Under fire on Guadalcanal
3rd September 1942: US Marines endure endure nightly bombing and shelling as they hold onto their positions around the airfield
On Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands the US Marines were leading the land campaign in the Pacific war. They had successfully fought off the first Japanese counter-attack, annihilating the assault force. But the seas around the Solomons remained dominated by the Japanese Navy.
Richard Tregaskis1, a journalist attached to the Marines, describes one episode:
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
We were awakened at fifteen minutes after midnight this morning by guns booming offshore, from the direction of Kukum. I sat out the dugout and watched the flashes lighting the sky, heard the haughty voices of the cannon. The shells were not coming in our direction at all this time. Others came out of the dugout and watched the firing.
Robert Leckie2 was a a scout and a machine gunner in H (How) Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. He has a more personal description of the effect that the shelling had: