This second book of Solomons Air War chronicles aerial warfare in the Solomon Islands theatre during the critical month of October 1942. This book can be read alone or as part of the ongoing Solomons Air War series.
October 1942 saw an explosion of air activity in the Solomons. During the first three weeks of the month busy Tokyo Express destroyer runs landed thousands of IJA troops on Guadalcanal in advance of a new offensive to be launched against the US Marine garrison. This was presaged by a brutal battleship bombardment of Henderson Field and daily air raids against the same target.
Against this background, the Cactus Air Force was fighting for its life and was very nearly exhausted. Somehow just enough replacement F4Fs and SBDs were scraped together from the New Hebrides to keep it in business.
Important support was provided by COMAIRSOPAC B-17s and PBYs Catalina operating from Espiritu Santo.
In the middle of the month an enormously powerful IJN force arrived in the theatre, based around five aircraft carriers. This force threatened to overwhelm the USN which at the time had only one carrier in the South Pacific, the USS Hornet. However, the timely arrival of the USS Enterprise evened the ledger and so ensued the fourth carrier battle of the Pacific War, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, fought over 25-27 October.
This chronicle has been written using primary Allied and Japanese sources, to give a fresh, factual and highly detailed account of all aspects of the complex Solomons air campaign.