23 January 1943

23 January 1943

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23 January 1943

War in the Air

Eighth Air Force Heavy Bomber Mission No. 30: 90 aircraft sent to attack port area at Lorient. 35 attack the port, 18 attack the U-boat base at Brest and 1 aircraft attacked the Kerlin/ Bastard air field. Five aircraft lost.

North Africa

British 8th Army enters Tripoli

Important Events From This day in History January 23rd

The Alex Haley book "Roots" is turned into a TV Mini Series of 8 episodes and the first episode is shown on 23rd and the last episode shown on January 30th. The mini series made history when it won 9 Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a baseball fan most of his life (among other things). Therefore, he wrote a letter with enthusiasm to the Baseball Writer's Association, which was to be read at a dinner sponsored by this organization.
The letter that Roosevelt had sent was addressed to James Dawson. The purpose of it was to compliment the sports' writers who had worked hard at that time to stir sportsmanship and enthusiasm in America. Find Out More on our History of Baseball Page.
In fact, Baseball was considered one of the forms of escape after the bout of the Great Depression. This was one sport that could be enjoyed despite economic woes.

1961 : Luxury Portuguese cruise liner Santa Maria is hijacked by a terrorists leftist rebel group who had boarded in Venezuela and Curacao led by Henrique Galvão. The terrorists took control of the ship after killing 1 crew member and injuring others. When they had control they cut off all communication to the outside world. They then sailed the ship to Brazil and 11 days after hijacking the ship agreed to release the ship, passengers and crew in exchange for political asylum in Brazil.

The U.S. ship Pueblo is seized by North Korean naval vessels and charged with spying and violating North Korean territorial waters, the ship is a US intelligence gathering ship

The proposal to create a local community college system with in the Midwest City and Tulsa area was approved. This approval was made by the State Regents for Higher Education organization. However plans would be put on hold until communities are allowed to issue bonds for the establishment of these schools.

Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland for over twenty years, Cardinal Jozef Glemp died at the age of eighty-three. Glemp had overseen many crucial moments in the country while heading the church but had resigned in 2004 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

2014 : Morocco's parliament unanimously voted to change a controversial law that had spurred protests. The law had allowed rapists of underage girls the ability to avoid punishment by marrying the victims. While activists welcome the changes, they say that more needs to be done to protect women.

23 January 1943 - History

This week it seems appropriate to review a historical event that occurred in January of 1943: specifically, the Casablanca Conference between U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. This conference, which included a rotating cast of military and civilian visitors, lasted from Jan. 11 to Jan. 24. This was a fateful conference in more ways than one, particularly in that it resulted in the decision of the Allies to make their first invasion of the Nazi-held continent of Europe by opening up the Southern Front through Italy, rather than pursuing the cross-Channel assault, which was then delayed for more than a year (until D-Day). But our reason for dealing with it here, is a different one.

Already, by August 1941, it had become clear that Roosevelt and Churchill had different visions as to what the postwar world would look like. We rely here heavily on the small 1946 memoir, As He Saw It, by FDR's son Elliott Roosevelt, who attended some of the major pow-wows during the war with his father. According to Elliott, the meeting which framed the Atlantic Charter, a meeting held in Argentia, Newfoundland, featured a significant confrontation between the two world leaders over whether "18th-Century methods," the phrase FDR used to describe the imperial methods of the British Empire, would be permitted to continue after the war.

The same debate continued at Casablanca, according to Elliott. Today, as a gang of would-be imperialists counsel the President to follow down the road to an American Empire, we would do well to recall this discussion, and take lessons from what FDR had to say.

Casablanca-Conference - Seated: President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. Standing, front row, left to right: General Arnold, Admiral King, General Marshall, Admiral Pound, Air Chief Marshal Portal, General Brooke, Field Marshal Dill, and Admiral Mountbatten. January 1943.

The Casablanca conference being FDR's only trip to Africa, a land colonized by a variety of European nations, FDR took the opportunity both to visit certain regions, and to speak with some of the local leadership. Two events are instructive. First, he told Elliott about a stop he made in Gambia, a small strip of land owned by the British Empire. FDR was appalled at the state of the "natives," their low wages, their very high mortality rate. "Life expectancy&mdashyou'd never guess what it is," he said to Elliott. "Twenty-six years. Those people are treated worse than the livestock. Their cattle live longer!" This observation, the President told his son, underscored his determination that such colonialism had to end.

This was not an isolated observation. A couple of days later, FDR was lunching with friends and began to expatiate on the kind of development which would be possible in Africa. He reminded Elliott and his guests that there were underground rivers in Africa. "Divert this water flow for irrigation purposes? It'd make Imperial Valley in California look like a cabbage patch! And the salt flats: They were below the level of the Mediterranean you could dig a canal straight back to re-create that lake&mdashone hundred and fifty miles long, sixty miles wide. The Sahara would bloom for hundreds of miles!"

"Wealth!," he cried. "Imperialists don't realize what they can do, what they can create! They've robbed this continent of billions, and all because they were too short-sighted to understand that their billions were pennies, compared to the possibilities! Possibilities that must include a better life for the people who inhabit this land. "

The second singular event was FDR's invitation to the Sultan of Morocco for dinner, an event to which Churchill was also invited. Elliott describes it this way:

". [A]s the conversation proceeded, Churchill grew more and more disgruntled. What was the trouble? Father and the Sultan were animatedly chatting about the wealth of natural resources in French Morocco, and the rich possibilities for their development. They were having a delightful time, their French&mdashnot Mr. Churchill's strongest language&mdasheasily encompassing the question of the elevation of the living standards of the Moroccans and&mdashthe point&mdashof how this would of necessity entail an important part of the country's wealth being retained within its own boundaries."

Eventually, FDR brought up the potential of oil deposits in French Morocco. The Sultan, while happy, deplored the country's lack of trained scientists and engineers, to which FDR responded that "Moroccan engineers and scientists could of course be educated and trained under some sort of reciprocal educational programs with, for instance, some of our leading universities in the United States." He went on to present the idea of the Moroccans using American firms, but maintaining considerable control of their resources, obtaining the major part of the income stream, and eventually taking them over.

Elliott notes that only Churchill appeared disgruntled, glowering and biting at his cigar.

Empire Means War

But, besides the positive vision that FDR was putting forward&mdashone which was never realized, and is all the more poignant because of the genocide going on against Africa today&mdashPresident Roosevelt had another point which he was consistently pressing in discussions with his son, and more or less directly with others. To put it simply, he was concentrated on the fact that "empires mean war."

Elliott Roosevelt quotes him as follows:

"The thing is, the colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java take all the wealth out of those countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements&mdashall you're doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you're doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins."

Usefully, Elliott reports his own challenge to his father. Why should we interfere? he asks his father, with either the French or the British maintaining their empires. FDR responds sharply:

"I'm talking about another war, Elliott. I'm talking about what will happen to our world, if after this war we allow millions of people to slide back into the same semi-slavery!

"Don't think for a moment, Elliott, that Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight, if it hadn't been for the shortsighted greed of the French and the British and the Dutch. Shall we allow them to do it all, all over again? Your son will be about the right age, fifteen or twenty years from now."

He concluded with his own commitment: "When we've won, I will work with all my might and main to see to it that the United States is not wheedled into the position of accepting any plan that will further France's imperialistic ambition, or that will aid or abet the British Empire in its imperial ambitions."

Following Roosevelt's death, of course, this commitment was broken&mdashand both Britain and France maintained their empires, to the detriment of the entire world. Today, as the intellectual heirs of Churchill sing the siren song of "empire" again, FDR's words should ring in our ears, and be taken to heart.

The original article was published in the EIR Online&rsquos Electronic Intelligence Weekly, as part of an ongoing series on history, with a special emphasis on American history. We are reprinting and updating these articles now to assist our readers in understanding of the American System of Economy.

White Rose History: January 1933 – October 1943

In the Name
Of the German People

In the criminal case against

1. Hans Fritz Scholl from Munich, born in Ingersheim on September 22, 1918,

2. Sophia Magdalena Scholl from Munich, born May 9, 1921 in Forchtenberg,

3. Christoph Hermann Probst from Aldrans near Innsbruck, born November 6, 1919 in Murnau,

currently in interrogative custody with regards to the matter of traitorous aiding and abetting of the enemy, preparations for high treason, and demoralization of the armed forces –

The First Council of the People’s Court, pursuant to the trial of February 22, 1943, in which the following participated:

President of the People’s Court, Dr. Freisler, presiding

Director of the Regional Court Stier

SS-Gruppenführer Breithaupt

SA- Gruppenführer Bunge

Deputy Secretary of State and SA- Gruppenführer Köglmaier

As Representative of the Chief Prosecutor of the Reich:

Reich Attorney Weyersberg

The above have acknowledged as just:

That during a time of war, the accused used leaflets to call for sabotage of armaments and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life they have propagated defeatist thinking and vilified the Führer in a most vulgar manner, thereby aiding and abetting the enemies of the Reich and demoralizing our armed forces.

They are therefore to be punished by death.

They have forfeited their honor as citizens for ever. [Note 1]

The accused Hans Scholl has been studying medicine since Spring 1939 and – thanks to the solicitude of the National Socialist government – is now in his eighth semester! In between, he has seen active duty in the French campaign working in a field hospital from July to November 1942, he was on the Eastern Front as a medic.

As a student, he has the duty of exemplary community effort. As a soldier – and it is in this capacity that he has been ordered to study – he has a special duty of loyalty to the Führer. That and the solicitude that the Reich has bestowed especially on him was not enough to stop him from writing leaflets “of the White Rose” in the first half of the summer semester of 1942, from duplicating and disseminating them. These leaflets pessimistically prophesy Germany’s defeat, they call for passive resistance in the form of sabotage of the armaments industry and in general at every opportunity [Note 3] call for taking the National Socialist lifestyle away from the German people and therefore the government as well.

That, because he has deluded himself to believe that this is the only way the German people can survive the war!!

After he returned from Russia in November 1942, Scholl challenged his friend – the accused Probst – to give him a manuscript that would open the eyes of the German people! And Probst actually delivered a draft of a leaflet to Scholl as requested at the end of January 1943.

In conversations with his sister Sophia Scholl, the two of them decided to pursue leaflet propaganda in the sense of an effort against the war and in favor of cooperation with hostile plutocracies against National Socialism. The two siblings who had rooms with the same landlady co-wrote a leaflet [entitled] “To All Germans”. In this leaflet, Germany’s defeat in the war was prophesied, a War Of Independence against “National Socialist subhumanity” was announced, and demands in the sense of a liberal formal democracy were advanced. In addition, the siblings wrote a leaflet “German Students” (called “Fellow Students” in a later edition). They declared war on the Party, said that the day of reckoning were come, and were not embarrassed to compare their call for a battle against the Führer and the National Socialist lifestyle of our people with the war of independence against Napoleon (1813) and to associate the soldier’s song “awake my people, the beacons are burning” with it [Note 4].

The accused Scholls duplicated the leaflets partially with the assistance of a friend, the medical student Schmorell. The leaflets were distributed with mutual agreement:

1. Schmorell traveled to Salzburg, Linz, Vienna and mailed 200, 200, 1200 leaflets addressed for these cities and in Vienna, he mailed another 400 that were addressed to Frankfurt am Main

2. Sophia Scholl mailed 200 in Augsburg and on another occasion 600 in Stuttgart.

3. At night, Hans Scholl and Schmorell scattered thousands [of the leaflets] in the streets of Munich.

4. On February 18, the Scholl siblings set out 1500 – 1800 [leaflets] at the University of Munich in small parcels [sic], and Sophia Scholl threw a pile from the third floor down to the Lichthof.

Hans Scholl and Schmorell also carried out a graffiti operation on the nights of February 3, 8, and 15, 1943 [Note 5] in many places in Munich, especially at the university. These read “Down with Hitler”, “Hitler the Mass Murderer”, “Freedom”. Sophia Scholl found out about this after the first occasion, agreed with it and asked – unsuccessfully, to be sure – to participate in the future!

The accused have themselves disputed [Note 6] the expenditures, which totaled approximately 1000 Marks [Note 7].

Probst also began his medical studies in Spring 1939 and is now in his eighth semester as a soldier ordered to study [at the university]. He is married and has 3 children ages 2-1/2 years, 1-1/4 years, and 4 weeks old. He is an “unpolitical person”, which means he is not a man at all! Neither the solicitude of the National Socialist Reich for his vocational education, nor the fact that the National Socialist population policy enabled him to have a family while still a student, prevented him from completing a manuscript at Scholl’s request, in cowardly defeatism. The manuscript used the heroic battle in Stalingrad as an occasion to vilify the Führer as a militaristic swindler, and that – devolving into the form of an exhortation calls for action in the sense of what he presents as honorable surrender as assumption of a position against National Socialism. He supports the promises contained in his leaflet with reference to – Roosevelt! And he obtained his knowledge of this by listening to English broadcasts!

All the accused have confessed to the above. Probst tries to excuse himself with “psychotic depression” during composition his reasons for this are Stalingrad and the puerperal fever of his wife. But that alone cannot excuse such a reaction.

Whoever does as the accused have done, that is treasonously demoralized the home front and therefore in time of war our armed forces and therefore aids and abets the enemy (§ 5 of the Special Wartime Crimes VO and § 91 StrGB), raises the dagger in order to knife the Front in the back. This applies as well to Probst, who may claim that his manuscript was never to have become a leaflet, because the manner of expression used in the manuscript demonstrates otherwise. He who acts in this manner is attempting to start a rift in the unbroken unity of our front line, especially now when it matters most that we stand strong together. And this was done by German students, whose honor has always called for self-sacrifice for nation [Note 8] and fatherland!

If this action were punished with anything other than death, it would create the beginning of a chain of developments whose end was once 1918. Therefore there was for the People’s Court only one just punishment that would protect our warring people and Reich: the death penalty. The People’s Court knows that in this matter it is of one mind with our soldiers!

