16 October 1942
War at Sea
German submarine U-353 sunk in the North Atlantic
Records of United States Air Force Commands, Activities, and
Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.
Related Records: Record copies of publications of the U.S. Air Force in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the Army Air Forces, RG 18.
Records of Headquarters U.S. Air Force (Air Staff), RG 341.
Records of Joint Commands, RG 349.
342.2 AIR FORCE UNIT HISTORIES AND SUPPORTING RECORDS
1,837 rolls of microfilm
Textual Records: Security-classified and unclassified microfilm copies of records held in the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, consisting of air force unit histories with accompanying issuances, correspondence, tables, charts, and reports, 1920-73.
Related Records: Microfilm copies of these records are also available at the Office of Air Force History, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC.
342.3 RECORDS OF THE ENGINEERING DIVISION AND ITS PREDECESSORS
History: Airplane Engineering Department, Aviation Section, Office of the Chief Signal Officer, U.S. Army, established October 13, 1917. Redesignated Airplane Engineering Division and transferred to Bureau of Aircraft Production, August 31, 1918. Redesignated Technical Division, January 1, 1919. Redesignated Engineering Division, Air Service, May 13, 1919. Redesignated Materiel Division, Air Corps, October 15, 1926. Redesignated Materiel Center (MC), Army Air Forces (AAF), March 6, 1942. Redesignated Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), by General Order 16, MC, April 6, 1942. New organization, designated Engineering Division, established under AFMC by Notice 103, AFMC, June 7, 1942. AFMC redesignated successively Materiel Command, April 15, 1943 AAF Materiel Command, June 15, 1944 AAF Materiel and Services Command, summer 1944 AAF Technical Service Command, September 1, 1944 Air Technical Service Command, July 1, 1945 and Air Materiel Command (AMC), March 13, 1946. Engineering Division transferred from AMC to Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) by Notice 77, AMC, April 3, 1951. ARDC redesignated Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) and Engineering Division redesignated Aeronautical Systems Division of AFSC, effective April 1, 1961, by Letter AFOMO 590M, Department of the Air Force (DAF), March 20, 1961.
Note: For administrative histories of the air force organization at the highest echelon, SEE 18.1, 18.2, 18.5, 18.7, 341.1, and 341.2.
Textual Records: Central decimal correspondence, 1916-49 (1,774 ft.). Research and development project contract files, 1921-51 (3,438 ft.). Microfilm copy of research and development technical reports, 1928-51 (400 rolls).
Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Aeronautics, RG 72.
342.4 RECORDS OF THE AIR FORCE SYSTEMS COMMAND AND ITS PREDECESSORS
History: Research and Development Command, USAF, consisting of research and development units formerly under Air Materiel Command, established January 23, 1950. Became operational February 1, 1950. Redesignated Air Research and Development Command, September 16, 1950. Redesignated Air Force Systems Command, effective April 1, 1961, by AFOMO 590M, DAF, March 20, 1961.
Textual Records (in Los Angeles): Orders and directives of the 6594th Aerospace Test Wing, Ballistic Missile Division, 1961-65.
Motion Pictures (40 reels): Staff Film Reports series, produced by the Air Research and Development Command to document technical advances in the development of aircraft, missiles, and weapons systems, 1954-57. SEE ALSO 342.12.
342.5 RECORDS OF THE AIR UNIVERSITY (AIR TRAINING COMMMAND, MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, AL)
Textual Records: Records of the Junior Operations Branch, Junior Program Division, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, consisting of Junior Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps unit files, 1968-81.
342.6 RECORDS OF AIR FORCE BASES
Note: This subgroup includes approximately 2 lin. ft. of records in process of reallocation from Record Group 338, Records of U.S. Army Commands, 1942-. Summary descriptions of these records are enclosed in braces <>.
342.6.1 Records of Griffis Air Force Base, Rome, NY
342.6.2 Records of Homestead Air Force Base, FL
History: Activated April 1941. Designated Homestead Airfield September 16, 1942. Became operational November 1942. Inactivated December 14, 1945. Reactivated January 5, 1953. Redesignated Homestead Air Force Base, March 3, 1953.
Textual Records (in Atlanta): Real property case files of the 31st Civil Engineering Squadron, 31st Combat Support Group, 1953- 66. News releases of the Homestead AFB Public Information Office (Directorate of Information, Headquarters, 19th Bomb Wing [Heavy], Strategic Air Command), 823d Support Group, 1965.
342.6.3 Records of Sundance Air Force Base, WY
Textual Records (in Denver): Miscellaneous program correspondence, 1963-68.
342.7 RECORDS OF THE ARCTIC, DESERT, AND TROPIC INFORMATION CENTER
1934, 1943-44, 1953, 1955
History: Established under the Proving Ground Command, AAF, at Eglin Field, FL, by directive from Maj. Gen. Muir S. Fairchild, Director, Military Requirements, HQAAF, to Brig. Gen. Grandison Gardner, Commanding General, Proving Ground Command, AAF, September 20, 1942. Transferred to Office of Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Intelligence, HQAAF, and relocated to New York City, October 1943. Transferred to Tactical Center, AAF, Orlando Field, FL, and redesignated Arctic, Desert, and Tropic Branch, April 1944. Deactivated, October 1945. Reactivated by directive from Commanding General, USAF, to Commanding General, Air University, USAF, February 26, 1947.
Textual Records: Copy of a report by Charles A. Lindbergh on the Greenland-Iceland transatlantic route, 1934. Activity report of the Ice Cap Detachment, Greenland Base Command, 1943-44. Instructor's manual for the Arctic, prepared by Dr. Vilhjahmur Stefansson, 1943. National Geographic Society survey of literature on the Greenland ice cap, 1953. Report on the use of ice for aircraft landing strips, 1955.
342.8 RECORDS OF THE AERONAUTICAL CHART AND INFORMATION CENTER (ACIC)
History: For an administrative history of ACIC and its predecessors, SEE 456.2, "Air Force Predecessors," in RG 456, Records of the Defense Mapping Agency.
Maps and Charts: Sets of published world aeronautical, pilotage, approach, and strategic planning charts, with index charts, 1947-71 (4,111 items). Charts of the surface of the moon, and a lunar photomap atlas, 1960-62 (347 items).
342.9 RECORDS OF AIR FORCE OPERATIONAL UNITS
Note: This subgroup includes approximately 6 lin. ft. of records in process of reallocation from Record Group 338, Records of U.S. Army Commands, 1942- . Summary descriptions of these records are enclosed in braces <>.
342.10 RECORDS OF THE ALASKA COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM
Textual Records (in Anchorage): History of Alaska Communications System during World War II, September 1945. Cable ship operational histories, 1902-32. Publicity scrapbooks, 1942-56. Weekly reports of tests, 1960-62.
Related Records: Additional records of the Alaska Communications System in RG 111, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
342.11 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
SEE Maps and Charts UNDER 342.8.
342.12 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
Air Force Digest series, 1953-55 (65 reels). Air Force News Review series, 1939-59 (349 reels). Armed Forces Information Films series, 1950-63 (46 reels). Tarzon Bomb, documenting bomb development, 1963 (2 reels). General Holtoner and Bill Holden - Sound Barrier, documenting the actor's visit to an Air Force base and his ride in a jet fighter, 1956 (1 reel). Film Reports series, 1958-66 (153 reels). Film Training Aids series, 1953-63 (103 reels). Department of Defense News Releases series, 1952-54 (410 reels). Report to the Armed Forces series, documenting the preparations for a nuclear detonation on Eniwetok Island and the construction of the air base at Thule, Greenland, 1953 (6 reels). Special Film Projects series, 1943-64 (1,785 reels). Technical Film Reports series, documenting the development of the Snark long-range missile system, 1950-55 (9 reels). Training Films series, 1942-63 (208 reels). Project Crossroads atomic bomb tests, Bikini Atoll, 1946 (77 reels). Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 1945 (133 reels). Gun Sight Aiming Point series, consisting of Korean War gun camera footage, 1951-53 (36 reels). U.S. Air Force activities in Greenland, Labrador, Washington State, and Alaska in support of the International Geophysical Year, 1953-59 (75 reels). USAF series, consisting of edited and unedited footage documenting early aviation aerial warfare during World Wars I and II experimental aircraft and missile testing air force command activities during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and air operations in Southeast Asia, with accompanying index and documentation, 1900-72 (4,968 reels).
