Chapter VII

One for Ernie King

The Decision to Open the Offensive-Defensive Phase

To get the United States offensive-defensive phase in amphibious warfare started against the southward rolling Japanese, the military decision that this was a practicality, within United States amphibious resources, had to be taken.

Then the area of the counter-offensive had to be chosen, and specific amphibious operations within this area had to be conceived.

Note: The official U.S. Army history of the Guadalcanal Operation, written in 1948, states that the documents in the files of the Navy in regard thereto are widely diffused."1 This was the understatement of the year. Official War Diaries of ships and unit commands are available in quantity, but when it comes to locating background data in the files which individual ships and other unit commands continuously maintained during World War II, it cannot be done, because these files are non-existent. They were officially destroyed and went up in smoke. The Directors of Naval Record Centers witnessed this great historical loss as they struggled to stay within available stowage space or below a set maximum cubic footage of record allowed by orders originating in the Executive Office of the Secretary of the navy or in the Department of Defense.

Even the War Diaries were limited in scope and contents. in June 1942 the Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet addressed a letter to the Commander Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet in which he said:

'To conserve paper and time, it is suggested that the reference report [War Diary] could be materially condensed.'

There was not much in the Amphibian War Diaries before this, and after the word got around, a whole month's War Diary appeared on two pages with nary a mention of policy, plans or progress contained therein.

PESTILENCE was the code named assigned for the entire offensive operation in the South Pacific Area initiated in July 1942. WATCHTOWER was the code name for the Tulagi Phase. CINCPAC to COMSOPAC Ser 070231 of Jul 42.


Next, the basic military decision and the specific operation had to be sold first at the highest Joint Military and then at the highest U.S. political level. Practical knowledge of amphibious operations was thinly held at both these levels.

And finally, the plan had to become a simple practical reality, with probable success lying within the hard framework of calculated risk.

Everything about the WATCHTOWER Phase of the PESTILENCE Operation initiated by the Navy-Marine amphibious team against the fast moving and hard fighting Japanese Army and Navy was difficult. But the most difficult part was the taking of the military decision at the Joint Chiefs of Staff level to initiate the offensive-defensive phases of amphibious warfare in the Pacific War. It was Rear Admiral Turner who, at the working level, spearheaded Admiral King's drive to secure this decision at the Joint military level.

Navy Planners' Position

In accordance with the pre-World War II promulgated Joint Army-Navy War Plan, RAINBOW Five, the United States Navy was under orders to commence an immediate amphibious offensive against the Japanese Central Pacific Islands, as soon as war with Japan was declared.2 But, at the Joint Board Meeting of 8 December 1941, because eight battleships of the Pacific Fleet were out of action, the unhappy decision had to be taken by the Board "to postpone or abandon the task to capture and establish control over the Caroline Islands and Marshall Island Areas."3

Everyone who had read the RAINBOW Five War Plan, and this included most mature officers in the Navy, knew that this amphibious task against these Japanese held islands was to be undertaken by the Navy despite the fact that RAINBOW Five clearly stated that Europe was the principal theater of the war and Germany the major enemy. Hence, it was quite logical that naval officers would continue to expect that the early 1942 war effort in the Pacific would encompass amphibious action against Japanese outposts as part of the effort to strangle Japan, despite the postponement or cancellation of the particular prewar planned offensive against the Caroline and Marshall Islands.


Central and South Pacific Area.


The author can record that the Naval War Planners, which Rear Admiral Turner headed (as F-1 on Admiral King's Staff), and of which the writer (as F-11 on the Plans Division for the first year of the war) was a very small cog, were under a great deal of professional pressure to make the concept of offensive amphibious action, as in the RAINBOW Plan, live again.

Army Planners Position

The United States Army Planners in Washington4 in early 1942 took a dim view of any large scale diversion of Army resources for counteroffensive purposes in the Pacific Ocean Area, as long as the over-all direction for the conduct of the war stated that:
  1. Germany is the predominant member of the Axis Powers,

  2. The Atlantic and European Area is considered to be the decisive theater, and

  3. "The principal United States military effort will be exerted in the decisive theater, and operations of United States forces in other theaters will be conducted in such a manner as to facilitate that effort,"5

The Army's official history makes this position clear.

The basic Army position was:

. . . to emphasize the need for economy of effort in 'subsidiary' theaters. They classified as subsidiary theaters not only the Far East but also Africa, the Middle East, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Scandinavian Peninsula. . . . to consider all other operations as strictly holding operations, and to regard with disfavor any proposal to establish and maintain in a 'subsidiary' theater the favorable ratio of Allied to enemy forces, that would be necessary in order to take the offensive there.6


The Army Air Force History indicates the same position for the air arm:

The prime factor affecting all Army air forces in the Pacific and Asiatic theaters was the preeminence accorded by the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) to the war against Germany. Because of the paramount interests of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, there was no stinting of naval forces there in favor of the Atlantic. But during the early part of the war, allocations for Army air (and ground) forces were strictly conditioned by the needs of the European Theater of Operations (ETO).7

There was no disagreement with the basic Joint RAINBOW directive on the part of the high command of the Navy, or their supporting war planners.8 In fact, the basic philosophy on the concept and conduct of the war, and its grand strategy, stated above, had been so phrased in the initial versions of the RAINBOW War Plan, as drafted by the Navy War Plans Division. This particular wording had survived to the final document, and RAINBOW Five had been placed in effect when the war started. Two weeks later, on 22 December 1941, this concept, and the Navy's overall support of RAINBOW Five, was reaffirmed by Admiral H. R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations.9 It was in the interpretation of the phrase, "Operations in other theaters will be conducted in such a manner as to facilitate that effort," in the European theater, which brought forth a strong divergence of naval opinion from that held by many in Army Headquarters.

ARCADIA Conference

This basic philosophy of RAINBOW Five on the grand strategy of the war was approved at the ARCADIA Conference, held in Washington, D.C., from 22 December 1941 to 14 January 1942, between Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt and their principal military subordinates and supporting staffs.10

However, during the ARCADIA Conference, a "clarification," which


amounted to a modification, was given to the phrase in RAINBOW Five which read:

Operations of United States forces in other theaters [than the European theater] will be conducted in such a manner as to facilitate that [European] effort.

The clarification was accomplished despite the similarly strong statement in the British drafted paragraph in the ARCADIA document which read:

. . . it should be a cardinal principle of American-British strategy that only the minimum of force necessary for the safeguarding of vital interests in other theaters should be diverted from operations against Germany.11

These two paragraphs might be literally interpreted to establish a barbed wire fence against any offensive efforts by the United States Navy in the Pacific.

Clarification was essential to make indisputable the Naval Planners' position that "facilitating operations against Germany" required that vital interests in the Far East Area must be safeguarded.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff, after stating the "cardinal principle" of their future strategy, set forth six essential features of this grand strategy. They then prescribed 18 supporting measures to be taken in 1942 to further its various aspects. Only the last of the six essential features and the last of the 18 supporting measures related exclusively to the Pacific.

The Combined Chiefs modified, in effect, their "cardinal principle" a bit by stating one subordinate task so that it was more to the liking of those in the United States Navy, who were anxious to try to stop the Japanese before they controlled the whole Pacific Ocean south of the equator. This modification was contained in subparagraph 4(f) of the Grand Strategy document, which read:

Maintaining only such positions in the Eastern Theatre [British term for the Far East Area] as will safeguard vital interests (See paragraph 18) and denying to Japan access to raw materials vital to her continuous war effort, while we are concentrating on the defeat of Germany.

The "see paragraph 18" and the phrase following, italicized above, appear as additions to the original British draft. Paragraph 18 in the original draft, was important to the United States Navy point of view since it had the sentence: "Secondly, points of vantage from which an offensive against Japan can eventually be developed must be secured."12


The secret document containing this general statement of the American-British strategy was the only one of the 12 papers approved at the ARCADIA Conference carrying the eye-catching instructions that it was "to be kept under lock and key" and its circulation "restricted to the United States and British Chiefs of Staff and their immediate subordinates." This same document mentioned 1943 as the agreed upon year for a "return to the continent of Europe," which in effect meant no real counter-offensive against the Japanese until 1944 or later, since Germany had to be defeated on the continent of Europe first.13 The restrictive instructions in regard to this document were closely observed in the Headquarters of Admiral King with the result that some echelons of the Staff were unaware for some weeks of this 1943 European invasion provision. Consequently, they kept up pressure for "seizing points of vantage" in 1942, to be used later in what they anticipated would be a 1943 offensive against the Japanese.

Admiral King Persists

It was Admiral Turner's belief that Admiral King was the persistent influence at the Joint Staff and Presidential level, which resulted in the initiation of an amphibious counter-offensive in the Pacific Ocean Area during the late summer of 1942.14 But Admiral King received welcome and somewhat unexpected help from the British, and the right nudge at the right time from the Japanese. Not until the British influence was made felt at the Presidential level did the Army Planners, in good conscience, wholeheartedly join in the vital start to eventual amphibious success in the Pacific.

There are many dates to record and events to recall in connection with the first counter-offensive operation against the Japanese. But the first date relating to PESTILENCE is 11 January 1942. On this date Admiral King figuratively stood on his feet at the ninth meeting of the ARCADIA Conference and talked not about Guadalcanal, but about New Caledonia, 800 miles to the southeast of Guadalcanal. Lieutenant General H.H. Arnold, Chief of Army Air Corps, had questioned the high priority assigned to the Army Air Force contingent of aircraft planned for New Caledonia whose defense was an accepted Australian responsibility, but one the Australians could not fulfill. The French had agreed, on 24 December 1941, to United


Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz Islands and New Caledonia.


South pacific Area island garrisons.


States Forces garrisoning New Caledonia, and Army planning for this was going forward.15

Believing that the 7,000-mile line of communications between San Francisco and eastern Australia must be held securely, and to do this the Japanese must be stopped well short of that line, Admiral King pointed out that New Caledonia was of great importance for this purpose. Not only were the nickel mines of New Caledonia a tempting bait for the Japanese, but also, if the island was in Japanese possession, all reinforcements to Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and Australia would have to take the long sea route south past New Zealand.16

Admiral King's statement fitted neatly into three essential features of our pre-World War II naval strategy for fighting Japan. These held that it was important to deny Japan's access to raw materials vital to her continuous war effort, to hold points of advantage from which an amphibious offensive against Japan could be developed, and to maintain secure lines of air and sea communication. Admiral King's statement also fitted into his burgeoning interest in the Solomon Islands, 800 miles away to the northwest of New Caledonia.

A straight line on a mercator chart from San Francisco in California to Townsville, termed the capital of Australia's North,17 passes just south of the island of Hawaii and just south of Guadalcanal Island in the Solomons. In Admiral King's belief, the Japanese should not be permitted to impinge on this line, if the line of communications from Hawaii to Australia through Samoa, Fiji, and the New Hebrides was to be secure.18

And there was no demonstrable reason at this time or for months thereafter why the Japanese would not impinge on it.

On the very day Admiral King addressed the ARCADIA Conference, a Japanese submarine was shelling Pago-Pago, Samoa, the eastern hinge of the line of communications to Australia, and 1,400 long sea miles to the eastward of New Caledonia. Twelve days after 11 January 1942, the Japanese were to land 1,100 miles to the northward of New Caledonia on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, but only 300 miles north of a position (Tulagi) where their aircraft might begin to really threaten the line of communications to Australia.