The accused have forfeited their honor as citizens for ever by their [acts of] treason against our people.

As condemned persons, the accused must also bear the costs of the trial.

/Signature: Husk/
Chief Administrative Officer
Acting as Court Clerk for the Bureau

Chief Prosecutor of the Reich
Of the People’s Court

Note 1: The original German places the blame for the loss directly on the accused, ie, the courts did not take it from them, they voluntarily gave it up. Note also difference between handwritten draft: Honor as citizens, not civil rights.

Note 2: The final draft of the verdict, together with the justification for the verdict (“Reasons”), is in the ZC13267 file twice. With the first copy, the reasons are handwritten, presumably in Freisler’s hand. It is nearly illegible, therefore no attempt was made to compare the two documents to verify accuracy of the 1943 transcription. Verdict + “Reasons” only included in this translation once. I have also not attempted to make the English translation read better than the original German document, where the grammar and vocabulary are decidedly poor.

Note 3: The syntax in this sentence contains an error, left “as is”. ‘At every opportunity’ modifies ‘call’, not ‘taking away.’

Note 4: It = the war of independence.

Note 5: In the original document, if the reader did not know the dates in question, one would assume that the writer had said “August 3” instead of Feb 3 & 8, because of incorrect punctuation.

Note 6: Could also mean ‘paid for’. In a legal document, usually ‘dispute’, but throughout Freisler’s writing, always paid.

Note 7: Approx. $8000 as of January 2003.

Note 9: There are numerous handwritten notes between the Clerk’s signature and the addressee. All in different hands, and mostly illegible.

Note 10: Unless the text provides new information, I have not inserted the information from this verdict into the chronological database. For example, I have not added anything about the graffiti operation based on this verdict, since it is covered in detail by the interrogations, and since the text in this document agrees with the interrogation responses.-Ed.



movement to the Solomons by shuttling of combat teams began with the departure on October 9th, 1942 and arrival at Guadalcanal on October 13th of the 164th Infantry. The first twenty-four hours ashore was a trying experience for troops entering combat for the first time. Heavy daylight bombing attacks seriously interfered with the unloading and during the first night, Henderson Field was shelled by enemy battleships (14 inch shells), cruisers, and destroyers, causing many casualties. The enemy continued to act aggressively on land, sea, and in the air until defeated in his attack on Henderson Field, October 23-25, an operation in which the 164th Infantry took part in a manner which merited praise from Major General A.A. Vandegrift, USMC, Commanding.

On November 3rd, the 1st Battalion, 164th Infantry relieved a battalion of the 5th Marines in the front line of an offensive which had been launched west across the Matanikau on November 1st. During the period of November 4 to 11, the regiment, less this battalion, brigaded with the 7th Marines, operated successfully in offensive action against a Japanese force landed near Koli Point during the night of November 2-3.

The successful defense of Henderson Field, October 23-25, during which one Japanese Infantry regiment was practically annihilated, plus the pending arrival of the entire Americal Division had caused the Commanding General to launch an offensive west of the Matanikau River with Kokumbona as the objective. This was initiated by a successful crossing of the Matanikau on November 1st and had proceeded some 3 miles westward when on November 11th it became necessary to withdraw all troops (except one battalion of the 7th Marines, which remained at Koli Point) into the perimeter to meet a critical situation.

Aerial reconnaissance had for several days reported a concentration of transports in the Northern Solomons-New Britain area which, coupled with other intelligence, made it apparent that the enemy intended making a major effort to reinforce his troops on Guadalcanal. Enemy daylight bombing attacks interspersed with dive and torpedo bombing attacks on friendly shipping had been intensified and one ship had been torpedoed by a submarine while actually unloading off Lunga Point. As a result, General Vandegrift decided to occupy the position defenses of Henderson Field and adjacent installations, bounded on the east and west by the Tenaru and Matanikau Rivers and on the south by strung wire. The main position was divided into two sectors with the Lunga River as the boundary, the east sector from Lunga to Tenaru being commanded by Brigadier General William R. Rupertus, USMC the west sector by Brigadier General Edmund B. Sebree, United States Army. Troops assigned the west sector were the 164th Infantry, the 182nd Infantry (then enroute), and the 8th Marines. The remainder of the 1st Marine Division and attached units occupied the east sector. Artillery was grouped within the perimeter to support either sector.

On the night of November 11-12, enemy warships heavily shelled Henderson Field and the area adjacent to the beach in the vicinity of Lunga Point, destroying four airplanes and causing some casualties. Shortly after midnight, November 12-13, the spearhead of a large enemy naval formation, including two battleships, reached the Guadalcanal area and was furiously attacked by U.S. Naval Task Forces, commanded by Admirals Scott and Callaghan. This engagement took place just off shore and generally around Savo Island, some of the shells falling on Guadalcanal. The successful results of this engagement are so generally known as to require no detailed repetition. About noon on November 14th, a convoy of 12 Jap transports heavily loaded with troops was sighted moving south about 200 miles north of Guadalcanal. Our air forces made three strikes that day, sinking 8 transports and damaging 4 others. Shortly after daylight, November 15, four damaged transports apparently from the convoy were beached along the Guadalcanal coast between Tassafaronga and Dome Cove and were destroyed before they could unload. November 15th marked the end of a definite phase of operations on Guadalcanal. This was made more evident by the fact that from November 13th to on or about January 25th, the enemy made no aerial attacks during daylight hours.


Early on November 18th, the 2nd Battalion, 182nd Infantry crossed the river and went into position in the left sector of the proposed bridgehead. The enemy make no attempt to interfere with this movement. On the following day, the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry, crossed the Matanikau with mission of occupying the right sector of the bridgehead. Company "B" 8th Marines covering this movement made contact with a strong Japanese force about 1,500 yards west of Point Cruz and a sharp fire fight resulted. This company was forced to withdraw to avoid being outflanked, took position on a ridge just east of and running south from the base of Point Cruz, reorganized and again attempted to move forward, with artillery support but could not make a substantial advance. During the action just described, the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry was moved to assembly areas, prepared to attack and seize their objective. The remainder of the day was devoted to patrol action and development and a limited objective attack was ordered for daylight 20 November with the mission of seizing the high ground which outlined the front of the right sector. During, the night of November 19-20, the. enemy shelled the assembly areas with artillery and mortar fire, causing many casualties, several of whom were officers, and interfering seriously with control. The attack began shortly after daylight on the 20th but encountered such severe and intense fire of all classes that the objective was not reached. The zone of heaviest enemy fire was along the right (beach) and Companies "A" and "'C" received the greatest number of casualties. It was the first combat experience of this unit and there was considerable confusion and some straggling. However, confidence was soon restored and a well-controlled and disciplined firing line organized. While the enemy strength was unknown, it was apparent that additional troops would be required to seize the objective and orders were issued that afternoon for the 164th Infantry to move forward under cover of darkness and attack at daylight November 21st generally south of the position held by the, 1st Battalion.

The attack was launched as ordered and after severe fighting, the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry, advancing along the beach, seized Point Cruz and pushed their forward elements about 100 yards west of there but could advance no further. The 164th Infantry, after heavy fighting, was able to occupy that portion of the objective assigned. An attack was again ordered on the morning of November 22nd, but again no substantial advance was made. Therefore, on the afternoon of that day, the 8th Marines were directed to attack at daylight on November 23rd, passing through the lines of the 164th Infantry and seizing a ridge some 200 yards to the front of the lines then occupied. This attack was launched as ordered but after an entire day of severe fighting, it became evident that further advance would not be possible without accepting casualties in numbers to preclude the advisability of this action. Consequently, on the evening of November 23rd, units then in line were directed to dig in and hold their positions. Each night from November 20th to 24th and on many nights thereafter, the enemy launched attacks which were repelled with heavy enemy losses. Thus, on November 24th, the position west of the Matanikau was stabilized and the lines remained unchanged until the general Corps attack was launched on January 10th.

From a captured document it was later determined that a meeting engagement with the 2nd Japanese Division had taken place on the morning of November 20th.


Three intermediate steps essential to an eventual all out victory were as follows:

General Patch directed the 132nd infantry to occupy Mt. Austen and conduct necessary reconnaissance this operation was initiated on December 17th. The Mt. Austen area had been patrolled previously and from the information obtained, it was not believed that the enemy had any sizeable force there. Consequently, the 3rd Battalion, 132nd Infantry moved out to accomplish this objective. They reached the edge of the jungle of Mt., Austen shortly after noon on December 17th and after penetrating the jungle were held up by enemy machine gun fire which inflicted some casualties and resulted in the battalion commander devoting the remainder of the afternoon to reconnaissance and disposing his force for an attack on the morning of December 18th. The attack was launched as scheduled, but shortly thereafter, the battalion commander, Lt. Col. William C. Wright, 132nd Infantry, was killed, which resulted in some confusion and required reorganization. The advance continued but it soon became apparent that enemy resistance was such that one battalion could not accomplish the mission. Consequently, the 1st Battalion 132nd infantry, commanded by Lt. Col. Earl R. Ripstra, was moved forward and directed to envelop the enemy's right east flank. Enemy resistance was stubborn. Supply, which at this time was entirely by hand carrier, was difficult and it eventually became necessary to delay until the Engineers could construct "jeep" roads along the grassy slopes to the edge of the jungle near the summit. When the enemy was fixed and his positions located, successful operations permitted the 2nd Battalion, 132nd Infantry, commanded by lt. Col. George F. Ferry, and a wide flanking movement to the south, to capture Hill 27, which resulted in clearing the enemy from the northern and eastern slopes of Mt. Austen. This was successfully accomplished on January 2nd against stubborn enemy resistance and repeated counterattacks. Enemy losses during this period approximated 400. On January 9th, the 35th Infantry executed a brilliant flanking movement which, assisted by the 3rd Battalion, 182nd Infantry (attached to the 25th Division) succeeded in pocketing and later annihilating the famed OKA regiment, which was strongly dug in on the northwestern slope of Mt. Austen near the head waters of the Matanikau.

World War II Database

ww2dbase This article does not include events taking place on and around the island of Guadalcanal. For details on the Guadalcanal Campaign, please see the Guadalcanal Campaign article.

ww2dbase Also, this article does not include events taking place on and around New Britain and New Ireland, either. As they were administratively parts of Australian New Guinea, please see the three New Guinea campaign articles (Jan 1942, 1942-1943, 1943-1945).

ww2dbase Battle of Eastern Solomons
23-25 Aug 1942

ww2dbase The first major carrier battle off the Solomon Islands occurred shortly after the American landings on Guadalcanal. Although Guadalcanal was always a secondary objective for the Japanese, they realized regular reinforcements and supply runs were critical for a continuous campaign on that island to recapture Henderson Field. Consequently, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto put together a powerful expeditionary force whose aim was first to destroy any American fleet units that might be in the area, and then eliminate Henderson Field. This force sortied from Truk on 23 Aug. Simultaneously, several other reinforcement, support, and bombardment groups sortied from both Truk and Rabaul.

ww2dbase The Americans had a maximum of three carriers with which to meet the Japanese force, but Wasp was detached to refuel on 23 Aug, so she was out of the coming action. As a result, the Americans only had two carriers, Saratoga and Enterprise, and their 176 aircraft to meet the two Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku and the light carrier Ryujo. The Japanese had 177 aircraft at their disposal. In his usual tendency to devise complex battle plans, Yamamoto sent the light carrier Ryujo ahead of the rest of the fleet on a bait role, sending her planes to attack Guadalcanal, thus drawing attention from the American pilots meanwhile, the aircraft from the two fleet carriers would charge in to attack the American counterparts. The bait Ryujo was overwhelmed and was hit by several 1,000-lb bombs then subsequently one hit by aerial torpedo. She eventually sank that night after being abandoned. While Ryujo was being attacked, her larger fleet mates Shokaku and Zuikaku counterattacked. Their aircraft passed the curtain of anti-aircraft fire laid down by North Carolina and other ships, and damaged Enterprise badly with three bomb hits. The bombs passed through several decks aft and exploded deep in the carrier and caused serious fires and casualties. However, effective damage control kept her from being disabled. She was able to restore use of the flight deck briefly while Nagumo's aircraft returned for fuel. Enterprise managed to transfer the majority of her aircraft to Henderson Field before limping away to the southeast to fight another day. During this confrontation, Enterprise's aircraft also disabled the Japanese seaplane carrier Chitose, though she would be saved. The Japanese fleet attempted to Admiral Nobutake Kondo looked to engage the Americans in a night surface fight with his battleships and cruisers, but Fletcher withdrew southward to avoid just such an engagement. After failing to find the American fleet, Kondo turned his force back at 2330, ending the battle.

ww2dbase The next day both fleets "groped for each other like tired wrestlers with smoke in their eyes", said Dan van der Vat. The Japanese launched an air raid on Guadalcanal, causing havoc, while American Marine aircraft engaged Tanaka's convoy headed by the flagship Jintsu near Taivu Point. A Japanese transport was sunk, and the older destroyer Mutsuki was so badly hit that she had to be scuttled. Several other warships were damaged Tanaka's own Jintsu was hit as well. At this point, Tanaka wisely withdrew and rescheduled the supply run for the night of 28 Aug via destroyers. Meanwhile, the American carrier Wasp positioned herself east of Guadalcanal expecting Japanese movement there, but found none.

ww2dbase Strategically, the Japanese had an opportunity for a decisive victory but failed to achieve it, instead allowing the Americans to step away with a perception of victory, even only with a small margin. Additionally, the reinforcement of Henderson Field of Guadalcanal by Enterprise's aircraft became a precedent, making daylight supply runs to Guadalcanal impossible for Japanese shipping. The Japanese only weeks before had total control of the sea in the region now they were forced to making supply runs only under the cover of darkness.

