Battle of the Tenaru
The Battle of the Tenaru, sometimes called the Battle of the Ilu River or the Battle of Alligator Creek, took place August 21, 1942, on the island of Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. The largest island in the Solomons, it was discovered by the Spanish expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña in 1568...

, and was a land battle
Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. In a battle, each combatant will seek to defeat the others, with defeat determined by the conditions of a military campaign...

 of the Pacific campaign
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, between Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 and Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 (mainly United States Marine
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

) ground forces. The battle was the first major Japanese land offensive during the Guadalcanal campaign
Guadalcanal campaign
The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of World War II...


In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Alexander Vandegrift
Alexander Vandegrift
Alexander Archer Vandegrift, KBE, CB was a General in the United States Marine Corps. He commanded the 1st Marine Division to victory in its first ground offensive of World War II — Battle of Guadalcanal. For his actions during the Solomon Islands campaign, he received the Medal of Honor...

, repulsed an assault by the "First Element" of the "Ichiki" Regiment, under the command of Japanese Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki
Kiyono Ichiki
- Notes :...

. The Marines were defending the Lunga perimeter, which guarded Henderson Field
Henderson Field (Guadalcanal)
Henderson Field is a former military airfield on Guadacanal, Solomon Islands during World War II. Today it is Honiara International Airport.-Japanese construction:...

, which was captured by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on August 7. Ichiki's unit was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield and driving the Allied forces off the island.

Underestimating the strength of Allied forces on Guadalcanal, which at that time numbered about 11,000 personnel, Ichiki's unit conducted a nighttime frontal assault on Marine positions at Alligator Creek on the east side of the Lunga perimeter. Ichiki's assault was defeated with heavy losses for the Imperial attackers. The Marine units counterattacked Ichiki's surviving troops after daybreak, killing many more of them. All but 128 of the original 917 of the Ichiki Regiment's First Element were killed in the battle.

The battle was the first of three separate major land offensives by the Japanese in the Guadalcanal campaign. The Japanese realized after Tenaru that Allied forces on Guadalcanal were much greater in number than originally estimated and sent larger forces to the island for their subsequent attempts to retake Henderson Field.


On August 7, 1942, U.S. forces landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi
Tulagi, less commonly Tulaghi, is a small island in the Solomon Islands, just off the south coast of Florida Island. The town of the same name on the island Tulagi, less commonly Tulaghi, is a small island (5.5 km by 1 km) in the Solomon Islands, just off the south coast of Florida...

, and Florida Islands
Florida Islands
The Nggela Islands, also known as the Florida Islands, are a small island group in the Central Province of the Solomon Islands, a state in the southwest Pacific Ocean....

 in the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

. The landings on the islands were meant to deny their use by the Japanese as bases
Military base
A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. In general, a military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a...

 for threatening the supply
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 routes between the U.S. and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and to secure the islands as starting points for a campaign
Military campaign
In the military sciences, the term military campaign applies to large scale, long duration, significant military strategy plan incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war...

 with the eventual goal of isolating the major Japanese base at Rabaul
Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea. The town was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption. During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the...

 while also supporting the Allied New Guinea campaign
New Guinea campaign
The New Guinea campaign was one of the major military campaigns of World War II.Before the war, the island of New Guinea was split between:...

. The landings initiated the six-month-long Guadalcanal campaign
Guadalcanal campaign
The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of World War II...


Taking the Japanese by surprise, the Allied landing forces accomplished their initial objectives of securing Tulagi
Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu-Tanambogo
The Battle of Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, between the forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied ground forces. It took place from 7–9 August 1942 on the Solomon Islands, during the initial Allied landings in the Guadalcanal...

 and nearby small islands, as well as an airfield under construction at Lunga Point
Lunga Point
Lunga Point is a promontory on the northern coast of Guadalcanal, the site of a naval battle during World War II. It was also the name of a nearby airfield, later named Henderson Field....

 on Guadalcanal, by nightfall on August 8. That night, as the transports unloaded, the Allied warships screening the transports were surprised and defeated by an Imperial fleet of seven cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

s and one destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

, commanded by Japanese Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa
Gunichi Mikawa
was a Vice-Admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.Mikawa was the commander of a heavy cruiser force that carried out spectacular I.J.N. victory over the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy at the Battle of Savo Island in Ironbottom Sound on the night of August 1942. In...