Three days before this ARCADIA discussion, Admiral King, Admiral Stark


and General Marshall signed a Joint Basic Plan for the "Occupation and Defense of Bora Bora."19 The purpose of this occupation was to provide in the Free French Society Islands a protected fueling station for short legged merchant ships, 4,500 miles along on the 7,500-mile run from the Panama Canal to eastern Australia. It also provided a fueling station on a direct run from California to New Zealand. 3,750 U.S. Army troops were to be employed to defend the 120,000-barrel naval fuel base projected for Bora Bora.

Defensive Garrisons in the South Pacific

In the basic RAINBOW Five Plan, the Navy had responsibility for the defense of Palmyra Island almost 1,000 miles south of Pearl Harbor and of American Samoa another 1,300 miles further on in the long voyage to New Zealand. Samoa was the hinge in the line of communications from both the West Coast and from Pearl Harbor where the line swung from southerly to westerly to reach the Southwest Pacific. Small Marine garrisons at Palmyra and American Samoa were considerably reinforced shortly after 7 December 1941 to make more secure the northern flange of the hinge.

The Army quickly promised, and provided, garrisons for the two atolls, Canton (1,500 troops) and Christmas (2,000 troops), located south of Palmyra on the route to Samoa.20 The first big strains on available Army troop resources came when a 17,000-man defense force sailed from New York City on 22 January 1942 for New Caledonia, and a 4,000-troop garrison sailed from Charleston, South Carolina, on 27 January 1942 for Bora Bora.21 The establishment of these two defense forces was the first of many forward steps taken for the "Defense for the Island bases along the Lines of Communications between Hawaii and Australia." This was the title of a Joint Planning Staff paper which brought forth much pointed, and at times unamiable, inter-Service discussion and underwent many, many changes.22

The Navy War Planners, from January through March 1942, continuously were pressing their opposite numbers in the Army for additional Pacific commitments, quoting again and again that "the main sea and air route from


the United States to Australia via Hawaii, Palmyra, Christmas Island, Canton, Fiji and New Caledonia must be secured," and "points of advantage from which an offensive against Japan can eventually be developed must be secured."23 The Army Planners, with whom Rear Admiral Turner was discussing the island garrison problem day in and day out, responded by stating again and again these principles:
  1. Forces should not be committed to any more than the minimum number of islands necessary to secure the Hawaii-Australia lines of communications.

  2. Forces committed to any one island should be the minimum needed to secure that particular island.

As stated in the Army History, General Marshall's position was:

To set a limit to future movements of Army forces into the Pacific and find a basis for increasing the rate at which Army forces would be moved across the Atlantic became, during February and March, the chief concern of General Marshall and his advisors on the War Department staff, and the focus of their discussion of future plans with the Army Air Forces and the Navy.24

Yet, even as the Army troops sailed for Bora Bora and New Caledonia in late January 1942, Rear Admiral Turner pressed the Army Planners to provide garrisons in the New Hebrides, 300 miles north of New Caledonia and in the Tonga Islands, 400 miles south of Marine-held Samoa. It was a fundamental Navy Planners' position during this period that

strong mutually supporting defensive positions in Samoa, Fiji, and New Caledonia are essential for the protection of the sea and air communications from the United States to Australia and for the defense of the island areas of the mid-Pacific, and for maintaining a base area for an eventual offensive against Japan.25

The reasons behind the Navy's position was the rapidity with which the Japanese were eating up Pacific Islands. Although the Japanese did not declare war on the Netherlands and invade the Netherlands East Indies until 11 January 1942, only 12 days later they were landing forces on Bougainville Island in the Solomons 2,500 miles further to the southeast. As the Japanese moved in at the head of the Solomon Islands, the chance of their making another big leap forward (900 to 1,100 miles) to seize one of the islands in


the New Hebrides or Ellice Island groups worried the Naval Planners. New Caledonia was well within air range from the New Hebrides, being only 300 to 400 miles away to the South. The Fijis were at the extreme air range from Funafuti in the Ellice Islands, 560 miles to the North.

Ten days before Singapore fell, Admiral King forwarded a Navy War Plans Division paper, drafted by Rear Admiral Turner, to the Joint Chiefs, recommending the establishment of an advance base at Funafuti in the Ellice Islands to provide:

  1. an outpost coverage of Fiji Samoa.

  2. a linkage post toward the Solomon Islands.

  3. support for future offensive operations in the Southwest Pacific.26

Three days after Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, Admiral King proposed to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, that the Tonga Islands, 200 miles southeast of the Fijis, and Efate, 500 miles to the west of the Fijis in the New Hebrides, be garrisoned. He asked that the Chief of Staff

agree to this proposition, and immediately initiate planning and the assembly of troops and equipment, with a view to despatching these garrisons as soon as necessary shipping can be found.27

The day before Admiral King signed this letter, Brigadier General Eisenhower who was to fleet up to be Chief of the Army War Plans Division on 16 February 1942 was recording:

The Navy wants to take all the islands in the Pacific have them held by Army troops, to become bases for Army pursuit and bombers. Then the Navy will have a safe place to sail its vessels. But they will not go further forward than our air (Army) can assure superiority.28

It was Admiral King's position that the vital line of communications through Samoa, Fiji, and New Caledonia was "too exposed" to air raids arising after the anticipated Japanese seizure of intermediate and nearby islands and that Tongatabu in the Tonga Islands would be the ideal location for "the principal operating [logistic support] naval base in the South Pacific."29 The Tonga Islands were about 1,100 miles along the direct convoy


run from New Zealand to Samoa, Hawaii, and San Francisco. Since at that time the New Zealanders provided the air units for the Fiji Islands and a fair share of their logistic support, a through convoy could be regrouped at Tongatabu, and a small section sent to the Fiji Islands. Additionally, the Tonga Islands would provide a protected anchorage and make possible an air base, whose air contingent would provide mutual support for those on Fiji and Samoa, and which would serve as an alternate staging point on the South Pacific Air Ferry Route.

As for Efate in the New Hebrides, Admiral King opined "it will serve to deny a stepping stone to the Japanese if they moved South from Rabaul, New Britain," and provide a strong point "from which a step-by-step general advance could be made through the New Hebrides, Solomons and Bismarcks."30

The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army was very reluctant to provide Army forces for more islands along the Pearl to Australia line of communications. In a memorandum to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet, dated 24 February 1942, he stated:

It is my desire to do anything reasonable which will make offensive action by the Fleet practicable.

However, he wanted to know the answers to a lot of questions, including:

What the general scheme or concept of operations that the occupation of these additional islands was designed to advance? Were the measures taken purely for protection of a line of communications or is a step by step general advance contemplated?

The Chief of Staff ended by writing:

I therefore feel that, if a change in basic strategy, as already approved by the Combined Chief of Staff is involved, the entire situation must be reconsidered before we become more seriously involved in the build up of Army ground and air garrisons in the Pacific Islands.31

General Marshall further stated that

Our effort in the Southwest Pacific must, for several reasons, be limited to the strategic defensive for air and ground troops

supporting this with statements that:


  1. the geography and communications of Australia impose serious limitations on offensive air and ground offensive actions.

  2. limitations of tonnage for the long voyage restrict U.S. ground commitments.

  3. requirements for U.S. air units in other theatres would seem definitely to limit for some time to come the extent to which we can

In reply to General Marshall's letter, Admiral King stated that:

The scheme or concept of operations is not only to protect the line of communications with Australia, but, in so doing, set up 'strong points' from which a step-by-step general advance can be made through the New Hebrides, Solomons, and the Bismark Archipelago. It is expected that such a step-by-step general advance will draw Japanese forces to oppose it, thus relieving pressure in other parts of the Pacific and that the operation will of itself be good cover for the communications with Australia."32

Admiral King then answered each question of the Chief of Staff with his frankly more offensively minded concepts of our future Pacific endeavors:

When the advance to the northwest begins, it is expected to use amphibious troops (chiefly from the Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet) to seize and occupy strong points under the cover of appropriate naval and air forces.

I agree that the time is at hand when we must reach a decision - with the knowledge of the combined Chiefs of Staff - as to what endeavors the United States is to make in advance of the general Allied interest.

This difference of opinion at the highest military level led to much ruffling of feathers at the Joint Planners level. This ruffling was the more apparent because at the time when this question of essential "land forces required to hold base areas in the first defensive stage" was being hotly debated at the Joint Staff planning level, many of the planners who were assigned duty in both the Combined Staff as well as the Joint Staff were repeating the same arguments at the Combined Staff planning levels, since the Combined Chiefs of Staff had directed the Combined Staff Planners to come up with their recommendations to this same problem.33

All this talking and memorandum writing and planning took time. The Joint planning effort to provide major defensive positions of groups of islands along the line of communications to Australia was not even partially agreed upon until the end of March 1942, and it was early May before the


major part of the 56,000-man garrison force agreed upon (41,000 Army; 15, 000 Marines) arrived at their islands.34

The basic disagreement separating the Army and the Navy Planners during this period was whether holding Australia was vital to the United States war effort. Rear Admiral Turner believed it was. As late as 28 February 1942, Brigadier General Eisenhower, did not agree. He advised General Marshall:

The United States interest in maintaining contact with Australia and in preventing further Japanese expansion to the Southeastward is apparent . . . but . . . they are not immediately vital to the successful outcome of the war. The problem is one of determining what we can spare for the effort in that region, without seriously impairing performance of our mandatory tasks.35

Rear Admiral Turner believed that maintaining contact with Australia was a mandatory task in view of the deteriorating British, Dutch and American military situation in the Far East. This, fortunately, was also the view of President Roosevelt, who on 16 February 1942, advised Prime Minister Churchill: "We must at all costs maintain our two flanks - the right based on Australia and New Caledonia and the left on Burma, India and China." The President did not go along, however, with Rear Admiral Turner's thinking that "No further reinforcements [should] be sent to Iceland and the United Kingdom until Fall."36

Not only were Rear Admiral Turner and Admiral King pressuring the Army during February 1942 for more positive action in the Pacific, but they were also pressuring Admiral Nimitz, and through him, subordinate Naval commanders in the Pacific. On 12 February 1942, CINCPAC was told:


My 062352 [February] is to be interpreted as requiring a strong and comprehensive offensive to be launched soon against exposed enemy naval forces and the positions he is now establishing in the Bismarcks and Solomons.37

And again on 15 February:

Current operations of the Pacific Fleet, because of existing threat, should be directed toward preventing further advance of enemy land airplane base development in the direction of Suva and Noumea. . . .38

On 26 February CINCPAC was informed:

our current tasks are not merely protective, but also offensive where practicable. . . .39

The British Urge Action in Pacific

The British also were in agreement with United States naval opinion, and began to put political pressure on President Roosevelt and military pressure at the Combined Chiefs' level to give increasing protection to Australia and New Zealand, and to step up American naval action in the Pacific. Both of these were to be done at the expense of American Army action in the European Theater of Operations.