ww2dbase Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
25-27 Oct 1942

ww2dbase Since Battle of Eastern Solomons, Yamamoto's standing order for the navy had always been "to apprehend and annihilate any powerful forces in the Solomons area, as well as any reinforcements." He was sure his Combined Fleet could do just that with an arsenal of 4 carriers, 5 battleships, 14 cruisers, and 44 destroyers the force greatly outnumbered anything William Halsey, who entered the theater on 15 Oct, had under his disposal.

ww2dbase On 23 Oct 1942, 650 miles north of Espiritu Santo, an American aircraft spotted a Japanese carrier and radioed in the warning. A small group of torpedo bombers took off to search for the ship, and only one pilot was able to find the ship he launched his torpedo but it missed. On 26 Oct, the scouting aircraft of the two opposing carrier groups found each other. Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo launched his 65 aircraft first, then Rear Admiral Thomas Kinkaid launched his aircraft from Enterprise 20 minutes later. Rear Admiral George Murray did not launch his aircraft from carrier Hornet until yet another 30 minutes later. The Americans launched in total 73 aircraft. The Japanese found the American carriers first, but with Enterprise hiding in a squall, Hornet was the only one the Japanese pilots saw, and that was how they reported it back to Kondo. Hornet began to be attacked around 0910 by the entire Japanese force, but Hornet and her anti-aircraft screen laid out a heavy wall of flak. Within minutes of engagement, a bomb hit the starboard side of the flight deck aft, then two near-misses caused minor damage. Next, the Japanese squadron commander crashed his damaged dive bomber into Hornet, glancing off the stack and the two still-attached bombs exploded. Finally, two aerial torpedoes struck Hornet in the engineering spaces, slowing the ship to a stop, becoming an easy target for the three quarter-ton bombs that struck her subsequently. One of these three bombs penetrated four decks before exploding, causing serious fires underneath. Hornet was now completely crippled, but it came at a cost of 25 Japanese aircraft.

ww2dbase Because fuel was not in abundance, American aircraft that were launched first went ahead for the enemy formation without hovering overhead to wait for the later-launched comrades. What resulted was the Enterprise aircraft reaching the Japanese first without a concerted effort of a greater number of different types of bombers. The Enterprise aircraft reached the Shokaku group at 0930 and attacked the Japanese carrier. Japanese combat air patrol Zero fighters attacked the unescorted American SBD dive bombers and shot down or turned back several, but three to six of them still successfully planted their 1,000-lb bombs on the flight decks of Shokaku. The damage Shokaku sustained during this battle was so great that she was to be out of the war for the next nine months. Had the Enterprise dive bombers waited for Hornet's torpedo bombers before launching their strike, a couple of well-placed torpedoes at this time could have finished Shokaku. In fact, Hornet's torpedo bombers failed to find Shokaku completely instead, they gave up their search for the carrier and launched their torpedo ineffectively at cruiser Suzuya around 0930 and headed home. Another group of aircraft, also from Hornet, failed to find the Japanese carriers, and instead made their dives on cruiser Chikuma, exploding a bomb on the bridge and killing many senior officers.

ww2dbase Kondo was an able commander who very quickly figured out, based on the number of American attackers, that there must be two enemy carriers in the vicinity. While Hornet and her escorting destroyers fought the raging fires on the carrier, Kondo ordered a search and strike on the second carrier. Enterprise was found about 1000. This time it was the Japanese who made the mistake of not attacking in coordination. Dive bombers attacked Enterprise without waiting for the arrival of torpedo bombers. Enterprise and battleship South Dakota fired their anti-aircraft weapons with effectiveness, with the carrier downing 7 aircraft and the battleship 26. Out of the 23 bombs released against Enterprise, only two hits and one near-miss were scored. The first hit exploded 50 feet under the forecastle deck, and the second crashed into the third deck before exploding. Despite damage, Enterprise was not disabled.

ww2dbase During the battle, American destroyer Porter was lost, and destroyer Smith's superstructure was damaged from a suicide attack from a torpedo bomber. A subsequent attack attempted to sink the damaged Hornet, but it was ineffective. Cruiser Northampton attempted to tow her to safety, but it took a while to get going. Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Murray transferred his flag from Hornet to cruiser Pensacola. In the early afternoon, Captain Mason of Hornet ordered all wounded and non-essential men to be removed from the ship. Kondo put together a smaller aerial strike force than the morning attack to spearhead a second assault that included surface ships. At 1515, the Japanese aircraft reached Hornet, launching six torpedoes. Northampton cut the towing cables and successfully maneuvered to save herself, but the immobile Hornet was struck by one of them, rapidly flooding the after engine room. At 1540 Japanese dive bombers appeared, but all their bombs missed. At 1550, a formation of six bombers appeared and scored a hit on Hornet's flight deck. At 1702, a small strike force from light carrier Junyo scored a final bomb hit on the carrier's hangar deck. After suffering 111 killed and 108 wounded, she was finally to be scuttled. American destroyer Mustin received the order to launch eight torpedoes at Hornet, and to a great embarrassment, only three hit, and they did not effectively sink the carrier. At 1920, destroyer Anderson fired eight torpedoes as well. Only six of them hit, and Hornet again failed to be sunk. The American ships resorted to using gunfire. After 300 rounds, they failed once again. Hornet finally sank at 0130 on 27 Oct after the arrival of Kondo's fleet at the face of four Japanese 24-inch torpedoes.

ww2dbase After achieving this tactical victory during the fourth major carrier confrontation of the Pacific War, Kondo withdrew his forces to Truk.

ww2dbase Attacks on New Georgia
9 Dec 1942-24 Jan 1943

ww2dbase The New Georgia group of islands was about one hundred miles north of Guadalcanal. The five large islands were originally bypassed by the Japanese in favor of skipping to Guadalcanal, but as the American Marines garrisoned the captured Henderson Field, the strategy was revised as more land-based planes were needed to strike Guadalcanal. On 24 Nov 1942 a large Japanese convoy sailed for a small clearing on the western side of New Georgia island, currently used by a small coconut plantation. Although the convoy attracted American attention as early as 28 Nov, American intelligence saw nothing there based on aerial photographs besides a few scattered small buildings. Finally, on 3 Dec, a sharp-eyed American intelligence expert saw something: the Japanese were building an airfield underneath the neat rows of coconut trees. Whenever a tree needed to be uprooted, overhead wires were laid and dressed with leaves so that the appearance of a tree was maintained in the same location. On 6 Dec, American aircraft from Henderson Field paid a low-level visit to the location and confirmed the existence of the airfield after strafing at the Japanese engineers and troops there.

On 9 Dec, the first major operation against the newly constructed Munda Field was mounted. 18 B-17 bombers began a series of raids by various types of aircraft on Munda. On 13 Dec PBY Catalina aircraft began their occasional night time bombings.

ww2dbase On 4 Jan 1943, while US Army infantry were advancing on Guadalcanal on a planned offensive, Halsey sent a fleet to bombard Munda Field to divert any aerial reinforcement that might be sent to disrupt the Army offensive. The bombardment force consisted of three light cruisers and two destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Walden Ainsworth the support group behind them had three light cruisers, one heavy cruiser, and three destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Mahlon Tisdale. Shortly after 0100 in the early morning of 5 Jan, the bombardment commenced. For the next 50 minutes they had deposited nearly 3,000 rounds of 6-in shells and 1,400 rounds of 5-in shells on the Japanese airfield. The next morning, American reconnaissance aircraft visited Munda Field and reported a heavily damaged airfield and no sign of enemy anti-aircraft fire. A retaliatory strike by air came as the ships were steaming home, but it only damaged one of the turrets atop the New Zealand destroyer Achilles that sailed with the support group.

ww2dbase Munda Field was not the only airfield the Japanese constructed in the New Georgia island group. Another field, Vila, was built on the southern tip of Kolombangara. In the evening of 23 Jan, Ainsworth made another trip up the slot to New Georgia. At 0200 on 24 Jan, his bombardment group consisted of two light cruisers and four destroyers began firing. In the following hour the two light cruisers nearly sent 2,000 rounds of 6-in shells at the direction of the airfield, and the destroyers added 1,500 rounds of 5-in. A few return fires came from coastal batteries, but they were generally ineffective. The Japanese then tried to defend from the air, but a convenient squall together with radar-directed anti-aircraft gunnery saved the American ships.

ww2dbase After day break on 24 Jan, 24 SBD, 17 TBF, and 18 F4F aircraft took off from Henderson Field to follow up on the attack. The American aircraft dropped 23 tons of bombs on Vila by 0800.

ww2dbase Although the "Ainsworth Express" runs, augmented with aerial bombardments, were effective in damaging the Japanese airfields, overall the Japanese engineers were as capable in repairing damaged airfields as the American Marine engineers were with Henderson. The attacks achieved short term objectives by disrupting Japanese capabilities to launch land-based aircraft, but in the long run Halsey knew that the only way he could halt the operations from these new fields was to take them from the Japanese. That was something he was not ready to do, yet.

ww2dbase Battle of Rennell Island
29-30 Jan 1943

ww2dbase Some time in the afternoon of 29 Jan 1943, American radar detected a group of unknown aircraft. Since the radar identification system was not very reliable, the American radar operators of Rear Admiral Robert Giffen's Task Force 18 did not know what to relay to the admiral. The aircraft were Japanese, and they were in an exact opposite situation, with friendly submarines stationed near Giffen's force to give them up-to-the-minute status updates. The 31 Japanese torpedo bombers struck Giffen's two escort carriers, three heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and eight destroyers 50 miles north of Rennell Island, the southern-most island of the Solomon Islands. The torpedo bombers circled the southern rim of the task force and attacked from the east in two groups. The first wave of attacks saw at least one torpedo bomber splash into the waves, and the American ships turned hard to avoid the torpedoes. The second wave came some time later after Giffen's sailors had relaxed their guards. To their surprise, white floating flares were dropped from Japanese aircraft to light the path of the ships' movement, so that the Japanese torpedo bombers knew exactly where to strike in the dim lighting conditions of the early night. At 1931, the bombers launched their torpedoes. One hit cruiser Louisville but it failed to detonate and the rest missed again at least one bomber was downed by the newly equipped Mark-32 anti-aircraft shells. At 1938, another run was made, and this time the Japanese pilots drew blood. Destroyer Walker was hit astern, and cruiser Chicago at port bow. As Chicago slowed, another hit her starboard side at 1945 and crippled her. At 2000, Giffen ordered a change in course. Between the course change and the darkening conditions, the Japanese pilots lost the task force and headed for home by 2015. They had lost 12 of their fellow pilots on this raid.

ww2dbase At 2030, Louisville took station near Chicago, and their crews completed a stunning manual effort to hook up the heavy steel hawser to Chicago's towing tackle. Louisville towed Chicago until day break next day and transferred the tow to tugboat Navajo. As Navajo towed Chicago at four knots and escorted by six destroyers, 12 torpedo bombers of the same "Betty" type struck at 1540 on 30 Jan 1943. The few that got through the combat air patrol launched their torpedoes and fatally wounded Chicago. Captain Ralph Davis of Chicago evacuated his ship in about 20 minutes, and a few moments after the last of the 1,049 survivors left the ship, she sank stern first.

ww2dbase The returning Japanese pilots thought they had gotten a battleship, and reported to their superiors as so. The propaganda machine at Tokyo quickly announced this battle as a great victory. Both William Halsey (in the post-battle report) and Samuel Eliot Morison (in his 1949 book) blamed Giffen's inexperience in the theater for the loss of Chicago Giffen had just been transferred to the South Pacific only days before this battle from Casablanca.

ww2dbase Landing on the Russell Islands
21 Feb 1943

ww2dbase The Russell Islands immediately northwest to Guadalcanal were captured by the Allied forces without significant Japanese opposition.

ww2dbase Battle of the Bismarck Sea
2-4 Mar 1943

ww2dbase While the Guadalcanal campaign was raging, an equally bitter series of battles was occurring on the island of New Guinea. Under the direction of Japanese war minister Hajime Sugiyama, Japanese troops were sent to seize an airfield near Wau, thirty-two miles from Salamaua. MacArthur's forces were ready for them, routing the Japanese invaders with an Australian brigade. Then Imperial General Headquarters ordered a convoy from Rabaul to land much-needed reinforcements in the Buna-Gona area under the code name of Operation 81. The convoy was consisted of six transports, one old navy supply ship, and one small freighter (carrying a total of 6,600 troops) and was escorted by eight destroyers. The convoy set sail riding on the front of heavy weather to hide their movement, but it was nevertheless discovered hours after their departure from Rabaul, New Britain on 1 Mar 1943. Attacks launched on the same day failed to locate the convoy, but in the following two days the Japanese ships were utterly overwhelmed by Allied air power, leading to the sinking of all eight transport ships and four of the eight destroyers by strafing, bombing, and skip-bombing additionally, eight Zero fighters and seven Ki-43 fighters were shot down.

ww2dbase The aftermath of the battle was ugly for both sides. On 3 Mar 1943, after shooting down US B-17 bomber "Double Trouble", Japanese fighters strafed at the descending parachutes in frustration. Having observed this act, the Americans lowered themselves to the same level during the subsequent attack waves in which they not only dropped bombs on rescuing barges but also machine gunned survivors floating in the water. These attacks on the helpless Japanese survivors would continue through 5 Mar 1943.

ww2dbase After the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, in which the Japanese suffered more than 3,000 killed, the Japanese would never again attempt to run slow transports into the face of American air power.

ww2dbase When Kenney woke MacArthur to inform him the news of the victory at Bismarck Sea, Kenney commented that "I had never seen him so jubilant". MacArthur, at a press conference that soon followed the Bismarck Sea action, declared that the control of the sea "no longer depends solely or even primarily upon naval power, but upon air power operating from land bases held by ground troops". This offended members of the US Navy, but even the admirals could not deny that airpower was a decisive factor in the Pacific War.