. Three U.S. and one Australian cruisers were sunk and one other U.S. cruiser and two destroyers were damaged in the Battle of Savo Island
Battle of Savo Island
The Battle of Savo Island, also known as the First Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the , was a naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II, between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval forces...

. Turner withdrew all remaining Allied naval forces by the evening of August 9 without unloading all of the heavy equipment, provisions, and troops from the transports, although most of the divisional artillery was landed, consisting of 32 75 mm and 105 mm howitzers. Only five days worth of rations were landed.

The Marines ashore on Guadalcanal initially concentrated on forming a defense perimeter around the airfield, moving the landed supplies within the perimeter, and finishing the airfield. Vandegrift placed his 11,000 troops on Guadalcanal in a loose perimeter around the Lunga Point area. In four days of intense effort, the supplies were moved from the landing beach into dispersed dumps within the perimeter. Work began on the airfield immediately, mainly using captured Japanese equipment. On August 12, the airfield was named Henderson Field after Major Lofton Henderson, a Marine aviator who had been killed at the Battle of Midway
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

. Captured Japanese stock increased the total supply of food to 14 days worth. To conserve the limited food supplies, the Allied troops were limited to two meals per day.

In response to the Allied landings on Guadalcanal, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

 assigned the Imperial Japanese Army's 17th Army, a corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

-sized command based at Rabaul
Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea. The town was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption. During the eruption, ash was sent thousands of metres into the air and the...

 and under the command of Lieutenant-General Harukichi Hyakutake, with the task of retaking Guadalcanal from Allied forces. The 17th Army, currently heavily involved with the Japanese campaign in New Guinea, had only a few units available to send to the southern Solomons area. Of these units, the 35th Infantry Brigade under Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi
Kiyotake Kawaguchi

 was at Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

, the 4th (Aoba) Infantry Regiment was in the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, and the 28th (Ichiki) Infantry Regiment, under the command of Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 Kiyonao Ichiki, was at sea enroute to Japan from Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

. The different units began to move towards Guadalcanal immediately, but Ichiki's regiment, being the closest, arrived first.

An aerial reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 of the U.S. Marine positions on Guadalcanal on August 12 by one of the senior Japanese staff officers from Rabaul sighted few U.S. troops in the open and no large ships in the waters nearby, convincing Imperial Headquarters that the Allies had withdrawn the majority of their troops. In fact, none of the Allied troops had been withdrawn. Hyakutake issued orders for an advance unit of 900 troops from Ichiki's regiment to be landed on Guadalcanal by fast warship to immediately attack the Allied position and reoccupy the airfield area at Lunga Point. The remaining personnel in Ichiki's regiment would be delivered to Guadalcanal by slower transport later. At the major Japanese naval base at Truk
Chuuk — formerly Truk, Ruk, Hogoleu, Torres, Ugulat, and Lugulus — is an island group in the south western part of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia , along with Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. Chuuk is the most populous of the FSM's...

, which was the staging point for delivery of Ichiki's regiment to Guadalcanal, Colonel Ichiki was briefed that 2,000–10,000 U.S. troops were holding the Guadalcanal beachhead
Beachhead is a military term used to describe the line created when a unit reaches a beach, and begins to defend that area of beach, while other reinforcements help out, until a unit large enough to begin advancing has arrived. It is sometimes used interchangeably with Bridgehead and Lodgement...

 and that he should, "avoid frontal attacks."

Ichiki and 916 of his regiment's 2,300 troops, designated the "First Element" and carrying seven days' supply of food, were delivered to Taivu Point, about 35 kilometers (22 mi) east of Lunga Point, by six destroyers at 01:00 on August 19. Leaving about 100 personnel behind as a rear guard, Ichiki marched west with the remaining 800 men of his unit and made camp before dawn about 14 kilometers (9 mi) east of the Lunga perimeter. The U.S. Marines at Lunga Point received intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 that a Japanese landing had occurred and took steps to find out exactly what was happening.


Reports to Allied forces from patrols of Solomon Islanders, including retired Sergeant Major Jacob C. Vouza
Jacob C. Vouza
Sir Jacob Charles Vouza GM, MBE was a native police officer of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, who served heroically with the United States Marine Corps in the Guadalcanal campaign during World War II.-Early life:...

 of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Constabulary, under the direction of Martin Clemens
Martin Clemens
Major Warren Frederick Martin Clemens CBE, MC, AM was a British colonial administrator and soldier. In late 1941 and early 1942, while serving as a District Officer in the Solomon Islands, he helped prepare the area for eventual resistance to Japanese occupation.His additional duties as...