On 4 March 1942, Prime Minister Churchill advised President Roosevelt:

I think we must agree to recognize that GYMNAST [the varying forms of intervention in French North Africa by Britain from the east and by the United States across the Atlantic] is out of the question for several months.40

This despatch gave the Navy Planners a talking point, since the GYMNAST Operation had a tentative date of 25 May 1942, and was responsible for overriding Army troop commitments to the European Theater.

On 5 March, Mr. Churchill advised the President:

. . . it should be possible to prevent oversea invasion of India unless the greater part of the Japanese Fleet is brought across from your side of the theater, and this again I hope the action and growing strength of the United States Navy will prevent.41

The word "action" was needling in effect, whatever its intent. And again in the same message:


Japan is spreading itself over a very large number of vulnerable points and trying to tie them together by air and sea. Once several good outfits are prepared, any one of which can attack a Japanese-held base or island and heat the life out of the garrison, all their islands will become hostages to fortune. Even in this year, 1942, some severe examples might be made, causing great perturbation and drawing further upon Japanese resources to strengthen other points.42

This despatch seconded the Naval Planners' desire for a more positive policy towards the Pacific War.

The President replied on 8 March 1942:

We have been in constant conference since receipt of your message of March 4.

The President pointed out, among other things, that using ships in the Pacific rather than in the Atlantic meant that "GYMNAST cannot be undertaken," and that

American contribution to an air offensive against Germany in 1942 would be somewhat curtailed and any American contribution to land operations on the Continent of Europe in 1942 will be materially reduced.43

Moreover, he accepted the Prime Minister's urging for more action in the Pacific, and lower priority for Army troops for Europe. Essentially, this was a common sense decision to give higher immediate priority to defensive operations in the Pacific necessary to hold vital positions and to defend essential lines of communication, than to the initiation of early, but inadequately prepared, offensive operations in Africa. With the troops made available by this change in overall strategic policy, the Army members of the Joint Planners were happy to agree that the Army should provide the garrisons for Efate in the New Hebrides and for Tongatabu in the Tonga Islands.

On the very day, 5 March 1942, when the British Prime Minister was urging the United States Navy to "action" in the Pacific, Admiral King was advising the President by written memorandum that only when Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia had been "made reasonably secure," and the requisite "naval forces, air units, and amphibious troops" were available, could the United States "drive northwestward from New Hebrides into the Solomons."44 Since the United States Army garrison had not yet arrived at New Caledonia, and the others (Tonga, New Hebrides, and Fiji) were a


month away from even embarking in the United States, and the Marines were only in modest strength in American Samoa, it was obvious that nothing was going to happen soon to start the drive northward into the Solomons. Rear Admiral Turner was in full agreement with a stand-fast policy for the present, advising Admiral King on 26 March 1942 that if an attempt was made at that time to establish bases in the Solomons, "the ventures would be failures."45

But Efate was the camel's nose under the edges of the Army tent in getting to the Solomons and no one knew it better than Admiral King and his Chief Alligator and Head Planner, Richmond Kelly Turner.46

At this same time, Rear Admiral Turner and his boss were keeping pressure on the Navy's Pacific forces. Thus, Admiral Nimitz was given a vehicle to keep his subordinates "up on the step," when this Turner drafted despatch was sent off on 30 March.

You are requested to read the article, 'There is only one Mistake; To do Nothing,' by Charles F. Kettering in the March 29th issue of Saturday Evening Post and to see to it that it is brought to the attention of all your principal subordinates and other key officers.47

Individual task force commanders were also occasionally jigged. One well-known incident in which Rear Admiral Turner played a part probably did not endear him to this particular officer, a Task Force Commander and his senior by six years, who reported to CINCPAC having been at sea for so long that stocks of provisions in his command were so reduced that meals would soon be on a "beans and hard tack basis." He requested CINCPAC authority to withdraw for provisioning. CINCPAC sent the message on to COMINCH for action. A reply which said simply "Eat beans and hard tack," was drafted by Rear Admiral Turner. However this was modified and softened by Admiral King to read:

Noted that Brown has shown some concern about provisions during or after current operations. It is my feeling that he should return to Pearl on a "beans and hardtack" basis rather than deplete stocks now or soon to be south of equator.48

To make the point clearer, later in the same month, two other dispatches were sent out by COMINCH.


a. Your 292346 not understood, if it means you are retiring from enemy vicinity in order to provision.

b. The situation in the area where you are now operating requires constant activity of a Task Force like yours to keep enemy occupied. Requirements for use of other Task Forces like yours make it necessary to continue your active operations South of equator until your Force can be relieved.49

General Eisenhower Persists

Despite the practical steps taken toward recognizing that Australia would be held and a real effort made to stop the Japanese short of the main line of communications from Hawaii through Samoa to Australia, and although President Roosevelt informed Prime Minister Churchill on 18 March 1942 that "Australia must be held" and "we are willing to undertake that." Brigadier General Eisenhower on 25 March 1942, in a memorandum to the Army Chief of Staff, still recommended that these objectives be placed "in the highly desirable rather than in the mandatory class."50 This was a further indication that the thinking of the Army Plans Division was the antithesis of Rear Admiral Turner' s.

At the London military conferences from 8 to 15 April 1942, the American plan for an emergency landing and establishment of a bridgehead at Cherbourg in the fall of 1942 (SLEDGEHAMMER) and a major invasion of Europe between Havre and Boulogne in April 1943 was proposed by General Marshall and accepted (with some mental reservations) by the British Chiefs of Staff and the British Government. Colonel Albert C. Wedemeyer of the Army Plans and Operations Division, who accompanied General Marshall, agreed that "Japanese successes should not be allowed to go so far as to prevent the defeat of Germany," but "he warned that the Allies must expect some loss of territory in the Pacific in order to concentrate on Germany."51 Just which islands fitted into this "loss of territory" was not disclosed.

The Solomons Get Into the Official Planning

On 17 March 1942 Admiral King sent one of his many official memoranda to General Marshall.


Because of the consequent urgency of the situation in the Pacific [the Japanese had just invaded New Guinea and occupied Rangoon, Burma] I assume that the War Department will give first priority to movement of troops and aircraft to Australia and the islands in the strength approximately as shown in the subject paper JCS 23 'Strategic Deployment of Land, Sea and Air Forces of the United States' as amended by action taken at the meeting held today.52

On 26 March 1942, Rear Admiral Turner in an official memorandum to COMINCH pointed out that the Army reply to Admiral King's memo of 17 March:

. . . (1) made no commitments as to priority of the movement of Army forces to the islands of the Pacific; (2) markedly lowered the Army Air Corps strength to be supplied to the South Pacific Area islands (75 planes versus 242 planes) over that proposed by the approved JCS 23 as well as the total aircraft for the area (532 planes versus 746 planes).

Rear Admiral Turner further stated:

It is a far different matter attempting to establish advance bases in the Solomons than in the islands heretofore occupied by the United States and New Zealand.53

This latter paragraph indicated that the Solomons venture was beginning to influence future planning - a landmark in the history of the Solomons operation.

Rear Admiral Turner in the same memorandum further recommended that the South Pacific Area be established "as soon as possible" and that COMINCH

  1. appoint a naval commander of the South Pacific area.

  2. send amphibious troops.

  3. assign COMSOPAC tasks commensurate with his forces and require him to carry on a campaign of operations within his power.

Demarcation of Areas

On 4 April 1942, after discussion and agreement at the highest political and military levels, the whole Pacific Theater was divided into these areas:

Pacific Ocean Area (POA)
Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA)
Southeast Pacific Area (SEPA)


The Pacific Ocean Area was further divided into three subareas:

North Pacific Area
Central Pacific Area
South Pacific Area

The Pacific Ocean Area was established on 20 April 1942 and the Southwest Pacific Area on 18 April 1942.

The main difference of opinion between Rear Admiral Turner and the Army Planners in regard to the demarcation of areas and area responsibility was caused by the Army's desire to include New Zealand, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, and the Fijis in the Southwest Pacific Area command under General MacArthur, instead of in the Pacific Ocean Area command under Admiral Nimitz. The Fijis lie 1,500 miles east of Australia, and New Zealand lies 1,200 miles to the southeast.

The Navy Planners believed that the Fijis and New Caledonia were parts of the line of communications from Hawaii to Australia, and that the overall defense of this line of communications should be under one commander. This commander should be a naval officer because it was primarily a sea area line of communications.

South Pacific lines of communication.


South Pacific distances.


It appeared also to the Navy Planners that if a Japanese Expeditionary Force moved towards either of these areas, it would have to do so under the close protection of the main Japanese Fleet. The defeat of the Japanese Fleet and the turning back of the Japanese Expeditionary Force would depend, as it did later at Coral Sea and Midway, primarily on the Navy, and therefore these areas should be within naval command. On the other hand, the movement of Japanese Expeditionary Forces over short distances of sea area, such as from Amboy in the Netherlands East Indies to Darwin, Australia (600 miles), might occur before the United States Navy could rise to its responsibility and intervene, and the defeat of the Japanese Expeditionary Force would be primarily a land-air task.54

The Army Planners and General Marshall eventually accepted this reasoning, and New Zealand, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, and the Fijis were placed in the Pacific Ocean Area of responsibility. This was not a complete victory for the Naval Planning Staff, however. By agreeing to the 165° East Meridian as the borderline between the Southwest Pacific Area and the Pacific Ocean Area south of the equator to 100 South, the Navy Planners let themselves in for a very difficult negotiating period when a couple of months later they started to get the Navy-Marine amphibious team moving northward toward the Solomons in the South Pacific.

The Scales Tip Again

Following General Marshall's return from London, the scales tipped markedly towards giving BOLERO priority over any further build-up of air units or ground strong points on the line of communications from Hawaii to Australia. BOLERO was the general operation of transferring American Armed Forces to the United Kingdom for future use in the European Theater.

However, the period was seized by Rear Admiral Turner to outline to Admiral King his concept of the future war to be waged against Japan in the 25 million square miles of the Western Pacific. This concept is well worth summarizing:

a. The FIRST STAGE in which we are now engaged, envisages building up forces and positions in the Pacific Theater and particularly in the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific for the purpose of holding these areas, and in


preparation for launching an ultimate offensive against the Japanese; and for supporting the Fleet forces operating there. During this stage the amphibious forces necessary to carry on this offensive will be assembled in the areas and trained available air, amphibious and naval forces will make minor offensive actions against enemy advanced positions and against exposed naval forces for purposes of attrition.

b. The SECOND STAGE as now envisaged, involves a combined offensive by United States, New Zealand and Australian Amphibious, naval and air forces through the Solomons and New Guinea to capture the Bismark Archipelago and the Admiralty Islands. Heavy attrition attacks would then be undertaken against the enemy forces and positions in the Caroline and Marshall Islands.

c. The THIRD STAGE involves seizure of the Caroline and Marshall Islands and the establishment of Fleet and air advanced bases.

d. The FOURTH STAGE involves an advance into the Netherlands East Indies, or alternately, into the Philippines whichever offers the more promising and enduring results.55

This memorandum of Real Admiral Turner had major significance for the future conduct of the war. Admiral King approved the memorandum, wholeheartedly. With the addition of annexes containing suitable reference data on Japanese dispositions and losses and copies of certain Joint Planning Staff papers and policy despatches, it became a directive to the Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet, titled "Information and Instructions Relative to the Pacific Campaign" and was keyed to specific paragraphs of the Navy Basic War Plan, RAINBOW Five, WPL-46. The letter became a titled part of the War Plan.56

One of the annexes to this directive contained the first summary of information available to the Forces Afloat on the assembly of personnel and material for Main Fleet Advanced Naval Bases called LIONs, and Secondary Advanced Naval Bases called CUBs, two of the basic ingredients for the success formula in the Pacific. One could sense that the Navy was starting to move.