ww2dbase Landings on New Georgia
30 Jun 1943 - 5 Aug 1943

ww2dbase New Georgia lay immediately to the northwest of the Russell Islands, housing Japanese airfields at Munda and Vila. To soften up the defenses there before the landing, flights from Henderson bombed New Georgia, resulting in disabling the two before-mentioned airfields (Japanese would alternatively use Rabaul and Bougainville as launch points of air missions after these two airfields were destroyed). When Japanese submarine RO103 spotted Admiral Turner's amphibious force approaching from the south on 30 Jun, the Japanese commanders were taken by surprise, and were not able to react efficiently to the subsequent landing, though two freighters were sunk by submarines off New Georgia.

ww2dbase New Georgia was invaded from five landing points. When the landings took place, a Japanese air raid was launched in attempt to disrupt the landings. A torpedo damaged (later she was abandoned, then sunk in error by American PT boats) Turner's flagship, transport McCawley, but the air raid was more or less ineffective in the intended disruption. The Allied landing force faced much difficulties from reefs, mud, and intense bombardment, in addition to strong resistance from Major General Noboru Sasaki's 5,000 troops. This obscure island took the American troops a significant amount of time to capture: the major airfield, Munda, fell to the Americans on 5 Aug 1943.

ww2dbase Battle of Kula Gulf
5-6 Jul 1943

ww2dbase On the night of 5 Jul, an American cruiser and destroyer task force was notified of the approach of a Japanese destroyer reinforcement group outbound from Buin. The Americans reversed course and moved to meet them off of Kolombangara. First contact was made at 0106 by Japanese radar (note that the use of radar is rare for the Japanese Navy) aboard Niizuki. The Americans enjoyed an advantage in terms of gunfire, and the Japanese had several ships loaded with combat troops, but as usual the Japanese advantage in torpedoes and tactics made up the difference. Being the keen night warriors as they were, the Japanese launched their newest 24-inch torpedoes against the flashing American guns.

ww2dbase The Americans maintained a line-ahead formation and began firing at 0157. They quickly demolished Niizuki, which drew fire from every American cruiser. Japanese torpedoes were already in the water, however, and at 0203 they hit Helena, which lost her bow back to the No. 2 turret, and then took another two hits which sank her. Meanwhile, the Japanese had several vessels damaged and one destroyer sunk (killing Admiral Akiyama) by gunfire, and Nagatsuki had run aground (she was destroyed by bombing runs on the next day). Both forces began a general retirement.

ww2dbase 165 of Helena's survivors were missed by general rescue efforts. They hung on to various floating devices, and eventually made their ways to the island of Vella Lavella. They would be aided by local Australian coast watchers and friendly locals. They were rescued by destroyers on 16 Jul.

ww2dbase As the battle wore on, both sides still had destroyers in the area attempting to rescue survivors one Japanese and two American. Around 0500 Amagiri and Nicholas exchanged torpedoes and then gunfire. Amagiri was hit and retired, leaving Niizuki's survivors to their fate. The Americans, by contrast succeeded in rescuing many of Helena's survivors. The final casualty was Nagatsuki abandoned by her crew in the morning after they failed to get her afloat, she was bombed into a sinking state by US planes.

ww2dbase The losses were about even for both sides. Given the disadvantages the Japanese had labored under, the Americans really ought to have done better. This battle is intriguing, too, for the fact that it was the Japanese who used their search radar effectively. However, American radar gunfire control (which the Japanese still did not have) had allowed them to inflict rapid damage to the opposing force.

ww2dbase During the actions at Kula Gulf, the Japanese were successful in landing over 2,000 troops.

ww2dbase Battle of Kolombangara
12-13 Jul 1943

ww2dbase A Tokyo Express led by Rear Admiral Shunji Izaki and his light cruiser Jintsu and four destroyer-transports was met by Ainsworth's Task Group 18. New Zealand light cruiser Leander and other light cruisers and destroyers were targeted by Japanese torpedoes before they opened gunfire against the Japanese. The Japanese were radar-less, but they were eqiuped with radar direction-finding equipment which aided them greatly, including the early clues of American ship locations that allowed them to fire their torpedoes early.

ww2dbase The veteran Jintsu was destroyed by 2,600 rounds of cruiser shells, killing Admiral Izaki himself. The Americans lost a destroyer, Gwin, and sustained heavy damage on light cruisers Honolulu and St. Louis. The Japanese landed 1,200 troops on Kolombangara and withdrew to Buin in Bougainville. This confrontation was another example of Japanese skillfulness with torpedoes not only that the Japanese torpedoes could travel much further (21 miles!) than their inferior American counterparts, the Japanese could also reload their torpedo tubes twice as quickly than the American sailors.

ww2dbase Battle of Vella Gulf
6-7 Aug 1943

ww2dbase Yet another Japanese destroyer reinforcement group, this time headed for Kolombangara, was intercepted by an American destroyer force near Vella Lavella, under the command of American Commander Frederick Moosbrugger. The Americans used the black backdrop of Kolombangara to hide their ships. They also avoided using their guns until their torpedoes were in the water. By the time Shigure, which was at the tail end of the Japanese column (with Tameichi Hara aboard) spotted the Americans at 2344, the American fish were about a minute away from their targets. As Shigure began launching an eight-fish salvo, the three lead Japanese destroyers were hit within moments of each other. Shigure, too, was hit by a dud torpedo as she turned away. The fish punched a hole in her rudder.

ww2dbase The Americans then closed in to finish the job with gunfire. Practically no resistance came from the crippled Japanese destroyers. Shigure had no choice but to run for her life. In all, the Japanese had lost three ships and over 1,500 men (900 of which were land troops). The Americans suffered not a single casualty, much attributed to the well-drilled American sailors. The Japanese survivors in the water refused rescue from the American destroyers.

ww2dbase This battle is important because for the first time American destroyers had demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they could meet and best their opposite numbers. By being relieved of their normal duties of screening cruisers, and the linear tactics that role had thus far imposed, the American DDs were able to employ innovative torpedo tactics which had worked beautifully. The Japanese Navy had been served notice that its reign of nighttime torpedo supremacy was at an end.

ww2dbase Battle off Horaniu
18 Aug 1943

ww2dbase By mid-July, the situation on Kolombangara was such that the Japanese were making every effort to remove heir troops. American troops were by now overpowering the Japanese, totaling 6,300 men on the island. A Japanese barge convoy, escorted by destroyers, was sent out on 17 Aug to attempt the evacuation mission. An American destroyer force had come north that night to intercept and destroy the barges.

ww2dbase Both forces spotted each other at 0029 on 18 Aug. The Japanese launched torpedoes at very long range, but the Americans had formed up line abreast and thus combed their wakes. After another series of maneuvers, however, the two destroyer forces found themselves line abreast and within long gunfire range. Both groups hammered away at each other, but were generally ineffective. At around 0100 the Isokaze's radar (erroneously) detected another American force closing from the south, at which point the Japanese retired. In the interim, though, most of the Japanese barges had scattered, leaving only two for the Americans to find and sink.

ww2dbase Neither side had been particularly impressive this night. The only redeeming feature for the Americans was the fact that with radar controlled gunfire they had at least scored more near-misses and straddles than their enemy. The other important thing to note is that, once again, the Americans had demonstrated that their destroyers (at least) were beginning to learn how to take the sting out of Japanese torpedo tactics.

ww2dbase On 14 Sep, the Japanese garrison on Kolombangara would fall to American control.

ww2dbase Battle of Vella Lavella
6 Oct 1943

ww2dbase In October, the Japanese ran another destroyer barge force towards Vella Lavella to try and rescue the 600-some soldiers stranded there, in what Dan van der Vat said was "a militarily correct decision. to evacuate it". An American destroyer group was dispatched to block this movement. Interestingly, a relatively large task force was sent to rescue less than one battalion, but for once the Japanese would enjoy a numerical advantage as they outnumbered the American destroyers nine to six (although three of them were converted to troop carriers). This task force was led by Rear Admiral Masuji Ijuin and it came from Rabaul. The American counterpart was led by Captain Frank Walker. Walker decided not to join his two groups of three destroyers before approaching the likely scene of battle. Thus he would bring his three 'tin cans' up against a much superior force.

ww2dbase The Japanese actually spotted the Americans visually a minute before American radar returned the favor, but the Japanese were unsure of their sighting for another several minutes. As luck would have it, their course and speed were such that they stood a good chance of crossing the American 'T'. However, the Japanese commander then engaged his squadron in a complex series of maneuvers which wasted the initial advantage. At 2256, both columns opened up on each other simultaneously.

ww2dbase The American destroyer Chevalier was crippled almost immediately to a torpedo, and the next destroyer in line O'Bannon then proceeded to ram her sister. However, American gunfire was simultaneously tearing Yugumo apart. After a brief exchange of further gunnery between Selfridge, Shigure and Samidare, the Japanese retreated the way the came, apparently fearing larger American forces were approaching the area (by the time Captain Harold Larson's three destroyers came by, the Japanese were already gone). The Japanese barges, however, accomplished their mission and rescued all the remaining Japanese troops on the island. All in all, not an impressive showing for the Americans, who should have waited to join forces before attacking the Japanese.

ww2dbase As usual, both side exaggerated claims of enemy ships sunk, but in conclusion the Japanese scored a small tactical victory here. However, at the end of this night action, Japanese presence would be completely withdrawn from the central Solomons region.

ww2dbase Attack on Bougainville
1 Nov 1943

ww2dbase The next target with the Island Hopping campaign was the island of Bougainville, a former German colony that was mandated to Australia in 1919 after WW1. Nearly the entire 130-mile by 30-mile area was dense jungle, with a exception of a small coastal plain at the southern end. The Japanese Bougainville garrison totalled 60,000 men, deployed on Bougainville, Shortlands, Buka, and Treasury islands. There were a total of five military airfields under Japanese control. To attack Bougainville, Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet and Admiral Fitch's land-based aircraft went into MacArthur's jurisdiction. The amphibious force consisted of Major General Roy Geiger's US Marines.

ww2dbase To soften the landings, American aircraft bombed the five Japanese airfields late in October. Although these bombings confused the Japanese in that they could not determine where the Americans would strike next, the bombings were a bit overrated as over 200 aircraft were still operational for the defenders at the time of the landings. Admiral Koga decided to deploy 173 aircraft, taken away from the precious carriers, to the area in determination to destroy the next wave of American attackers by air power. This defense plan was Operation RO.

ww2dbase Treasury Islands was attacked by New Zealand troops on 17 Oct, with the goal of gaining a logistical base for further Bougainville actions. On the main island of Mono, well dug-in machine gun nests were giving Allied troops a difficult time. Captain Robert Briscoe of the light cruiser Denver recalled how the landing troops took care of this obstacle in a brutal and unorthodox manner:

They closed the front doors and this twenty-ton bulldozer, which happened to be one of the first pieces of equipment out, this man manned his bulldozer and lifted his blade up to give him protection in his cab and trundled out, dropped his blade in front of the strong point and in about ten minutes had covered the whole place over to a depth of about six feet. And then, not being satisfied, he rode back and forth over it and trampled it down well and covered up the entire strong point, and from that time on there was no further opposition to that particular landing.

ww2dbase The Treasury Islands were under Allied control by 6 Nov.

ww2dbase On 1 Nov 1943, the Americans landed a large amphibious force on Bougainville under the command of Major General Turnage of the US Marines. The landing force was counterattacked by two waves of air attacks, but to no significant impact. The Japanese forces at the particular landing site totaled less than 300, therefore posing only a small threat despite the carefully laid machine gun cross fire and artillery. Once the forces headed inland, however, the difficulty began. The Marines soon found out that the naval bombardment "had accomplished nothing", as noted in Marine Corps' official history. The men faced Japanese defenders well entrenched and well hidden in the dense tropical jungles.

ww2dbase With the attack on Bougainville taking place, he Americans expected a vigorous response from the Japanese from the sea, and indeed response was given. Admiral Sentaro Omori sortied from Rabaul at once with a powerful surface force of two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and six destroyers. The American Task Force 39 was under the command of Rear Admiral Stanton Merrill. Having sent most of their assault transports out of the danger zone before nightfall, Merrill awaited the Japanese with four light cruisers and eight destroyers. The advantage in both gunfire and torpedoes clearly lay with the Japanese.

ww2dbase Fortunately for the Americans, the Japanese force was a 'pick-up' team which hadn't practiced together, and Omori tried playing a game that was a little over his head. Confused by conflicting reports he was receiving from his scout planes as to the composition of the American force to his south, he executed a series of 180-degree turns (in pitch blackness) which were designed to give his aircraft more time to bring him information. Instead, all they did was throw his squadron into disarray, leaving his screening force far out of position, just as the Americans arrived on the scene. The Americans, coming upon the Japanese screen, launched torpedoes first, and then opened with the cruisers' 6-inch guns. The Japanese screening force, upon spotting American destroyers, tried desperately to evade the torpedoes they knew to be in the water, and ended up either colliding with each other or suffering near-misses. Sendai nearly hit Shigure, and Samidare sideswiped Shiratsuyu, staving in her hull and putting her out of the fight. Sendai was then buried in 6-inch gunfire.

ww2dbase Omori tried bringing his main body into the battle. This only succeeded in causing further collisions, as Myoko tore Hatsukaze's bow off, and Haguro nearly hit two other destroyers. A brief, inconclusive fight followed between the two Japanese heavies and the four American lights. Although the Japanese launched a large salvo of torpedoes, they were ineffective. The Americans achieved several gunfire straddles, but failed to hit their targets. At 0229 Omori ordered a general withdrawal. The Americans found the hapless Hatsukaze (Myoko was still wearing her bow when she returned to Rabaul) and sank her with gunfire.

ww2dbase The Japanese had clearly lost this fight, failing to bring their heavy units to bear conclusively, and wiping out most of their own screening destroyers through their own ill-considered maneuvers. The invasion of Bougainville would not be stopped this night. For his defeat, Omori was relieved of his command upon returning to Rabaul.

