August 7th, 1942
Source: SLC Memorabilia Collection
Herein is contained a description of the Solomon Islands offensive by United States Naval
Forces as described during the actual operations by that peer of amateur fourth estate men,
Lt. Edmond B. Pugsley
At this time, the reports are fragmentary, but the planes appear to have dropped all their bombs, but damage has not been reported.
Very light anti-aircraft fire was encountered, apparently, but the pilots said the guns apparently were lying low, waiting for the boats to come in. It is hard to tell whether it is about Tulagi or Guadalcanal that a plane is talking, as reception is very poor. Only one gun, about 20mm, has been sighted.
There has been but one report of any unidentified planes near us and that was bout twenty five miles away, bearing 090 from the ENTERPRISE. Fighter patrols are up at six and ten thousand feet. A last minute report states that a single unidentified plane is in a similar position about fifteen miles away.
The bombardment group has commenced firing, as reports of spots have come in two or three
times, but here, likewise, no reports of damage. They are firing right now.
But little additional information since last summary. An unidentified plane of the support air force group reported, "I have knocked down four."
The bombardment group---Ships accompanying the amphibious force --- have been firing both the main and secondary batteries off and on.
There have been two instances of unidentified planes approaching the formation, but,
apparently, they were later identified to be friendly, as no further reports have been
received. One report came in from one of the planes operating with the CHICAGO, "Let's go
Scotty, Zeros at 090." Nothing more from that.
Tulagi has reported seeing bombers from time to time, but nothing definite. The CHICAGO controlled planes have been told to investigate these reports. Nothing more from them at this time.
Someone on the support force circuit let out a long and loud "WAHOO", but of what it was
indicative, is not know.
At this time, the operation looks to be entering the final stages. The WASP has made the following reports:---
"At 0748 local time---WASP first fighter flight destroyed nine Zero float fighters and four Victor prep. All our fighters returned."
"At 0855 local time---Total Score WASP to date, eight Victor preps, nine Victor Fox Float. So far all planes have returned as due. Troops landed on Tulagi at Zero Eight Hundred, No opposition remaining."
There have been several little incidents that have enlivened an otherwise almost routine---To us who are just listening---Affair. One was the "WAHOO" which sounded a bit bizarre on the Staid Navy Circuits. The other was when a fighter, one of the three told to "Go After that Plane", yelled into his microphone, "Here I go." and left his transmitter on so that we could hear the machine guns chattering their song.
There have been no signals on the bombardment spotting circuit for three quarters of an hour.
Pilots on other circuits are saying that they can remain on station so many minutes and would like to have a target designated so as not to have to take their bombs back with them.
FLASH:---Air group commander over Tulagi just sent to his counterpart at Guadalcanal---"FOX CAST DOG".
The situation from this ship at 1300, August 7th
From what can be learned at this time, the operation at Tulagi is progressing smoothly and there is no opposition to speak of there. Such a report has not yet come in from Guadalcanal. Pilots are still flying over that place and bombing it, especially AA positions. How long it will be before that place is, also, under control is not, of course, known yet.
As we are but little over five hundred miles from Rabaul, and other Japanese Bases are in
this same area, it is not unlikely that we will yet see some action in the formation of which
we are a part.
Reports just came in of twenty enemy bombers ten miles north of Tulagi. Standby fighters on at least one of the carriers have been ordered into the air, and the Fighter Patrol is very much on the alert. A second batch of fighters of another carrier has been ordered into the air, making a total of twenty seven in the past five minutes. Whoops Three of the bombers are reported heading toward the formation. More later. To much happening at the moment.
Later Addenda--- The whole thing (bombers) petered out. They just sort of disappeared. The
situation appears to be well under control.
Our planes have been up since before dawn. They have been over Tulagi and Guadalcanal since shortly after.
One report has come in from the Amphibious Force that part of the troops that landed at Tulagi were re-embarking but that air support was not needed to cover them. Shortly after a report came in that a large group of enemy planes was heading toward the Task Force. Later this was corrected with a message that the planes were our own.
Just now a pilot reported that the ammunition dump that was set afire and blown up yesterday was, apparently, a combination of ammunition and ship fueling supply. A second report tells of a fire in Tulagi in the police station, followed by one of a second fire in the Burns Phillips Building.
We have had several reports of unidentified planes but they have all proved to be friendly.
A third message tells of a fire outside of Tulagi. As there is no mention of bombs being dropped, they may have been started by the Japanese.
The Situation at 1215, August 8th
About an hour ago, we were told that forty twin engine bombers were reported over North
Bougainville Island, heading southwest from northwest. At that time, the report was an hour
old. A few minutes ago, we had a report that bombers were attacking the transports and that
three of them were shot down. Now we have a message that some of them are flying low and are
carrying torpedoes. At least five or six are now reported shot down. Pilots messages like
"Hey are there any more of them around?" and "Let's Go, there's business down there." are
coming in.. So far, there has been no activity near our Task Groups. Large numbers of our
fighters are over Tulagi and the transports, while we have combat patrols over our formation
at heights up to twenty five thousand feet.
We have had no further word as to enemy planes being destroyed. There have been several comments from planes saying that they had bombers in sight, several cases of unidentified planes close to the formation, but they have always been proved to be friendly. At the moment, there is an unidentified plane reported at 290 distance 20 miles. The planes, carrying torpedoes, are described as resembling our B26 type. There has been no report of damage to any of our transports; at this moment the bombers seem to have retired. We have had no contact report on enemy planes for well over an hour. The score, so far, as it is known now, is about six enemy bombers. The plane mentioned above as unidentified, has proven friendly.
Later information which came in advised the forces afloat that both Tulagi and Guadalcanal landings had been completely successful. The enemy was continuing to put up resistance in isolated areas but this was being taken care of by thorough mopping-up operations by our forces.
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