Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Relics of the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands

The so-called Battle of Guadacanal or Operation Watchtower was the first offensive launched by the Allies against the Empire of Japan on August 7, 1942 and lasted until February 9, 1943. It was one of the longest battles of the Pacific. 30,000 people died. U.S. forces landed on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Florida with the main objective of taking the airport to break the Empire base of the islands. There were several attacks that culminated with the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal when the Japanese were forced to withdraw its troops after a failed landing.


Solomon Islands tourism is quite expensive if we start from Europe (about 1300 euros the entire trip by plane). There are direct flights from Brisbane (Australia) , where the plane transfer should be done to reach the airport from Honiara, the capital of the island of Guadalcanal. The Solomon Islands are tropical and full of wild vegetation. The islands keep a lot of war relics from the battle.

There are  companies that offer battlefield tours around the islands. Please note that the currency is the SBD (Solomon Islands Dollar) and 1 SBD = 0.10 euros.

Moving around Guadalcanal: accessibility to certain areas of the island is not good, if we want to do it by public transport. Honiara has a network of taxis and  buses but only goes through the main roads. Renting a car is almost essential if you want to explore the area. There are car rentals at the airport or at the city center.

More information about the islands: http://www.visitsolomons.com.sb

Image: Vvulto


These are some things you can find on the island.

Museum of World War II (Vilu War Museum): 
Location here .  
Normal ticket: 25 SBD (2.5 euros) 
It has not official website. 
This museum has many relics, such as vehicles, aircraft and weapons both Japanese and American, extending the land occupied by the museum.

Photo Gallery competence: https://www.facebook.com/VisitSolomonIslands

American Memorial in Honiara:

Location here .

Erected by the American Battle Monuments Commission to commemorate the Americans killed in the battle.

The remains of the Kinugawa Maru

Location here .

The Kinugawa Maru ship belonging to the Japanese Imperial Navy's mission was to land on the island of Guadalcanal in November 1942. It was discovered and sunk by American artillery fire. Today is only partially visible but can be seen in full scuba diving.

The Kinugawa Maru partially sunk.
It's remains today ( photo: http://www.diveshow.com.au )

LVT Tetere Amtraks at bay

Location here .

Remains of American amphibious vehicles used in battle.

Photo: Gary Higgins

Exhibition in school Betikama 

Location here .

This is an outdoor museum with preserved vehicles and weapons from the battle.

Photo: Gary Higgins

 Memorial of the Battle of Bloody Ridge

location here .

Erected on the hill where marine troops under the command of Merritt A. Edson defended the airfield.

Photo: Gary Higgins

Henderson Field Airport

Location here .

Airfield Henderson Field  was one of the most contentious objectives of the island during the battle. The Battle for Henderson Field took place in October 1942, and it was the last ground offensive by Japanese forces before their defeat. Today is the Honiara International Airport.

Red Beach

Location here .

 The beach where American troops first landed on August 7, 1942.

Stage of the Battle of Tenaru

Location here .

Among the Tenaru river mouth and the so-called Alligator Creek it happened the first Japanese ground offensive against U.S. forces. After the defeat they realized that the number of allied forces was larger than they thought and that they needed reinforcement.

Battle Map.

Fallen Japanese, Tenaru.
River today ( photo: www.travelblog.org )



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  2. Guadalcanal is still an interesting place. I have been there 10 times since 1995 and still not seen everything. Relics are coming to light all the time, from canteens etc to Stuart tanks.

  3. I would like to visit such places often to pay tribute to all the war heroes
    and frankly speaking normandy is on the top of my list.