Carlson's Raiders Guadalcanal
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  1. #1
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    Carlson's Raiders Guadalcanal

    From Jane's Oceania

    Several months after the Makin raid, the battalion got orders to move into Guadalcanal to spearhead an army landing. The raiders landed from convoy on the 4th November, meeting no opposition.

    A message for Carlson from General Vandegrift was dropped by plane. It instructed him to take his Raiders inland from the beach and work north through the Japanese lines to Henderson Field. The Raiders were to smash up Japanese positions on the way and were to check a suspected supply trail which paralleled the U.S. lines. Food was dropped - four days rations for each man - rice, raisins, bacon and tea. On the second day, the Raiders cleared the beach and headed into the jungle.

    The first day in the jungle a major mistake was made. The "point", a small advance group which works ahead of the main body, was ambushed. Leading the point was a native who knew the trails. He was wounded when the Japanese opened fire and had to be evacuated immediately. This was the last time Carlson ever used the native in the point although he continued to use natives as supply carriers and runners. Like all successful guerrilla fighters he depended on the support of the native population in his area of operations. Such support, he claims, depends in terms on the natives' conviction that the operation is to their own advantage.


    From that day on, for thirty days straight, Carlson's Raiders were in action. Not always big action, sometime only cutting off a few Japanese at a time and killing them or locating and wrecking a small supply dump. But a day never went by when they were not ripping and caring at the enemy's position. As the Raiders fought they turned the enemy's tricks against him. They ambushed again and again. Always, they killed, quickly and quietly, and they endured without a murmur the brutal physical punishment they were taking. By the end of November, the men were getting drawn from their slim diet.

    Vandegrift ordered Carlson back to Henderson Field. Rather than scourge back into the jungle, Carlson led his men over rugged Mount Austin, a strongly held Japanese point which then dominated the field. There were skirmishes and he lost several men but on December 4th, they reached headquarters. Vandegrift congratulated Carlson on the complete success of his mission and awarded him the Navy Cross for the third time.

    On Guadalcanal, after thirty days of operating behind the Japanese lines, Carlson (kneeling, centre), and his young Raiders displayed their collections of souvenirs. Included are Japanese snipers' rifles, machine guns
    bullets, shells, helmets and Japanese battle flags.

  2. #2
    Kneeling next to Carlson, on his left, is Lawrence Betts. My wifes great uncle.

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