Hell’s Islands: The Untold Story of Guadalcanal
From August 1942 until February 1943, two armies faced each other amid the malarial jungles and blistering heat of Guadalcanal Island. The Imperial Japanese forces needed to protect and maintain the air base that gave them the ability to interdict enemy supply routes. The Allies were desperate to halt the advance of a foe that so far had inflicted crippling losses on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, then seized the Philippines, Wake Island, the Dutch East Indies, Guam, and other Allied territory. After months of relentless battle, the U.S. troops forced back the determined Japanese, providing what many historians believe was the decisive turning point in the Pacific theater of operations.
Stanley Coleman Jersey, a medical air evacuation specialist in the South Pacific during World War II, has spent countless hours combing Australian, Japanese, and U.S. documents and interviewing more than 200 veterans of the Guadalcanal campaign, both Allied and Japanese.
Beginning with the events that preceded the battle for Guadalcanal during the Australian defense of the southern Solomon Islands in late 1941, Jersey details the military preparations made in response to intelligence describing the creation of an enemy air base within striking distance of American supply lines and recounts the civilian evacuation that followed the Japanese arrival in New Guinea.
With the stage set, he turns to the campaign itself, with particular emphasis on the combat during the critical period of August to December 1942. While Guadalcanal is his primary focus, Jersey also covers the roles played by forces occupying the other Solomon Islands, including the plight of construction laborers, air crews, and ground units.
This book, chock-full of gripping battlefield accounts and harrowing first-person narratives, draws together for the first time Allied and Japanese perspectives on the bloody contest. It is certain to become an indispensable asset to historians of World War II.
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The Eve of World War II
The Enemy at the Doorstep
Flying Before the Storm
The Japanese in the Southern Solomons MayAugust 1942
Preparing for Battle
The Early Air War
Day One Guadalcanal
Day One Tulagi Gavutu and Tanambogo
The US Army Takes Over
The Kego Operation
Telegram to US Navy Forces 4 August 1942
Japanese Naval Forces in the Southern Solomons
Japanese 2nd Infantry Division Code Name YU Division
The Japanese Seventeenth Army Group Code Name Oki Army
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124th Infantry 1st Battalion 1st Lt 1st Marine Division 2nd Lt 2nd Marine Regiment 3rd Battalion 3rd Company 5th Marines aircraft airfield airstrip Americans arrived Artillery attack August Australian base beach bombing Bougainville Cactus Air Force Capt Captain Clemens coast Colonel combat command Construction Unit defense destroyers Detachment Diary enemy Engineer Espiritu Santo evacuation Faisi fire Florida Island flying boat Gavutu Gizo Guadalcanal Island Headquarters Henderson Field Hill Infantry Regiment Japanese jungle killed Kokumbona Kure Kure 3rd SNLF landing craft later Lieutenant Lunga River machine guns Malaita Maru Matanikau River mission mortar Mount Austen moved Naval night officer operation paramarines patrol planes Platoon RAAF Rabaul radio Raiders reported ridge sector Seventeenth Army shells ship Shortland Solomon Islands Squadron Tanambogo tank transport troops Tulagi Tulagi Island U.S. Army U.S. Marine U.S. Navy weapons wounded yards