Jungle Heat: Weapon of Revenge

Jungle Heat Watchtower level 9

The medal above may be the “George Medal”, which was an unofficial honor commemorating early struggles associated with Marines on Guadalcanal. The picture depicts, legend has actually it, the sleeve of Frank Jack Fletcher, along with his hand losing a hot potato on the Marines ashore. The inscription is “Facia Georgius“. “Let George do It”.

I want to state that, for me, James D. Hornfischer is undoubtedly one of several finest authors of Naval history in the last half-century. His publications, particularly , tend to be iconic works that tell superbly the tales of the US Navy in Second World War in the Pacific. However, during a recent bout of MIDRATS, Mr. Hornfischer’s assertions concerning the United States Marines’ history of the Guadalcanal campaign are totally incorrect. The issue in front of you in those assertions could be the decision of Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher to depart the Guadalcanal area on the morning of 9 August 1942, after just two days of giving support to the amphibious operations ashore.

Fletcher was focused on the risk to his carriers, Saratoga, Wasp, and Enterprise, by having all of them linked with help of businesses ashore. While easy to understand, exactly what Fletcher declined to acknowledge had been by using amphibious functions, when the landing happens and forces tend to be ashore, a commander is perhaps all in, and must offer the forces ashore. The landings because of the Marines were the entire reason for having Task Force 61 in seas regarding the Solomons. Admiral Turner (commanding the amphibious task force, TF 62) and First aquatic Division Commander General A. A. Vandegrift argued the purpose heatedly in a conference aboard Saratoga, but to no avail.

Chapter 5 of splendid History of initial Marine Division, “The Old Breed” (Infantry Journal Press, 1949), starts:

The impression of expendability is hard to define. It really is loneliness, it really is a feeling of being abandoned, which is something much more, also: it really is as if activities over which you have no control have placed a ridiculously low price tag on your own life.

Whenever word got around Guadalcanal in the 2nd week of August the Navy had removed and left the Marines, the sensation of expendability became a factor when you look at the battle.

“i am aware I experienced a feeling” says a man who was indeed there, “and i believe a lot of others thought exactly the same way, that we’d never log off that damned island alive. No person stated this out loud at the time. I was afraid to state this for worry it’s come true”.

“But”, states a Captain, “there ended up being an awful lot of discuss Bataan.”

Even the greenest 2nd Lieutenant into the Division knew enough to understand that an amphibious operation may not be suffered without Naval support.

The Guadalcanal venture, the state historical monograph posted because of the USMC background Division, is somewhat even more matter-of-fact, but still says:

The detachment of this offer vessels, therefore, had been, from a troop standpoint, small short of a catastrophe, but Admiral Turner’s choice had not been altered.

And sums up the scenario of this Marines ashore in this way:

The withdrawal associated with transports had left the Marine causes with only part of their particular initially scanty products ashore. Ammunition supply had been adequate, although situation when it concerns meals ended up being really serious. Despite having the purchase of a large stock of rice and canned food from the captured Japanese location, products had been so short that it was essential on 12 August to start a program of two dishes per day. There is an identical shortage of defensive material, barbed wire (of which just 18 spools were landed), and entrenching resources and sand-bags.

The essential serious shortage of all, however, from the viewpoint of engineers who have been faced with the conclusion regarding the airfield, ended up being that specific equipment required for the duty. No power shovels have been landed, nor dump vehicles.

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