Bombardment Of Henderson

On October 13, a Japanese naval taskforce was sent to Guadalcanal to bombard Henderson Field. Their hope was to knock the airfield out of commission so that the planes would not be able to harass incoming Japanese supply and troop convoys. The taskforce managed to get in close to Lunga Point, unopposed.

At just after 1am on October 14, the ships opened fire from off the coast. For nearly ninety minutes, the battleships Kongo and Haruna pounded the airfield, firing almost 1000 14-inch shells. 41 men were killed in one of the worst shillings endured by the Marines in WWII.

The bombardment damaged both of the main runways and several buildings, destroyed about half of the Cactus airplanes, and burned up most of the supply of aviation fuel on the island. In spite of this, the air crews were able to get the airfield operational (minimally) by morning, using one of the auxiliary runways and syphoning fuel off of the destroyed planes.

Replacement planes and supplies were quickly sent in from elsewhere in the Solomons, as the marines were now expecting a major Japanese offensive.

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