The gripping true account of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion—from its formation and training to its heroic baptism under fire in the battles of Tulagi and Guadalcanal.
No campaign in World War II was undertaken with as many shortcomings as Operation Watchtower—the invasion of Guadalcanal in the summer of 1942. Rushed into action with little training, virtually no enemy intelligence, and using equipment left over from World War I, the gutsy-but-green men of the 1st Marine Division and its attached units were thrown headlong into what would become one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
During almost four trying months of constant shelling, bombing, and ground attacks, the 1st Marine Division defied all the odds and somehow managed to beat the hardened Japanese troops at their own game. No campaign in World War II was conducted with as much ferocity. No campaign saw such sustained violence on land, at sea, and in the air. And no other campaign hung in the balance for so long—to finally be won by the unrelenting courage of a group of American heroes who never gave up the fight.
George W. Smith is a former sports writer for The Hartford Courant, having retired in 1995. He was also an Army officer whose final assignment was as an information adviser to the 1st ARVN Division at Hue, Vietnam, in 1968. He has written several books, including The Siege at Hue and Carlson's Raid, which was a selection of The Military History Book-of-the-Month Club. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.