Solomon Islands campaign

The Solomon Islands campaign was a major campaign of the Pacific War of World War II. The campaign began with Japanese landings and occupation of several areas in the British Solomon Islands and Bougainville, in the Territory of New Guinea, during the first six months of 1942. The Japanese occupied these locations and began the construction of several naval and air bases with the goals of protecting the flank of the Japanese offensive in New Guinea, establishing a security barrier for the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain, and providing bases for interdicting supply lines between the Allied powers of the United States and Australia and New Zealand.

Solomon Islands campaign
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II

Map of the Solomon Islands showing the Allied advance during 1943 and key air and naval bases.
DateJanuary 1942 – 21 August 1945
Location
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 United States
 United Kingdom
  Solomon Islands
  Fiji
  Tonga
 Australia
 New Zealand
 Japan
Commanders and leaders
Chester Nimitz
Douglas MacArthur
Alexander Vandegrift
Robert Ghormley
William Halsey Jr.
William S. Marchant[lower-alpha 1]
Alexander Patch
Frank Jack Fletcher
Richmond K. Turner
Eric Feldt[lower-alpha 2]
Roy Geiger
Theodore Wilkinson
Oscar Griswold
William Rupertus
Stanley Savige
Harold Barrowclough
Isoroku Yamamoto 
Chūichi Nagumo
Shigeyoshi Inoue
Nishizo Tsukahara
Takeo Kurita
Kiyohide Shima
Jinichi Kusaka
Shōji Nishimura
Gunichi Mikawa
Raizo Tanaka
Hitoshi Imamura
Harukichi Hyakutake
Minoru Sasaki
Hatazo Adachi
Casualties and losses
10,600 killed
40+ ships sunk,
800 aircraft destroyed[lower-alpha 3]
86,000 killed
50+ ships sunk,
1,500 aircraft destroyed[lower-alpha 3]

The Allies, to defend their communication and supply lines in the South Pacific, supported a counteroffensive in New Guinea, isolated the Japanese base at Rabaul, and counterattacked the Japanese in the Solomons with landings on Guadalcanal (see Guadalcanal campaign) and small neighboring islands on 7 August 1942. These landings initiated a series of combined-arms battles between the two adversaries, beginning with the Guadalcanal landing and continuing with several battles in the central and northern Solomons, on and around New Georgia Island, and Bougainville Island.

In a campaign of attrition fought on land, on sea, and in the air, the Allies wore the Japanese down, inflicting irreplaceable losses on Japanese military assets. The Allies retook some of the Solomon Islands (although resistance continued until the end of the war), and they also isolated and neutralized some Japanese positions, which were then bypassed. The Solomon Islands campaign then converged with the New Guinea campaign.