Finding Aids: Master catalogue cards and production files for the Air Force Digest series, Air Force News Review series, Film Training Aids series, New Releases series, Special Film Projects series, Technical Film Reports series, Training Films series, and USAF series. Master catalog cards only for Film Reports series. Production files only for Staff Film Reports series.
342.13 TEXTUAL RECORDS (GENERAL)
Security-classified correspondence of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence concerning tactical intelligence in Vietnam, 1955-1980. Security-classified records of the Strategic Air Command, consisting of Vietnam-related combat operations reports from the 8th Air Force, 1972-73 bombing mission messages, 1966 and correspondence and other records concerning target identifications and air operation, 1965-68. Military Airlift Command security-classifed logbooks, 1965-68. Security-classified records of the Pacific Air Forces, consisting of Southeast Asia "Project Checo" air operations reports, 1967 reports on the history of the 7th Air Force's U.S. Support Activities Group, 1973-75 comments on proposed changes to Pacific Air Forces regulations and procedures manuals, 1966-74 operational analysis reports, 1965-68 and a report on force reduction planning, 1968. Records of the 8th Air Force, consisting of correspondence relating to the readiness and reliability of Strategic Air Command forces and equipment, 1964-68 and a record set of superseded or rescinded Air Force publications, 1963-67. Security-classified records of the Seventh Air Force, consisting of combat operations reports from the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and reports on 12th Tactical Fighter Wing missions, 1966-69. Security-classified Southeast Asia equipment operational requirements modification case files for the Seventh Air Force. Security-classified reports on the history of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 432nd Tactical Fighter Wing, 1970-75. Security-classified mixed files relating to various USAF combat operations and other activities during the Vietnam War, 1961-77. Security-classified records of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, under the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces (CINCPACAF), consisting of daily and weekly statistical reports and summaries on air combat operations, 1968-74 aircraft loss or accident reports, 1968-73 and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) emergency actions file, 1966-74.
342.14 VIDEO RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
Armament deliveries, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Kuwait, 1991, unclassified (110 items) and security-classified (295 items).
342.15 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
Air Force public information programs, including "Great Moments To Music," "Our Date With History," and "Serenade in Blue" series, 1954-76 (21 items). "Country Music Time," 1961-85 (818 items). Iraqi prisoner of war interviews, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Kuwait, 1991 (18 items).
342.16 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
Photographs: Air force personnel and activities in Germany and Japan following World War II, including 1948-49 Berlin Airlift, 1945-62 (G, J 7,681 images). Scenes of post-World War II Europe, including war-damaged areas, industrial areas, urban and rural areas, and historic landmarks, 1946-48 (CGA, CGB, CGC, CGD 674 images). U.S. Air Force activities, military projects, and operations, including the war in Vietnam airmen and officers aircraft and missiles and airfields and bases in the United States and overseas, 1955-81 (AF, B, C 140,245 images).
Finding Aids: Subject and name indexes and shelf lists to series AF and C.
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.
The column of sweaty, exhausted Japanese soldiers trudged single file through the thick, dark jungle. For days they had been pushing inland from the western end of Guadalcanal. They had embarked on their slow-moving jungle march on October 16, 1942. They tramped steadily through nearly impenetrable jungle growth, clawing their way over knife-edged ridges. At one point they waded through the chest-deep Lunga River, holding their weapons aloft as they crossed. Adding to the weight of their gear and rations was the artillery shell that each soldier was required to carry. The crews of the weapons teams had it particularly tough. Each carried a section of a dismantled gun. Their load was so heavy that they all eventually dropped back to the end of the column.
These men belonged to Lt. Gen. Masso Maruyama’s 2nd Division of Lt. Gen. Harukichi Hyakutake’s 17th Army. Despite their difficult trek, they were confident they could defeat the U.S. Marine Corps units and the one U.S. Army unit holding the vital airfield known as Henderson Field. A thick jungle canopy kept Maruyama’s column hidden from the eyes of American aviators. The Japanese planned to launch a surprise attack from the south against the Americans on October 22. So confident of success were the top officers of the Japanese 17th Army that a plan would be drawn up beforehand for the expected American surrender, which would be heralded by the code signal “Banzai.” After their victory, Guadalcanal would be back in Japanese hands.
At Lunga Point, the gritty American leathernecks, many of them tired and sick, along with a regiment of green U.S. Army troops, waited in their rifle pits and entrenchments for the main attack, which they believed would come from the west. They would soon learn otherwise.
More than three months earlier the Japanese had begun construction on that very airfield. As the Japanese advanced across the South Pacific, they captured Rabaul on the island of New Britain in January 1942. By securing Rabaul with its excellent harbor and constructing an airbase there, they strengthened their defensive perimeter in the South Pacific, which also included a strong naval base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.
To safeguard Rabaul from Allied attack, the Japanese advanced to New Guinea, landing forces there and in the Solomon Islands. In early May, the Japanese captured Tulagi, which had been the site of the headquarters of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate and was located 20 miles from Guadalcanal, the largest island in the Solomons chain. They landed a small force on Tulagi and established seaplane bases there and on a nearby island.
After the strategic defeats Japan suffered at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 and the Battle of Midway in June of that year, the Imperial Japanese Navy further strengthened its defensive perimeter by ordering airfields constructed in key areas such as Guadalcanal. In early July 1942, two Japanese construction units landed at Guadalcanal and began work on the airfield at Lunga Point which was expected to be completed the following month.
Once the airfield was completed, it would help counter anticipated Allied operations in the region and help cut the vital Allied supply line between Australia and Hawaii. The Americans did not plan to let that happen.
After some serious discussions and compromise among the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Allied commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, was ordered to capture Tulagi and the Santa Cruz Islands, where a base would be established, while General Douglas MacArthur, supreme Allied commander in the southwest Pacific, was to capture the northeast coast of New Guinea. After that, the Americans planned to attack Rabaul. Upon learning of the Japanese airfield that was being constructed on Guadalcanal, Nimitz was ordered on July 5 to take Guadalcanal. Thus, the capture of the island became the primary focus of Operation Watchtower. The Americans also planned to take Tulagi.
With an amphibious force of 82 vessels drawn from the U.S. and Australian navies, the 1st Marine Division under Maj. Gen. Alexander Vandegrift was tasked with securing both Tulagi and Guadalcanal. The 1st Division was missing its 7th Marines, which had been sent to Samoa and had been replaced by the 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division. The assault, which was to be the first American ground offensive of the war, was scheduled for August 1.
The attack would be delayed for a week. Vandegrift needed the extra time to get supplies loaded on ships at Wellington, New Zealand, and learn what he could about Japanese strength on Guadalcanal. He also needed information on the island. Guadalcanal is roughly 90 miles long and 25 miles wide. A mountain chain runs down the middle of the tropical island. The coastal plain on the north side of Guadalcanal is more suitable to military operations than the south side.
On August 7, the task force divided into two groups as it moved into position to attack Guadalcanal and Tulagi, as well as other nearby islands. After Allied naval guns had shelled suspected enemy shore batteries and carrier-based planes bombed enemy airfields, 3,000 U.S. Marines hit the beaches on the islands of Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo. They secured their positions after only two days of fighting.
