Actions Along The Matanikau - October Action - Prelude


The Japanese continued to deliver additional forces to Guadalcanal in preparation for their planned major offensive in late October. Between 1 and 5 October, Tokyo Express runs delivered troops from the 2nd Infantry Division, including their commander, Lieutenant General Masao Maruyama. These troops consisted of units from the 4th, 16th, and 29th Infantry Regiments. In an attempt to exploit the advantage gained in the September Matanikau action, Maruyama deployed the three battalions of the 4th Infantry Regiment with additional supporting units under Major General Yumio Nasu along the west side of the Matanikau River south of Point Cruz with three companies from the 4th Infantry Regiment placed on the east side of the river. Oka's exhausted troops were withdrawn from the immediate Matanikau area. The Japanese units east of the river were to assist in preparing positions from which heavy artillery could fire into the U.S. Marines' perimeter around Lunga Point.

Aware of the Japanese activity around the Matanikau, the U.S. Marines prepared for another offensive in the area with the objective of driving Japanese forces west and away from the Matanikau valley. Applying lessons learned from the September action, this time the Marines prepared a carefully coordinated plan of action involving five battalions: two from the 5th Marine Regiment, two from the 7th Marine Regiment, and one from the 2nd Marine Regiment augmented with Marine scout and sniper personnel (called the Whaling Group after its commander Colonel William J. Whaling). The 5th Marine's battalions were to attack across the mouth of the Matanikau while the other three battalions were to cross the Matanikau inland at the "one-log bridge", turn north, and attempt to trap the Japanese forces between themselves and the coast. This time the Marine division headquarters planned to retain control of the entire operation and carefully arranged detailed support for the operation from artillery and aircraft.

Read more about this topic:  Actions Along The Matanikau, October Action

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