Kingfish Posted December 31, 2007 Share Posted December 31, 2007 August 7th, 1942. Exactly 7 months to the day that Japanese dive bombers wheeled over the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the US is taking the offensive. In the pre-dawn hours an armada of over fifty warships and transports sailed quietly into Ironbottom Sound. On board the transports were over 20,000 men of the reinforced US 1st Marine Division. Their primary objective was the capture of two Japanese installations - the airfield, still under construction, on the Island of Guadacanal and the harbor on Tulagi, a smaller island located directly across the sound. In addition, the Marines were also assigned two secondary objectives on that day. The first was the landings at two points on Florida Island so as to protect the landings at Tulagi. This was accomplish by elements of the 2nd Marine Regiment without loss, and were withdrawn later in the day. The second was the capture of two small islands located in the southeastern end of Tulagi harbor. These islands, Gavutu at only 500 yards long, and the even smaller Tanambogo, were connected together by a concrete causeway. Aerial Reconnaisance had discovered a Japanese seaplance base on Gavutu, and it's proximity to Tulagi meant it would pose a threat to the landings, so the US 1st Marine Parachute battalion was assigned its capture. At exactly 1000 hours, August 7th, 1942 the Anti-aircraft Cruiser USS San Juan, accompanied by the Destroyers Buchanan and Monssen, opened fire on Gavutu island. At about the same time the men of the 1st Marine Parachute battalion began lowering themselves down the nets from the USS Neville and onto their assigned landing crafts. At about 1026 hours the first wave of boats left the assembly area and began the 7-mile run to the designated landing zone. Following behind in 5-minute intervals were the other two assault waves. The naval bombardment continued up until the boats were 100 yards offshore, at which point the fire lifted for the final run to the beach. Under sporadic incoming fire, the first boats grounded just to the east of the concrete causeway and near the demolished seaplane ramps. The time was 1200 plus 15 seconds. The long and bloody road to Tokyo had just begun... How about some pics? This is a view looking to the Northeast, with Gavutu to your right and Tanambogo on the left. The small islet of Gaomi is in the far distance. To the extreme left of the pic you see the three ships of Fire Support Group MIKE. The view from the fire control director onboard USS San Juan. Florida Island is on the horizon. A 500 ft causeway connected Gavutu and Tanambogo. Here we are looking down it from Tanambogo. The battle begins with a thunderous barrage from Fire Support Group MIKE. This view is again from the USS San Juan. Tiny Gavutu is shrouded in dust from the solid hammering it is receiving. Already fires have broken out across the Island. In addition to the naval guns the opening barrage also included air support from dive bombers stationed onboard USS Wasp, one of three American aircraft carriers assigned to support the landings. Here we see the shadow of a Dauntless dive bomber as it wheels over a suspected gun position on Tanambogo. In the distance Gavutu burns. The next pic shows the bomb landing short. Did the resulting blast and shrapnel knock out whatever was inside the sandbags, or did the bomb fall too far away? The Marines will soon find out. Send in the Marines! The first wave from the 1st Marine Parachute Battalion have landed at the demolished seaplane ramps on Gavutu. What kind of reception awaits them inside the blasted palm trees? Dare to find out? Then go here 0 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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