Despite Prime Minister Churchill's despatch on 17 April 1942, that "a proportion of our combined resources must, for the moment, be set aside to halt the Japanese advance," on 6 May 1942, the President wrote the Joint Chiefs: "I do not want BOLERO slowed down." The President was still hoping and pressing hard for action across the English Channel in 1942.


"The necessities of the case call for action in 1942 - not 1943." This meant SLEDGEHAMMER.57

With this same point of view held strongly in the Army planning staff, it can be seen how difficult it was to take the Joint military decision that it was practical, within United States available resources, to start the offensive-defensive phase of amphibious warfare in the South Pacific. But this, both Admiral King, and his tireless subordinate, Rear Admiral Turner, were still hoping to do.

The Japanese Stir Up the Eagle

The Joint Staff Planners, in late April 1942, moved to pass on to the Joint Chiefs their long standing deadlock in regard to "Defense for the Island Bases along the line of communication between Hawaii and Australia, " when on 24 April 1942 they agreed that the Joint Staff Plans Committee would proceed as follows:

Admiral Turner and General Handy will each prepare a memorandum setting forth their view's on certain controversial points, these views to be incorporated in the paper when forwarded.58

The new draft was available in the early days of May, and Admiral King sought General Marshall's help to resolve the issue since any real acceptance of the Navy's position would require a more offensive minded Army Air Corps position, as well as the ground Army, toward the Pacific War.

However, at this point the Japanese came to the support of the Navy planners' desire for "action" in the Pacific, particularly a United States move into the Solomons. The 1938 Japanese Basic War Plan, in effect at the start of the Japanese-United States phase of World War II, called for the occupation of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa, as a second phase task following conquest and consolidation in Malaya, Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. These second phase occupations were judged necessary by the Japanese in order to cut the lines of communication between the United States and Australia and make feasible Japanese occupation of Australia.

As a start on these second phase tasks the Japanese, in April 1942, organized for seizing the first stepping-stone 350 miles southward toward New Caledonia. Their then current positions were at Rabaul in New Britain and


at Bougainville in the Northern Solomons. A Tulagi Invasion Group equipped for setting up a seaplane base at Tulagi Island in the Southern Solomons landed there on 3 May 1942. This forward movement put the Japanese almost astride the direct sea route from Hawaii to northern Australia. It also put the planners on COMINCH Staff, who were particularly concerned with the SOPAC area, in the jumping up and down stage. But it was to be 60 days and 60 nights more before the Joint Chiefs could agree on a directive governing counter-offensive movements in the SOPACSOWESPAC Area.

And, Admiral King, on the day before the President said "I do not want BOLERO slowed down," was outlining to the Joint Chiefs the reasons for doing more to meet the vital military needs of the United States in the Pacific. He wrote:

Subject: J.C.S. 48. Defense of Island Bases in the Pacific

1. In paragraph 5 of the memorandum from the Joint Planners forming a part of J.C.S. 48, the statement appears; 'The Army members of the J.P.S. are reluctant to recommend any increase in aviation in the Pacific Area at this time due to the fact that any increase in this area means not only a corresponding decrease in the main effort but also an inordinate delay in its initiation.' I agree that there must be no undue delay in the deployment of available forces in the main effort; but am not in agreement with the recommendation that forces in the Pacific be kept at a bare minimum.

2. The Pacific Theater is an area for which the United States bears full strategic responsibility. The recent Japanese successes in Burma, added to previous successes, leave the Japanese free to choose any new line of action they see fit, including an attack in force on Australia, on the Australia-Hawaii line of communications, on Hawaii or on Alaska. Even now they are massing strong land, sea, and air forces in the Mandate Area beyond our range of observation.

3. The basic strategic plan on which we are now operating is to hold in the Pacific. I am not convinced that the forces now there or allocated to that theater are sufficient to "hold" against a determined attack in force by the Japanese, an attack which they can initiate very soon. The mounting of BOLERO must not be permitted to interfere with our vital needs in the Pacific. I am not convinced that the Japanese are going to allow us to 'hold' but are going to drive and drive hard.

4. The disastrous consequences which would result if we are unable to hold the present position in the Pacific Areas are self-evident. We have already seen, in the Far East and in Burma, the results of being ' spread out too thin;' we must not commit the same error in the Pacific Ocean Areas.

5. Important as the mounting of BOLERO may be, the Pacific problem is


no less so, and is certainly the more urgent - it must be faced now, but apart from any idea of future advance in this theater we must see to it that we are actually able to maintain our present positions. We must not permit diversion of our forces to any proposed operation in any other theater to the extent that we find ourselves unable to fulfill our obligation to implement our basic strategy plan in the Pacific theater, which is to hold what we have against any attack that the Japanese are capable of launching against us.59

E.J. King

The Japanese occupation of the Southern Solomons had taken place during the same period when they made an unsuccessful attempt to occupy Port Moresby in Southeast New Guinea only 500 miles north of Townsville, Australia. Air reconnaissance units operating from Tulagi and Port Moresby would have brought all of the Coral Sea and northeastern Australia under their conquering eyes.

General MacArthur Helps the Naval Planners

General MacArthur, after the 8 May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea, which had luckily turned back the Japanese Port Moresby Invasion Group, joined forces with the Navy Planners in plugging for stronger action in the Pacific. His despatch of 23 May 1942 read in part:

Lack of sea power in the Pacific is and has been the fatal weakness in our position since the beginning of the war.

Continuing, he was so bold as to suggest that the Indian and Atlantic Oceans be stripped of sea power so as to combine British and American naval strength and to overwhelm the Japanese Navy:

Much more than the fate of Australia will be jeopardized if this is not done. The United States will face a series of such disasters.60

This despatch struck a responsive note with Admiral King since an appreciation of the realities of sea power was not always displayed by Army Planners at lower levels in Washington. The next day, 24 May 1942, Admiral King sent to General Marshall a paper which he proposed should be transmitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this paper, Admiral King stated that the Japanese were devoting "practically their entire naval strength, plus a great part of their air and army strength for offensive action against the Australia-Noumea-Fiji-Samoa-


Hawaii-Alaska line."61 Admiral King included among his recommendations that air strength in the Pacific be increased as rapidly as possible and that the British Eastern Fleet be moved to Colombo as soon as practicable, for concentration in the Fiji-Australian area by 1 July 1942.62

Any time Admiral King felt it necessary to call in the British Navy to shore up the United States Navy in its own bailiwick, the long reaches of the Pacific, one could surmise that he considered the situation bordered on the desperate.

As May drew to a close and the coming battle for Midway Island became more imminent with every passing hour, Admiral Nimitz proposed to General MacArthur that the Pacific Ocean Area Marines try to knock out the seaplane base the Japanese were evolving at Tulagi in General MacArthur's domain. He suggested using the 1st Marine Raider Battalion based in Samoa, 1800 miles to the eastward of Tulagi. The object was to deny the Japanese seaplane reconnaissance south of Tulagi against the South Pacific major amphibious offensive, hopefully to be inaugurated in accordance with the COMINCH directive of 3 April.

Had the air base at Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides been complete or just usable on the day this despatch was sent, 28 May 1942, the reaction to this offensive proposal in Admiral King's headquarters would have been more strongly favorable despite General MacArthur's negative reaction. However, the construction forces were just arriving. Tulagi was about equidistant from Rabaul and from Espiritu Santo, but the Japanese air base at Rabaul was operational and well manned by a Japanese air flotilla, while the Espiritu Santo air base was little more than a gleam in Vice Admiral Ghormley' s eye. The Marines would be subject to air attack mounted from Rabaul and not under air protection mounted from Espiritu Santo. Therefore Admiral King' s approval was limited to a "disabling or destroying raid," but no permanent occupation." Admiral Nimitz said later this had been his intention in the first place.63

The British Cool Off SLEDGEHAMMER

About this same time, the British again cooled off the United States Army Planners on the immediacy of the cross-channel operation. The Prime


Minister, on 28 May 1942, in a despatch to the President stated that "certain difficulties had arisen in the planning," put in a plug for the occupation of North Africa and stated that Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten was being sent to Washington to discuss "a landing in the North of Norway." 64 Lord Louis arrived on 3 June 1942, by which time the Army Air Force B-17s had already started making near-misses on Admiral Tanaka's Transport Group of the Japanese Midway Occupation Force.

However, on 1 June 1942, the President was telling Mr. Molotov, the Soviet Union's People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs, in Washington as a special representative of Commissar Stalin, that he expected to establish a Second Front in 1942, and giving him a strong commitment to do65 If the President's word was to be his bond, it was apparent to the military planning staffs that the priority build-up in England of United States troops and landing craft must continue at maximum rate.

Elated by the Navy's victory at Midway, on 4 June 1942, the whole COMINCH Planning Staff was anxious that the United States seize the Pacific Ocean initiative from the Japanese. This could not be done by sitting back and congratulating each other on the first real major victory of the Pacific War. Midway had to be promptly followed by new initiatives in the Pacific Ocean, and this was the point Rear Admiral Turner stressed as in late May and early June he progressively handed over his Chief Planner's billet on Admiral King's staff to his relief, Rear Admiral Charles M. Cooke. The very minimum effort necessary to retain the initiative, he believed, would be to seize island positions essential for disrupting the flow of strategic materials within the Japanese Co-prosperity Sphere.66

By late June 1942, the British Prime Minister was in Washington again, depressed over the surrender of his 33,000-man garrison at Tobruk. He was anxious for American help nearly everywhere except on the continent of Europe. He was ready "to bury 'SLEDGEHAMMER,' which had been dead for some time."67

Admiral King Stirs Up a Pestilence--Lights Up a WATCHTOWER

Admiral King seized this moment, when it appeared that United States


Army and Navy forces being sent to England for SLEDGEHAMMER or BOLERO might be there a long time before facing combat, to direct CINCPAC and COMSOPAC to prepare for an offensive against the Lower Solomons, using United States Marines. He hoped the Santa Cruz Islands would be occupied before the Japanese got there and Tulagi would be taken from the Japanese before it could be built up to great defensive strength.68

Rear Admiral Turner prepared to undertake this considerable task and to bring it to consummation in just 35 days. Even though he was then on leave in California, the First Marine Division was on the high seas enroute to far away New Zealand and the essential amphibious ships were scattered all over the eastern and southern half of the Pacific Ocean Area. Only a leader like Admiral King with great knowledge and great faith in his organization and the subordinates who were to lead their parts of it, could have issued such a preparatory order.

