Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours


 
Guadalcanal 5 - 10 August 2018

   

76th Anniversary of the Battle of
Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands) August 2018

For the USA, the conflict where the largest number of their ancestors died during World War 2 was not far to the North of Australia, and their sacrifice not only ensured the US mainland was not attacked, but also ensured Australia was saved from a proposed Japanese invasion and all of Asia from Japanese domination. For the USA, those who fought in the Pacific in World War 2, are the hero generation.

The first and one of the most heroic actions by the US Marines was at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

The battles there are of great importance to those interested in Military History. It was here that the US 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions supported by the US Army, Navy and Army Air Force with the valued assistance of the Australian Navy and Australian and Solomon Island Coastwatchers, stopped the Japanese advance into the South Pacific. The fighting was very hard, both sides suffered from a lack of supply, both suffered casualties and privations. In the end, it was the US and its allies who prevailed. The Marines had landed on Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942, but after much fighting and major losses the Japanese withdrew from the island on 9 February 1943,.

The US and allies suffered: 7,100 dead; 4 captured; 29 ships lost; 615 aircraft lost.

The Japanese suffered: 31,000 dead; 1,000 captured; 38 ships lost; 683 to 880 aircraft lost.

Price: 6 days / 5 nights. Land only based on share twin or share double $(AU)2,995.00 per person. Single Supplement additional cost $(AU)750.00. (Price may vary due to volatility of the Australian Dollar on the international currency market.)

Included in the tour price:

  • Transfers,
  • Accommodation,
  • battlefield tours with Australian historian,
  • air conditioned transport,
  • Water transport as per itinerary,
  • Meals as per itinerary,
  • Museum entrance fees.

Not included in tour price:

  • travel to and from Honiara International Airport,
  • travel insurance,
  • laundry and alcohol.
  • personal expenses
  • Tips to Drivers and Guides Note that it is not Solomon Islands culture to tip

 Itinerary go to top of page

Day 1 – 5 August 2018

This is the start of our tour to the battle areas of Guadalcanal. Our courtesy bus will pick you up from Honiara Airport (site of Henderson Field the airfield being constructed by Korean slave labourers for the Japanese when the Marines landed in 1942) and you will be taken to our hotel where you can settle into your room and maybe meet members of our touring group.

In the evening there will be a briefing on the course of the battle and how our itinerary will follow the campaign. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel. D

Day 2 – 6 August 2018

An early rise again for today we visit Tulagi and the Florida Islands. This visit involves the transit by launch some 40 kilometres across Ironbottom Sound. It was here that the US Marines first landed in the Solomons, and had a very hard fight getting ashore. Tulagi was the seat of government in the pre-war period and the Japanese soldiers holding the communication facilities put-up a strenuous resistance. We will walk the ground where the fighting took place, visit the concrete cricket pitch and walk through the caves where the Japanese sheltered from the US bombardment prior to their landing. Negotiating the heights, we will visit the site where the British Resident Commissioner resided.

Lunch will be at the waterside on the northern side of the island and following lunch we will re embark on our launch to see the islands of Gavutu and Tanambogo, which were defended strongly by the Japanese. We then move on to Purvis Bay where the US Landing Ship Tank 342 is beached. If the tide is right, we will be able to get within a metre of the rusting hulk. Further on we will visit the wreck of the Japanese destroyer Kikutsuki which was sunk by US carrier borne aircraft in what can be regarded as the first shots of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

After a full day we will motor across Ironbottom sound to return to Honiara before sundown. Time then for a pre-dinner drink before dinner in our hotel. BLD

Day 3 – 7 August 2018

Today we rise early. Dawn will find us at the US Memorial overlooking Ironbottom Sound for the Commemorative Service. This service will be very moving and the highlight, if there is a US Navy ship in “taps” (last post), played by two buglers sighted each side of the memorial, is a great tribute to the US “hero generation”.

We then are taken back to the hotel for brunch. Following brunch we head off to visit the Coastwatchers’ Memorial in Honiara and observe the local commemoration. After our visit to Honiara we will head east toward Red Beach. This is where the Marines landed on Guadalcanal and headed toward Henderson field. We also see the “amtrac graveyard” where a dozen or so of their veteran vehicles are gradually rusting away and being overgrown as the jungle advances.

Then we will go to Alligator Creek where we will pay our respects at the memorial to 1,500 Japanese buried there but without grave markers. Those deaths were the result of an attempt by the Japanese to expel the Marines from the island. While here we will discuss in detail the course of this action.

Back to our hotel for a freshen-up for tonight we visit an excellent Japanese Restaurant. BrD

Day 4 – 8 August 2018

After breakfast Then we will drive to the US Memorial on Hill 73. This will offer a panoramic vista of Henderson Field and will enable us trace the course of the action on the ground. We will then visit the site where Sergeant John Basilone won the Congressional Medal of Honour and on to the Japanese Memorial at Hill 34.

At 1100 h we will visit to the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation’s Bomb Disposal facility at Hell’s Point

Then we will head up to Mount Austen where we will visit the serene Japanese Memorial and to GIFU Ridge, Barana villagers have collected items discarded during the last major land battle of the campaign, we are able to view those items used during the action. We walk to the nearby hill 27 where much remains including the foxholes that were occupied during the action.

Refreshed by our exercise, we will return to our hotel for a well-deserved drink and shower. In the evening we will have dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant where the curries are well noted. BLD

Day 5 – 9 August 2018

Today you need to bring your swimmers, we do not have to rise too early, after breakfast in our hotel at 0830 we will be at the memorial to the loss of HMAS Canberra where there will be an Australian Embassy service. This also is the area where the Australian soldiers of the recent RAMSI mission operated; that memorial is adjacent the Canberra one. These visits will be of particular interest to the Australians in the party. From the memorial, we head west driving out to the excellent outdoor museum at Vilu with its collection of aircraft, artillery and vehicles. On the way back to the hotel we will visit the hulk of "Jezebel", a Sherman Tank brought to the island later in the war for training and later target practice. After a late lunch there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop at the nearby National Museum where you may be able to buy those keepsakes of a the tour or gifts to take home. This evening we will hold a farewell dinner in the hotel. BLD

Day 6 – 10 August 2018

A leisurely start followed by transfer to the airport for your onward flight. B

Itinerary revised 25 July 2017.


Your Tour Leader Lieutenant Colonel John Howells RFD

Lieutenant Colonel John Howells John is a retired Army Reserve Armoured Corps officer who served 32 years in the Defence Force Permanent and Reserve. In civil life he worked for the National Archives as a manager then major Banks managing IT systems.

He has worked on and led battlefield tours since 2008 to locations including Turkey, France, Greece, South Africa and the Solomon Islands.

   

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