- Strategically, possession of the airfield on Guadalcanal was crucial to controlling sea communication and supply lines between the U.S. and Australia.
- U.S. marines launched a surprise attack in August 1942 and took control of the Japanese air base under construction on Guadalcanal.
- Japanese forces attempted to retake the airfield several times in the following months, but were unable to break through the Americans’ defensive perimeter.
- In attempts to gain control of Guadalcanal, Japanese and Allied naval forces clashed in six separate battles just off the coast of the island.
- The U.S. navy was eventually able to land vital reinforcements and supplies before the Japanese could, and by February of 1943, Imperial forces withdrew from the island.
- The victory at Guadalcanal marked a turning point in favor of the Allies in the Pacific theater.
By the end of the Guadalcanal Campaign in February of 1943, the Japanese had lost two-thirds of the 31,400 army troops committed to the island. The Imperial navy suffered heavy ship losses, and their elite group of naval aviators was decimated as well. Their defeat at Guadalcanal proved that the Japanese could no longer withstand the counteroffensive of an increasingly powerful Allied effort.