I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

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Sean Oliver
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I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by Sean Oliver » 12 Aug 2022 07:20

My grandfather Frank Murray was a Marine PFC who served as a BAR man with F Co., 2nd Marine Regiment, and later, C Co., 8th Marine Regiment, of the 2nd Marine Division, on Guadalcanal. He saw infantry combat for about 2 months, until he contracted malaria. He was sent home in Dec 1942 and assigned light duty. A year later he was still sick with malaria, and got a full medical discharge. He went on to father a family of 5, and I'm one of a dozen or so grandchildren. Sadly he passed away 15 years ago.
Although he was intensely proud of his service - and of all Americans who served in WW2 - he didn't talk much about his own experiences on Guadalcanal, and no one in the family ever tried to get him to say more about it. He would politely answer our questions, but he never elaborated or talked at length. He just wasn't the story-telling type. As a result, none of us know much about what he and his comrades did there, or the details of combat he might've participated in.

I would like to research in detail both the 2nd Marine Regiment and the 8th Marine Regiment's actions on Guadalcanal, and try to gather as much material as I can about the fighting they saw. There is plenty of material about the 1st Marine Div, but not the 2nd.
Almost anything would help; medical reports, supply reports, etc.
Post-war writing by veterans of those two regiments would be especially great.
I just don't know where to look, or how to begin. Word searching doesn't give very good results so far, since I don't know what to search for.
I know about the Marine websites and official monographs etc., and records held by NARA, but has anyone shared Marine unit records online (besides Ancestry.com)?
Are there good websites and discussion forums where Marines in WW2, or Guadalcanal is the main focus?

Although I'm a moderately experienced user of online sources for researching WW2 in Europe and Russia, I don't know many details about the Pacific.

jbroshot
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by jbroshot » 12 Aug 2022 17:42

I don't know if you can find these online any where, but

the divisional history Follow Me! The Story of the Second Marine Division in World War II, by Richard W. Johnston (1948)

Richard B. Frank's Guadalcanal The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle (1990) includes coverage of the 2nd Marine Division on the island, including the 8th Marines

The only postwar account by a veteran of the 2nd Marine Division that I can remember, is a novel, Battle Cry, by Leon Uris, but he was in the 6th Marines.

If you know about NARA records, are you aware that the Marine Corps Muster Rolls for WW2 have been digitized (by Ancestry) but are available for downloading from NARA

https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=* ... age%2Fjpeg

Both my parents were WW2 Marines. My father was sent to the 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division right out of boot camp, but was transferred out before the unit went overseas. I tracked his service career (and also my mother's) from enlistment to discharge by the muster rolls. It took awhile but it was interesting.

Good luck with your search

Lethl215
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by Lethl215 » 13 Aug 2022 23:59

Probably something in the USMC EPUB library in addition to the official history.
https://www.marines.mil/News/Publicatio ... Sort=Rank

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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by OpanaPointer » 14 Aug 2022 03:40

Come visit our sites:
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jbroshot
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by jbroshot » 14 Aug 2022 16:39

I don't know if a report on operations on Guadalcanal by the 2nd Marine Division (or by any of its units) is available on line or exists.

But the 1st Marine Division's "Final Report on Guadalcanal Operations" in five parts ("phases") is available on line at Internet Archive

https://archive.org/search.php?query=ti ... 28texts%29

(this list includes two items not part of the report)

Since the 2nd Marines and later the 8th Marines operated on Guadalcanal under command of the 1st Marine Division their activities are noted in these reports.

I think the Phase 5 report has the most detail on the activities of these two regiments

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Aug 2022 04:06

Franks 'Guadalcanal' is a good initial primer. It outlines the ground, air, and naval battles for the island.
jbroshot wrote:
14 Aug 2022 16:39
I don't know if a report on operations on Guadalcanal by the 2nd Marine Division (or by any of its units) is available on line or exists.
Not surprised since the Division HQ did not command units on Guadalcanal.

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Kingfish
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by Kingfish » 17 Aug 2022 09:28

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Aug 2022 04:06
Franks 'Guadalcanal' is a good initial primer. It outlines the ground, air, and naval battles for the island.
jbroshot wrote:
14 Aug 2022 16:39
I don't know if a report on operations on Guadalcanal by the 2nd Marine Division (or by any of its units) is available on line or exists.
Not surprised since the Division HQ did not command units on Guadalcanal.
No?
On 4 January 2d Marine Division headquarters and the 6th Marines, Rein-
forced, having moved up from New Zealand, also landed, thereby bringing the
2d Marine Division to nearly full strength.
https://history.army.mil/html/books/005 ... ub_5-3.pdf
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jbroshot
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by jbroshot » 17 Aug 2022 17:01

Kingfish wrote:
17 Aug 2022 09:28
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Aug 2022 04:06

Not surprised since the Division HQ did not command units on Guadalcanal.
No?
On 4 January 2d Marine Division headquarters and the 6th Marines, Rein-
forced, having moved up from New Zealand, also landed, thereby bringing the
2d Marine Division to nearly full strength.
https://history.army.mil/html/books/005 ... ub_5-3.pdf
Not exactly

"Brigadier General Alphonse Carre, the ADC, acted as division commander while this division was on Guadalcanal, and also served as commander of other Marine ground units. Major General John Marston, commanding general of the 2d Marine Division, remained on New Zealand because he was senior to General Patch, the Army officer who now was in command on Guadalcanal"

The 'Marine Task Organization and Command List" for the Guadalcanal campaign shows that "Advanced Echelon, Division Headquarters" was on the island from 4 Jan 1943 to 8 Feb 1943.

History Of U.S. Marine Corps Operations In WWII, Volume I: Pearl Harbor To Guadalcanal

https://archive.org/details/PearlHarborToGuadacanal

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: I need advice + hints re: USMC Guadalcanal research online

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Aug 2022 22:01

That and for a time elements of the 2d Marine Div and Army regiments operated as a amalgamated division, with army officers on the division staff along side the Marines. Into December Patch continued Vandigrifts policy of organizing task forces or combat teams by best use and ignoring service affiliation as far as practical. This applied to the air wing as well with Geiger using highly mixed ad hoc air groups each day, organized out of whatever Army or Navy/Marine aircraft were ready. ie: the last battle on the Matanikua 18-23 November was fought by a mixed bag of battalions from the 8th Marines, 182 Inf, and 164th Inf.

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