When Admiral King's history-making despatch went out on 25 June 1942, the undertaking of offensive-defensive amphibious operations hadn't been approved by the Joint Chiefs, whose Army representative was the chief reviewer of SLEDGEHAMMER. Much less had it been approved by the President, who, at the moment, hankered for action on the continent of Europe and for nothing more than hanging on in the Pacific. How Admiral King decided he could overcome these two major obstacles, and a not so minor one of whether the Army or the Navy would command the first offensive amphibious operation, is not known. It is known, however, that when the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army writes a letter to the Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet and gets an answer the same day, the question under discussion is hot. This happened on 26 June 1942.69

The subject in controversy was who was to command the first real offensive-defensive amphibious operation in the Pacific. The Army had the book partly on its side, since one of the objectives, Tulagi, lay in the area of the Army Commander of the Southwest Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur. However, the other objective, the Santa Cruz Islands, was in the area of the Naval Commander of the South Pacific area, Vice Admiral Robert Ghormley. The Navy thus had the book partly on its side and Admiral King wholly on its side, plus the logical military reasons that:


  1. nearly all the offensive forces directly involved were to be supplied by the naval Pacific Ocean Area.

  2. the offensive forces must prepare for the operation while within the naval Pacific Ocean Area.

  3. the offensive forces must be covered during the operation from the naval Pacific Ocean Area, and then supported logistically from the naval Pacific Ocean Area.

With this background Admiral King advised General Marshall that the offensive operation "must be conducted under the direction of the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet."

It is a tribute to General Marshall's military judgment that he saw the validity of the points made, particularly when he read the last sentence "I think it is important that this [the immediate initiation of these operations] be done, even if no support of Army Forces in the Southwest Pacific be made available." Admiral King made this point even clearer by informing CINCPAC on 27 June that the Navy might have to go it alone and planning should go forward on that basis.70

To preserve the validity of area command for posterity, the Joint Chiefs then agreed to a 60 to 360 mile westward shift of area boundaries between the Pacific Ocean Area and Southwest Pacific Area in the island cluttered expanse of the ocean south of the equator between 159° east Longitude and 165° east Longitude. Effective 1 August 1942, the new boundary would run south from the equator along 159° east Longitude. This shifted the boundary so that it was just 35 miles to the westward of Guadalcanal Island.71

After this westward shift, both of the proposed landings, Santa Cruz and Tulagi, would be in the Pacific Ocean Area.

With the command issue agreed upon, and without too much further discussion, the Joint Chiefs received Presidential approval to open the United States offensive-defensive phase of the amphibious war in the Pacific.

There are two amazing things about the first offensive amphibious operation insofar as the Joint Chiefs' 2 July 1942 directive is concerned.72 This directive listed Task One, Task Two and Task Three objectives. The Task One invasion objectives were:

a. Santa Cruz Islands


b. Tulagi
c. Adjacent positions.

Yet, Santa Cruz, first on the list, was not even occupied for months, and Guadalcanal, where most of the fighting took place, was not even mentioned by name in the directive. It is a further anomaly that the code name for the whole Task One operation was PESTILENCE, and the subsidiary Tulagi operation was named WATCHTOWER and the repeatedly postponed Santa Cruz Islands operation was designated HUDDLE. The only one of these code words to survive at all is WATCHTOWER, while the code name for the island of Guadalcanal, CACTUS, is part of the folklore of all World War II American adults.

South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force

When Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley, the prospective Commander of the South Pacific and Kelly Turner's future boss, arrived in Washington from London on 17 April 1942 where he had been a highly successful Naval Observer, working with the British Admiralty, the determination to try for seizure of the Santa Cruz Islands and the lower Solomons was strong in COMINCH Plans Division. However, this was a period when SLEDGEHAMMER and BOLERO were riding high. Therefore, no agreement at the Joint planning level, or the Joint Chiefs' level, was practical for a definite amphibious operation in the South Pacific.

Despite this lack of a specific agreement at the Joint working level, COMINCH had directed CINCPAC on 3 April 1942 to

prepare for execution of major amphibious offensive against frontiers held by Japan, initially to be launched from South Pacific and Southwest Pacific Areas.73

This dispatch would get the Planning Staff at Pearl up on the step.

Draft instructions for Commander South Pacific Area to be issued by CINCPAC were already in existence in COMINCH Headquarters during this mid- April period and Vice Admiral Ghormley contributed to their further development. On 23 April 1942, Admiral King from Washington and Admiral Nimitz from Pearl, officially proceeded under temporary additional duty orders to San Francisco for a conference. Out of this conference came the basic CINCPAC directive to Commander South Pacific which also contained


the magic words: "Prepare to launch a major amphibious offensive against positions held by the Japanese."74

Meanwhile Vice Admiral Ghormley was briefed by Rear Admiral Turner back in Washington on the build-up of naval forces in the South Pacific which would permit this offensive. Dates and specific objectives were not only "iffy," they were in the realm of speculation. They depended specifically on obtaining approval from the Joint Chiefs, which depended, in turn, almost wholly on when the necessary resources could be made available, and where the greatest rewards would come from using them. The Fall of 1942 seemed to be the earliest possible date.75

However, to prevent the Japanese leap-frogging from the Solomons to New Caledonia via the Santa Cruz Islands and the New Hebrides, the necessity of early occupation of the Santa Cruz Islands and northern New Hebrides was pointed out to Vice Admiral Ghormley.

It was late in March or early April and weeks before Vice Admiral Ghormley's departure from Washington on 28 April 1942 that Rear Admiral Turner learned that he was to leave his planning assignment after being relieved by Captain Charles M. (Savvy) Cooke, U.S. Navy, Class of 1910, who was already slated to be promoted to rear admiral. Although he had specifically requested the amphibious detail, there was a long, difficult, worry-loaded two months, not ending until 3 June 1942, before Rear Admiral Turner knew definitely that he was to be lucky enough to serve under Ghormley in the South Pacific Area in the "opportunity packed billet" as Commander Amphibious Force South Pacific Force.76

The Chief of Naval Personnel signed Rear Admiral Turner's first set of orders on 20 May 1942. These orders directed him to report to the Commandant of the 12th Naval District for shore duty. The Commandant, 12th Naval District, operated a "Receiving ship for Admirals." On tap here for call up by CINCPAC were one or more Flag officers who could be used for new organizations or task forces as well as to replace any Flag officers killed or incapacitated for duty, or who did not meet their superiors' expectations.


These rear admirals were available without the normal delay entailed in relieving them from a current job.

About 20 May 1942, the decision of Admiral King to make Rear Admiral Turner available, in the near future, to CINCPAC for duty afloat in the Pacific Fleet was passed to the Bureau of Naval Personnel. New orders were issued on 25 May appropriately modifying the original orders and directing Turner to report to CINCPAC at the end of his leave of absence. Then Admiral King decided he wanted Rear Admiral Turner at hand until after the Japanese attack on Midway had been met. So a third set of orders was issued.77 Under this last set, Rear Admiral Turner departed Washington on 12 June 1942 by automobile for Pacific Grove, California, under proceed (four days' delay) orders, ten days' travel time, and ten days' delay to count as leave of absence.

Rear Admiral Turner was delighted to get to the business at hand, fighting the Japanese, and greatly concerned with his share of the responsibility for making the first amphibious operation a victory of which the Navy and Ernie King would be proud.78

Vice Admiral Ghormley had departed Washington on 1 May 1942 and assumed command of the South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force on 19 June some seven weeks later, although he was in the South Pacific Area for almost a month before assuming command. Rear Admiral Turner assumed command of the South Pacific Amphibious Force about a month later, 18 July 1942. This was just 14 days before the initial target date for the first major United States Navy amphibious landings in World War II, and 20 days before the actual landing.

Assembling the Staff of COMPHIBFORSOPAC

The first business of a Flag officer upon being designated to a new command is to try to prevail upon the Bureau of Naval Personnel to order a few top flight officers - the real heavy cream of the crop - into key positions on his staff. Whether he succeeds or not depends on such factors as:
  1. The Flag officer flies one, two, three, or four stars.

  2. For whom the desired officer is currently working and how cooperative this officer may be in letting him go to another billet.


  1. The actual availability of the desired officer from the viewpoint of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

  2. The officer's own personal assessments of the change, and how hard he tries for the staff billet.

If the Flag officer has worked his way up the ladder through billets in the Bureau of Personnel, he has a far wider knowledge of officers' records and reputations than if he has not, and generally a warmer friendship with those currently sitting at the detail desks. Rear Admiral Turner had not been a BUPERS bureaucrat. He had been a two-star Flag officer only seven months. And he had had a few stormy telephone conversations with detail desks in the process of assembling an adequate planning staff for COMINCH.

In any case, Admiral Turner remembered that he had had a "hell of a time" trying to get anyone whom he particularly wanted ordered to his first afloat staff. In fact, he "fired and fell back." He batted .000 on the names he submitted.79

The Bureau then suggested officers and he accepted them. In May 1942, there was a minuscule number of naval officers with a background of peacetime amphibious training and none with a background of wartime amphibious operations. Rear Admiral Turner had not touched stays often enough with any of the few peacetime amphibiously qualified officers to pinpoint them as desirable members of his staff. The Bureau had a thousand times more places to billet such officers in the explosively expanding amphibious forces than there were officers available.

Consequently, it is regrettable, but not surprising, that, except for the Flag Secretary, not a single naval officer selected by the Bureau and ordered to the staff of the Commander of the Amphibious Force South Pacific, which was our first amphibious command in World War II to enter into large scale combat with the enemy, had any special amphibious training, or any recent peacetime amphibious experience. Professional knowledge based on actual training in amphibious operations, had to come from the Marine officers on the staff. As might be expected, the Marines were a first-rate group.80

By 9 June 1942, Rear Admiral Turner knew which officers the Bureau of Personnel planned to order to his staff, for he drafted a four-page memorandum to the Assistant Chief of Staff, Colonel Linscott, on that date,


listing them and all the existing COMINCH letters bearing on LONE WOLF or the establishment of PHIBFORSOPAC.81

. . . I believe that the most difficult and most important task of the Flag Officer is to select his chief assistant. More hinges on this decision than on any other.82

The most obvious shortcoming of the Bureau of Personnel was the failure to provide a Chief of Staff who could report before Rear Admiral Turner actually arrived in the South Pacific. At that time, Captain Thomas G. Peyton, U.S. Navy, who had only served a dog watch as Captain of the Port at Noumea, New Caledonia, reported for this important billet. Peyton did not seek the duty and was not a personal friend of Rear Admiral Turner.83 Furthermore, Captain Peyton lacked two of the desirable attributes for measurable success under Turner. He was not "lightning fast on the uptake," and he was not given to fighting back with all his resources, when picked upon. But Peyton was a very capable naval officer of the highest moral character. He had a very real degree of humility among a breed of cats, where the humble were as scarce as typhoons in the Pacific in June.

The 11-man staff84 listed below consisted of seven Naval officers and four Marine officers. All were of the regular service except the assistant communications officer. Only Linscott, Weir, and Harris made contact in Washington prior to Rear Admiral Turner's departure. Doyle and Bowling joined up in San Francisco. Hains joined in Pearl Harbor; Peyton reported in Auckland; and Lewis could not report until the Task Force was off the Fiji Islands, in late July. Baskin and Williams did not report in Noumea for another month, on 19 August 1942.

