Guadalcanal part 3 – How to load a cargo Wessel

What is rather rare for the Guadalcanal campgain is that both had to supply their side of the front by sending merchant ships directly to the frontline for several month under the fire from the opposite. In the beginning the Japanese ruled the seas at night, and the Americans in daylight.

The marines was first sent to a base in New Zealand so their ships was loaded for A to B transportation only. On their way to New Zeland the order came to attack Guadalcanal, so the first step in New Zealand would be to reload the ships into at combat load. The dock workers went on strike so the marines had to reload themselves.

So the question is: how do you load for combat. What do you need first, and how can you get your cargo safely ashore and stored properly. The correct combat load would be an issue throughout the war in many battles. After the landing US had a great advantage in the geography of Guadalcanal. The landing beach is pretty stable, and the area around the airstrip is open and rather flat.

The Japanese held areas had narrow beaches and a jungle also most to the surf. Further all Japanese men and supplies had to be kept in cover under threes. After several months that are very unhealthy to both men and materials. Lack of sunlight proved to be se severe strain to health of the Japanese soldiers. Also the narrow costal road makes it very difficult to move supplies around.

For several reasons, as mentioned in part 2, the Japanese stuck to the battle. I think the supply battle have been kind of lost in all the naval battles. I have analyzed the Japanese Merchant losses in 1942 from this source

I have put the number into graphic showing the amount and cause of loss.


It is crystal clear that Guadalcanal escalated the losses in October and November, at the Japanes tried to reinforce within reach of the cactus air force. In the end the Japanese had to leave all equipment and the soldiers evacuated where in at state that they would never fight again.