Meanwhile, the roughly 11,300 men of the 1st and 5th Marines, minus its 2nd Battalion, landed on the northern coast of Guadalcanal 6,000 yards east of Lunga Point. The Marines met no initial resistance from the roughly 2,800 enemy troops on the island, which were mostly from the Japanese constructions units. On the second day, they encountered only scattered resistance as they secured the nearly completed airfield and its buildings. They also found three antiaircraft batteries, a refrigeration plant, ammunition dump, and a large cache of supplies.
The Marines quickly established a defensive perimeter. Believing a Japanese attack would likely come along the beach, Vandegrift placed the bulk of his leathernecks there with a strong defensive line established to the east at the Ilu River, which the Americans called Alligator Creek, while to the west the defensive line stretched to the village of Kukum past Lunga Point, bending back toward jungle-covered hills. The southern sector, which seemed an unlikely approach for a large-scale Japanese attack due to its rough terrain, was held by support troops strung out in a series of outposts.
Events were soon to take a turn for the worse when the Allied carrier support group, which was exposed to Japanese air attacks, withdrew to a safer location. In the early hours of August 9, the Japanese 8th Fleet moved into the area. It engaged a number of the destroyers and cruisers of the amphibious task force off Savo Island, sinking four Allied cruisers and damaging two others. It was a stunning victory for the Japanese, who had only one destroyer damaged. Fortunately for the Americans, the Japanese did not attack the transport area, fearing a daylight air attack. The Japanese ships headed back to Rabaul, and not long afterward the remaining vessels of the American amphibious task force departed, even though only half of their cargo had been offloaded.
Marines land unopposed on Guadalcanal in August 1942. Allied control of Guadalcanal was essential for the southwestern Pacific offensive against Imperial Japan.
The Marines moved the supplies piled on the beach into the perimeter and continued construction of the airfield. On August 12, the Marines named the airfield Henderson Field after aviator Major Lofton Henderson, who was killed at Midway two months earlier. That same day the first American aircraft landed on the airstrip. Eight days later two squadrons, one of 19 Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters and the other of 12 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers, landed on the airstrip to a joyous reception from the Marines. The Cactus Air Force, as the air support would soon be called, would grow in the coming weeks and months and play a vital role in the defense of Guadalcanal.
Japanese air attacks had started on August 7 and became almost daily after the American carriers departed. At night Japanese warships pummeled the Marines with their heavy guns. Meanwhile, Marine patrols gathered information on the enemy. On August 15, Vandegrift received invaluable intelligence when Coastwatcher Captain Martin Clemens, a member of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force, and his native scouts arrived and offered their services to the Americans.
The Japanese high command ordered Hyakutake, whose headquarters was located on Rabaul, to recapture Guadalcanal. On August 15, a contingent of 900 men from the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry who were led by Colonel Kiyono Ichiki landed under cover of darkness at Taivu Point on the eastern end of Guadalcanal. This force, also known as the Ichiki Detachment, was the first of those landed in what the Americans called the Tokyo Express. The Tokyo Express was the term Americans coined for the Japanese Imperial Navy’s method of transporting and supplying troops in and around the Solomon Islands.
Ichiki sent out a reconnaissance patrol, which subsequently was wiped out by a Marine patrol on August 19. The Marines quickly returned to their perimeter. On the night of August 20-21, Ichiki’s force attacked at Alligator Creek. Waves of screaming Japanese troops charged the Marines’ position and were mowed down by machine guns. The following morning the Marines enveloped the enemy. Backed by light tanks, the Marines methodically destroyed the encircled Japanese.
More Japanese reinforcements were in a convoy on their way to Guadalcanal, as well as two naval task forces that included a total of three aircraft carriers. On August 24, two American carrier task forces engaged the Japanese in what became known as the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. The Americans sank three Japanese vessels, including a carrier. The following day, the Japanese task forces withdrew. Meanwhile, U.S. aircraft based at Henderson Field attacked the Japanese transport convoy 150 miles east of Guadalcanal, forcing it to retire. Despite the continuing American air threat, the Japanese managed to land reinforcements at Guadalcanal.
The Marines on Guadalcanal were reinforced on August 21 when the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines was shifted to the larger island following operations on Tulagi. But the Americans still needed more troops to man their expanding perimeter. The Marines made a second attack against the enemy on the west side of the Matanikau River on August 27 after having destroyed a small enemy garrison in the area eight days earlier. The Japanese put up a staunch defence during the day and then withdrew during the night to avoid being encircled as they had been at Alligator Creek.
To the east, U.S. intelligence indicated that a large Japanese force was located at the village of Tasimboko. The 1st Raider Battalion and the 1st Parachute Battalion, which had been transferred from Tulagi, were put under the command of Lt. Col. Merritt Edson and sent by destroyer transports to investigate. Aided by air support, Edson’s men took the village on September 8 expecting to find only light resistance. However, they were surprised at the size of the Japanese force they encountered.
Edson’s men had hit the rear guard of a force of 5,200 Japanese troops, most of whom belonged to Maj. Gen. Kiyotaki Kawaguchi’s 124th Infantry, which had begun arriving at Taivu Point in late August. Simultaneously, a smaller force of 1,000 Japanese troops had landed on the western end of the island.
Kawaguchi struck out southwest, planning to attack Henderson Field from the south. Waiting for them were Edson’s 1st Raider and 1st Parachute Battalions, which had been deployed on Lunga Ridge in a sector south of the airfield that became known by two other names: Edson’s Ridge and Bloody Ridge. Over a two-day period beginning September 12, the Japanese launched repeated frontal assaults that were repulsed with heavy losses.
Despite Kawaguchi’s failure, the Japanese were determined to take the island and continued sending more troops to Guadalcanal, including the 38th Division, 2nd Division, 8th Tank Regiment, and artillery units. Vandegrift also received much needed reinforcements when the 7th Marines rejoined their division. With the arrival of this regiment, Vandegrift was able to construct a comprehensive defense of his perimeter. He divided it into 10 sectors. Three of the sectors fronted the beach, and the other seven faced inland. Some areas were lightly manned and vulnerable to attack.
Diseases, such as malaria and dysentery, took a heavy toll on the Marines and airmen who were subsisting on reduced rations. The situation was no better for the Japanese troops, who were reduced to a third of their normal rations due to supply problems caused in part by the rough terrain, difficulty of moving supplies, and the interdiction of Marine aviators. Japanese pilots also were making things miserable for the Americans with their almost daily bombing runs.
Colonel Kiyono Ichiki.
With his reinforcements, Vandegrift set out to clear the enemy from the Matanikau area. On October 7, the Marines launched their assault first with the 5th Marines (minus its 1st Battalion) attacking west toward the mouth of the Matanikau River, driving back elements of the Japanese 4th Infantry, 2nd Division. A second Marine force under the command of Colonel William Whaling, which consisted of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines and the divisional Scout Sniper Detachment, together known as the Whaling Group, followed by the 7th Marines (minus the 3rd Battalion), was to push inland and cross upriver. This movement would occur while the 5th Marines made their holding attack.
The 5th Marines drove the enemy back to the river’s mouth, where the tenacious Japanese clung to a small bridgehead. Reinforced with a company from the 1st Raider Battalion, the 5th Marines continued to shrink the Japanese bridgehead on October 8. At dusk the Japanese troops attacked the Raiders in an attempt to escape, but the Raiders held their positions.