Captain Thomas G. Peyton Chief of Staff85            


Colonel Henry D. Linscott, USMC Assistant Chief of Staff86
Captain James H. Doyle Operations Officer87
Lieutenant Colonel Frank E. Weir, USMC Assistant Operations Officer (Air)88
Lieutenant Colonel Harold D. Harris, USMC Intelligence Officer89
Lieutenant Commander Hamilton Hains Aide and Flag Secretary90
Lieutenant Commander Selman S. Bowling Communications Officer91
Lieutenant Commander Arthur C. W. Baskin Assistant Intelligence, Aerologist92


Lieutenant Commander John S. Lewis                                  Aide and Flag Lieutenant93
Lieutenant Robert A. Williams (SC) Supply Officer94
Captain R. A. Nicholson, USMCR Assistant Communications Officer95                  

This unmethodical and straggling forming up of the new PHIBFORSOPAC staff stretched over 10 weeks and 10,000 miles of ocean. Only the marked capabilities of the individual regular officers of that period, their resourcefulness and acceptance of the principle of doing the best they could with what was at hand provided a basis for the hope that our first large scale amphibious invasion of Japanese held positions would go off reasonably well.

Amphibious Personnel Problems

This is as good a time as any to discuss the officer personnel problem which lay like a heavy soaking blanket over the amphibious forces during the 1942 and 1943 period.

As a result of the 1938 Personnel Bill, which the old Bureau of Navigation urged the Congress to inflict on the Navy, the seagoing officers of the Navy, upon completing the required years of service in grade, became eligible for selection to commander and captain. The yearly selection board then divided them into four main categories:

1. Selected as best fitted for promotion.
2. Selected as fitted for promotion and retained on active duty.
3. Selected as fitted for promotion, but not retained on active duty.
4. Not qualified and not selected for promotion.


The "best fitted" group averaged from 60-70 percent of each Naval Academy class. The two "fitted" groups totaling 25-30 percent contained many officers whose capabilities were judged to be only a small fraction below those of the "best fitted" group, plus a number who were not carrying a full head of steam as they moved into their early or late forties. Occasionally a personality idiosyncrasy of an extremely capable officer caused his name to appear in the "fitted" list, and from time to time a minor dereliction of duty after many years of highly satisfactory performance led to the same tagging, although generally such officers just were not deemed qualified and were not selected.

Fortunately for the Navy, the Congress, disturbed by the approach of war in Europe, soon authorized the Navy to order a considerable number of retired officers to active duty, and a little later to retain on active duty all officers who were slated to be retired upon completion of 21, 28, or 35 years of service after failure of selection to the next higher rank. These yearly bench marks were those set by law for automatic retirement of lieutenant commanders, commanders, and captains respectively when not selected to the next higher grade.

The Bureau of Naval Personnel rated command duty in large combatant ships - carriers, battleships, cruisers - and command of units of destroyers as requiring the service of the "best fitted" officers in the senior grades. For years and years, auxiliary ships and other minor commands had been rated more than a shade less desirable than large combatant commands. Amphibious ships started World War II officially titled "auxiliaries," although it soon became apparent that they were "the closest to the enemy the mostest" of any ships in the Navy. As these large made-over merchantmen came into commission in the Navy in 1941 and 1942, they received more than their share of Commanding Officers who

  1. As it turned out, were not selected to rear admiral with their contemporaries,

  2. Had lost station on their classmates as they battled up past the ever more critical selection boards, or

  3. Had been designated as "fitted" for promotion to commander or captain but not as "best fitted."

The amphibious skipper was apt to think, or say, he was serving in "The Second Class Navy." This was a tremendous morale factor which had to be fought every step of the way by the Flag officers ordered to command amphibious


groups or forces. It was not licked in a month or even in the first year of World War II. The prime billets for the BUPERS "hot shots" were the big carriers, and the new battleships, and Rear Admiral Turner' s efforts to draft some of these "hot shot" officers into the amphibious ship commands were futile, even after he had acquired three stars on his shoulders. He was forever grateful to those officers in our Navy who had acquired less than an ultra plus ultra rating in the peacetime Navy, but who turned in a superb and winning performance in battling through to the beaches with their troops and long tons of logistic support.96

Rear Admiral Turner faced the following situation in July-August 1942. In the three transport divisions of transports and cargo ships (APs and AKs) in Amphibious Force South Pacific Force, on the day of its formal organization, 18 July 1942, there were nine captains and 10 commanders of the United States Navy either commanding one of the ships or having a division or squadron command.97 At this time, the most recent rear admiral selection list extended down through the Class of 1915, and actual promotion to rear admiral had taken place recently down into the Class of 1913. The captain selection list extended down through the Class of 1920, and actual promotion had taken place recently down through three quarters of the Class of 1918.

Of the 19 naval officers in command in these transport divisions, only four were on station and had not missed either the recent selection to the next higher rank, or a previous one at some time in their naval career. Nevertheless, performance of duty of the very highest order in WATCHTOWER and in subsequent combat operations in the Pacific brought promotion to the great majority of these 19 officers. Three became commodores, one a rear admiral, and one a vice admiral on the active list of the Navy. Nine of the 10 commanders won promotion to captain on the active list during the war. Despite Rear Admiral Turner's strong and repeated recommendations to the Navy Department, supported by his seniors in the chain of command, he was unable to obtain promotion to rear admiral of several of the commodores who so ably served him, the Navy, and the nation.8

When, Where, With What?

Admiral King was pressing his naval subordinates to get on the counteroffensive


all during the second half of June. At the same time, he was pressing his co-worker on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Marshall, for the same purpose:

As you know, it has been my conviction that the Japanese will not stand still in the South Pacific and will not let us stand still. Either they will press us with an extension of their offensives, seeking weak spots in order to break our line of communications, or we will have to be pressing them. It is urgent, in my opinion, that we lose no time in taking the initiative ourselves.99

Although Rear Admiral Turner knew when he left Washington on 12 June 1942 that there were going to be combat operations in the South Pacific, he did not know WHEN the operation was to take place, nor exactly WHERE, though his personal choices of objectives were the lower Solomons and Santa Cruz Islands.

He enjoyed his leave of absence, as much as anyone could under the circumstances. Before his leave was up, he was ordered by a COMINCH telegram into San Francisco on 29 June 1942 to rendezvous with five of his staff officers (Linscott, Weir, Harris, Doyle, and Bowling). COMINCH and CINCPAC were also soon to head towards San Francisco.

Rear Admiral Turner wrote in regard to this period:

I first knew definitely of the Operation on June thirtieth, when staff officers of mine flew from Washington and met me in San Francisco. I drew up a project and submitted it to Admiral King and Admiral Nimitz on July third. This project was approved in general terms. Then on July fourth, I flew to Honolulu; remained three days consulting with Admiral Nimitz, and his staff, and Admirals Fletcher, Kinkaid, and Admiral Fitch. Admiral Noyes was at sea, en route from San Diego to the South Pacific with some of the troops. On July eighth, I departed Honolulu, flew to Auckland, arriving on July fifteenth. Took command of the Amphibious Forces on July eighteenth and sailed from Wellington with part of the force on July twenty-second.100

It was the nation's and the Navy's great gain that CINCPAC survived a crash landing coming into San Francisco on 30 June 1942 for his conference with Admiral King of 3 July, when his big four-motor Sikorsky amphibian turned over on its back, killing the co-pilot. Admiral Nimitz had another


Captain James H. Doyle, USN, at Guadalcanal, 1942.
(NH 69105)

stroke of good fortune when he heard about the project which Rear Admiral Turner had spent three days cooking up with the intelligent help of Colonel Henry Linscott and Captain Jimmie Doyle who were to serve him extremely well throughout the next year in the South Pacific.

Rear Admiral Turner and his staff had the advantage of seeing General Marshall's despatch to General MacArthur which directed that despite any unhappiness over the command set up for PESTILENCE, "every available support both Army and Navy must be given to operations against the enemy," and of General MacArthur's reply:


You may rest assured that every possible resource under my control will be used to the maximum against the enemy at all times and under any circumstances.101

The project which Rear Admiral Turner submitted to Admiral Nimitz and then to Admiral King was titled a "Limited Amphibious Offensive in South and Southwest Pacific."102 It called for:

  1. The occupation of Ndeni Island, the largest and most western of the Santa Cruz Islands. (Ndeni lies about 250 miles north of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides and 300 miles east of Guadalcanal in the lower Solomon Islands.)

    1. The capture of tiny Tulagi and nearby Florida Island in the lower Solomons, some 560 miles northwest from Espiritu Santo,
    2. the occupation of an airfield (or airfield site) on the north coast of the 90-mile long and 25-mile wide island of Guadalcanal, and

    3. the establishment of an aircraft warning service on outlying islands in the lower Solomons (San Cristobal, Malaita, Santa Isabel, New Georgia, and Choiseul).

  2. The occupation of Funafuti in the Ellice Islands, 800 miles east of Ndeni, as an advanced base for temporary occupation of patrol planes. (Funafuti was an atoll, 7 miles long and 150 yards wide.)

  3. The reinforcement of the Espiritu Santo Army garrisons currently 500 strong and the construction of a landplane base there. Espiritu Santo was the northernmost and largest island in the New Hebrides. (It was 75 miles long and 45 miles wide and lay about 400 miles north of Noumea, New Caledonia.)

On New Caledonia was a strong army garrison numbering 22,000. New Caledonia was then the "furthest north" strong point of American arms in the South Pacific area.103

It should be recorded here that Rear Admiral Turner, ever the man to take the steps necessary to get the job done, even when entirely without command responsibility, reported at this time to COMINCH and CINCPAC,

that with respect to LIONs and CUBs, he had taken the liberty of advising the logistic people at San Francisco, that such units required for organized


operations should take precedence over units being assembled for ROSES [EFATE, NEW HEBRIDES] and other localities.

As a forerunner of later difficulties with some of his logistic subordinates Rear Admiral Turner added this view:

that with respect to captured islands, we should set a date of one week for the establishment of an airfield.104

It is also worth pointing out that Rear Admiral Turner picked Guadalcanal Island before it was known by the Navy or reported to the Navy by the Army Air Force that the Japanese had actually started construction of an airfield in its north central plain area. This was the reason for the parenthetical "or airfield site" in the plan submitted to CINCPAC and COMINCH in San Francisco. Definite information that an airfield had actually been started by the Japanese on Guadalcanal Island did not reach Rear Admiral Turner until after his arrival in New Zealand.105

As early as 22 May 1942, Army forces on New Caledonia had reported to the War Department a Japanese photo reconnaissance plane observed over Guadalcanal and suggested that the Japanese were "planning aerodrome construction there." This prophetic G-2 despatch was not given the normal routing to the Navy or special COMINCH routing which so many incoming Army informatory despatches were given.106

The following despatch from New Caledonia to the War Department' s General Staff (Intelligence) on 25 June 1942 was circulated by G-2 to the Navy Department on 26 June 1942:

There is no construction at Guadalcanal although the plain is burned off as if for an airdrome. There are tents and sea activity, and construction of a wharf at Lunga, but not cargo unloaded.107

A group of General Headquarters Southwest Pacific Area despatches originating from 22 through 26 June were handled similarly.108 These despatches reported Japanese naval activity around Guadalcanal and, in bits and pieces, supplied the information summarized by G-2 in New Caledonia in their 25 June despatch. Several of the CINCSWPA despatches bear a K indicating Admiral King saw them and others bear a C indicating Rear Admiral Turner's relief, Rear Admiral Cooke, saw them.


