Kinugawa Maru- Click to Enlarge
The wreck of the Kinugawa Maru, beached and destroyed in 1942.

The Island of Guadalcanal in World War II

Flag of Solomon Islands


Introduction to the Island

Guadalcanal in WWII

Tours of Military Sites


- Languages: English (1-2%) (official), Melanesian pidgin (lingua franca), 120 indigenous languages

- Area total: 5,302 km².

- Capital: Honiara

- Latitude/ Longitude: 9° 32' S, 160° 12' E

- City Calling code: 677

- Time Zone: GMT+11

- Monetary Unit: Solomon Islands dollar

- Population: Solomon Islands: approx. 477,000. Honiara: approx. 68,000.

- Ethnicities/races: Melanesian 94.5%, Polynesian 3%, Micronesian 1.2%, Other/unspecified 1.3%

- Government: parliamentary democracy

Solomon Islands Travel Guides

> Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau

> South Pacific Travel Guide with airline information

> South Pacific Tourism Organization

Related & Relevant Links

> U.S. Army Information on the Battle of Guadalcanal

> U.S. Navy Information on the Battle of Guadalcanal

> Historic Sites/Wrecks on Guadalcanal

Visit More
Travel Guides

Basecamp International

> Tahiti Sun Travel Network
Comprehensive Tourism and Travel Guides to the Fantastic Vacation Islands of Tahiti Polynesia

> Gustavus, Alaska
Your gateway to Gustavus and magnificent Glacier Bay Park.

> Burkina, Africa
Guide to the fascinating Country of Burkina Faso.

> Patan, Nepal
Visit one of the 3 Royal cities in the famous Kathmandu valley.

> Bhaktapur, Nepal
One of 3 of Nepals "Royal cities" and a cultural gem popular with travelers.

> Puno, Peru
The folklore capital of Peru lies on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

> Piura, Peru
South America's oldest Spanish city and the Piura region.

> Chiclayo, Peru
Peru's fourth largest city is an archeological treasure chest.

> Mildura, Australia
This region is known for its wineries & river-centered recreational opportunities.

> Krumlov, Czech Republic
Traveler's info for the UNESCO world heritage site Cesky Krumlov.

> Tokelau, New Zealand
A non-self-governing territory consisting of three coral atolls in the South Pacific.

> Tulcea, Romania
One of the larger cities in Romania- located at the mouth of the famous Danube River.

Click to enlarge...Guadalcanal: Pivotal in World War II

Guadalcanal is well-known for its pivotal role in World War II, with the battle of Guadalcanal turning the tide in favor of the Allies in the Pacific theater.

Guadalcanal is still filled with World War II relics and monuments that tourists can visit, and several companies offer organized military site tours.

Guadalcanal Marines, 1942Guadalcanal in World War II:

The first major offensive launched by the Allies against Japan in World War II took place on Guadalcanal from August 7, 1942, to February 9, 1943. Since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese had advanced toward the South Pacific, threatening the Allies' South Pacific ferry route connecting Australia and the United States.

In May and June, 1942, the U.S. Navy made headway against the Japanese advance in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. These successes led the U.S. military to pursue a two-pronged assault in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea.
USS Minneapolis with Torpedo Damage

Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, invaded by the Japanese in July, 1942, was one of the most important Japanese strongholds due to its proximity to Australia. The Japanese built an airfield at Lunga Point and artillery positions in the hills nearby and had about 8,400 men on the island by August.

On August 7, 1942, U.S. Marines landed on the northern beaches of Guadalcanal after Navy ships fired onto the island ahead of them. Over the next three months, the Marines secured the airfield and a 6 mile wide section of the beach.

On October 13, an Army unit arrived to reinforce the Marines. The Marines and Army soldiers repelled a Japanese attack on the 23rd, inflicting heavy losses on the Japanese and pushing the Japanese out further during the rest of the month.

On November 4th, the U.S. Infantry fought 1,500 Japanese troops that landed on the beach at Koli Point. They killed half the Japanese force. The rest escaped into the jungle.

Japanese Betty War Planes Under FireIn mid-November, the U.S. Navy fought the Japanese at the Battle of Guadalcanal, when the Japanese attempted a major reinforcement of troops via the "Tokyo Express" run of supply-laden destroyers. In this four-day battle, the U.S. Navy foiled the reinforcement effort, and only 4,000 of 10,000 Japanese troops reached land.

After this battle, the American troops pushed on in an effort to take Mount Austen. Thrashing through the jungle, they faced heavy fire from Japanese troops. Finally, during the first two days of 1943, in a two-pronged attack on the Mount Austen stronghold at Gifu, American troops succeeded in securing most of the Gifu area and the west slopes of the mountain.

Scout Bomber WreckOverall, between 400 and 500 Japanese troops died, and over 100 American troops died in the effort to take Mount Austen. During January, 1943, the American troops battled Japanese strongholds on Mount Austen to take areas known as Galloping Horse and Sea Horse and secure the Gifu area. In the third week of January, the American troops took the Japanese headquarters at Kokumbona.

American troops mounted attacks by land and sea to annihilate the Japanese, but in the end, about 13,000 Japanese troops escaped. Nevertheless, by February 9, 1943, the U.S. troops took control of the island, helping to turn back the Japanese drive toward Australia and secure a base from which to launch attacks at the Japanese in the South Pacific.

All told, 1,592 American troops were killed in action and 4,183 were wounded. Thousands more were disabled by tropical diseases like malaria. The Japanese lost 14,800 in battle and 9,000 from disease. About 1,000 Japanese men were taken prisoner.

Tours of Guadalcanal Military SitesClick to enlarge...

With all the fascinating battle history, ruins, and military significance of this island, there are a few companies that offer fantastic tours of the important battle sites on Guadalcanal.

And while it is also possible to hire local guides, we recommend our friends at Valor Tours, for a variety of reasons...Guadalcanal Memorial

Valor Tours offers an annual 10-day tour every August to commemorate the anniversary of the landings, as well as a 10-day cruise/tour through the Solomon Islands. They can also arrange private tours for individuals with specific travel needs. 

Applications for commemorative plaques and trees can be purchased through Valor Tours to honor a loved one, as part of the Honiara Beautification Project. Read more about Valor Tours here.


Valor Tours, Ltd. is a resource for veterans, their families, military service organizations, unit associations, reunion groups, historical societies and government institutions with an interest in the Pacific and Europe wartime theaters.
34 years of excellence...

(It was a consultant to the Pentagon's WWII 50th Anniversary Committee.)

Today, tour participants are largely veterans' sons, daughters, grandchildren and the general public, especially WWII history buffs, seeking a meaningful focus for their vacation travels.

Check out the website for all the details!

TRAVEL to Guadalcanal!

Use HONIARA as your destination city and compare the travel services.

Image Copyright Note is currently seeking royalty-free images of the city, region, and people of Guadalcanal for use on this website.

Some images on this website have come from other internet sites. The policy of is to attempt to contact the person or organization that owns the copyright to these images to request their permission to use the images. also links to the websites on which images were found.

Please contact us if you have any concerns or comments about any images used on this site or if you can provide additional royalty-free images for

Solomon Islands coat of arms

© 2007- 2012 All rights reserved. is a division of Basecamp International... yet another Net105 Venture. Read our privacy policy here.