, a coastwatcher
The Coastwatchers, also known as the Coast Watch Organisation, Combined Field Intelligence Service or Section C, Allied Intelligence Bureau, were Allied military intelligence operatives stationed on remote Pacific islands during World War II to observe enemy movements and rescue stranded Allied...

 and officer in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force
British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force
The British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force was the British colonial military force of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate . The Solomon Islands has not had military forces since it achieved independence from Britain in 1976...

 (BSIPDF), along with Allied intelligence from other sources, indicated that Japanese troops were present east of Lunga Point. To investigate further, on August 19, a Marine patrol of 60 men and four native scouts, commanded by U.S. Marine Captain Charles H. Brush, marched east from the Lunga Perimeter.

At the same time, Ichiki sent forward his own patrol of 38 men, led by his communications officer, to reconnoiter Allied troop dispositions and establish a forward communications base. Around 12:00 on August 19 at Koli Point, Brush's patrol sighted and ambush
An ambush is a long-established military tactic, in which the aggressors take advantage of concealment and the element of surprise to attack an unsuspecting enemy from concealed positions, such as among dense underbrush or behind hilltops...

ed the Japanese patrol, killing all but five of its members, who escaped back to Taivu. The Marines suffered three dead and three wounded.

Papers discovered on the bodies of some of the Japanese officers in the patrol revealed that they belonged to a much larger unit and showed detailed intelligence of U.S. Marine positions around Lunga Point. The papers did not, however, detail exactly how large the Japanese force was or whether an attack was imminent.

Now anticipating an attack from the east, the U.S. Marine forces, under the direction of General Vandegrift, prepared their defenses on the east side of the Lunga perimeter. Several official U.S. military histories identify the location of the eastern defenses of the Lunga perimeter as emplaced on the Tenaru River
Tenaru River
The Tenaru is the name of a river on the northern coast of Guadalcanal with a tributary at Savo Sound . During World War II, it was the site for the Battle of the Tenaru River.-References:...

. The Tenaru River, however, was actually located further to the east. The river forming the eastern boundary of the Lunga perimeter was actually the Ilu River, nicknamed Alligator Creek by the Marines, a double misnomer: there are no alligators in the Solomons, only crocodiles, and Alligator "Creek" was a tidal lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...

 separated from the ocean by a sandbar
Bar (landform)
A shoal, sandbar , or gravelbar is a somewhat linear landform within or extending into a body of water, typically composed of sand, silt or small pebbles. A spit or sandspit is a type of shoal...

 about 7 to 15 meters (25–50 ft) in width and about 30 meters (100 ft) long.

Along the west side of Alligator Creek, Colonel Clifton B. Cates
Clifton B. Cates
General Clifton Bledsoe Cates , USMC, was the 19th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps...

, commander of the 1st Marine Regiment
U.S. 1st Marine Regiment
The 1st Marine Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. The regiment, sometimes known as "Inchon", falls under the command of the 1st Marine Division and the I Marine Expeditionary Force.-Subordinate units:The...

, deployed his 1st and 2nd battalions. To help further defend the Alligator Creek sandbar, Cates deployed 100 men from the 1st Special Weapons Battalion with two 37mm
M3 37 mm gun
The 37 mm Gun M3 was the first dedicated anti-tank gun fielded by United States forces. Introduced in 1940, it became the standard anti-tank gun of the U.S. infantry with its size enabling it to be pulled by a jeep...

 anti-tank guns equipped with canister shot
Canister shot
Canister shot is a kind of anti-personnel ammunition used in cannons. It was similar to the naval grapeshot, but fired smaller and more numerous balls, which did not have to punch through the wooden hull of a ship...

. Marine divisional artillery, consisting of both 75mm
75 mm Gun (US)
The US 75 mm gun tank gun M2 and the later M3 were the standard American tank guns of the Second World War.Besides use on the two main American medium tanks of the war the M3 Lee and the M4 Sherman . The lightweight M6 and M5 variants were developed to equip the Light Tank M24 and the B-25...

 and 105mm guns
M101 howitzer
The 105 mm M2A1 howitzer was the standard light field howitzer for the United States in World War II, seeing action in both European and Pacific theaters. Entering production in 1941, it quickly entered the war against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific, where it gained a reputation...

