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Orders of Battle Orders-of-battle, TO&E's, and related information on who fought where and what they brought to the battle.

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  #1  
Old 07 Apr 15, 10:30
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Exclamation Tenaru River Guadalcanal AUG42

Hi, I'd like to know if anyone has knowledge of the movements of Creswell's Battalion (USMC 1-1-1) during the Tenaru (Ilu) River fight during the night of 19/20AUG42 on Guadalcanal. The battalion had been in ready reserve at DIVHQ and was deployed in a rear sweep of Ichiki's troops after the first banzai charge across the tidal area in front of the USMC perimeter.
Any additional info would be greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by Jose50; 07 Apr 15 at 15:21..
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  #2  
Old 07 Apr 15, 10:36
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What specifics are you looking for?
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Old 07 Apr 15, 11:38
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From Richard B. Frank's "Guadalcanal" pgs 154-156
Quote:
At daybreak Ichiki showed no signs of withdrawal, perhaps mindful of his orders to gain a position near the airfield, but made no further efforts to attack. The coming of daylight resolved the situation for Vandegrift and Thomas, who had been worried that Ichiki's attack might be only a part of a larger plan for coordinated assaults from other directions, particularly the west. Now Thomas expressed their intent: "We aren't going to let those people lay up there all day." He, Cates, and Lieutenant Colonel Lenard B. Cresswell's reserve battalion (1st Battalion, 1st Marines) with a platoon of light tanks across Alligator Creek intended to encircle and destroy the Japanese near the sand pit. Vandegrift readily assented, and before 0700, Cresswell's men crossed the dry bed of Alligator Creek well inland, but the terrain prevented the tanks from following. Cresswell detached Company D at the east bank to bar a breakout to the south and pushed on to the east with the rest of his command. At 0950 his companies swung north, crossing their line of departure. On Cresswell's right, Company C reached the coast first and isolated a Japanese platoon, which reacted with what the Marine report labeled the "customary bayonet charge." Following another custom created by Spurlock's men on the Matanikau, Company C broke the attack with fire and then closed to kill the survivors. Leaving Company C in an eastern blocking position, Cresswell pushed west with Companies A on his right and B on his left, encountering little opposition until he compressed Ichiki into a triangle by the mouth of the lagoon.

All morning long, Pollock's men laced the Japanese positions east of Alligator Creek with mortars and picked off unwary Japanese as if on a rifle range. They now heard gradually increasing volleys of rifle fire and bursts of machineguns, including the distinctive far gurgle of the Japanese Nambus, as Cresswell's marines closed the trap. Soon the marines on the west bank saw the squat figures of Japanese soldiers darting among the rows of coconut trees-some dashing out onto the beach, where they were felled. Attempts by some of Ichiki's men to escape to the east were thwarted, and one group that broke through ran into Company C. Strafing aircraft pounced on a few who took to some boats.

Colonel Cates authorized the platoon of light tanks that had been standing by to make a reconnaissance of the beach on the east side of Alligator Creek. As correspondent Richard Tregaskis watched, four of them churned across the bar at about 1500, and then on the initiative of the platoon leader, Lieutenant Leo B. Case, swerved and plunged into the coconut grove.

"...their treads rattling industriously. We watched these awful machines as they plunged across the spit and into the edge of the grove. It was fascinating to see them bustling amongst the trees, pivoting, turning, spitting sheets of yellow flame. It was like a comedy of toys, something unbelievable, to see them knocking over palm trees with fell slowly, flushing the running figures of men from underneath their treads, following and firing on the fugitives. It was unbelievable to see men falling and being killed so close, to see the explosions of Jap grenades and mortars, black fountains and showers of dirt near the tanks, and see the flashes of explosions under their very treads."

Lacking anti-tank guns, many Japanese died bravely confronting the tanks with grenades or magnetic anti-tank mines. One tank suddenly lurched to a stop when an explosion broke a tread. The other tanks huddled protectively around it and rescued its crew, and then resumed ravaging the grove. When they returned to the east bank, Vandegrift wrote, "the rear of the tanks looked like meat grinders."

