preliminary Report on WATCHTOWER Operation, 16 August 1942.

Commander, Task Force 61 [Commander, Cruisers, Pacific Fleet] (Serial 0032), Operation Order No. 1-42 Operation WATCHTOWER, 28 July 1942.

Commander Aircraft South Pacific Force [Commander, Task Force 63] (A4-3/A16-3, Serial 0016), Operation Plan No. 1-42, 25 July 1942.

Commander, Amphibious Force, South Pacific Force [Commander, Task


Force 62], War Diary, 1 August 1942-28 February 1943. Admiral Turner's war diary contains, on the whole, brief entries rather than complete messages.

--(Serial 0010), Operation Plan No. A3-42, Operation WATCHTOWER, 30 July 1942.

--(FE 25/A16-3, Serial 0055), Operation Plan No. A9-42, Task Organization, Ndeni Occupation Force, 20 August 1942. (This plan was never carried out.)

--(FE 25/4, Serial 00206), Instructions for Ships Furnishing Logistic Support to Cactus and Ringbolt, 29 September 1942.

--(Serial 00195), Report of Operation for the Reinforcement of Guadalcanal Island Forces by the 7th Marines, Reinforced, 27 September 1942.

--(Serial 00469), Report of Operations of Task Force 67 and Task Group 62.4, Reinforcement of Guadalcanal, November 8-15, 1942, and Summary of the Third Battle of Savo, 3 December 1942. (The Third Battle of Savo has been renamed the "Battle of Guadalcanal.")

--(Serial 00486), Action Report, Loss of U.S.S. Colhoun and the U.S.S. Gregory, 13 December 1942.

--(Serial 00231), Report of Rear Adm. V. A. C. Crutchley, RN [Commander, Task Group 62.6], 1st Battle of Savo Island, 8-9 August 1942, 6 April 1943.

Commander, Task Group 62.1 [Commander, Transport Divisions] South Pacific Force (Serial 0027) Report Action, Guadalcanal-Tulagi Area, Solomon Islands, August 7-8 and 9, 1942, 23 September 1942.

Marine Corps Records

General Vandegrift's Division Commander's Final Report on Guadalcanal Operation is an excellent divisional report, including a narrative report and a large number of annexes giving data on intelligence, artillery, pioneer, engineer, and medical activities, journal entries, orders, and sections from regimental histories. General Vandegrift's report is in five sections, and was issued during June, July, and August 1943. Copies of both Captain Zimmerman's monograph and General Vandegrift's report are filed in the Historical Division, SSUSA.1 Complete Marine Corps records are filed in the Historical Section, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps.


Enemy Records

Besides using the enemy data in USAFISPA, XIV Corps, and Americal Division records, this volume relies heavily upon interrogations of 17th Army officers, made in Tokyo in 1946 at the author's request by G3 AFPAC historians and members of ATIS, SCAP. Those interrogated were as follows: Lt. Gen. Harukichi Hyakutake (former CG, 17th Army); Lt. Gen. Masao Maruyama (former CG, 2d Division); Maj. Gen. Shuicho Miyazaki (former C of S. 17 Army); Maj. Gen. Harua Konuma (former staff officer, 17th Army); Maj. Gen. Harukazu Tamaki (former CofS, 2d Division); Maj. Gen. Tadashi Sumiyoshi (former CG, 17th Army Artillery); Col. Shigetaka Obara (former CO, 29th Infantry), and Col. Yoshitsugu Sakai (former CO, 16th Infantry). General Miyazaki's Personal Account is useful, if somewhat biased. ATIS, SWPA's Enemy Publications and Current Translations, filed in the Military Intelligence Library, yield much information on enemy movements during the early days of the campaign. ATIS, SCAP's Historical Reports of Naval Operations furnish much data on naval battles.

