Guadalcanal Campaign

The War in the Pacific

Australasia 1942.1115

Guadalcanal Campaign

Australia, New Zealand and World War II in the South Pacific (15 November 1942)

Historical Map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific

The Americans had landed in Guadalcanal to prevent the construction of a strategic Japanese airbase there. The Japanese responded with repeated attacks on the American positions by land, air and sea from August to December. Unable to prevail, Japan withdrew over the first months of 1943.

Main Events

Statute of Westminster Adoption Act

The Australian Parliament, under Prime Minister John Curtin, passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942, formally adopting the Statute of Westminster 1931, retroactive to 3 September 1939. The passing of the act ended any dependence of the Commonwealth of Australia on the United Kingdom and removed British control over merchant shipping in Australian waters.

Second Battle of El Alamein

The British Eighth Army under General Bernard Montgomery launched an all-out attack on Axis forces west of El Alamein, Egypt. After several days of heated battle, the Allies mounted Operation Supercharge early on the morning of 2 November, breaking through the Italo-German defenses and sending them into flight. However, despite suffering up to 59,000 casualties to the Allies' 13,560, the Axis managed an orderly retreat under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

Battle of Santa Cruz Islands

United States naval forces under Admiral William Halsey, and including the carriers USS Enterprise and USS Hornet, sighted the Japanese Combined Fleet approaching Guadalcanal but were unable to intercept it. The following day, both sides exchanged air strikes, sinking the Hornet and forcing the US fleet to withdraw. Although the loss left the US with only one carrier in the entire Pacific theater, the Japanese fleet had also suffered heavy damage.

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

On the night of 12-13 November 1942, a US cruiser squadron surprised a Japanese squadron in 'the Slot' - the narrow body of water north of contested Guadalcanal island. At daybreak the fight was joined by aircraft, with a second night battle fought the following night. Although both sides lost numerous warships, the battle ended Japan's attempts to reinforce Guadalcanal.

About this map     Download map