By Dr William Wolf (Mi
Within the savage air strive against over Guadalcanal after which the both bloody air battles up Solomon chain, New Georgia and Bougainville, thirteenth Fighter Command took a again seat to Marine aviation in team of workers, apparatus, offer, operations, and exposure
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Additional info for 13th Fighter Command in World War II : air combat over Guadalcanal and the Solomons
At the end of the day Cactus air strength numbered 86 pilots and 64 aircraft: 51 Marine; 10 Navy; and only 3 Air Force. On 2 September the 6th Seabees arrived with five officers, 387 men, and two bulldozers to improve Henderson, and to clear a grass fighter strip one mile to the east. The Seabees used the large quantity of captured Japanese equipment to clear and roll the 4,600 x 300-foot grass strip. They leveled the hummocks and filled in the trenches and foxholes, then rolled the field and cut down the surrounding tall bush to a foot and a half.
The sudden torrential equatorial rains were dried to dust by the first three hours of scorching sun the next day. The extent and location of mud and dust depended on drainage. Dust and mud caused a maintenance crisis, as aircraft engines and instruments were complex and unable to cope with the elements sucked into them via aircraft cooling systems on taxiing, takeoff, and landing. It was the nature of the Pacific air war that the air forces would fly from the worst fields, as they were recently captured and closest to the battle.
That night four Japanese destroyers from the Shortlands landed 450 troops on Taivu Point just after dark. Japanese snipers were an intermittent problem, hiding in trees around the edge of the field and shooting at personnel and aircraft, but they were quickly eliminated by Marine patrols. Officers were urged to remove their insignias, as they were prime sniper targets. John Thompson (67FS): "Snipers were a problem, as they would take pot shots at our aircraft taking off and landing from Henderson.