Delayed by heavy rain, the Whaling Group crossed the river on October 9, while the 5th Marines and the Raiders destroyed the last of the Japanese resistance on the east side of the river. At the same time, the Whaling Group and the 7th Marines on the west bank of the river pushed north. The leathernecks under Colonel Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy with infantry fire and artillery support. In three days of fighting, the Japanese 4th Infantry lost 700 men.
Despite the defeat, the Japanese continued to prepare for their assault on Henderson Field. But they underestimated the Marines’ strength on the island, which they put at 10,000 men. The Marines’ actual strength was more than double that estimate. On October 10, Hyakutake arrived on the west end of Guadalcanal to personally oversee the operation. He found understrength battalions, a shortage of shells for the artillery, and many of the troops in poor shape. Hyakutake ordered more troops to the island.
The Marines also received reinforcements. On October 13, approximately 3,000 soldiers of the 164th Infantry of the Army’s Americal Division landed on Lunga Point. Vandegrift’s force now numbered 27,727 men, of which 23,088 were on Guadalcanal and the rest on Tulagi.
With the arrival of the 164th Infantry, Vandegrift expanded his perimeter by establishing a position along the east bank of the Matanikau River. Such a position was essential to control the mouth of the river, as a sandbar made it possible for the Japanese to move up tanks, large guns, and vehicles. Elsewhere along the river the terrain and jungle made it impossible to move heavy equipment across.
The 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines were responsible for holding this key position. They were supported by a battalion of the 11th Marines and elements of the 1st Special Weapons Battalion. The units established a fortified horseshoe-shaped position on the high ground along the Matanikau with their right flank refused east along the beach and their left refused east along the ridge of Hill 67.
Marine patrols covered the gap between the exposed position and main line. To bolster their defenses, the Marines laid antipersonnel and antitank mines. The Marines also placed 37mm antitank guns and a 75mm tank destroyer in concealed positions to cover the sandbar, which they planned to illuminate with headlights from amphibious tractors in the event of a night attack by the Japanese.
After receiving substantial reinforcements, Vandegrift adjusted his 22,000-yard-long defensive line atop Lunga Ridge. He divided it into five sectors.
Sector One, which covered the beach, was held by the 3rd Defense Battalion along with part of the 1st Special Weapons Battalion. They were supported by amphibian tractor, engineer, and pioneer troops. Sector Two, which stretched partly along the beach and then turned inland along the Ilu River for 4,000 yards before swinging west, was defended by the 164th Infantry and part of the 1st Special Weapons Battalion.
Sector Three, which covered 2,500 yards of jungle from the Army regiment’s right flank to the Lunga River and included the southern slope of Edson’s Ridge, was held by the 7th Marines (minus a battalion). Sector Four, which was the responsibility of the 1st Marines (minus a battalion), stretched from the Lunga River for 3,500 yards of jungle. Sector five, which constituted the perimeter’s western corner, was defended by the 5th Marines.
Each regiment was ordered to hold a battalion in reserve. An exception to this rule was the two battalions of the 1st and 7th Marines at Matanikau. The 1st Tank Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines aboard trucks were also held in reserve.
The Japanese attack on Guadalcanal was to be a combined operation. A pair of senior Japanese officers peered at the terrain south of Henderson Field from the towering Mount Austen, six miles southwest of the airfield. From their observation, they deemed the jungle more accessible than first thought and mistakenly reported no American defenses in this area.
Meanwhile, a Japanese naval force steamed toward Guadalcanal. It intended to shell Henderson Field, but American patrol planes spotted the Japanese ships shortly before midnight on October 11 and radioed their positions for counterattack purposes. U.S. Navy vessels engaged them in what became known as the Battle of Cape Esperance, sinking two vessels and damaging two more. The next day two Japanese destroyers were sunk by fighters and dive bombers from Henderson Field.
On October 13, two waves of Japanese bombers hit Henderson Field. Then enemy artillery, which the Marines soon nicknamed “Pistol Pete,” positioned near Kokumbona opened up. To make matters worse, two Japanese battleships blasted the airfield for 80 minutes. They also damaged some aircraft in their bombardment. When their smoking guns stopped, bombers were soon raiding the airfield again until daylight.
Henderson Field was badly damaged by the afternoon of October 14 and was shut down, although a few B-17s did manage to take off in the morning. The Cactus Air Force, however, was not out of operation because the construction battalion had built a grassy runway strip, known as Fighter Strip No. 1, to the southeast, which now acted as the main airfield.
A Marine patrol makes contact with the Japanese along a narrow trail in an illustration by combat artist Howard Brodie. The U.S. Marines prevailed in the struggle for control of Guadalcanal despite the harsh jungle environment. U.S. Army Sergeant Brodie worked for Yank magazine and accompanied Marines on Guadalcanal into combat.
At dawn the next day five enemy transports unloading men, equipment, and supplies were spotted at Tassafaronga Point on the western end of the island. With the transport vessels were 11 escort warships. Scavenging what fuel they could and draining drums flown in from Espiritu Santo, the Cactus Air Force soon had some planes in the air. Battling Japanese fighters, the Cactus Air Force, aided by Army bombers, sank one transport and set two more on fire. Despite this the Japanese managed to offload 4,000 troops and 80 percent of their cargo before retreating. A land attack was imminent.
Hyakutake had assembled 20,000 troops, including the survivors of the Ichiki and Kawaguchi forces, as well as two battalions of the 38th Division and the 2nd Division. Besides artillery support, Hyakutake also had a tank company.
As part of the Japanese plan, a force led by Maj. Gen. Tadashi Sumiyoshi, artillery commander of the 17th Army, with the Army’s heavy artillery, a tank company, and five battalions of infantry totaling 2,900 men, was to divert American attention along the Matanikau costal area. His force was to continue to shell the airfield and American artillery positions.
At the same time, Maruyama would launch the main assault. He was to march his force, which was composed of 5,600 men drawn from nine infantry battalions of the 2nd Division and divided into two wings, inland to be in a position to attack Henderson Field from the south. The right wing of the force was led by Kawaguchi, and the left wing was led by Maj. Gen. Yumio Nasu.
Another force made up of one battalion of the 228th Regiment, named the Koli Detachment, was to make an amphibious landing at Koli Point, where it was mistakenly believed the Americans had another airfield. The attack was scheduled for October 22, when Hyakutake expected to soon hear the code word “Banzai” for success.
On October 16, Nasu’s left wing led the advance for Maruyama’s enveloping force. The last of his command left two days later. Their journey was horrendous as they followed a narrow trail named the Maruyama Road that led through the thick jungle and over ridges. The gunners, some of whom were unable to carry their heavy dismantled guns through the thick jungle, discarded them along the way. Although Maruyama’s force was behind schedule, the Americans were entirely unaware of their presence.
Japanese soldiers of the Kawaguchi Detachment make their way toward the battlefront. Kawaguchi was relieved of command for his bungled handling of the assault on Edson’s Ridge.
The Americans waiting in their entrenchments expected the main attack to come from the west, even though a captured Japanese map indicated a three-pronged attack. While no enemy appeared from the east, patrols to the south found only half-starved, poorly armed stragglers, and air patrols spotted nothing, the west seemed the likely direction of the attack, especially on October 18, when Sumiyoshi’s batteries opened up. The Marine batteries quickly returned fire.
Meanwhile, Colonel Akinosuku Oka’s 124th Infantry (minus one battalion) and the 3rd Battalion, 4th Infantry crossed the Matanikau on the evening of the October 19. Sumiyoshi had ordered Oka to take up positions at Mount Austen in preparation to attack the Marines east of the Matanikau from the south. Oka’s troops would be delayed by the terrible terrain that was bogging down Maruyama’s men.