ww2dbase During the first week of Nov 1943, while the Americans raided Rabaul (see New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 3), Americans reinforced their beachhead on Bougainville, while the Japanese sneaked two convoys by the Americans ships to land more troops on the northern tip of the island. The aircraft Koga ordered to reinforce the area were sent on air raids to disrupt American operations, but no little effect, while wearing away irreplaceable Japanese pilots. However, the usual practice of exaggerating damange reports led to Koga's declaration of Operation RO a success, and received a personal word of thanks from Emperor Showa. American progress on Bougainville slowed during the rest of Nov 1943.

ww2dbase Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
1-2 Nov 1943

ww2dbase On 1 Nov, the US 3rd Marine Division invaded the beaches of Empress Augusta Bay, backed by four light cruisers and eight destroyers. As a response, a powerful naval force of two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and six destroyers sailed from Rabaul steamed with air cover under the command of Admiral Sentaro Omori. The Americans made radar contact at 0230 in the morning of 2 Nov and immediately launched a destroyer torpedo attack. The Japanese fleet dodged the torpedo run, but in turn the formation was scattered. At 0250, American cruisers opened fire, quickly disabling cruiser Sendai. A series of Japanese mis-maneuvers led to two collisions it was not until 0313 that the Japanese fleet pulled together and began firing on the American ships. The battle did not last long after that point as the American ships turned and withdrew from the battle. While the battle was rather inconclusive, the Americans achieved their goal in preventing Japanese interference with the operation.

ww2dbase This engagement was also known as Battle of Gazelle Bay, Operation Cherry Blossom, and the Sea Battle of Bougainville Bay Shore.

ww2dbase Battle of Cape St. George
26 Nov 1943

ww2dbase With the Americans now consolidating their hold over Bougainville, the Japanese began beefing up troops and supplies on the island of Buka. On November 25, they put together yet another 'Tokyo Express' of five destroyers, three of them laden with troops, and sent them out of Rabaul. This force was commanded by Captain Kiyoto Kagawa. Waiting for them were six American destroyers. The Japanese succeeded in dropping off their loads at Buka, but trouble began on the way back home.

ww2dbase American Navy Captain Arleigh Burke's radar spotted the Japanese first, allowing the Americans to close and launch torpedoes without being initially detected. Both of the Japanese screening destroyers were hit, sinking the Onami and crippling the Makinami. The Americans then closed in on the destroyer-transports, who scattered and ran for it. Yugiri didn't make it, being pounded by several opponents. The crippled Makinami was also sunk. The American forces tried a stern chase of the other two fleeing Japanese destroyers, but were unable to catch them.

ww2dbase No realized it at the time, but this was the last 'Tokyo Express', and the last surface fight in the Solomon Islands. Freed from screening duties, US destroyers had again held their own against their vaunted Japanese adversaries. There would be no more major naval battles until the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands.

ww2dbase Sources:
Bruce Gamble, Fortress Rabaul
William Manchester, American Caesar
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Struggle for Guadalcanal
Dan van der Vat, The Pacific Campaign

