From: De Eye-lands, Mon
As the rising sun illuminates the dawn on Aug 9, Savo Sound is a scene of devastation. Marines from 1st MarDiv have landed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi/Gavutu, and while the Lunga landings were unopposed, Tulagi/Gavutu was a more established base with a garrison of combat troops and heavy fighting is continuing.
Overnight, a scratch force of cruisers and a lone destroyer, assembled at Rabaul under VAdm Mikawa Guichi in response to the landings, savaged the Allied forces covering the northern and southern entrances to the Sound about Savo Island. Cruisers Quincy and Vincennes are sunk, Canberra is dead in the water and burning fiercely from two torpedo and 24 shell hits, Astoria is in similar condition with 65 shell hits; neither is expected to survive the morning hours. Chicago’s bow is blown off and destroyers Patterson and Ralph Talbot are heavily damaged. Meanwhile, George F Elliott is a burning hulk onshore from air attacks the previous day.
Frank Jack Fletcher’s carrier forces left the area the evening before and are making for Suva for replenishment. They are low on fuel and have suffered almost 18% losses in the various CAGs due to operations over the previous several days.
RAdm Turner makes herculean efforts to unload some of the remaining supplies, but the transports, without air or surface support, must retire, leaving the Marines with what few supplies have been landed, and what they captured at the Lunga location.
The scenario begins at 0700, 9 Aug, 1942. With the smell of burning fuel oil in the air, and the pillars of smoke and flame, from their valiant but ravaged protectors, tormenting the horizon like an evil cancer portending ominous things to come, the Marines watch the transports, still carrying much of their precious supplies, assemble and turn their bows toward Sealark Channel.
With the dark and brooding jungle, ripe with life and decay, at their backs, and the sounds of the final clean-up of Tulagi/Gavutu rolling over the water, the Marines on Guadalcanal Island realize they are on their own, in an environment that makes Louisiana look like Central Park.
Operation “Shoestring” has begun.
Nous n'avons pas peur! Vive la liberté! Moi aussi je suis Charlie!
Yippy Ki Yay.