Colonel Nomasu Nakaguma, who commanded the rest of Sumiyoshi’s infantry contingent, gathered his troops for an attack on October 22. Two days before, three tanks that approached the river came under fire from a 37mm gun, which damaged one of them. The next evening after the artillery went silent, nine Japanese tanks with infantry support attempted to cross the sand bar. The 37mm gun knocked a tank out, and the patrol pulled back.
By October 22, Maruyama reported to Hyakutake that his men were not in position yet, and the attack was postponed for the next day. Maruyama was not to make that date either, and the attack was postponed for two additional days.
Sumiyoshi, who was out of contact with Maruyama, launched his attack on October 23. For most of the day it had been quiet. At 6 pm the Japanese artillery began pounding the Marines’ horseshoe along the Matanikau River, as well the coast road and rear areas. When the guns fell quiet, Nakaguma attacked. Unknown to Nakaguma, Oka, who was to begin his assault to the south, had to delay his attack because his troops were not in position.
Four Japanese tanks from the 1st Tank Company emerged from the jungle and rumbled toward the sandbar. The first tank had not gone far when fire from a 37mm gun stopped it. A second tank pushed on, making it over the sandbar and overrunning a machine-gun post. Then, the tank churned near the foxhole occupied by Private Joe Champagne, who reached out and stuck a grenade in its track. The grenade exploded, knocking off the track and causing the tank to veer down the beach toward the water. The crew of an American half-track with a 75mm gun finished it off. The remaining two tanks were soon knocked out, as were five tanks in the second wave.
Meanwhile, Marine artillery and mortars broke up Nakaguma’s infantry attack before it got very far. A second attempt to cross the river around midnight was quickly stopped. The Japanese lost 600 men in the failed attack, while the Marines suffered 39 casualties.
The next morning, the Marines holding the horseshoe along the Matanikau spotted a column of Japanese troops on a ridge to their left rear. This was part of Oka’s force still moving into position. To counter this enemy force, Lt. Col. Herman Henry Hanneken’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines was diverted to a ridge east of the horseshoe’s refused left flank.
The hardship of constant frontline duty is captured in a Brodie sketch of two Marines sharing a foxhole.
Meanwhile, Puller’s battalion covered the 2,500-yard sector by itself, having a platoon from each rifle company, a part of the weapons company, and the battalion command post take over the right half of the sector. On a hill 1,500 yards in front of Puller’s left flank a platoon held an outpost that dominated a large grassy area.
Troubling intelligence was received on the afternoon of October 24, when a straggler from a 7th Marines’ patrol reported spotting an enemy officer with binoculars studying Edson’s Ridge. A scout sniper mentioned seeing smoke from many rice fires south of Edson’s Ridge near the Lunga River. About 4 pm native scouts brought word to the 164th Infantry that they had seen 2,000 enemy troops not far from their sector. Despite these reports it was too late in the day for any major troop rearrangement.
Maruyama’s two wings were finally moving into position. They were to begin their attack at 7 pm. At 4 pm it started to rain, which began to pound down an hour later and slowed the troops as they struggled forward through muddy areas. After sunset the jungle became pitch black, and units had difficulty finding their directions. There was no way the attack was going to be launched at 7 pm.
By 9 pm the rain stopped. The moon cast a feeble light through openings in the thick jungle canopy. Thirty minutes later the Marine outpost in front of Puller’s sector spotted the enemy. Puller ordered the Marines there to withdraw to the main perimeter.
Each of Maruyama’s wings had three rifle battalions forward and three in reserve. The right wing was now under the command of Colonel Toshinaro Shoji. He had been given the command following the removal the day before of Kawaguchi for his bungled handling of his wing. These troops lost their direction and became confused in the darkness, which left the 29th Infantry of Nasu’s left wing to make the main attack.
Marines operate a .30 caliber machine gun in a forward post. Heavy machine guns were essential to disrupting Japanese banzai charges.
Around 10 pm the Japanese, probably from one of Shoji’s battalions, made contact with the Americans’ southern perimeter, attacking the junction between the 164th Infantry and 7th Marines. A blaze of machine-gun and infantry fire lit up the night from the defenders’ positions. Mortar and artillery shells quickly came screaming down on the Japanese struggling through the barbed wire in front of the American perimeter. Canister rounds from 37mm guns ripped into the attackers, doing deadly damage. The first attack was stopped cold. Despite this, a mistaken signal from the 17th Army claimed the right wing had taken the airfield around 11 pm.
Lead elements of the 29th Infantry from Nasu’s left wing attacked shortly after midnight on October 25. Barbed wire was soon discovered in a clearing in front of the Marines, and Japanese engineers attempted to cut gaps through it. A company of Japanese soldiers crawled up through foot-tall grass, but before the opening in the wire was complete some of them stood up. Another screamed “Banzai.” Machine-gun fire sliced through these soldiers at ground level while mortar shells rained down on them.
More attacks would follow. To beat back these attacks the Marines received reinforcements from the Army. The first of these reinforcements were three platoons from Lt. Col. Robert Hall’s 3rd Battalion, 164th Infantry, which were soon followed by the remainder of the battalion. As these troops were untested in battle, they were distributed among the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines by squads and platoons.
A U.S. plane takes off from the strip made for fighter aircraft at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. An assortment of U.S. military aircraft dubbed the Cactus Air Force operated from the airfield against Japanese targets.
Machine-gun and infantry fire, along with mortar, artillery, and 37mm fire support, hammered the Japanese troops. During these attacks, Marine Sergeant John Basilone, who was in charge of two sections of heavy weapons of Company C, kept his machine guns operating by ensuring his men had extra ammunition belts. When two machine guns were knocked out in the midst of the action, he brought a replacement. He then repaired the damaged one and fired it until help arrived to take it over. For his actions, he received the Medal of Honor.
At 3:30 am, the soldiers of Colonel Masajiro Furimiya’s 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry charged the Marines. While most of his attacking force was cut down, Furimiya, with 100 men, managed to penetrate the American line but became trapped in a pocket. The Marines repulsed another attack at sunrise. Nasu ordered his troops to fall back into the jungle and wait for night to attack again. The Marines, meanwhile, wiped out Furimiya’s pocket and other clusters of Japanese troops trapped inside their lines.
At 8 am on October 25, Japanese artillery began shelling Henderson Field for three hours. Japanese aircraft bombed the Americans in seven separate attacks during the day. At first, the Marines could not offer much resistance to the aerial assault with their own fighters because the heavy rains had saturated Fighter Strip No. 1, making it difficult, if not impossible, for aircraft to take off. Meanwhile, three Japanese destroyers arrived in the morning and sank two American destroyer transports. After sinking two harbor patrol boats, the Japanese destroyers began shelling Lunga Point. Marine shore batteries returned fire, striking the destroyers three times. The Japanese ships withdrew out of range, taking with them the Koli Detachment. Thus, there would be no Japanese landing at Koli Point. As the day wore on, the fighter strip became dry enough for the Marine aviators to take off to engage the enemy over Guadalcanal they knocked out more than 20 enemy aircraft.
While the American position was receiving its heaviest concentration of shells and bombs to date, the lines were readjusted as the 5th Marines in Sector Five shifted their line to the southwest, closing the gap with the left flank of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines at the horseshoe. In Puller’s sector, the intermingled 3rd Battalion, 164 Infantry reunited and took over the eastern part of the line while the Marines held the other part including the south slope of Edson‘s Ridge.
Maruyama prepared to resume his attack once the sun set. He placed his reserves, the 16th Infantry and the 2nd Engineer Battalion, under Nasu’s command. The 16th Infantry on the right and the remnants of the 29th Infantry on the left would make the main attack. In addition, two of Shoji’s battalions were deployed to cover Maruyama’s right flank. This action was the result of a false report that indicated an American force was headed toward them.