Last Major Update: May 2007

Solomon Islands Campaign Interactive Map

Solomon Islands Campaign Timeline

23 Jan 1942 In the Solomon Islands, the Japanese landed at Kieta, Bougainville.
31 Mar 1942 Japanese troops occupied Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
1 Apr 1942 Japanese troops landed at Buka and Santa Isabel in the Solomon Islands.
6 Apr 1942 Japanese troops landed on Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Lorengau, Admiralty Islands.
28 Apr 1942 Coast Watchers reported that a Japanese flying boat base was being built in the upper Solomon Islands.
7 Aug 1942 Aircraft from USS Saratoga flew several strikes against targets on Guadalcanal and in support of landings on Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. Pilot Lt(jg) Charles Tabberer was one of five out of eight pilots to go missing over Tulagi.
24 Aug 1942 A Japanese force centered around carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku sailed down into the Solomon Islands with light carrier Ryujo near the spearhead as bait to draw out US carriers known to be in the general area. In the ensuing Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Ryujo was promptly discovered and fatally damaged by several 1,000-pound bombs, but this in turn allowed aircraft from Shokaku and Zuikaku to locate USS Saratoga and USS Enterprise. Enterprise would suffer heavy damage by three bomb hits (70 were killed, 70 were injured). Japanese warships attempted to engage the US fleet after dark, but the force failed to locate the American fleet, and discontinued the search at 2330 hours.
24 Aug 1942 Portland screened carrier USS Enterprise during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons
24 Aug 1942 Kumano screened the carrier Ryujo and the battleship Kirishima in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and against an attack from B-17 bombers.
25 Aug 1942 Before dawn, Japanese destroyers Kagero, Isokaze, Kawakaze, Mutsuki, and Yayoi bombarded Henderson Field, Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, causing little damage. At 0600 hours, six SBD dive bombers from Henderson Field attacked a Japanese convoy 64 miles northeast of Santa Isabel Island, sinking troop transport Kinryu Maru and damaging cruiser Jintsu (24 were killed). Four US Army B-17 bombers arrived shortly after, sinking Japanese destroyer Mutsuki (41 were killed, 11 were injured) as Mutsuki rescued survivors from the Kinryu Maru sinking.
1 Sep 1942 US B-17 bombers damaged Japanese flying boat support ship Akitsushima and destroyer Akikaze off Buka Island in the Solomon Islands.
2 Sep 1942 US B-17 bombers damaged Japanese minelayer Tsugaru in the northern Solomon Islands 14 were killed.
24 Sep 1942 Dauntless dive bombers of US Marine Corps VMSB-231 squadron and US Navy VS-3 squadron from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands attacked Japanese destroyers Umikaze and Kawakaze in the western Solomon Islands they heavily damaged Umikaze (8 were killed) and forced the convoy to turn back. On the same day, US Army B-17 bombers attacked the Japanese Navy base on Shortland island, damaging seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru.
5 Oct 1942 Task Force 17 (USS Hornet, Northampton, Pensacola, Juneau, San Diego, 3 destroyers) struck Japanese installations around the southern end of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands (Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid).
20 Oct 1942 Japanese submarine I-176 attacked and damaged USS Chester in the Solomon Islands area.
24 Oct 1942 Portland was struck with three Japanese torpedoes that did not detonate during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
26 Oct 1942 Shokaku was heavily damaged by bombs during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. Four to six bombs struck the flight deck one struck aft of the island and the rest were grouped around the amidships and aft elevators. Large fires were started, and the flight deck was completely buckled by the blasts. Though sixty officers and men were killed, since no aircraft were aboard, no fuel was active and damage control was able to extinguish the fires and save the ship. Admiral Nagumo transferred his flag to destroyer Arashi. Then, with the damaged light carrier Zuiho, Shokaku was detached and ordered home to Truk escorted by Hatsukaze and Maikaze.
26 Oct 1942 At the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, US forces achieved victory but saw USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, USS South Dakota, and USS San Juan damaged. On the Japanese side, carriers Shokaku and Zuiho were damaged by dive bombers from USS Hornet and USS Enterprise, respectively.
26 Oct 1942 US Navy Ensign George L. Wrenn of VF-72 from the USS Hornet engaged Japanese aircraft attacking the US fleet. He shot down five Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers during the sortie. The Hornet was sunk during the battle and Wrenn had to be recovered aboard the USS Enterprise.
26 Oct 1942 Tanikaze participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands and then escorted the damaged heavy cruiser Chikuma toward Truk, Caroline Islands.
26 Oct 1942 Kumano screened the carriers Shokaku, Zuikaku, and Zuiho in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
26 Oct 1942 Destroyer USS Shaw went to assist destroyer USS Porter that had been struck by a runaway American aerial torpedo. Shaw took Porter's crew aboard and then scuttled Porter.
27 Oct 1942 USS Hornet (Yorktown-class) was lost during the naval Battle of Santa Cruz.
28 Oct 1942 Destroyer USS Shaw transferred survivors of USS Porter to battleship USS South Dakota while en route Efate in the New Hebrides.
13 Nov 1942 Japanese troops arrived at Munda Point, New Georgia, to construct an airfield. Detecting this movement, three squadrons of US B-24 bombers flew to Iron Range airfield in northern Queensland, Australia to stage an attack on the future airfield.
14 Nov 1942 Three squadrons of US B-24 bombers moved from Iron Range airfield in northern Queensland, Australia to Port Moresby, Australian Papua and prepared for a strike on the under-construction airfield at Munda Point, Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
14 Nov 1942 Japanese Furutaka-class Heavy Cruiser Kinugasa was sunk by planes based at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and by carrier planes from USS Enterprise as Kinugasa was withdrawing from a bombardment of Guadalcanal.
15 Nov 1942 US B-24 bombers attacked the Buin-Faisi anchorage near the under-construction Japanese airfield at Munda Point, Bougainville, Solomon Islands the attack resulted in minimal damage to the Japanese while two US aircraft were lost (1 to battle damage, another in an emergency landing on a beach).
12 Dec 1942 Amagiri and Yugure departed Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands at 1230 hours on a transport run to Rekata Bay, Santa Isabel Island, Solomon Islands.
15 Dec 1942 Amagiri and Yugure departed Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands at 1230 hours on a transport run to Rekata Bay, Santa Isabel Island, Solomon Islands.
17 Dec 1942 The Japanese completed a 4,700-foot long airstrip at Munda Point, New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
26 Dec 1942 Yugure, Urakaze, Tanikaze, Isonami, Inazuma, and Arashio departed Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands to transport 600 troops and supplies to occupy Wickham Anchorage, Vangunu, New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
27 Dec 1942 Yugure, Urakaze, Tanikaze, Isonami, Inazuma, and Arashio briefly stopped at Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands at 1335 hours, and then arrived at Wickham Anchorage, Vangunu, Solomon Islands at 2125 hours. The ships unloaded the 600 troops and supplies and departed at 2240.
2 Jan 1943 US Marine Corps and US Army aircraft attacked 10 Japanese destroyer transports west of Rendova, Solomon Islands.
4 Jan 1943 American cruisers and destroyers bombarded the Japanese airfield at Munda Point, New Georgia in the Solomon Islands after sundown and into the next day.
15 Jan 1943 US Navy SBD Dauntless dive bombers from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal and USAAF B-17 bombers attacked a convoy of nine Japanese destroyers northeast of New Georgia, Solomon Islands four Japanese destroyers were damaged. A lone B-17 bomber attacked the Japanese airfield on Ballale island, Solomon Islands. To the north in the Caroline Islands, three transports escorted by destroyers departed from Truk for Bougainville with Japanese Army troops transferred from China.
17 Jan 1943 A Japanese convoy carrying Japanese Army troops transferred from China departed Truk, Caroline Islands for Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands.
18 Jan 1943 USAAF B-17 and P-39 aircraft sank Japanese cargo ship Yamafuku Maru off Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands.
23 Jan 1943 After sundown and into the following day, American cruisers and destroyers bombarded Kolombangara, New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
24 Jan 1943 American destroyers bombarded Japanese fuel and munitions dumps in the Stanmore area, Kolombangara, Solomon Islands. Later on the same day, US Navy carrier aircraft attacked the same targets.
29 Jan 1943 The Battle of Rennell Island began with land-based Japanese aircraft attacked US Navy TF 18 ships. USS Chicago was damaged and was taken under tow.
30 Jan 1943 Battle of Rennell Island in the Solomon Islands ended with a Japanese victory and the sinking of USS Chicago.
15 Feb 1943 The US military established Commander, Aircraft, Solomons in the Solomon Islands with Rear Admiral Charles Mason as its head. It was to oversee all air operations in the region across Army, Navy, and Marine ground-based aircraft.
21 Feb 1943 In the Russell Islands, US Marine Corps 3rd Raider Battalion landed at Pepesala Point, Pavavu while US Army 43rd Infantry Division landed on Banika.
23 Feb 1943 Japanese Navy Yokosuka 7th Special Naval Landing Force disembarked 1,807 men at Kolombangara, New Georgia.
28 Feb 1943 Japanese convoy Operation 81 assembled at Rabaul, New Britain and readied for departure scheduled for the next day. The convoy was consisted of 6 transports (carrying 6,000 troops and supplies), 1 old navy supply ship (carrying 600 Special Naval Landing Force troops), and 1 small freighter (carrying 1,650 drums of aviation gas) it was escorted by 8 destroyers.
1 Mar 1943 The Japanese convoy Operation 81 (consisted of 6 transports, 1 old navy supply ship, and 1 small freighter, carrying a total of 6,600 troops) departed Rabaul, New Britain. The convoy was discovered by Lieutenant Walt Higgins' B-24 patrol along the northern coast of New Britain at 1500 hours 7 B-17 bombers were dispatched to attack, but they failed to locate the convoy.
2 Mar 1943 In Battle of the Bismarck Sea, US and Australian fighters and short range bombers attacked Lae, Australian Papua while US B-17 bombers located and attacked the Japanese convoy Operation 81 at 0930 hours. The first attack on the convoy sank Kyokusei Maru. In the afternoon, another wave of bombers attacked the convoy, damaging Teiyo Maru. After dark, a Catalina aircraft of Australian 11 Squadron maintained contact with the convoy.
3 Mar 1943 Battle of the Bismarck Sea: In the morning, 7 Australian 100 Squadron Beaufort aircraft took off from an airfield on the coast of Milne Bay, Australian Papua to attack the Japanese convoy Operation 81 only 2 of them would reach the convoy due to poor weather, and the attack would cause no damage. Shortly after, more than 100 aircraft took off from Port Moresby, Milne Bay area, and the new Dobodura airfield, assembled over Cape Ward Hunt, and attacked the convoy beginning at 0955 hours 7 transports and 3 destroyers were sunk or damaged by a combination of strafing, bombing, and skip-bombing. Rear Admiral Yutaka Kimura and Lieutenant General Hatazo Adachi had to be rescued off of damaged destroyers Shikinami and Tokitsukaze, respectively. In the late morning, several waves of bombers attacked the convoy when one US B-17 bomber, "Double Trouble" was fatally damaged, the crew parachuted, and Japanese fighters shot at the parachutes, which was observed by the other Americans. In the mid-afternoon, B-25 bombers and B-17 bombers attacked the convoy, fatally damaged destroyer Arashio after expending their bombs, the Americans strafed many Japanese survivors floating in the water.
4 Mar 1943 The Battle of the Bismarck Sea continued as US bombers sank already fatally damaged and abandoned destroyer Tokitsukaze and sank 6 landing barges that had arrived to rescue survivors of ships sunk on the previous day. After expending their bomb loads, American air crews strafed Japanese survivors floating in the sea.
5 Mar 1943 US B-25 bombers machine gunned a cluster of life rafts occupied by Japanese survivors of ships sunken during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
6 Mar 1943 Japanese aircraft attacked American positions at the Russell Islands in the Solomon Islands for the first time these positions were manned by the US Marine Corps 11th Defense Battalion. Meanwhile, US warship bombarded the Vila-Munda area in New Georgia.
7 Mar 1943 Douglas MacArthur issued a communiqué to USAAF squadrons in the South Pacific to congratulate them for the overwhelming success at the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
8 Mar 1943 American forces were attacked by Japanese troops on Hill 700 in Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
9 Mar 1943 The Japanese Navy Kure 6th Special Naval Landing Force landed between Bairoko and Enogai and near the Munda airfield on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.
13 Mar 1943 In Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Japanese troops ended their assault on American forces at Hill 700.
21 Mar 1943 PBY Catalina aircraft delivered a group of US Marine Corps scouts at Segi Plantation, New Georgia for a reconnaissance mission they would later report that Segi's beaches would not accommodate a large landing force.
25 Mar 1943 The Japanese offensive at Bougainville in the Solomon Islands was halted.
31 Mar 1943 Vice Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka launched a 2-wave fighter sweep (32 fighters and 25 fighters, respectively) down the Slot in the Solomon Islands to draw out Allied fighters. About 30 Guadalcanal-based US F4F fighters, 8 P-38 fighters, and a few F4U fighters engaged them over the Russell Islands. 9 Japanese Zero fighters, 5 US F4F Wildcat fighters, and 1 US F4U Corsair fighter were shot down in the action.
7 Apr 1943 In the morning, at Lakunai field at Rabaul, New Britain, Isoroku Yamamoto personally observed the launch of some of the aircraft that was to form a large aerial offensive (to be consisted of 157 Zero fighters and 67 D3A dive bombers). At Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, this Japanese attack force sank 1 US destroyer, 1 New Zealand corvette, and 1 tanker, while also damaged the oiler that was fueling the New Zealand corvette at the time of the attack. The Japanese aircraft were engaged by US Marine Corps F4F fighters during the combat, 12 Zero fighters, 9 D3A dive bombers, and 7 F4F fighters were shot down. 3 D3A dive bombers were lost en route back to their bases. Under the cover of the air attack, a reinforcement convoy arrived at Kolombangara, New Georgia.
11 Apr 1943 73 Zero fighters and 27 D3A carrier dive bombers attacked Oro Bay near Dobodura, Australian Papua, sinking 1 US cargo ship, sinking 1 US destroyer, damaging 1 transport, and damaging 1 Australian minesweeper.
14 Apr 1943 23 Japanese dive bombers, 44 medium bombers, and 129 fighters attacked Milne Bay, Australian Papua 44 Allied fighters rose in response. In the air, 1 Australian P-40 fighter was shot down and another was damaged, and additional Australian P-38 aircraft was destroyed on landing. Three Allied ships were damaged. For the Japanese 5 G4M bombers, 3 D3A dive bombers, and 1 Zero fighter were lost in combat.
16 Apr 1943 A scheduled fighter sweep from Rabaul, New Britain was cancelled as a reconnaissance aircraft failed to return from northeastern New Guinea island region. Despite of this cancellation, Isoroku Yamamoto announced the successful conclusion of the I-Go air offensive.
18 Apr 1943 Admiral William Halsey and General Douglas MacArthur met at Brisbane, Australia. They agreed that the tentative date for the New Georgia invasion was to be 15 May, and that a US Marine Corps defense battalion, a US Navy construction battalion, and a US Army regimental combat team should be transferred to the theater to support the invasion.
10 May 1943 Japanese aircraft from Rabaul attacked American positions in the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands, but the attack was largely turned back by American fighters.
13 May 1943 During a bombardment of Kolombangara Island in the Solomons shortly after midnight, cruiuser USS Nashville suffered an explosion inside her Number III main turret that killed 18 men and injured 17.
19 May 1943 30 TBF Avenger aircraft of US Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron 143 and US Navy Tropedo Squadron 11 mined waters off Buin, Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
3 Jun 1943 Operation Toenails: The Allies invaded New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
12 Jun 1943 Aircraft of Japanese 11th Air Fleet from Rabaul were launched to attack American positions in the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands, but this force was turned back by Allied fighters.
13 Jun 1943 A contingent of US Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps officers were landed at Segi, New Georgia to evaluate possible landing locations for an invasion.
14 Jun 1943 Admiral John Newton relieved Admiral William Halsey as the commanding officer of the South Pacific area. Combined with this personnel change was the transfer of the Solomon Islands region to the Southwest Pacific command.
16 Jun 1943 Major General John Hester announced the date for the New Georgia invasion to be 30 Jun 1943. On the same day, a group of Japanese dive bombers and fighters unsuccessfully attacked American positions in the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands a large number of the aircraft were destroyed.
17 Jun 1943 The US Marine Corps 9th Defense Battalion was relieved of its responsibility in the defense of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands and was ordered to begin training for the upcoming New Georgia invasion.
21 Jun 1943 In Operation Toenails, US 4th Marine Raider Battalion was dispatched to Segi, New Georgia to assist coast watchers in the area who were threatened by a Japanese advance.
27 Jun 1943 Companies Q and P of the US Marine Corps 4th Raider Battalion arrived at Segi, New Georgia to join the remainder of the battalion which had already landed six days prior. They were immediately deployed to attack the small naval base at Viru Harbor.
30 Jun 1943 US occupation troops arrived early at Nono, New Georgia, Solomon Islands and would join the US Marine Corps 4th Raider Battalion on the planned attack on Viru Harbor nearby on the island of Vangunu, Companies N and Q of the US Marine Corps 4th Raider Battalion and 2nd Battalion of US Army 103rd Infantry Regiment landed unopposed near Oloana Bay they would capture Wickham Anchorage by the end of the day. On Rendova Island, elements of the US Army 172nd Infantry Regiment, US Army 103nd Infantry Regiment, US Navy 24th Naval Construction Battalion, and US Navy 9th Defense Battalion landed against light resistance Japanese aircraft attempted to disrupt landing operations, but they were intercepted by aircraft of US Marine Fighter Squadrons 121, 122, 213, and 221.
1 Jul 1943 Two platoons from Company P, US Marine Corps 4th Raider Battalion overran the Japanese detachment at the village of Tombe on New Georgia near the Viru Harbor, while the remainder of Company P and Company Q occupied Tetemara on the west side of the harbor. On the same day, just to the south of New Georgia, the US Marine Corps 9th Defense Battalion arrived at Rendova with men, supplies, and 90mm and 150mm guns. Southeast of New Georgia, the US Marine Corps 4th Raider Battalion and Company F of the US Army 103rd Regiment fell back to Vura on the island of Vangunu in preparation of a counterattack to be launched against Kaeruka and Cheke Point in the next few days.
2 Jul 1943 Troops of US Army 43rd Division began to move from Rendova to New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, covered by gunfire from US Marines 9th Defense Battalion and US Army 192nd Field Artillery aimed at Munda Airfield Japanese bombers attempted to interfere by attacking supply dumps on Rendova, causing heavy casualties.
3 Jul 1943 Japanese bombers attacked supply dumps on Rendova, Solomon Islands, but failed to cause significant damage. To the north, on New Georgia, troops of the 172nd Infantry Regiment of the US Army 43rd Division were landed on Zanana beach.
4 Jul 1943 US Marines and US Army troops secured Kaeruka and Cheke Point on Vangunu Island, just southeast of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. On New Georgia, a 52-man special weapons unit of the US Marine Corps 9th Defense Battalion arrived with four 40mm anti-aircraft guns. To the south of New Georgia, the Japanese attempted attempted the last large daylight air raid on Rendova 16 bombers were able to break through to drop bombs on the island, but 12 of them would be shot down.
4 Jul 1943 USS Helena escorted invasion transports to Kula Gulf west of New Georgia.
5 Jul 1943 The US Northern Landing Group under Colonel Harry Liversedge landed at Rice Anchorage on the northern coast of New Georgia, Solomon Islands. On the same day, US cruisers and destroyers bombarded Japanese positions at Vila, Kolombangara, and Bairoko Harbor.
5 Jul 1943 Before dawn, USS Helena commenced pre-invasion bombardment of New Georgia from Kula Gulf. In the afternoon, she received the order to intercept a Japanese troop convoy would arrive some time after dark.
5 Jul 1943 Tanikaze contributed to the sinking of the American light cruiser USS Helena during the Battle of Kula Gulf in the Solomon Islands.
6 Jul 1943 American and Japanese ships engaged in the Battle of Kula Gulf. The Americans lost one light cruiser and the Japanese two destroyers.
6 Jul 1943 During Battle of Kula Gulf northwest of New Georgia, USS Helena ambushed an incoming Japanese convoy at 0157 hours, but the many gun flashes in turn made her an attractive target for Japanese gunners. She was struck by a Japanese Type 93 torpedo at 0203 hours, followed by two more at 0205 hours. She would sink at 0225 hours.
7 Jul 1943 The broken-off bow of USS Helena sank in Kula Gulf northwest of New Georgia. A US Navy PB4Y-1 Liberator aircraft dropped lifejackets and four rubber lifeboats to survivors in the area of the bow.
8 Jul 1943 Companies N and Q of USMC 4th Raider Battalion were dispatched on a patrol on Gatukai Island in New Georgia, Solomon Islands after reports on the possible presence of a 50-100 men Japanese garrison on the island.
9 Jul 1943 In the Solomon Islands, the US New Georgia Occupation Force advanced westward in the Munda-Barike region, toward the airfield at Munda. Nearby, 1st Raider Battalion attacked the island of Enogai. To reinforce New Georgia, the Japanese 13th Regiment began transferring 3,700 men from Kolombangara to Bairoko on the northwestern shore of New Georgia this reinforcement would be conducted over the following 3 days.
9 Jul 1943 Sendai and Yugure arrived at Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands. Yugure, Yukikaze, Tanikaze, and Hamakaze departed later on the same day, escorting a troop transport mission to Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands.
10 Jul 1943 Companies N and Q of USMC 4th Raider Battalion completed their patrol of Gatukai Island in New Georgia, Solomon Islands and concluded that there were no Japanese on the island. Also on New Georgia, the US Marine Corps reported that the airfield at Segi was now ready for limited operations, while Companies O and P of the 4th Raider Battalion were slated to be relieved at Viru for transfer to Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Nearby, Marines of the 1st Raider Battalion captured the island of Enogai.
11 Jul 1943 Admiral William Halsey issued a directive for an attack in the Bougainville area in the Solomon Islands Lieutenant General Alexander Vandegrift was to be the head of the invasion force. Elsewhere, the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon arrived in the theater in preparation of the Bougainville operations with the 2nd Marine Raider Regiment. At New Georgia, the US airfield at Segi Point was now fully operational. After sundown, US cruisers and destroyers bombarded Japanese positions at Munda, New Georgia.
12 Jul 1943 Companies N and Q of the USMC 4th Raider Battalion departed New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, returning to join the rest of the battalion at Guadalcanal.
12 Jul 1943 Yugure, Yukikaze, Hamakaze, and Kiyonami departed Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands, escorting a troop transport mission involving light cruiser Jintsu to Kolombangara, New Georgia, Solomon Islands. En route, they encountered Allied warships, resulting in the Battle of Kolombangara that lasted into the next morning. Jintsu and USS Gwin were sunk, and USS Honolulu and USS St. Louis were damaged. The Japanese were able to land 1,200 men.
14 Jul 1943 US Marine tanks, units of US Army 9th Defense Battalion, and units of US Army 103rd Infantry Battalion arrived at Laiana Beach, New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
15 Jul 1943 The Japanese Navy launched 24 G4M bombers, escorted by about 40 to 50 A6M Zero fighters, to attack various targets in the central Solomon Islands the bulk of the attack force was intercepted by US Army and US Navy fighters in the Rendova Island, New Georgia, Solomon Islands area, and 15 G5M bombers and 30 A6M fighters were shot down at a loss of only 3 American fighters. On land at New Georgia, men of the US Army and US Marine Corps launched an offensive at Laiana Beach.
16 Jul 1943 More than 30 B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the US Thirteenth Air Force attacked Kahili Airfield on Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
17 Jul 1943 The US Army-Marine Corps joint offensive at Laiana Beach, New Georgia, Solomon Islands successfully penetrated the Japanese defensive line near Laiana Beach Japanese troops of the 13th and the 229th Regiments attempted a counterattack behind the front lines, 161st Infantry Regiment of the US Army 25th Division arrived as reinforcements. At Bougainville, 192 US aircraft struck the Japanese airfield at Buin.
18 Jul 1943 21 USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-24 bombers escorted by 20 fighters attacked Kahili Airfield, Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
18 Jul 1943 Kumano, Yugure, Kiyonami, and other ships departed Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands at 2150 hours as a part of the Night Battle Force to escort a transport run. 35 US Navy and US Marine Corps TBM Avenger dive bombers from Guadalcanal detected the Japanese force and attacked, damaging Kumano's aft hull plates, forcing the cruiser to withdraw toward Rabaul.
19 Jul 1943 US aircraft detected the Japanese Night Battle Force in the Solomon Islands at 1905 hours and attacked, and the attack was repulsed. At 2100 hours, Japanese destroyer transports were ordered to separately proceed to Vila, Kolombangara, Solomon Islands. At 2220 hours, flares were sighted over the transport destroyers, but no American warships arrived to attack. At 2310 hours, Japanese warships of the Night Battle Force (Kumano, Yugure, Kiyonami, Yukikaze, and others) reversed course for Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands.
19 Jul 1943 During the day, in the Solomon Islands, B-17 and B-25 aircraft attacked Ballale Airfield on Ballale, while B-25, SBD, and TBF aircraft attacked Japanese positions at Bairoko, New Georgia. After sundown, US PBY and TBF aircraft attacked a Japanese task force near Choiseul Island east of Bougainville, sinking a destroyer and damaging a cruiser, but also losing several aircraft.
19 Jul 1943 US B-17 aircraft bombed Kahili Airfield on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
20 Jul 1943 In the Solomon Islands, US 13th Air Force launched 18 B-24 bombers against Kahili Airfield, Bougainville Island and other targets on Ballale Island.
20 Jul 1943 On New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, the Northern Landing Group (1st Marine Raider Regiment, 4th Raider Battalion, and 3rd Battalion of the US Marine Corps and the 148th Division of the US Army) attacked Bairoko Harbor.
20 Jul 1943 At 0010 hours, a US TBF aircraft equipped with radar detected the Japanese Night Battle Force between Vella Lavella Island and Choiseul Island in the Solomon Islands. Multiple waves of aircraft were launched to attack. At 0034 hours, Yugure was hit by a 2,000-poung bomb amidships (sinking within minutes), followed by a hit on Kumano in the starboard quarter. Additional attacks scored no hits two TBF and two B-25 aircraft were shot down during the attacks. Kiyonami picked up about 20 of Yugure's survivors at about 0200 hours. At 0521 hours, eight US B-25 bombers tasked with finding the damaged Kumano found Kiyonami instead, scoring a hit that detonated a magazine, and Kiyonami sank within two minutes. Only one of Kiyonami's crew survived (not found until 4 Aug 1943) all of Yugure's survivors were killed. At 1108 hours, the destroyer transports, having successfully delivered 300 men and supplies to Vila, Kolombangara, Solomon Islands before dawn, joined the surviving ships of the Night Battle Force, and they would arrive at Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands at 1730 hours.
21 Jul 1943 A large number of US Army and US Navy aircraft attacked Japanese positions at Bairoko, New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. Despite the powerful air strikes, the Northern Landing Group's attack on Bairoko Harbor was repulsed and the Americans fell back to Enogai the Northern Landing Group was consisted of 1st Marine Raider Regiment, 4th Raider Battalion, and 3rd Battalion of the US Marine Corps and the 148th Division of the US Army. Nearby, a very small contingent of US Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps officers landed at Barakoma, Vella Lavella to scout the area for a possible landing site.
25 Jul 1943 The Americans launched what would be the final offensive against Japanese positions on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.
31 Jul 1943 After studying the findings of a small joint US Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps reconnaissance mission to Vella Lavella between 21 and 22 Jul 1943, it was concluded that a landing in the Barakoma area was feasible.
1 Aug 1943 Americans captured the Munda airfield on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.
2 Aug 1943 US Navy torpedo boat PT-109, commanded by Lieutenant (jg) John F. Kennedy, was rammed by a Japanese destroyer Amagiri in the Blackett Strait between Kolombangara and Arundel in the Solomon Islands.
3 Aug 1943 Tanks of the US Marine Corps 9th Battalion joined the American offensive on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.
6 Aug 1943 In the Battle of Vella Gulf in the Solomon Islands, three Japanese destroyers were destroyed, killing 600 sailors and 900 Japanese Army passengers.
7 Aug 1943 The Munda airfield on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, captured by the Americans from the Japanese on 1 Aug 1943, was declared operational for emergencies.
8 Aug 1943 Battery B of the US Marine Corps 9th Defense Battalion was deployed at Kindu Point on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands to defend the southern coast of the island near Munda airfield.
8 Aug 1943 United States Navy Lt(jg) John Kennedy and the survivors of his crew of PT-109 were rescued from Olasana Island, Solomon Islands by PT-157 and PT-171.
9 Aug 1943 The main body of the Japanese Southeast Detached Force was moved to Kolombangara, New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Elsewhere on New Georgia, the two groups of the American New Georgia Occupation Force (Northern Landing Group and Southern Landing Group) made contact at a roadblock southwest of Triri. Also on New Georgia, a light anti-aircraft artillery battery of the US Marine Corps 11th Defense Battalion arrived at Enogai.
10 Aug 1943 Operational control of the US Northern Landing Group on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands was passed to the US Army 25th Division, while the US lst Marine Raider Regiment was detached from the Northern Landing Group to join other Marine Corps units at Enogai.
11 Aug 1943 Admiral William Halsey received operational orders for the New Georgia region of the Solomon Islands, including the seizure of Vella Lavella island and the elimination of Japanese positions on Kolombangara island. Meanwhile, US Army and US Marine Corps forces continued to engage Japanese troops on New Georgia.
12 Aug 1943 24 B-24 bombers attacked Buin, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, destroying 13 A6M fighters, 10 D3A dive bombers, and 1 reconnaissance aircraft on the ground.
13 Aug 1943 US Army 43rd Division landed on Vela Cela (and discovered no Japanese positions) and Baanga just off western New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Imperial General Headquarters issued Directive No. 267 authorizing the abandonment of the central Solomon Islands region.
14 Aug 1943 US Marine Corps Brigadier General Francis Mulcahy moved the headquarters of Aircraft, New Georgia from Rendova island to the Munda Point airfield on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.
15 Aug 1943 The US Northern Landing Force attacked Japanese positions on Vella Lavella island in the Barakoma airfield region near New Georgia, Solomon Islands.
20 Aug 1943 Baanga island, located just off western New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, was secured by elements of the US Army 43rd Division.
24 Aug 1943 US Marine Corps Colonel William Brice moved the headquarters of his Fighter Command to the Munda Point airfield on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. On this date, the responsibility of Commander, Aircraft, New Georgia was also merged under his command.
25 Aug 1943 Americans captured Bairoko Harbor on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.
27 Aug 1943 The US Army 172nd Infantry Regiment crossed Hathorn Sound from New Geogia to Arundel Island in the Solomon Islands and captured Japanese artillery positions which had been shelling American positions at Munda Point, New Georgia.
28 Aug 1943 Two US Corsair fighter squadrons attacked Kahili Airfield in Buin, Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. Lieutenant Al Jensen of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214, flying a Corsair fighter, was credited with destroying 24 Japanese planes on the ground during this mission.
15 Sep 1943 B-24 bombers, escorted by Corsair fighters of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214, flew a photographic reconnaissance mission over Choiseul, Solomon Islands.
16 Sep 1943 Gregory Boyington led 24 Corsair fighters of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214 from Banika, Russell Islands to join 80 other aircraft of other squadrons to attack Ballale fighter base southeast of Bougainville island. 40 A6M fighters rose to defend the base. The Americans were credited with 17 Japanese aircraft shot down and 9 probables (VMF-214 alone was awarded 11 (5 of which were Boyington's) and 8, respectively), but lost pilot Bob Ewing in the action. Post-war Japanese records would reveal that only 6 aircraft were shot down in battle that day, with a further 1 aircraft written off due to heavy damage.
7 Oct 1943 The Fletcher-class destroyer USS Chevalier was sunk by a torpedo fired from the USS La Vallette following severe damage inflicted during an engagement with Japanese destroyers fought on the previous day off Vella Lavella, Solomon Islands.
27 Oct 1943 New Zealand 8th Brigade captured Mono Island and Stirling Island of Treasury Islands of the Solomon Islands.
28 Oct 1943 US 2nd Marine Parachute Battalion landed by sea at Voza on Choiseul Island in Operation Blissful.
29 Oct 1943 US Task Force 38 sortied from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides in support of the Bouganville, Solomon Islands invasion.
1 Nov 1943 Men of the US 3rd Marine Division landed at Torokina Point on the northern coast of Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, Solomon Islands the beach was defended only by a small 300-strong garrison, but the effective Japanese defense surprised the attackers. In response of the invasion, Japanese aircraft from Rabaul, New Britain, attacked the US fleet, damaging destroyer USS Wadsworth (killing 2), but at the heavy cost of 16 A6M fighters lost. The Japanese dispatched a counter-invasion force consisted of Cruiser Division 4 (Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita) and transports carrying thousands of troops the fleet was en route to Rabaul when it was detected by a B-24 Liberator bomber (Lieutenant Robert Sylvernale) while heading toward the western approach of Saint George's Channel between New Britain and New Ireland.
2 Nov 1943 Four Japanese cruisers and six destroyers sortied out of Rabaul, New Britain to attack the US Marine invasion of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. 75 B-25 bombers escorted by 80 P-38 fighters attacked this fleet just out of Rabaul, damaging cruiser Hajuro, damaging cruiser Myoko, sinking one submarine chaser, destroying 18 aircraft, damaging destroyer Shirasuyu, and damaging a number of smaller vessels the Americans lost 8 B-25 and 9 P-38 aircraft in combat, plus more to be written off due to battle damage. The Japanese fleet, sailing at a reduced speed, engaged American warships at 0230 hours in Empress Augusta Bay. The Americans struck first, scattering the Japanese formation, but the Japanese were able to regroup and forced the American ships to withdraw. Though the action was inconclusive, the Japanese failed to disrupt American operations on Bougainville.
12 Nov 1943 At 0400 hours, 9 G4M and 5 B5N aircraft attacked a convoy of LST and converted destroyer-transport vessels in the Solomon Islands, sinking destroyer-transport USS McKean but also losing 4 B5N aircraft in combat. 1 G4M and 1 B5N aircraft suffered heavy damage but were able to return to Rabaul, New Britain. In the late morning, 10 D3A and 55 A6M aircraft, also from Rabaul, attacked an American convoy in the Solomon Islands. 10 Japanese aircraft were shot down minimal damage was inflicted to the American vessels.
25 Nov 1943 The Battle of Cape St. George took place near Buka Island north of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands three Japanese destroyers were sunk at the end of what was to be the final surface battle of the Solomon Islands campaign.
10 Dec 1943 Torokina Airfield at Bougainville, Solomon Islands was declared fully operational after a short 40-day construction. 17 F4U aircraft of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-216 became the first to officially arrive at the airfield, although the airfield had already received two unscheduled emergency landings on 24 Nov 1943 and 8 Dec 1943.
8 Mar 1944 Battle of Hill 700: Japanese troops began a 5-day offensive against US positions at Bougainville.
24 Mar 1944 Japanese troops mounted an unsuccessful suicide charge on Bougainville.