, pre-targeted locations on the east side and sandbar areas of Alligator Creek, and forward artillery observers emplaced themselves in the forward Marine positions. The Marines worked all day on August 20 to prepare their defenses as much as possible before nightfall.

Learning of the annihilation of his patrol, Ichiki quickly sent forward a company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

 to bury the bodies and followed with the rest of his troops, marching throughout the night of August 19 and finally halting at 04:30 on August 20 within a few miles of the U.S. Marine positions on the east side of Lunga Point. At this location, he prepared his troops to attack the Allied positions that night.


Just after midnight on August 21, Ichiki's main body of troops arrived at the east bank of Alligator Creek and were surprised to encounter the Marine positions, not having expected to find U.S. forces located that distance from the airfield. Nearby U.S. Marine listening posts heard "clanking" sounds, human voices, and other noises before withdrawing to the west bank of the creek. At 01:30 Ichiki's force opened fire with machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s and mortars
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 on the Marine positions on the west bank of the creek, and a first wave of about 100 Imperial soldiers charged across the sandbar towards the Marines.

Marine machine gun fire and canister rounds
Canister shot
Canister shot is a kind of anti-personnel ammunition used in cannons. It was similar to the naval grapeshot, but fired smaller and more numerous balls, which did not have to punch through the wooden hull of a ship...

 from the 37 mm cannons killed most of the Japanese soldiers as they crossed the sandbar. A few of the Japanese soldiers reached the Marine positions, engaged in hand to hand combat
Hand to hand combat
Hand-to-hand combat is a lethal or nonlethal physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of firearms or other distance weapons...

 with the defenders, and captured a few of the Marine front-line emplacements. Also, Japanese machine gun and rifle fire from the east side of the creek killed several of the Marine machine-gunners. A company of Marines, held in reserve just behind the front line, attacked and killed most, if not all, of the remaining Japanese soldiers that had breached the front line defenses, ending Ichiki's first assault about an hour after it had begun.

At 02:30 a second wave of about 150 to 200 Japanese troops again attacked across the sandbar and was again almost completely wiped out. At least one of the surviving Imperial officers from this attack advised Ichiki to withdraw his remaining forces, but Ichiki declined to do so.

As Ichiki's troops regrouped east of the creek, Japanese mortars bombarded the Marine lines. The Marines answered with 75 mm artillery barrages and mortar fire into the areas east of the creek. About 05:00, another wave of Japanese troops attacked, this time attempting to flank the Marine positions by wading through the ocean surf and attacking up the beach into the west bank area of the creek bed. The Marines responded with heavy machine gun and artillery fire along the beachfront area, again causing heavy casualties among Ichiki's attacking troops and causing them to abandon their attack and withdraw back to the east bank of the creek. For the next couple of hours, the two sides exchanged rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire at close range across the sandbar and creek.

In spite of the heavy losses his force had suffered, Ichiki's troops remained in place on the east bank of the creek, either unable or unwilling to withdraw. At daybreak on August 21, the commanders of the U.S. Marine units facing Ichiki's troops conferred on how best to proceed, and they decided to counterattack. The 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 Lenard B. Cresswell, crossed Alligator Creek upstream from the battle area, enveloped Ichiki's troops from the south and east, cutting off any avenue for retreat, and began to "compress" Ichiki's troops into a small area in a coconut grove on the east bank of the creek.

Aircraft from Henderson Field strafed Japanese soldiers that attempted to escape down the beach and, later in the afternoon, five Marine M3 Stuart tanks attacked across the sandbar into the coconut grove. The tanks swept the coconut grove with machine gun and canister cannon fire, as well as rolling over the bodies, both alive and dead, of any Japanese soldiers unable or unwilling to get out of the way. When the tank attack was over, Vandegrift wrote that, "the rear of the tanks looked like meat grinders."

By 17:00 on August 21, Japanese resistance had ended. Colonel Ichiki was either killed during the battle, or committed ritual suicide (seppuku
is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies , or as a form of capital punishment...

) shortly thereafter, depending on the account. As curious Marines began to walk around looking at the battlefield, some injured Imperial troops shot at them, killing or wounding several Marines. Thereafter, Marines shot or bayonetted all of the Japanese bodies that they encountered, although about 15 injured and unconscious Japanese soldiers were taken prisoner. About 30 of the Japanese troops escaped to rejoin their regiment's rear echelon at Taivu Point.