Presumably on the basis of these despatches, CINCPAC on the 26th of June asked COMSOWESPACFOR to arrange for photo reconnaissance of all Japanese airdromes in the Solomons. On 28 June and subsequent days, Army Air Force planes in General MacArthur's command made the requested flights. These were supplemented by reconnaissance planes from COMAIRSOPAC's command.109 On 1 July, the Australian intelligence organization in the Solomon's titled FERDINAND was alerted to the presence of a good sized Japanese labor party on Guadalcanal Island, but this information indicated that actual work on the airfield awaited the arrival "within a week" of the "11th and 13th Pioneer Forces."110

According to Samuel E. Morison:

On 5 July, Admiral Nimitz, received a bit of news that sparked off the whole operation. An American reconnaissance plane observed that the Japanese were starting to build an airfield--the future Henderson Field--on Guadalcanal.111

Actually the information did not come from either an American or an Allied reconnaissance plane. CINCPAC read a Japanese radio message station that the "Guadalcanal landing was designated 'AN' operation, with 4 July as 'X' day. Force consisted of naval landing party, plus 11th and 13th Pioneer Forces." From this it was deduced that actual construction of the airfield would start soon after 4 July.112

The intelligence reports for 4 through 10 July from CINCSWPAC, COMSOPAC and New Caledonia contain no information in regard to the start of the building of an airdrome on Guadalcanal but tell of landing barges and pontoon landing jetties, and of cruisers, destroyers, and small craft near Lunga Point.113 As late as 17 July, CINCSWPAC reported "no actual construction work on runway."114


The day previous, 16 July, when Vice Admiral Ghormley issued his Operation Plan for WATCHTOWER, the information in regard to the landing field near Lunga Point on Guadalcanal in the Intelligence Annex read as follows:

Troops observed burning grass plains behind Lunga, Tenaru, and Kukoom on July 14, no actual work on runways was observed.

The plan further confirmed the lack of definite information on 16 July 1942 by ordering that:

On Dog Day capture and occupy Tulagi and adjacent positions, including an adjoining portion of Guadalcanal suitable for the construction of landing fields. Initiate construction of landing fields without delay.

It was not until 25 July, as Rear Admiral Turner was worrying about the landings soon to be rehearsed in the Fijis, that CINCSWPAC reported

large airdrome nearing completion eight miles east of TENARU.

The quite obvious error as to where the airdrome actually was located was corrected in due time to locate it two miles south of Lunga Point and on the east side of the Lunga River.115

The high powered and presumably all-seeing Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in Washington had no better information on this all important subject. The JIC Daily Summary of 10 July 1942 stated:

Guadalcanal Island. There are indications of construction on an airfield.

Ten days later the JIC noted:

Guadalcanal. Runway completed on 20 July 1942.

It might be noted as a lasting memorial to Rear Admiral Turner' s mistaken desire to keep the Office of Naval Intelligence and all related Army intelligence activities ignorant of impending naval operations, that in the 28-day period between 10 July and 7 August, when WATCHTOWER was really being launched, there were only six mentions of Guadalcanal Island in the JIC Summaries. The only other one of particular moment was on 26 July when it was noted:

An enemy airdrome appears to be nearing completion on Guadalcanal Island and another is under construction.116

The failure of both Naval and Army Air Force air reconnaissance to give to COMPHIBFORSOPAC a clear day-by-day report of progress on the


building of the airdrome between 17 July and 25 July has never been satisfactorily explained. But the word finally did get through and it was clearly stated in the Intelligence Annex of the PHIBSOPAC Operation Plan issued on 30 July that an "enemy landing field is known to exist in the Solomons at Guadalcanal."

In addition to believing that there had been some failure to get routine air reconnaissance intelligence through to him during a crucial period, it was Admiral Turner's strong belief that Morison's History of Naval Operations in World War II gave quite the wrong inference when it stated: "It was the start of airfield construction there [Guadalcanal], before the end of June, that sparked off the whole Guadalcanal operation." It was Admiral Turner' s belief that it had been "sparked off" long before that.117

As to planning, the best testimony comes from Fleet Admiral King who wrote:

The planning of the Solomons landings was done in COMINCH Headquarters by Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, who was then sent to the South Pacific in command of the amphibious force that was to carry them out.118


Table of Contents  *  Previous Chapter (6)  *  Next Chapter (8)


1. (a) John Miller Jr., Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, Vol. 5 in subseries The War in the Pacific of series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington: Historical Division Department of the Army, 1949), p. xi; (b) CINCPACFLT to COMPHIBFORPACFLT, letter, A16-3/LE/A6-5(05)/Ser 01745, of 21 Jun 1942. Signed by Capt. Irving D. Wiltsie, USN; (c) COMPHIBFORPACFLT, War Diaries, Jun-Dec 1942.

2. Navy Basic War Plan, RAINBOW Five, WPL-46, part III, ch. II, sec. 1, para. 3212, subj: Tasks of Pacific Fleet.

3. Joint Board No. 325, Ser 738, 8 Dec 1941.

4. Senior Army War Planners in late 1941 and early 1942 included Major General L.T. Gerow, Chief of War Plans Division, General Staff; Major General Carl Spaatz, Army Air Force; Brigadier General D.D. Eisenhower, Deputy Chief, War Plans Division, General Staff; Brigadier General J.T. McNarney, War Plans Division, Army Air Force; Brigadier General R.W. Crawford, War Plans Division, General Staff; Colonel T.T. Handy, War Plans Division, General Staff. At this time there was no separate Air Force. The Air Force was created from the Army Air Force on 27 Jul 1947.

5. Navy Basic War Plan, RAINBOW Five, WPL-46, app. I, sec. IV, para. 13a, subj: Concept of the War.

6. Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942, Vol. III in subseries The War Department of series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1953), pp. 101-02.

7. U.S. Air Force Historical Division, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, Vol. IV of THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II, eds. Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1950), p. x.

8. Senior Naval War Planers included (roster of 27 Jan 1942) Rear Admiral R.K. Turner, Chief of War Plans Division; Captain Bernhard H. Bieri, Assistant Chief; Captain O.M. Read; Captain R.E. Davison; Captain B.J. Rodgers; Captain Forrest P. Sherman.

9. King's Record, p. 361.

10. Proceedings of ARCADIA Conference held in Washington, D.C., 24 Dec 1941-14 Jan 1942, Part II. Approved Documents, U.S. Ser ABC-4/CS-1, 31 Dec 1941; subj: American-British Grand Strategy.

11. Ibid., para. 3.

12. Ibid., para. 18.

13. Ibid., para. 17.

14. Turner.

15. SECNAV to SOP, Bora Bora, letter, Ser 05313 of 19 Jan 1952, Encl. (A).

16. ARCADIA Proceedings, 11 Jan 1942, p. 9-6 [sic].

17. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XXII, p. 36.

18. King's Record, pp. 364, 381.

19. COMINCH, Joint Basic Plan for the Occupation and Defense of Bora Bora, Ser 0010 of 19 Jan 1942.

20. Sailed from San Francisco 31 Jan 1942.

21. War Department, letters, AG 370.5(1-17-42)MSC-E and AG-381(1-22-42).

22. JPS 21/5/D; JPS 21/7; JCS 48.

23. ARCADIA Proceedings, DoC ABC-4/CSA-1 paras. 10, 11. 18.

24. Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, p. 147.

25. COMINCH, letter, FF1/A16-3 Ser 00191 of 17 Mar 1942; subj: Basic Plan for Occupation and Defense of Western Samoa and Wallis Island.

26. JCS 5.

27. COMINCH to C/S USA, letter, FF1/A16/c/F1, Ser 00105 of 18 Feb 1942, and 00149 of 2 Mar 1942.

28. Quoted in Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, p. 154.

29. King's Record, pp. 377, 383.

30. (a) COMINCH, letters, FF1/A16-3/F-1, Ser 00105 of 18 Feb 1942; (b) Quoted in Samuel E. Morison, Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions, May 1942-Aug 1942, Vol. IV of HISTORY OF UNITED STATES NAVAL OPERATIONS IN WORLD WAR II (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1943), p. 246.

31. C/S USA to CINCUS, memorandum, 24 Feb 1942. Modern Military Records, National Archives.

32. COMINCH to C/S USA, memorandum, A16-3/1/0149 of 2 Mar 1942.

33. (a) Post ARCADIA Vol. 1, minutes of meeting; (b) CCS 4th Meeting, 10 Feb 1942.

(a) Order
American Samoa (Marine) 21 Dec 41 6 Jan 42 19 Jan 42
Bora Bora, Society Islands 8 Jan 42 27 Jan 42 12 Mar 42
Noumea, New Caledonia 17 Jan 42 22 Jan 42 12 Mar 42
Tongatabu, Tonga Islands 12 Mar 42 10 Apr 42 9 May 42
Western Samoa (Marine) 12 Mar 42 9 Apr 42 8 May 42
Efate, New Hebrides 20 Mar 42 12 Apr 42 4 May 42
Viti Levi, Fiji Islands 28 Apr 42 May 42 10 Jun 42
Strategic Planning, pp. 147-54; Miller, Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, p. 24; (c) COMINCH, memorandum, FF1/A16-3/Ser 0019 of 17 Mar 1942.

35. Quoted in Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, p. 157.

36. (a) Turner; (b) Roosevelt to Churchill, 16 Feb 42 in Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York: Harper & Bros., 1948), p. 508; (c) Turner to King, memorandum, 17 Feb 42, subj: Pacific Ocean Areas.

37. COMINCH to CINCPAC, 122200 Feb 1942.

38. COMINCH to CINCPAC, 151830 Feb 1942.

39. COMINCH to CINCPAC, 261630 Feb 1942.

40. Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, Vol. IV of The Second World War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1950), p. 190.

41. Ibid., p. 192.

42. Ibid., p. 194.

43. Ibid., pp. 195-96.

44. King's Record, pp. 384-85.

45. ACofS(P) to COMINCH, memorandum, 26 Mar 1942, subj: Strategic Deployment in the Pacific against Japan. Modern Military Records, National Archives.

46. Turner.

47. COMINCH to CINCPAC, 301320 Mar 1942.

48. COMINCH to CINCPAC, 071820 Mar 1942.

49. COMINCH 301930 Mar 1942; 311455 Mar 1942.

50. (a) JCS 23, 14 Mar 1942; (b) Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, p. 200; (c) Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, p. 181.

51. Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, p. 187. British Chiefs of Staff views 8 Apr 1942.

52. Admiral King to General Marshall, memorandum M37/A16-3(4) of 17 Mar 1942. memo bears an ink note "General Eisenhower" with the initials GCM.

53. DNP to COMINCH, memorandum, 26 Mar 1942.

54. Admiral King, memorandum for the President, 5 Apr 1942 (in CCS 57/2).

55. ACofS(P) to COMINCH, memorandum, 16 Apr 42, subj: Pacific Ocean Campaign Plan. Modern Military Records, National Archives.