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What happened on/1. January 23.18972 19443 18th August, 19454.15th August 1997​

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) came into effect.

A nationwide ban on music recording took effect in the United States by order of American Federation of Musicians President James Petrillo. The ban was aimed at a provision in the Taft-Hartley Act which criminalized a union's collection of money directly from employers "for services that are not performed or not to be performed," which made the AFM's recording fund to support unemployed musicians illegal.[2][3]

King George VI bestowed the 1948 New Year Honours.

In college bowl games across the United States, the Michigan Wolverines shut out the USC Trojans 49-0 in the Rose Bowl, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets beat the Kansas Jayhawks 20-14 in the Orange Bowl, the Miami (Ohio) Redskins edged the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Sun Bowl and the Texas Longhorns defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 27-7 in the Sugar Bowl, while the Cotton Bowl Classic ended in a 13-13 tie between the Penn State Nittany Lions and SMU Mustangs.

The Electra Star (Electra, Tex.), Vol. 23, No. 33, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 14, 1943

Weekly newspaper from Electra, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

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eight pages : ill. page 20 x 14 in.

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  • Main Title: The Electra Star (Electra, Tex.), Vol. 23, No. 33, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 14, 1943
  • Serial Title:The Electra Star


Weekly newspaper from Electra, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

Physical Description

eight pages : ill. page 20 x 14 in.



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University of North Texas Libraries Browse Structure


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Unique identifying numbers for this issue in the Portal or other systems.

  • OCLC: 16855041 | External Link
  • Library of Congress Control Number: sn87091010
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metapth1219561

Publication Information

  • Volume: 23
  • Issue: 33
  • Edition: 1


This issue is part of the following collections of related materials.

Electra Area Newspaper Collection

From Wichita County comes the Electra Area Newspaper Collection, serving the city of Electra and its surrounding area with five titles available in The Portal to Texas History, including the Electra Daily News, Electra News, The Electra Star-News, and the Harrold Howler.

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The relatively new chaplains all held the rank of first lieutenant. They included Methodist minister the Reverend George L. Fox, Reform Rabbi Alexander D. Goode (PhD), Catholic priest Father John P. Washington, and Reformed Church in America minister the Reverend Clark V. Poling. Their backgrounds, personalities, and denominations were different, although Goode, Poling and Washington had all served as leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. [6] They met at the Army Chaplains School at Harvard University, where they prepared for assignments in the European theater, sailing on board Dorchester to report to their new assignments.