The heavy cost the Japanese paid trying to retake Guadalcanal is evident in the image of slain Japanese at the mouth of the Ilu River, which the Americans called Alligator Creek.
The 2nd Division’s mountain howitzers and mortars opened up around 8 pm on Puller’s Marines and Hall’s soldiers with a light barrage. Supported by machine-gun fire, the Japanese attacked in groups of 30 to 200 men, mostly against Hall’s soldiers. The attacks were beaten back with heavy casualties for the Japanese.
In the early hours of October 26, a heavy attack was launched by the Japanese 16th Infantry against the seam dividing the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 164th Infantry. The Marines, who were supported by a pair of 37mm guns from the weapons company of the 7th Marines, shattered the Japanese attack, killing approximately 250 enemy troops. At daylight the Japanese withdrew into the jungle. Maruyama reported to Hyakutake that he simply could not penetrate the American perimeter.
At 3 am on October 26, Oka attacked Hanneken’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, which was holding a ridge on the eastern end of the refused horseshoe position. Company F of the 2nd Battalion found itself especially hard hit by swarms of enemy troops.
Sergeant Mitchell Paige’s machine-gun section fired at the enemy. In the wild fight, all of Paige’s men were hit. He continued firing the two machine guns alternately as he was able. At one point he endured enemy fire long enough to bring up a replacement gun for one that was knocked out of action. For his valor, he received the Medal of Honor.
Despite the stout Marine defense, the Japanese forced Company F from its position on the ridge. Major Odell Conoley scraped together 17 men, including rear-echelon troops, for a counterattack. They advanced at 5:40 am. They were soon joined by Paige, a handful of Marines from Company G, and a couple of platoons from the 5th Marines. The ad hoc combat group retook the lost ground.
The battle for Henderson Field was over. It had been a bloody battle for the Japanese, who lost 2,200 soldiers killed by a Marine estimate. The Americans had suffered 86 killed and 192 wounded. The Marines and soldiers had good defensive positions and vital artillery support which proved to be critical to success. As Puller would later comment, “We held them because we were well dug in, a whole regiment of artillery was backing us up, and there was plenty of barbed wire.”
While the 17th Army was recovering on October 26 and preparing to withdraw from the American perimeter, the naval Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands raged nearby. Among the U.S. Navy’s losses during the two-day battle were a carrier, a destroyer, and 74 aircraft. The Japanese, who lost more than 100 planes and suffered significant damage to three carriers and two destroyers, retired from the area.
Although Hyakutake’s 17th Army had been defeated in its attempts to take Henderson Field, the fighting was by no means over on Guadalcanal. The following month saw more naval battles. During that time, the Americans cleared the enemy from the Matanikau area and Koli Point.
December brought a change for the Americans at Guadalcanal. The exhausted leathernecks of the 1st Marine Division were replaced by units of the U.S. Army IV Corps under Maj. Gen. Alexander McCarrell Patch. Patch switched over to the offensive. By February 9, 1943, the Guadalcanal campaign officially was over and the island secured for the Allies. Japanese Captain Toshikazu Ohmae, an officer in the Japanese 8th Fleet, said afterward that following the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway he still had hope of victory, “but after Guadalcanal I felt we could not win.”
I live on Guadalcanal Solomon Islands – I am chairman of the Solomon Scouts and Coastwatcher Trust Board which has developed a “Pride of Our Nation” monument to honour the efforts and support to the Marines in 1942.
Black History Timeline: 1940–1949
In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802, which desegregates war production plants and also establishes the Fair Employment Practices Committee. This act sets the stage for a decade filled with Black firsts in the U.S. Armed Services.
February 23: Hattie McDaniel (1895–1952) becomes the first Black person to win an Academy Award. McDaniel wins the best supporting actress award for her portrayal of an enslaved woman in the film, "Gone with the Wind." McDaniel has worked as a singer, songwriter, comedian, and actress and is well-known as she was the first Black woman to sing on the radio in the United States. She appears in more than 300 films during her career.
March 1: Richard Wright (1908–1960) publishes the novel, "Native Son." The book became the first bestselling novel by an African American author. The website for the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education says of Wright:
June: Dr. Charles Drew (1904–1950) graduates from Columbia University and his doctoral thesis, "Banked Blood: A Study in Blood Preservation" is published. Included is Drew's research discovering that plasma can replace whole blood transfusions he would go on to set up the first blood banks.
October 25: Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr. (1880–1970), is appointed a general in the U.S. Army, becoming the first Black person to hold the position.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is established in New York City. The fund becomes "America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice," according to the LDF website, which adds:
March 19: The Tuskegee Air Squadron, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen, is established by the U.S. Army. The squadron is led by Benjamin O. Davis Jr., who goes on to be the first four-star general in the U.S. Air Force.
June 25: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802, desegregating war production plans. The order also establishes the Fair Employment Practices Committee, which works to ban "discriminatory employment practices by Federal agencies and all unions and companies engaged in war-related work."
November 12: The National Negro Opera Company is established in Pittsburgh by opera singer Mary Lucinda Cardwell Dawson. The company provides "opportunities for countless other Black opera performers when few other options existed," according to the website Black Past.
The Great Migration continues as Black Americans from the South relocate north and west to work in factories. Between 1910 and 1970, an estimated 6 million Black people migrate from southern states to northern and Midwestern cities to escape racism and Jim Crow laws of the South as well as poor economic conditions.
January 1: Margaret Walker (1915–1998) publishes her poetry collection "For My People" while working at Livingstone College in North Carolina, and wins the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for it later that year.
James Farmer Jr., George Houser, Bernice Fisher, James Russell Robinson, Joe Guinn, and Homer Jack found the Congress of Racial Equality in Chicago. James Farmer, the group's first national director, says that CORE will use "Gandhi-like techniques of nonviolent resistance—including civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and the whole bit—in the battle against segregation.”
June: The Montford Point Marines are established by the U.S. Marine Corps as the first Black men accepted into a segregated training camp. Military.com later says of the effort:
July 13: Charity Adams Earley (1918–2002) is the first Black woman commissioned officer in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. "You don't know you're making history when it's happening," says Early of the commission. "I just wanted to do my job."
September 29: Hugh Mulzac (1886–1971) is the first Black captain in the U.S. Merchant Marines when he is made captain of the SS Booker T. Washington after he insisted it should include an integrated crew.
March: The first Black cadets graduate from the Army Flight School at Tuskegee University. The cadets at the facility—which is segregated—have completed rigorous training in subjects such as meteorology, navigation, and instruments, says the National Park Service, which operates the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.
April: The Tuskegee Airmen fly their first combat mission in Italy.
July 23–28: An estimated 34 Black people are killed during the Detroit Race Riots. The violent confrontations between residents of Black neighborhoods and the city's police department last five days.
October 15: The largest concentration of Black military personnel is stationed at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. In total, there are 14,000 Black soldiers from the 92nd Infantry as well as 300 women from the 32nd and 33rd companies of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
April 3: The U.S. Supreme Court declares that White-only political primaries are unconstitutional in the Smith v. Allwright case. According to Oyez:
April 25: The United Negro College Fund is established by Frederick Douglass Patterson (1901–1988) to provide support to historically Black colleges and universities and well as its students. The fund would go on to provide resources and support that help more than 500,000 students earn college degrees over the next three-quarters of a century.
November: The Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1908–1972), the pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, is elected to the U.S. Congress, where he would serve until 1970. Powell serves long enough that he is able to urge then-President Richard Nixon to reactivate the Warren Commission to investigate the slaying of Martin Luther King Jr.
June: Benjamin O. Davis Jr. (1912–2002) is named commander of Goodman Field in Kentucky, becoming the first Black person to command a military base. The U.S. Air Force Academy would later name its airfield in Colorado Springs, Colorado, after Davis, who received the Silver Star for a strafing run into Austria and the Distinguished Flying Cross for a bomber escort mission to Munich on June 9, 1944.