For the U.S. and its allies, the victory in the Tenaru battle was psychologically significant in that Allied soldiers, after a series of defeats to Japanese army units throughout the Pacific and east Asia, now knew that they could defeat the Imperial armies in a land battle. The battle also set another precedent that would continue throughout the war in the Pacific, which was the reluctance of defeated Japanese soldiers to surrender and their efforts to continue killing Allied soldiers, even as the Japanese soldiers lay dying on the battlefield. On this subject Vandegrift
Alexander Vandegrift
Alexander Archer Vandegrift, KBE, CB was a General in the United States Marine Corps. He commanded the 1st Marine Division to victory in its first ground offensive of World War II — Battle of Guadalcanal. For his actions during the Solomon Islands campaign, he received the Medal of Honor...

 remarked, "I have never heard or read of this kind of fighting. These people refuse to surrender. The wounded wait until men come up to examine them...and blow themselves and the other fellow to pieces with a hand grenade." Robert Leckie
Robert Leckie
Robert Leckie may refer to:*Robert Leckie , , Canadian RCAF Air Marshal*Robert Leckie , U.S. author of military history*Robert Leckie , Scottish footballer...

, a Guadalcanal veteran, recalls the aftermath of the battle in his book Helmet For My Pillow, "Our regiment had killed something like nine hundred of them. Most lay in clusters or heaps before the gun pits commanding sandspit, as though they had not died singly but in groups. Moving among them were the souvenir hunters, picking their way delicately as though fearful of booby traps, while stripping the bodies of their possessions."

The battle was also psychogically significant in that Imperial soldiers believed in their own invincibility and superior spirit. By August 25, most of Ichiki's survivors reached Taivu Point and radioed Rabaul to tell 17th Army headquarters that Ichiki's detachment had been "almost annihilated at a point short of the airfield." Reacting with disbelief to the news, Japanese army headquarter's officers proceeded with plans to deliver additional troops to Guadalcanal to reattempt to capture Henderson Field. The next major Imperial attack on the Lunga perimeter occurred at the Battle of Edson's Ridge
Battle of Edson's Ridge
The Battle of Edson's Ridge, also known as the Battle of the Bloody Ridge, Battle of Raiders Ridge, and Battle of the Ridge, was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II between Imperial Japanese Army and Allied ground forces...

 about three weeks later, this time employing a much larger force than had been employed in the Tenaru battle.


The Battle of the Tenaru is a key part of the 1945 biographical film on Al Schmid
Al Schmid
Al Schmid was born on 20 October 1920, as Albert Andrew Schmid in Burholme, Pennsylvania. Schmid was a United States Marine who was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions at the Battle of the Tenaru during the Battle of Guadalcanal...

, Pride of the Marines
Pride of the Marines
Pride of the Marines is a 1945 biographical war film starring John Garfield and Eleanor Parker. It tells the story of U.S. Marine Al Schmid in World War II, his heroic stand against a Japanese attack during the Battle of Guadalcanal, in which he was blinded by a grenade, and his subsequent...

. In 2010 it became the climax of Episode One of Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's and Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

' miniseries, The Pacific
The Pacific (miniseries)
The Pacific is a 2010 television series produced by HBO, Seven Network Australia, Sky Movies, Playtone and DreamWorks that premiered in the United States on March 14, 2010....

. In this episode, the battle was not depicted as it occurred. HBO's dramatized depiction of the Tenaru/Ilu/Alligator Creek Action has Marine machine gunner Leckie and his loader moving their 1917 Browning water-cooled machine gun shoring holes in the Marine line. Leckie's position was static and to the far right of the heavy fighting. The brunt of the Japanese assault was borne by Marines Cpl. Lee Diamond, PFC. John Rivers and Pvt. Albert Schmid. The three were credited with 200 Japanese kia. Awarded the Navy Cross (America's second highest decoration) for their actions, the trio paid dearly. Rivers lost his life, while Schmid and Diamond suffered horrendous wounds. Schmid lost sight in one eye and was left with very little in the other. Shot in his arm early in the fight, Cpl. Diamond's arms and hands were also ripped by the same grenade which blinded Schmid.

External links

- Interactive animation of the battle- Web site with many pictures of Guadalcanal battle sites from 1942 and how they look now.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.