56. COMINCH to CINCPAC, letter, FF1/A16-3(1) of 23 Apr 1942, WPL-46-PC. Hereafter WPL-46-PC.

57. (a) Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, pp. 320, 340; (b) Presidential memoranda to General Marshall and JCS, 6 May 1942.

58. Joint Planning Staff Meetings, minutes, 24 Apr 1942.

59. COMINCH, memorandum, 5 May 1942.

60. Australia Dispatch 199.

61. Proposed JCS Memo to CCS, 24 May 1942.

62. COMINCH to COMNAVFOREUR Ser 100046 of Jun 1942.

63. COMINCH 031905 Apr 1942; CINCPAC to COMSOWESPACFOR, 280351 May 1942; COMSOWESPACFOR 291335 May 1942; COMINCH 010100 Jun 1942.

64. Churchill to Roosevelt, 28 May 1942, in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 556.

65. Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning, pp. 231-32.

66. Turner.

67. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, pp. 382, 433.

68. COMINCH to CINCPAC, despatch 24 Jun 1942. Info C/S USA, COMSOWESPACFOR, and COMSOPACFOR.

69. (a) C/SA to CINCUS, memorandum, no ser of 26 Jun 1942. modern Military Records, National Archives; (b) COMINCH to C/S USA, letter, Ser 00555, 26 Jun 1942.

70. COMINCH 271414 Jun 1944.

71. COMINCH to C/SA, Ser 00555 of 26 Jun 1942.

72. JCS 00581 of 2 Jul 1942, Joint Directive for Offensive Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area.

73. COMINCH 031905 Apr 1942.

74. CINCPAC to Prospective Commander of South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force, letter, A16-3/P17 Ser 090W of 12 May 1942.

75. Quoted in Morison, Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions, May 1942-August 1942, p. 251.

76. (a) Turner; (b) RKT to Deputy CNO Administration, letter, 27 Sep 1950; (c) Captain C.M. Cooke, USN, was detached from CO Pennsylvania by orders signed in BUPERS on 3 Apr and reported COMINCH on 18 Apr 1942; (d) "propose employ Turner as Commander Amphibious Force, South Pacific." CINCPAC 020503 Jun 1942.

77. BuPers Orders Pers 6312-38970, 20 May 1042, 25 May 1942, and 2 Jun 1942; (b) Note, RKT on June 2nd Orders.

78. Turner.

79. Turner.

80. Ibid.

81. COMINCH, memorandum of 8 Jun 1942.

82. Lieutenant Commander H.H. Forst, "Letters on Staff Duty," United States Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 45 (August 1919), p. 1316.

83. Interviews with Commodore Thomas G. Peyton, 22 and 29 May 1961. Hereafter Peyton. Captain Peyton reported as Captain of the Port, Noumea on 20 May 1942; ordered as Chief of Staff, COMPHIBFORSOPAC by BUPERS on 4 Jul 1942; detached as Captain of the port on 14 Jul 1942; reported 18 Jul 1942.

84. COMPHIBFORSOPAC, letter, 18 Jul 1942, subj: Establishment of Amphibious Force South Pacific Force. Hereafter Establishment Letter, 1942.

85. PEYTON (Commodore) (1915); Battleship duty in World War I, then destroyer duty and command and submarine duty and command; Flag Lieutenant Commander Battleship Division One; Prior World War II, Command Destroyer Divisions 18 and 60 and Destroyer Squadron 9; Six months Turner's staff; Distinguished service in command of battleship Indiana through New Georgia campaign and in command of a logistical task group supporting 3rd and 5th Fleets during Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaign; Commandant Naval Base Guam after World War II.

86. LINSCOTT (Lieutenant General (Commissioned May 1917); Santo Domingo and France in World War I; 1927 Nicaraguan Campaign; postgraduate law 1930-33; Division marine Officer BATDIVONE; Operations and Training Officer, Amphibious Corps, Atlantic Fleet 10941-1942; 12 months Turner's staff; distinguished duty staff 3rd Amphibious Force during Vella Lavellla, Treasury-Bougainville, and Empress Augusta Bay operations; Command Amphibious training Pacific Fleet; Director, Landing Force Development Center.

87. DOYLE (Vice Admiral) (1920); Battleship, destroyer, tender duty 1919-1926; postgraduate law (with distinction) at George Washington University; destroyer duty and command; staff duty Commander Destroyers, and Aide Commandant 16th Naval District; Command Regulus, a 10,000-ton 11.5-knot, 20-year-old non-amphibious cargo ship early 1942; 12 months Turner's staff; distinguished duty Amphibious Section Admiral King's Headquarters; distinguished duty in command light cruiser Pasadena during Okinawa campaign; again on Turner's staff at the United Nations; Korea War, Commander Amphibious Force Far East during the amphibious triumphs of the Inchon landing and the Hungnam evacuation.

88. WEIR (Major General) (1923) (Aviator);amphibious exercises at Culebra 1924; flight training; Nicaraguan Campaign 172; various Marine Squadron Air Billets; Marine Corps School, Chemical Warfare School 1934, Army Air Corps Tactical School 1938; tactical aviation instructor at Marine Corps School 1940-1942; 12 months Turner's staff; distinguished service Staff, Commander 3rd Amphibious Force, during Vella Lavella, Treasury-Bougainville, and Empress August Bay operations; Command Marine Aircraft Group 32 in China in immediate post-World War II period.

89. HARRIS (Brigadier General) (1924); Ecole Superieure de guerre and Army Infantry Schools; officer in Charge Intelligence Section of Plans and Policies, Marine Corps Headquarters 1941-42; five months Turner's staff; Distinguished duty with 1st Marines during the New Britain Campaign; Command 5th Marines at Peleliu; Again on Turner's staff at United Nations.

90. HAINS (Rear Admiral) (1925); battleship and destroyer duty; postgraduate general line and junior course Marine Corps School 1933-36; destroyer and cruiser duty; 12 months Turner's staff; then distinguished duty as Commander Escort Division during Bismarck Archipelago Campaign and on Staff, Commander Amphibious group Six, 7th Fleet, during five major landings.

91. BOWLING (Rear Admiral)_ (1927); gunboat, destroyer, light and heavy cruiser duty 1927-1934; postgraduate applied communications, radio officer; Staff COMBATDIVTWO, then Battleship Colorado; four months on Turner's staff; two years distinguished duty in motor torpedo boats in 7th Fleet during New Guinea, Borneo, and Philippine Campaigns.

92. BASKIN (Lieutenant Commander) (1927); Battleship, destroyer, light cruiser duty 1927-1934; Postgraduate general line, then lighter than air training and postgraduate in meteorology at California Institute of Technology; aircraft carrier Ranger and Naval Air Stations; eight month duty Turner's staff; hospitalization and physical retirement 1 may 1944.

93. LEWIS (Rear Admiral) (1932); Battleships and destroyer duty 1932-1936; postgraduate general line, then heavy cruiser Portland; 23 months Turner's staff; then distinguished service command destroyer Soley; After World War II, duty on Turner's staff at United Nations; command light cruiser Astoria, duty with NATO, and Staff, Commander Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet.

94. WILLIAMS (Captain Supply Corps); Harvard, 1937; Supply School, shore assignments; five months Turner's staff; 23 months supply officer heavy cruiser Vincennes during Marianas, Philippine, and Okinawa Campaigns; post-World War II command Naval Supply Depot Guantanamo, duty with Bureau Supplies and Accounts and Defense Supply Agency.

95. NICHOLSON (Marine Corps Reserve); Washington and Lee, 1939; Phi Beta Kappa; Marine Corps School; then 18 months Turner's staff.

Rank upon retirement and year of Naval Academy or other college graduation shown in brief summary of service.

96. Turner.

97. (a) N.R., 1938-43; (b) N.D., 1 Mar 1942; (c) Establishment letter, 1942.

98. (a) Turner; (b) N.R., 1942-45, 1947; (c) COMPHIBFORSOPAC to COMSOPAC 192350 Jul 1942; COMSOPAC to CINCPAC 210050 Jul 1942.

99. COMINCH to C/SA, letter, FF1/A16-3(1), Ser 00544 of 25 Jun 1942, subj: Offensive Operations in the South and Southwest Pacific Area, encl; draft directive for WATCHTOWER.

100. RKT to Admiral Hepburn, memorandum, Mar 1943; (b) Colonel Linscott in Washington telephoned Rear Admiral Turner the day the decision embodied in COMINCH 231255 June was taken, and in guarded language informed him that he would be going to work sooner than expected but in the general area previously discussed. (Despatch directed "Seizure and Occupation of Tulagi, Target Date 1 August.") Interview with Colonel Linscott, 10 Dec 1942. Hereafter Linscott.

101. (a) General Marshall to Admiral King, memorandum, 29 Jun 1961; (b) Turner.

102. R.K. Turner, memorandum for CINCPACFLT, 3 Jul 1942. Hereafter PESTILENCE Memo.

103. Inspection Report by South Pacific Advanced Base Inspection Board on "State of South Pacific Area Bases--May-Jun 1942."

104. Notes on conversations between COMINCH and CINCPAC, 4 Jul 1942.

105. Turner.

106. CM-IN-6593, 5/23/42. This and the following Army intelligence despatches are located in the Archives Branch of the Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland.

107. CM-IN-7326, 2/25/42.

108. (a) CM-IN-7283, 6/22/42; (b) CM-IN-7850, 6/24/42; (c) CM-IN-8307, 6/25/42; (d) CM-IN-8416, 6/26/42; (e) CM-IN-8607, 6/26/42.

109. CM-IN-9649, 6/29/42; (b) Craven and Cate, Guadalcanal to Saipan, p. 26.

110. (a) Samuel B. Griffith, The Battle for Guadalcanal (New York: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1963), pp. 20-21; (b) Eric A. Feldt, The Coast Watchers (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 83.

111. Morison, Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions, p. 261. On page 12 of Volume V, Morison states it a bit differently: "But on 4 July, an allied reconnaissance plane reported the Japanese were starting work on an airfield."

112. COMSOPAC, Op Plan 1-42, 16 Jul 1942, Appendix II, Intelligence Annex A, subj: Guadalcanal--Enemy information captured by CINCPAC.

113. (a) CM-IN-0925, 7/3/42; (b) CGSNPA Operations Report of 7/4/42 (without identifying numbers); (c) CM-IN-1742, 7/5/42; (d) CM-IN-1761, 7/5/42; (e) CM-IN-1988, 7/6/42; (f) CM-IN-2068, 7/6/42; (g) CM-IN-2264, 7/7/42; (h) CM-IN-2309, 7/7/42; (i) CM-IN-2861, 7/9/42; (j) CM-IN-3038, 7/9/42; (k) CM-IN-3094, 7/9/42; (l) CM-IN-3439, 7/10/42.

114. CM-IN-5953, 7/17/42.

115. CM-IN-8926, 7/26/42; CM-IN-9973, 7/29/42.

116. JIC Intelligence Summaries, 16 Jun 1942 to 8 Aug 1942.

117.(a) Turner; (b) Morison, Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions, p. 266.

118. King's Record, p. 434. Reprinted by Permission of W.W. Norton & Co., Inc.