The most comprehensive account available of Japanese operations on Guadalcanal is to be found in 17th Army Operations (2 vols., typewritten, n.p., September, 1946), which is part of the Japanese Studies in World War II, a series now being prepared by former Japanese officers in Tokyo under the auspices of the G-2 Historical Section, U. S. Far Eastern Command, and translated by ATIS, SCAP. Volume I of 17th Army Operations was originally begun in 1944 by Lt. Col. Norikuni Sadashima2 of the War History Investigation Section of the Japanese Army General Staff, from private and official sources; Maj. Gen. Harua Konuma, a former 17th Army staff officer, gave Sadashima his personal recollections. Those sections of Volume II, consisting of four parts of Chapter IV, which deal with Guadalcanal were begun by Lt. Col. Norikuni Tagima2 (Tajima?) in 1944, using official records, personal memories, and the notes and recollections of Komuna. 17th Army Operations, which deals with Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and the rest of the Solomons, consists largely of reproduced army and divisional orders, strung together on a thin thread of tactical narrative. It is badly organized and the accompanying maps are poor. The translation is uneven; for example, "1st Demobilization Bureau" is reproduced on the title page of Volume I as "1st Mobilization Department." Although


Hyakutake, Miyazaki, Maruyama, and Sumiyoshi were available for interrogation, the authors of 17th Army Operations do not appear to have consulted them. In consequence the counteroffensive in October 1942 is not clearly or fully explained. Many of the errors in tactical judgment and execution committed by the Japanese are glossed over. The study, however, possesses great value; it furnishes the student with specific data on command decisions, plans, orders, strength and casualty figures, names, and dates which are not available elsewhere. 17th Army Operations was received by the Historical Division in late June 1948, just as this volume was about to go to press. Every one of the volume's important conclusions about the Japanese on Guadalcanal, which had been reached by studying all other available sources, was supported by 17th Army Operations. The enemy account was therefore used to fill, wherever possible, the existing gaps and add greater precision to the narrative.


Besides the interviews by USAFISPA historians, interviews of available American participants were conducted by the author after the war to clarify obscure or contradictory points in the official records. Generals Harmon and Patch were both dead at the inception of the author's work on this volume, but several other of ricers were interviewed. Those interviewed were: Lt. Gen. J. Lawton Collins (former CG, 25th Division); Maj. Gen. Pedro A. del Valle, USMC (former CO and CG, 11th Marines); Brig. Gen. Robert H. Pepper, USMC (former CO, 3d Defense Battalion); Brig. Gen. Edmund B. Sebree (former Asst Div Comdr and CG, Americal Division); Col. William W. Dick, Jr. (former CO, 8th Field Artillery Battalion); Col. William H. Allen, Jr. (former CO, 64th Field Artillery Battalion); Col. George E. Bush (former CO, 3d Battalion, 27th Infantry); Col. Paul A. Gavan (former G-3, Americal Division); Col. James J. Heriot (former CO, 90th Field Artillery Battalion); Col. Stanley R. Larsen (former CO, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry); Col. William D. Long (former G-2, Americal Division); Col. Mervyn Magee (former ExO, Americal Division Artillery); Col. Herbert V. Mitchell (former CO, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry); Lt. Col. Thomas J. Badger (former S-3, 64th Field Artillery Battalion); Lt. Col. Dean Benson (former S-2, 25th Division Artillery); Lt. Col. James B. Leer (former CO, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry); Maj. Mischa N. Kadick (former CO, Headquarters Company, 25th Division Artillery); and Capt. Harry C. Schleh (former Adj, 164th Infantry). Records of these interviews are in the files of the Historical Division, SSUSA.


Published Works

[BRITISH] CENTRAL OFFICE OF INFORMATION, Among Those Present: The Official Story of the Pacific Islands at War. London: HM Stationery Office, 1946. This work is useful and entertaining but lacks precision.

FELDT, COMMANDER ERIC A., RAN. The Coastwatchers. Melbourne and New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. This exciting book, prepared by the wartime chief of the coastwatchers, contains information essential to an understanding of the South Pacific campaigns.