November 1: The first issue of Ebony magazine is published, founded by John H. Johnson (1918–2005), and developed by his Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company. The magazine, which focuses on news, culture, and entertainment, would grow to a circulation of more than 1.3 million.
June 3: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that segregation on interstate bus travel is unconstitutional in Morgan v. Virginia. The case involves Irene Morgan, who was riding a Greyhound bus from Hayes Store, in Gloucester County, to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1944—more than a decade before Rosa Parks— when she was arrested and convicted in Saluda for refusing to give up her seat to a White person.
October 19: After a 13-week gig hosting the Kraft Music Hall radio program, Nat King Cole (1934–1965) and his trio begin the first African American network radio series, "King Cole Trio Time." The 15-minute program would continue through 1948.
October: Fisk University appoints its first Black president, sociologist Charles Spurgeon Johnson (1893–1956). That same year, Johnson becomes the first Black president of the Southern Sociological Society.
April 11: Jackie Robinson becomes the first Black person to play major league baseball when he is signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson would go on to endure intense discrimination and rise above it to serve as a symbol of the civil rights movement and win both the Rookie of the Year at the end of the season and the International League MVP Award in 1949.
October 23: W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963) and the NAACP submit an appeal for redress for racism entitled "An Appeal to the World: A Statement of Denial of Human Rights to Minorities," to the United Nations. The document's introduction, written by Du Bois, begins with these words:
Historian John Hope Franklin (1915–2009) publishes "From Slavery to Freedom." It will become the most popular Black history textbook to be published and still highly respected.
July 26: President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981, desegregating the armed forces. The order not only desegregates the U.S. military but helps pave the way for the civil rights movement, along with other events that occur during the decade.
August 7: Alice Coachman Davis (1923–2014) wins the high jump at the Olympics in London, England, becoming the first Black woman to win an Olympic Gold medal. After her victory, the Olympic Games website declares:
September: "Sugar Hill Times," the first Black variety show debuts on CBS. Comedian and bandleader Timmie Rogers (1915–2006) leads the cast.
October 1: In Perez v. Sharp, the Supreme Court of California finds the law banning interracial marriages violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and strikes it down. It is the first court in the 19th century to do so.
E. Franklin Frazier (1894–1962) becomes the first Black president of the American Sociological Society.
June: Wesley A. Brown (1927–2012) becomes the first Black person to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. According to the Naval Institute, Brown would go on to have an active and stellar career in the Navy, including a temporary assignment at the Boston Naval Shipyard, postgraduate study in civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as well as postings to Bayonne, New Jersey Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 in the Philippines and Port Hueneme, California the headquarters of the Bureau of Yards and Docks in Washington, D.C. the Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, Rhode Island the public works department at the Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Hawaii temporary duty in Antarctica a tour at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and final active duty service, 1965–1969, at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.
October 3: Jesse Blayton Sr. (1879–1977) launches WERD-AM, the first Black-owned radio station in the United States. The station is broadcast out of Atlanta.
American bacteriologist William A. Hinton (1883–1959) is promoted to Clinical Professor at the Harvard University Medical School, making him the first Black professor in the history of the university. Harvard Medical School would eventually honor Blayton by renaming its Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ state laboratory after him. At the September 10, 2019, ceremony, HMS Dean George Q. Daley declares:
WI: Hitler dies on October 16, 1941
Let's say the German commander-in-chief dies right before the Germans begin major operations on the Mozhaistk line and after their capture of Rhzev. Let's say he dies from choking to death or something sudden, and not related to an organize coup attempt. What happens?
The reason I choose this POD because Nazi Germany is at its very peak of military power, having just surrounded more than half a million Russian soldiers in Russia and being on ground they were able to successfully defend as per OTL. Further, the Germans avoid a great degree of their major personnel and equipment losses from their over extended lines in OTL.
1. Who realistically takes over?
2. What are the Russian counter-measures to this?
3. Presuming the war continues, how does it realistically end one way or the other?
4. Lastly, how is Hitler remembered today?
I have an opinion, but I want to dig your minds first.
Himmler, in 1941, isn't powerful enough yet. Besides that, he wasn't well liked by the army, and the army is much stronger than his Waffen SS at this point in time. Goering is more likely to take over due to his image as the 'moderate' Nazi.
I actually see the Eastern Front going worse for the Germans. Goering will likely not have a micromanaging approach on the conduct of the war, instead letting his generals run it for him. As an ideological rival, being on the left wing of the party, Goebbels will probably be sidetracked. As plenipotentiary for the four year plans, Goering will also set his sight on Himmler's pool of slave labour: he will therefore try to make him an ally or try to replace him with someone more malleable.
This could mean that the no-retreat order in the face of the Soviet counteroffensive at Moscow is never given, resulting in a collapse of the frontlines of Army Group Centre and a much greater Soviet advance than IOTL in December 1941. Perhaps they could be thrown as far back as Minsk by the time the Red Army loses momentum.
I imagine Goering will then try to butt out of the war in the east with a peace treaty that looks like victory. The question is whether Stalin will accept since the Germans are obviously negotiating from a position of weakness.
Deleted member 1487
I think the German resistance would act, as this was their peak. What was holding them back was the oath to Hitler that kept a number of officers from participating and Hitler's popularity, yet they still tried to kill him repeatedly:
The 1942 resistance team wasn't put together yet, but Goering has lost his luster to a point by this point and his role in the Blomberg-Fritsch affair has not been forgotten, nor forgiven.
The Nazis probably fight it out and the army steps in, as Goering has really been on the outs with Hitler due to the BoB failure and increased bombing of Germany by the RAF. In December he was dropped as leader of the war economy in favor of Speer, so this is just before then. Typhoon probably still happens, but stays in permanent remission when the rains start there is a power struggle in Berlin and probably a Junta being formed. Goering doesn't have the power he once did, nor the political luster in fact he was pretty much out of the public eye since 1940 IIRC. Himmler was hated by the army, while everyone else but Todt depended on Hitler for their authority, including Goebbels. Todt is probably kept around, despite his conflicts with the army economic staff, while everyone else probably gets purged. The army runs the war from this point on, not sure how 1942 on shakes out or if there is a DoW against the US. In fact the resistance was pretty much hoping for a deal with the West post-Hitler, so if they take power, they probably will try and deal, which might be possible given Canaris's connections with the British, while the Uboat war is called off/calmed down, making US entry non-viable.
This might end up a European Axis vs. Soviet war if there can be a deal with the Brits, while the US stays out.
The shock to the command structure from the CnC suddenly dropping dead certainly will cause some problems. Typhoon might get delayed, which is bad for the Germans and very good for the Soviets. The retreat order going out in the winter probably makes things worse for the Germans, but I don't see the Soviets really achieving anything decisive during the winter of '41, although they can inflict more casualties and gain more territory then IOTL which will have knock-on effects for the summer '42 campaign season. The Japanese are still due to bomb Pearl by December which will piss off the Americans and immediately put them on the side of the British. and by extension, against the Germans.
If any of the dissident German officer tries to throw out the Nazis, then they'll likely worsen the command confusion.
Which was wishful thinking on their part. The British believed the war to be as much the result of the exact kind of German conservatives who would now be in power as it was of the Nazis.
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Message 1 - Early Army days Oct '42
Posted on: 16 February 2004 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper
Ron - you forgot to mention the 3 foot deep mud surrounding the Gibralter Barracks at Bury St.Edmonds with the Bed & Herts, where we did our jogging and the other physical exertions.
after our six weeks we went to Streatlam Camp, Barnard Castle with the 61st Tank Regt where there was even deeper mud to clean off not only our selves but Tanks as well ! Rain - Wet - Mud - just a break in for Italy later in the War !
