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United States Marine Mortar Squad on the Matanikau

Image Information
1st Marine Division Mortar crew prepares for action during final offensive to take the Matanikau area. The Matanikau River on Guadalcanal was the scene of several engagements during the campaign. The First Battle of the Matanikau (August 19, 1942) annihilated a Japanese reconnaissance in force that was scouting before the main force arrived for the Battle of the Tenaru River. The Second Battle of the Matanikau (September 23-27, 1942) resulted in the near destruction of First Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, which was cut off and had to be withdrawn under fire by United States Coast Guard landing craft. The Third Battle of the Matanikau (October 7-9, 1942) trapped the Imperial Japanese Army‘s Second Battalion, Fourth Infantry in a wooded ravine. 700 were killed. Once Henderson Field was secured after the destruction of the Imperial Japanese Rmy‘s 29th and Sixteenth Infantry Regiments under 17th Army‘s Lieutenant General Harukichi Hyakutake (October 23-26, 1942) the Marines began an offensive to clear the Matanikau area completely. In addition to two Japanese crossings built over the shallow river, American engineers built four personnel and one vehicular bridge by November 1. Three bridges were built overnight on October 31. The Second and Fifth Regiments of the First Marine Division were detailed for the offensive. They crossed the Matanikau on November 1 and encircled the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Army‘s Second Division the next day. Artillery, mortars, and half-tracks mounting 75 mm howitzers opened fire on the trapped Japanese on November 3. Two 70 mm field pieces, sixteen 37mm antitank guns, and almost forty machine guns were captured and 28 officers and 201 enlisted soldiers were killed, including a colonel commanding the regiment. Another Japanese unit was also annihilated. Meanwhile a Japanese convoy with reinforcements landed, and the accompanying naval units fired on Marine positions, causing heavy casualties. However the Matanikau was cleared, and the Americans were now able to go over to the offensive as the Second Marine Division and the United States Army‘s Americal Division began to land in strength.
Image Filename wwii1080.jpg
Image Size 168.96 KB
Image Dimensions 512 x 407
Photographer Unknown
Photographer Title
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed November 01, 1942
Location Matanikau River
City Matanikau River
State or Province Guadalcanal
Country Solomons
Record Number
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

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