George Lansing Fox Edit

George L. Fox was born March 15, 1900, in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, the eldest of eight children. When he was 17, he left school and lied about his age in order to join the Army to serve in World War I. He joined the ambulance corps in 1917, assigned to Camp Newton D. Baker in Texas. On December 3, 1917, George embarked from Camp Merritt, New Jersey, and boarded the USS Huron en route to France. As a medical corps assistant, he was highly decorated for bravery and was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre. [7]

Upon his discharge, he returned home to Altoona, where he completed high school. He entered Moody Bible Institute in Illinois in 1923. He and Isadora G. Hurlbut of Vermont were married in 1923, when he began his religious career as an itinerant preacher in the Methodist faith. He later graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, served as a student pupil in Rye, New Hampshire, and then studied at the Boston University School of Theology, where he was ordained a Methodist minister on June 10, 1934. He served parishes in Thetford, Union Village, and Gilman, Vermont, and was appointed state chaplain and historian for the American Legion in Vermont. [7]

In 1942, Fox volunteered to serve as an Army chaplain, accepting his appointment July 24, 1942. He began active duty on August 8, 1942, the same day his son Wyatt enlisted in the Marine Corps. After Army Chaplains school at Harvard, he reported to the 411th Coast Artillery Battalion at Camp Davis. He was then reunited with Chaplains Goode, Poling and Washington at Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts, where they prepared to depart for Europe on board the Dorchester. [7]

Alexander David Goode Edit

Reform Rabbi Alexander D. Goode (PhD) was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 10, 1911, the son of Rabbi Hyman Goodekowitz. He was raised in Washington, D.C., attending Eastern High School, eventually deciding to follow his father's footsteps by studying for the rabbinate himself, at Hebrew Union College (HUC), where he graduated with a B.H. degree in 1937. He later received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1940. While studying for the rabbinate at HUC, he worked at the Washington Hebrew Congregation during summer breaks. [8]

He originally applied to become a Navy chaplain in January 1941, but was not accepted. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, he applied to the Army, receiving his appointment as a chaplain on July 21, 1942. Chaplain Goode went on active duty on August 9, 1942, and was selected for the Chaplains School at Harvard. Chaplain Goode was then assigned to the 333rd Fighter Squadron in Goldsboro, North Carolina. In October 1942, he was transferred to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts, and reunited with chaplains Fox, Poling and Washington, who had been among his classmates at Harvard. [9]

Clark Vandersall Poling Edit

Clark V. Poling was born August 7, 1910, in Columbus, Ohio, the son of evangelical minister Daniel A. Poling, who was rebaptized in 1936 as a Baptist minister. Clark Poling studied at Yale University's Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut and graduated with his B.D. degree in 1936. He was ordained in the Reformed Church in America, and served first in the First Church of Christ, New London, Connecticut, and then as Pastor of the First Reformed Church, in Schenectady, New York. He married Betty Jung.

With the outbreak of World War II, Poling decided to enter the Army, wanting to face the same danger as others. His father, who had served as a World War I chaplain, told him chaplains risk and give their lives, too—and with that knowledge, he applied to serve as an Army chaplain, accepting an appointment on June 10, 1942 as a chaplain with the 131st Quartermaster Truck Regiment, reporting to Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on June 25. Later he reported to Army Chaplains School at Harvard, where he would meet Chaplains Fox, Goode, and Washington. [10]

John Patrick Washington Edit

John P. Washington was born in Newark, New Jersey on July 18, 1908. He studied at Seton Hall, in South Orange, New Jersey, to complete his high school and college courses in preparation for the Catholic priesthood. He graduated in 1931 with an A.B. Degree, entering Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, New Jersey, where he received his minor orders on May 26, 1933. He served as a subdeacon at all the solemn masses and later became a deacon on December 25, 1934. He was elected prefect of his class and was ordained a priest on June 15, 1935.

Father Washington's first parish was at St. Genevieve's, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He later served at St. Venantius for a year. In 1938, he was assigned to St. Stephen's in Kearny, New Jersey. Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941, he received his appointment as a chaplain in the United States Army, reporting for active duty on May 9, 1942. He was named Chief of the Chaplains Reserve Pool, in Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and in June 1942, he was assigned to the 76th Infantry Division in Ft. George Meade, Maryland. In November 1942, he reported to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts, and met Chaplains Fox, Goode and Poling at Chaplains School at Harvard. [11]

The Dorchester had been a 5,649 ton civilian liner, 368 feet long with a 52-foot beam and a single funnel, originally built in 1926 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, for the Merchants and Miners Line, operating ships from Baltimore to Florida, carrying both freight and passengers. [12] It was the third of four liners being built for the Line.

The ship was converted for military service in World War II as a War Shipping Administration troop transport operated by Atlantic, Gulf & West Indies Steamship Lines (Agwilines) allocated to United States Army requirements. [1] [13] The conversion was done in New York by the Atlantic, Gulf, and West Indies (AGWI) SS Company, and included additional lifeboats and liferafts guns (a 3-inch gun forward, a 4-inch gun aft, and four 20mm guns) and changes to the large windows in the pilot house so that they would be reduced to slits to afford more protection. [14]

Designed for 314 civilian passengers and 90 crew, she was able to carry slightly more than 900 military passengers and crew. [1]

Dorchester left New York on January 23, 1943, en route to Greenland, carrying the four chaplains and approximately 900 others, as part of a convoy of three ships (SG-19 convoy). Most of the military personnel were not told the ship's ultimate destination. The convoy was escorted by Coast Guard Cutters Tampa, Escanaba, and Comanche. [2]

The ship's captain, Hans J. Danielsen, had been alerted that Coast Guard sonar had detected a submarine. Because German U-boats were monitoring sea lanes and had attacked and sunk ships earlier during the war, Captain Danielsen had the ship's crew on a state of high alert even before he received that information, ordering the men to sleep in their clothing and keep their life jackets on. "Many soldiers sleeping deep in the ship's hold disregarded the order because of the engine's heat. Others ignored it because the life jackets were uncomfortable." [3]

During the early morning hours of February 3, 1943, at 12:55 am, the vessel was torpedoed by the German submarine U-223 off Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. [3]

The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester ' s electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set in among the men on board, many of them trapped below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. As life jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran out before each man had one. The chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others. They helped as many men as they could into lifeboats, and then linked arms and, saying prayers and singing hymns, went down with the ship. [3]

As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.

According to some reports, survivors could hear different languages mixed in the prayers of the chaplains, including Jewish prayers in Hebrew and Catholic prayers in Latin. Only 230 of the 904 men aboard the ship were rescued. Life jackets offered little protection from hypothermia, which killed most men in the water. The water temperature was 34 °F (1 °C) and the air temperature was 36 °F (2 °C). By the time additional rescue ships arrived, "hundreds of dead bodies were seen floating on the water, kept up by their life jackets." [16]

In film Edit

  • The 60-minute TV documentary The Four Chaplains: Sacrifice at Sea was produced in 2004. [17]
  • It was announced in 2008 that development of a movie based on the chaplains' story, titled Lifeboat 13, had begun. [18][19] As of January 2013, however, no further information had been released about the project.

In print Edit

  • Francis Beauchesne Thornton (1953). Sea of Glory: The Magnificent Story of the Four Chaplains. Prentice Hall. LCCN52010662. OCLC1349281.
  • Dan Kurzman (2004). No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II . Random House. ISBN978-0375508776 . OCLC53019525.
  • Wales, Ken Poling, David (2006). Sea of Glory: Based on the True WW II Story of the Four Chaplains and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester. B&H Publishing Group. ISBN978-0805443806 – via Google Books. As the title indicates, it is "based on" the story, not an actual factual account.
  • "Chaplains at War". The Living Bible (comic) (3). March 1946. [20]
  • Edgar A. Guest (1949). Four Men of God. Living the Years. Reilly & Lee Company.

In music Edit

  • A composition entitled "The Light Eternal," written by James Swearingen in 1992, tells the story of the Four Chaplains through music. [21]
  • "The Ballad of the Four Chaplains" written and performed by Dead Men's Hollow [22]

In art Edit

In addition to the stained glass windows recalling the chaplains and their heroism, paintings include

  • Four Chaplains, 1943, by Alton Tobey [23]
  • "A Moment of Peace," Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, painted by Steven Carter. [24]
  • The Four Chaplains, Chapel of Four Chaplains. [25]
  • "The Four Chaplains," by Art Seidan (the four, pictured at the rail of the ship). [26]
  • Four chaplains mural, by artist Connie Burns Watkins, commissioned by the Rotary Club of York, Pennsylvania. [27]
  • Four Chaplains mural, painted by Dean Fausett, at entrance to Joseph "Ziggy" Kahn Gymnasium, Jewish Community Center Irene Kaufman Building, Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania. [28]
  • "Four Chaplains mural", painted by Connie Burns Watkins, in York, Pennsylvania.
  • Four Chaplains mural, painted by Nils Hogner, at the Chapel of Four Chaplains [29]
  • Four Chaplains monument and eternal flame, River view park, Sebastian Florida [30]

Other Edit

  • The two-hour audio documentary No Greater Love tells the story, including interviews with survivors, rescuers, and naval historians. [2]
  • The 23rd degree conferred by the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, entitled "Knight of Valor" tells the story of the four chaplains as a lesson of personal sacrifice to aid one's fellow man. [31]

Awards Edit

On December 19, 1944, all four chaplains were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. [32]

Additionally, members of Congress later authorized a special medal, the Four Chaplains' Medal, approved by a unanimous act of Congress on July 14, 1960, through Public Law 86-656. [33] [34] The medals were presented posthumously to the next of kin of each of the Four Chaplains by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker at Fort Myer, Virginia, on January 18, 1961. [35]

Four Chaplains Day Edit

Ceremonies and services are held each year on or around the February 3 "Four Chaplains Day" by numerous military and civilian groups and organizations. In 1998, February 3 of that year was established by senate resolution 169-98 as "Four Chaplains Day" to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the sinking of United States Army transport Dorchester and subsequent heroism of these men. [36] Some state or city officials commemorate the day with official proclamations, sometimes including the order that flags fly at half-mast in memory of the fallen chaplains. [37] In some cases, official proclamations establish observances at other times: for example, North Dakota legislation requests that the Governor issue an annual proclamation establishing the first Sunday in February as "Four Chaplains Sunday." [38]

Civitan International, a worldwide volunteer association of service clubs, holds an interfaith Clergy Appreciation Week every year. The event honors the sacrifice of the Four Chaplains by encouraging citizens to thank the clergy that serve their communities. [42] The First Parish Church (Unitarian Universalist) in Dorchester, Massachusetts, hosts an ecumenical "Service of the Four Chaplains" each January. [43] The American Legion commemorates the day through services and programs at many posts throughout the nation. [44]

On February 14, 2002, as part of the annual award of the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity, a special reconciliation meeting took place between survivors of both the American and German sides of the sinking of the Dorchester. Kurt Röser and Gerhard Buske, who had been part of the crew of the German U-boat that had torpedoed the Dorchester met with three Dorchester survivors, Ben Epstein, Walter Miller, and David Labadie, as well as Dick Swanson, who had been on board the Coast Guard Cutter Comanche, escorting the Dorchester ' s convoy. [45] [46]

On February 3, 2011, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and the United States Navy Memorial co-hosted a special program at the Memorial, in Washington, D.C. [47]

The Jewish Chaplains Monument at Arlington National Cemetery's Chaplains' Hill was dedicated on October 24, 2011. The monument honors 14 Jewish chaplains who died during their military service. The monument is a granite upright with a bronze plaque, similar to the three other monuments at the site honoring Catholic, Protestant and World War I chaplains. Rabbi Goode's name is the first listed on the plaque. The Jewish Chaplains Monument was approved by the United States Congress in May 2011, and the monument itself, designed by Debora Jackson of Long Island, New York, was reviewed and approved by the U.S. Fine Arts Commission on June 16, 2011. The dedication ceremony was held in Arlington's Memorial Amphitheater. The ceremony was attended by Ernie Heaton, who survived the Dorchester sinking, and Richard Swanson who was on the Coast Guard rescue team. [48]

U.S. postage stamp Edit

The chaplains were honored with a commemorative stamp that was issued in 1948, and was designed by Louis Schwimmer, the head of the Art Department of the New York branch of the U.S. Post Office Department (now called the USPS). [49] This stamp is highly unusual, because until 2011, [50] U.S. stamps were not normally issued in honor of someone other than a President of the United States until at least ten years after his or her death. [51]

The stamp went through three revisions before the final design was chosen. [52] None of the names of the chaplains were included on the stamp, nor were their faiths (although the faiths had been listed on one of the earlier designs): instead, the words on the stamp were "These Immortal Chaplains. Interfaith in Action." [52] Another phrase included in an earlier design that was not part of the final stamp was "died to save men of all faiths." [52] By the omission of their names, the stamp commemorated the event, rather than the individuals per se, thus obfuscating the ten-year rule in the same way as did later stamps honoring Neil Armstrong in 1969 [53] and Buzz Aldrin in 1994. [54]

Chapel of Four Chaplains Edit

The Chapel of the Four Chaplains was dedicated on February 3, 1951, by President Harry S. Truman to honor these chaplains of different faiths in the basement of Grace Baptist Church of Philadelphia. In his dedication speech, the President said, "This interfaith shrine. will stand through long generations to teach Americans that as men can die heroically as brothers so should they live together in mutual faith and goodwill." [55]

The Chapel dedication included a reminder that the interfaith team represented by the Four Chaplains was unusual. Although the Chapel was dedicated as an All-Faiths Chapel, no Catholic priest took part in the dedication ceremony, because, as Msgr. Thomas McCarthy of the National Catholic Welfare Conference explained to Time magazine, "canon law forbids joint worship." [56]

In addition to supporting work that exemplifies the idea of Interfaith in Action, recalling the story of the Four Chaplains, the Chapel presents awards to individuals whose work reflects interfaith goals. 1984 was the first time that the award went to a military chaplain team composed of a rabbi, priest, and minister, recalling in a special way the four chaplains themselves, when the Rabbi Louis Parris Hall of Heroes Gold Medallion was presented to Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff Catholic Priest Fr. George Pucciarelli and Protestant Minister Danny Wheeler—the three chaplains present at the scene of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. The story of these three United States Navy Chaplains was itself memorialized in a Presidential speech by President Ronald Reagan, on April 12, 1984. [57]

In 1972, Grace Baptist Church moved to Blue Bell and sold the building to Temple University two years later. Temple University eventually decided to renovate the building as the Temple Performing Arts Center. [58] In February 2001, the Chapel of the Four Chaplains moved to the chapel at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. [59]

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