Japanese withdraw from Guadalcanal
9th February 1943: US Forces declare that their first operation against Japanese occupied territory in the Pacific has been successful
The US Marines had landed on Guadalcanal back in August 1942. They arrived even while the seas surrounding the Solomon islands were hotly contested. It had been difficult to keep them properly supplied but they tenaciously held on until the situation began to improve in September. From Henderson Field, the pilots of the Cactus Airforce were to establish a legendary reputation. Offshore the US Navy sometimes struggled against the Japanese but gradually gained the upper hand.
Now the Japanese finally began to withdraw their troops as best they could. The end had been in sight for a long time but the Japanese had refused to accept the inevitable. It was going to be the same story for the rest of the war in the Pacific.
Dave Levy1 was a U.S. Navy PT - Patrol Torpedo - boat commander. It was a hazardous business and he had lost a lot of colleagues since arriving in September 1942:
PT boats were not designed for what we used them for. We lost an awful lot of people to small-arms fire in going up against Japanese barges in the Solomons. The Japanese would move all their people in small barges. And they’d have, maybe, thirty guys with small arms in each barge.
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