To the surprise of observers on the west bank, who thought the tanks had cleaned out the coconut grove, firing accelerated as they began to see the taller shapes of Cresswell's men filtering through the trees. About 1630, recognizing the hopelessness of his situation, Ichiki burned the regimental colors and committed suicide. Singly and in small groups survivors tried to flee in the only direction available-the sea. Those not cut down on the beach were systematically shot as they tried to swim away. By 1700, cautious groups of Cresswell's men closed up to Alligator Creek and the victors assumed the battle was over. Marines began to stride over the sandbar and into the grove to gawk at what they had wrought and collect souvenirs, while corpsmen moved among the bodies hoping to preserve any remaining life. But a number of Ichiki's men chose to use their last breaths to try to take an American with them. They shot a few marines, and one Nipponese sergeant startled Lieutenant Colonels Twining, Pollock, and Cresswell by discharging an automatic pistol in their faces-without effect- and then blowing off the top of his own head. The marines saw this as an act of final evidence of Japanese treachery; their answer was simple and direct. Lining up on the banks of Alligator Creek, riflemen set corpses twitching with round after round while other marines moved into the grove and along the beach with pistols ensuring that all of Ichiki's men joined their commander in death.

During the battle one Japanese soldier surrendered, and twelve wounded members of the Ichiki Detachment, including one officer, were captured; only two unwounded survivors became prisoners of war. Marine losses totaled forty-four dead and about seventy-one wounded, including three each in Brush's patrol. In sundry postures of violent death on the sandbar and in the grove, nudging each other in the surf or half-buried and washed of the gore by the tide, were at least 777 Japanese. The marines captured ten heavy and twenty light machineguns, 700 rifles, twenty pistols, two 70mm guns, twelve flamethrowers (never used in the battle), and a considerable quantity of demolition equipment. They were particularly happy to relieve Ichiki's men of a large number of much-needed shovels.
Hope this helps!

Last edited by BobTheBarbarian; 07 Apr 15 at 15:49..
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Old 07 Apr 15, 15:27
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Cool

Thanks for that Bob, I've never seen that particular account of the battle.
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Old 07 Apr 15, 15:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose50 View Post
Thanks for that Bob, I've never seen that particular account of the battle.
No problem. Frank's book is probably the definitive piece of literature on Guadalcanal, alongside James D. Hornfischer's "Neptune's Inferno." Both are excellent sources of information and I would definitely recommend them to anyone interested in the subject.
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Old 08 Apr 15, 10:29
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I would also recommend William Bartsch 's new book which looks specifically at the battle. Bartsch is an excellent historian who has done a number of good books on the opening stages of the war in the Pacific.

Victory Fever on Guadalcanal.

I found his use of Japanese sources made his book a nicely nuanced account .
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Old 23 Apr 15, 21:43
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Well done , Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
From Richard B. Frank's "Guadalcanal" pgs 154-156
Hope this helps!
an article on the light tanks involved. The campaign was the Blaze of Glory for the M2A4 light tank. 50 of the twelve ton tanks were sling landed off freighters and lighters.


http://www.libertyreferences.com/mar...dalcanal.shtml
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Old 27 Apr 15, 21:34
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Frank's Guadalcanal is a great book, I recommend anyone interested in the period to buy and read it.....however

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
No problem. Frank's book is probably the definitive piece of literature on Guadalcanal...
This it is not.
Can't be when it's scope for the ground fighting is only down to regiment and occasionally battalion level but yet it's accounts for the naval battles is hyper-detailed, on some occasions tracking every naval shell hit on combatant ships.

The official histories are still the best sources, both USMC and US Army (yes, US Army covers everything from first planning to final victory in great detail).
And they are available as free online downloads.
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Old 22 Sep 15, 09:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBuford View Post
This it is not.
Can't be when it's scope for the ground fighting is only down to regiment and occasionally battalion level but yet it's accounts for the naval battles is hyper-detailed, on some occasions tracking every naval shell hit on combatant ships.

The official histories are still the best sources, both USMC and US Army (yes, US Army covers everything from first planning to final victory in great detail).
And they are available as free online downloads.
I would beg to differ. Frank's book covers both the naval and land actions in excruciating detail. When paired with Hornfischer's "Neptune's Inferno," I would dare say no other works of military literature on the subject could hold a candle to it.
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