HALSEY, FLEET ADMIRAL WILLIAM F., and BRYAN, LT. COMDR. JULIAN. Admiral Halsey's Story. New York: Whittlesey House, 1947. Halsey's book is an interesting and generally accurate popular account, but the chapters on the Solomons add little new information.

KING, ADMIRAL ERNEST J. Our Navy at War: A Report to the Secretary of the Navy Covering our Peacetime Navy and our Wartime Navy and Including Combat Operations up to March I, 1944. U. S. News, March 1944.

MARSHALL, GENERAL GEORGE C. Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, July 1, 1941 to June 30, 1943, to the Secretary of War. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1943.

ROBSON, R. W. (ed.). Pacific Islands Year Book. Sydney: Pacific Publications, Ltd., 1942. The Year Book is valuable for data on geography, climate, terrain, and natives, as is the secret Survey of the Solomon Islands (2 vols.) by MID, WDGS, 15 March 1943.

U. S. NAVY, OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE printed confidential Combat Narratives which give a good account of each naval battle, but they were prepared during the war before enemy sources became available, and are subject to future revision. Those consulted were Miscellaneous Actions in the South Pacific, 8 August 1942-22 January 1943 (1943), and the Solomon Islands Campaign, Vols. I through X.

UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY, PACIFIC, NAVAL ANALYSIS DIVISION prepared three studies which the student of the Pacific War will find extremely valuable if he uses them with caution. The Campaigns of Pacific War (Washington, 1946) provides a helpful summary of naval engagements, showing Allied and Japanese forces involved and their losses, but contains some minor errors. Interrogations of Japanese Officials (2 vols., n.d.) is valuable, but must be taken with more than a grain of salt; it should be remembered that the Japanese officers who were interrogated were naturally anxious to make a good case for themselves. The Marshalls-Gilberts-New Britain Party of


USSBS' Naval Analysis Division prepared an excellent study in the Allied Campaign Against Rabaul (1946), which contains a narrative account of the Japanese side as well as the interrogations of responsible Japanese Army and Navy officers at Rabaul upon which the narrative is based. Allied Campaign Against Rabaul gives more information on the later phases of the Solomons campaigns than on Guadalcanal, for most of the Japanese officers who were interrogated were not at Rabaul during the first months of the Guadalcanal campaign.

The following articles, all written by men who fought on Guadalcanal, are helpful:

BAGLIEN, LT. COL. SAMUEL, "The Second Battle for Henderson Field," Infantry Journal, LIV, 5 (May 1944).

CASEY, CAPT. JOHN F., JR., "An Artillery Forward Observer on Guadalcanal," Field Artillery Journal, XXXIII, 8 (August 1943).

CATES, BRIG. GEN. CLIFTON B., (USMC), "Battle of the Tenaru [Ilu]," Marine Corps Gazette, XXVII, 6 (October 1943).

DEL VALLE, BRIG. GEN. PEDRO A., (USMC), "Marine Field Artillery on Guadalcanal," Field Artillery Journal, XXXIII, 10 (October 1943) and Marine Corps Gazette, XXVIII, 2 (February 1944).

GILDART, LT. COL. ROBERT F., "Guadalcanal's Artillery," Field Artillery Journal, XXXIII, 10 (October 1943).


Table of Contents ** Guide to Footnotes


[1] Capt. Herbert L. Merillat's popular work on the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal--The Island (Boston, 1944)--contains largely the same material as General Vandegrift's report and Captain Zimmerman's monograph, as do the Guadalcanal chapters of Maj. Frank Hough's The Island War (Philadelphia, 1947) and Fletcher Pratt's The Marines' War (New York, 1946).

[2] It is possible that these names are garbled. The only Japanese list available at this writing, ATIS, SWPA's Alphabetical List of Japanese Army Officers (GHQ, SWPA, 1943), does not list a Norikuni Sadashima or a Norikuni Tagima.

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