Why was the battle of Guadalcanal so important? What made the island so different from other Pacific islands, and why did it help decide the Pacific War? Why do historians debate the battle results, the cause, the intent, the reasons for the battle?
These are just a few of the many questions that are often asked when talking about the battle to determine the Pacific War. The battle of Guadalcanal was an important battle to determine the war. It proved the strength of the Japanese and their inability to fight anywhere. It showed the enemy that they would be defeated by sheer will. It was a major turning point, an event that would determine the war or the allies. The battle resulted in the allies gaining control of the sea lanes through the island, giving them more control of the war.
On July 6, 1942, the Japanese moved a force consisting to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and began constructing an airfield. The Allies recognized that land-based planes operating from this field would seriously menace bases in the New Hebrides and New Caledonia as well as Port Moresby in New Guinea.
The battle of Guadalcanal took place between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943. The battle was a naval battle, conducted in accordance with an agreement between the British, the Americans, and the Australians, to try and stop the Japanese from continuing their southbound push towards Australia. The battle was fought between the 1stand 2nd Marine Divisions, and the U.S. Armies25th Division versus the Japanese 2nd and 38th Infantry Divisions.
The battle was a hard-fought engagement, where the Marines won a decisive victory. The marines destroyed 810 Japanese aircraft. The total Japanese losses were 2,547 aircraft. The Japanese lost roughly 30,000 personnel, including 25,000 experienced ground troops who died during the campaign. As many as three-quarters of the deaths were from non-combat causes such as starvation and various tropical diseases. The Americans sustained 1,600 killed, 4,200 wounded, and several thousand dead from malaria and other tropical diseases. The various naval battles cost each side 24 warships: the Japanese lost 2 battleships, 4 cruisers, 1 light carrier, 11 destroyers, and 6 submarines, while the Americans lost 8 cruisers, 2 heavy carriers, and 14 destroyers.
Guadalcanal was a major turning point in the war, as the allies won the sea lane through New Guinea and the Solomon Islands The battle demonstrated that the allies had naval superiority in the Pacific. The battle was an overwhelming victory for the allies, and a crushing defeat for the Japanese.
Guadalcanal was one of the major gains of the New Georgia Campaign, the other major gains in New Guinea were Bougainville and Corregidor.
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