Message 2 - Early Army days Oct '42
Posted on: 16 February 2004 by Ron Goldstein
Thanks for reminding me!
At Bury St Edmunds, even if you'd managed to stay relatively dry during a march out of camp, it was policy to make you run through the 'mud trench' so that you appeared really filthy as you returned to the barracks.
Back to Italy for a moment.
Once the rain had stopped and the heat had returned the mud then changed to dust and this was debatedly worse than the mud. It covered EVERYTHING you wore,ate and lived in and really affected the eyes.
Tanks seemed designed to produce this dust in large quantities and I used to feel sorry for any village we passed through in our 4th Hussars Kangaroos
Message 3 - Early Army days Oct '42
Posted on: 17 February 2004 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper
Your mention of the dust thrown up by tanks reminded me of how we were always greeted by everyone who waved madly at us . we thought it was great until we noticed that their fists were clenched. particularly those chaps from signals who had just laid miles of wire and we were trailing it all over Italy !
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16 October 1942 - History
THE MAUD REPORT
Events > Early Government Support, 1939-1942
The most influential study of the feasibility of the atomic bomb originated on the other side of the Atlantic. In July 1941, just days after finding the second National Academy of Sciences report so disappointing, Vannevar Bush received a copy of a draft report forwarded from the National Defense Research Committee liaison office in London. The report, prepared by a group codenamed the MAUD Committee and set up by the British in spring 1940 to study the possibility of developing a nuclear weapon, maintained that a sufficiently purified critical mass of uranium-235 could fission even with fast neutrons. Building upon theoretical work on atomic bombs performed by refugee physicists Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch in 1940 and 1941, the MAUD report estimated that a critical mass of ten kilograms would be large enough to produce an enormous explosion. A bomb this size could be loaded on existing aircraft and be ready in approximately two years.
(The name "MAUD" is strange enough to merit explanation. Although many people assume MAUD is an acronym of some sort, it actually stems from a simple misunderstanding. Early in the war, while Niels Bohr (right) was still trapped in German-occupied Denmark, he sent a telegram to his old colleague Frisch. Bohr ended the telegram with instructions to pass his words along to "Cockroft and Maud Ray Kent." "Maud," mistakenly thought to be a cryptic reference for something atomic, was chosen as a codename for the committee. Not until after the war was Maud Ray Kent identified as the former governess of Bohr's children who subsequently moved to England.)
Americans had been in touch with the MAUD Committee since fall 1940, but it was the July 1941 MAUD report that helped the American bomb effort turn the corner. (Internal British discussions of the MAUD Report also probably first alerted Soviet intelligence to the atomic bomb program.) The MAUD Report was influential because it contained plans for producing a bomb drawn up by a distinguished group of scientists with high credibility in the United States, not only with Bush and James Conant but with President Roosevelt. The MAUD report dismissed plutonium production, thermal diffusion, the electromagnetic method, and the centrifuge and called for gaseous diffusion of uranium-235 on a massive scale. The British believed that uranium research could lead to the production of a bomb in time to effect the outcome of the war. While the MAUD report provided encouragement to Americans advocating a more extensive uranium research program, it also served as a sobering reminder that fission had been discovered in Nazi Germany almost three years earlier and that since spring 1940 a large part of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin had been set aside for uranium research.
Bush and Conant (right) immediately went to work. After strengthening the S-1 (Uranium) Committee, particularly with the addition of Enrico Fermi as head of theoretical studies and Harold C. Urey as head of isotope separation and heavy water research (heavy water was highly regarded as a moderator for piles (reactors)), Bush asked yet another reconstituted National Academy of Sciences committee to evaluate the uranium program. This time he gave Arthur Compton specific instructions to address technical questions of critical mass and destructive capability, partially to verify the MAUD results.
With the MAUD Report and its influence on developments in the United States, the prospects for a wartime atomic bomb had brightened considerably.
16 October 1942 - History
At the same time, San Francisco business and government leaders began planning to physically clear the Japanese community from the Western Addition by declaring it a "slum area." This planning began one month before the last Japanese residents were forced from the so-called "Little Tokio," or Japantown, district.
When reading these articles it must be understood that they reflect their time words and ideas repugnant and appalling to us today are used, and discussed, freely, in the News' columns. It should also be noted that some news articles were approved by military censors before publication. In addition, every newspaper editor was excessively careful about printing information of potential use to the enemy.
These San Francisco News articles have far greater meaning if the Museum's 1942 San Francisco War Events timeline is read to give the news reports political context. The War Relocation Authority's 1943 publication "Relocation of Japanese Americans" should also be read to understand what the general American public was told about the internment camps.
Excerpts from Gen. DeWitt's Final Report on the Evacuation of the Japanese are also available online for study.
The evacuation concluded May 20, 1942, and this San Francisco Chronicle article, "S.F. Clear of all But 6 Sick Japanese," details a brief history of Japanese immigration to San Francisco, and the final forced exodus of internees from the city. San Francisco News Articles - March 1942
Week of Monday, March 2
PowerPoint Presentations showing the evacuation of San Francisco, the Tanforan Assembly Center and the Manzanar Relocation Center are available from the Museum. The San Francisco Evacuation presentation contains 20 photographs, with original WRA captions, taken by famed photographer Dorothea Lange in early 1942. Another presentation, about the infamous Tanforan Assembly Center, closely examines the horse stalls used to house San Francisco internees - as well as the primitive living conditions.
Also available are 20 views of the infamous Manzanar Relocation Center in California's High Desert. These photographs include arrival at the camp, internees moving in, and general views of this desolate, dusty, inhumane, location. WRA photographers Clem Albers and Dorothea Lange shot the photographs between April and July 1942.
The Internment Camp at Heart Mountain, 1942-1945
Area 9: The U.S. during the Second World War (1940s)
Question: How did the Second World War produce changes in the U.S. home front?
Background for teachers and students:
The internment of Japanese Americans at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, uniquely impacted Wyoming’s home front during World II. The Heart Mountain Relocation Center was one of ten such internment camps constructed in response to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Relocation centers were located in seven states in the West and Midwest. Their primary purpose was to house Japanese-Americans from Oregon, Washington, California, and Arizona. Wyomingites, like other Americans, were fearful of their peace and security at home. Despite their support of Roosevelt’s order, Wyomingites saw the construction of this camp in the northwestern part of the state between Cody and Powell as an unwanted intrusion upon their liberties and day-to-day lives. The War Relocation Administration (WRA) implemented the executive order as required but gave little regard for how it impacted the lives of the 10,000 Japanese Americans who were held at Heart Mountain, under guard and behind barbed wire, from 1942 to 1945—or to the local population in Cody and Powell.
This Area of Inquiry is intended to have students explore the impact that the relocation of Japanese Americans to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in northwestern Wyoming had on both the inhabitants of the camp and on Wyomingites who lived in the nearby towns of Powell and Cody. Steven Bingo’s WyoHistory.org article, “A Brief History of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center,” provides background about the events leading up to the importation of Japanese Americans to Heart Mountain, its impact on their lives and the reactions of people living in the surrounding communities to the peopling of what would become the third largest city in Wyoming. After reading this article, students are encouraged to explore the experiences of individuals both in the relocation camp and local areas using the resources listed below or in their own research to consider the ways in which this event impacted and changed people’s lives in the camp and on the home front in Wyoming.
The selection linked below, “A Brief History of Heart Mountain Relocation Center” offers substantial background on the topic for teachers and for students 8th grade and up. The articles may be demanding for 6th and 7th graders.
Below are five sketches and five photographs of life at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center from 1942 to 1945. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge each image.