Duelling a sniper on Guadalcanal
22nd January 1943: A young US Army officer describes jungle warfare during the final battles to clear out the Japanese from the island
On Guadalcanal the Japanese were now on the point of withdrawing, although this was not clear to the US forces in the area. A grouping of Japanese ships and transports was presumed to be an attempt to reinforce the island, rather than preparation for the withdrawal. For the troops on the ground, it made little difference, there were still many Japanese to be dealt with.
John George1 had been a state champion with the rifle in pre-war Illinois. Now he was a young officer in the 132nd Infantry Division. They had relieved the Marines on Guadalcanal in late December 1942. After a bitter battle to take Mount Austen, they were engaged in operations to clear out the remaining parties of Japanese still hiding in the thick jungle.
In late January George found himself commanding a platoon blocking the retreat of a group of Japanese. He was working hard to get his men into position:
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