Narrow Escapes of World War II - Netflix

Narrow Escapes of World War II tells the real stories of courageous and deadly fights against impossible odds during World War II.

Narrow Escapes of World War II - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2011-09-26

Narrow Escapes of World War II - Guadalcanal Campaign - Netflix

The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by American forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. It was the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan. On the 7th, Allied forces, predominantly United States Marines, landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands, with the objective of denying their use by the Japanese to threaten Allied supply and communication routes between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand; powerful American and Australian naval forces supported these landings. The Allies also intended to use Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases in supporting a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Japanese defenders, who had occupied those islands since May 1942, were outnumbered and overwhelmed by the Allies, who captured Tulagi and Florida, as well as the airfield – later named Henderson Field – that was under construction on Guadalcanal. Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five nighttime surface actions and two carrier battles), and almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November, with the defeat of the last Japanese attempt to bombard Henderson Field from the sea and to land with enough troops to retake it. In December, the Japanese abandoned their efforts to retake Guadalcanal, and evacuated their remaining forces by 7 February 1943, in the face of an offensive by the U.S. Army's XIV Corps. The Guadalcanal campaign was a significant strategic Allied combined-arms victory in the Pacific theater. While the Battle of Midway was a crushing defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy, it did not stop Japanese offensives, which continued both at sea and on the ground. The victories at Milne Bay, Buna–Gona, and Guadalcanal did mark the Allied transition from defensive operations to the strategic initiative in the theater, leading to offensive campaigns in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the Central Pacific, which resulted in the Surrender of Japan, ending World War II.

Narrow Escapes of World War II - Battle of the Eastern Solomons - Netflix

As the Tenaru battle was ending, more Japanese reinforcements were already on their way. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto put together a very powerful expeditionary force. Their aim was to destroy any American fleet units in the area, and then eliminate Henderson Field. This force sortied from Truk on 23 August. Several other reinforcements, support, and bombardment groups sortied from both Truk and Rabaul. Three slow transport ships departed from Truk on 16 August carrying the remaining 1,400 soldiers from Ichiki's (28th) Infantry Regiment plus 500 naval marines from the 5th Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force. The transports were guarded by 13 warships commanded by Japanese Rear Admiral Raizō Tanaka, who planned to land the troops on Guadalcanal on 24 August. To cover the landings of these troops and provide support for the operation to retake Henderson Field from Allied forces, Yamamoto directed Chūichi Nagumo to sortie with a carrier force from Truk on 21 August and head towards the southern Solomon Islands. Nagumo's force included three carriers and 30 other warships. Yamamoto would send the light carrier Ryūjō on a possible bait role ahead of the rest of the fleet, and attack Guadalcanal to draw attention of the American pilots. Meanwhile, the aircraft from the two fleet carriers would next charge in to attack the Americans. Simultaneously, three U.S. carrier task forces under Fletcher approached Guadalcanal to counter the Japanese offensive efforts; one was diverted to refuel. On 24 August the two carrier forces fought. The Japanese had two fleet carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku and the light carrier Ryūjō. The Japanese had 177 carrier based aircraft. The American forces only had two carriers, which were Saratoga and Enterprise, and their 176 aircraft. The bait carrier Ryūjō was overwhelmed. She was hit by several 1,000-pound bombs then subsequently was hit by an aerial torpedo. The ship was then abandoned and eventually sank that same night. The two Japanese fleet carriers were not attacked. Enterprise was attacked and damaged. Both fleets then retreated from the area. The Japanese lost Ryūjō and dozens of aircraft and most of their aircrew; the Americans lost a handful of planes and Enterprise was under repair for two months. On 25 August Tanaka's convoy was attacked by CAF aircraft from Henderson Field. After suffering heavy damage during the battle including the sinking of one of the transports, the convoy was forced to divert to the Shortland Islands in the northern Solomons in order to transfer the surviving troops to destroyers for later delivery to Guadalcanal. The Japanese had launched an air raid on Guadalcanal, causing chaos and havoc, while American Marine aircraft had engaged Tanaka's convoy which was headed by the flagship Jintsū near Taivu Point. A Japanese transport was sunk. The older destroyer Mutsuki was so badly damaged that it had to be scuttled. Several other warships were damaged including Tanaka's own Jintsū. At this point, Tanaka withdrew and rescheduled the supply run for the night of 28 August via the destroyers. Meanwhile, on 25 August, the American carrier Wasp, after refueling, positioned itself east of Guadalcanal expecting Japanese movement there. However, there was none to be found. Strategically, the Japanese had an opportunity here for a decisive victory. However, they failed to achieve it. They allowed the Americans to step away with a view of victory. In addition, the reinforcement of Henderson Field of Guadalcanal by Enterprise's aircraft established a precedent. This made daylight supply runs to Guadalcanal impossible for Japanese shipments. Only weeks before this, the Japanese had total control of the sea in this particular region; now they were forced to make supply runs only under the cover of darkness.

Narrow Escapes of World War II - References - Netflix