Chapter 10: Rehearsal Exercises, July 28-31

The rehearsal for the attack, noted on page 13, was as accurate and complete a simulation of the prospective landings on the Solomons as could be provided. Orders for the approach to Koro, for the preliminary bombing and bombardment and for the landing of troops were prepared with as much thoroughness as for the real operation. The rehearsal extended from July 28th to 31st, and included provision for two complete landing exercises--a training which the commanders agreed was critically needed by both Naval personnel and Marines. On July 30th the air carrier groups participated in the exercises, with a full schedule of attacks beginning at 0530 when 16 VF simulated the destruction of enemy planes.

Necessarily there were limitations which prevented the attainment of genuine battle conditions. On July 28th, for instance, the weather was such as to endanger the ships' boats and tank lighters, and the exercise had to be canceled for the day.9 Also, care had to be taken to avoid damage to buildings in populated areas of the island. The most serious disadvantage, however, was that, for reasons of security, radio silence had to be observed throughout the rehearsal. This necessity prevented practice in land-to-air communications, which would have helped greatly in the coordination of plane attack with land operations. Their inability to obtain adequate practice in radio communications because of the strict silence


enforced in the Pacific has been, incidentally, a frequent cause of regret by Naval aviators.

In spite of these limitations, however, much valuable experience was gained. At the close of the rehearsal, on the afternoon of July 31st, Admiral Turner convened in the Australia a meeting of Task Group Commanders at which he reviewed his operation plans in detail. Similarly, General Vandegrift explained his plan for the capture of land positions. Since the rehearsal had demonstrated that a large percentage of the boats would probably re rendered useless by mechanical failure, a boat pool system was worked out for the Tulagi-Guadalcanal operation.

Map 2:Attack Force Cruising Disposition
Circle Spacing 1 Mile


Map 3: Occupation of Guadalcanal and Tulagi
Approach and Retirement of Amphibious Force and Carrier Group
August 1-12, 1942


Raiders entering landing boat.


Table of Contents * Previous Chapter (9) * Next Chapter (11)


[9] One Marine officer has since observed: "We all proceeded to Koro Island, in the center of the Fijis, for a 2-day exercise. This island fortunately had many of the physical characteristics of Tulagi. Well, our dress rehearsal stunk. Everything went wrong. But like most bad dress rehearsals it seemed to augur for a good performance. Fortunately there was time for several useful conferences aboard ship between Navy and Marine Officers."

Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation