1942 – The Battle of Edson’s Ridge, also known as the Battle of the Bloody Ridge, Battle of Raiders Ridge, and Battle of the Ridge, a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II between Imperial Japanese Army and Allied (mainly United States Marine Corps) ground forces, begins on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, and was the second of three separate major Japanese ground offensives during the Guadalcanal Campaign.
In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift, repulsed an attack by the Japanese 35th Infantry Brigade, under the command of Japanese Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi. The Marines were defending the Lunga perimeter that guarded Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, which was captured from the Japanese by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942.
Kawaguchi’s unit was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield and driving the Allied forces from the island. Underestimating the strength of Allied forces on Guadalcanal–about 12,000–Kawaguchi’s 6,000 soldiers conducted several nighttime frontal assaults on the U.S. defenses.
The main Japanese assault occurred around Lunga ridge south of Henderson Field, manned by troops from several U.S. Marine Corps units, primarily troops from the 1st Raider and 1st Parachute Battalions under U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson. Although the Marine defenses were almost overrun, Kawaguchi’s attack was ultimately defeated, with heavy losses for the Japanese. Because of the key participation by Edson’s unit in defending the ridge, the ridge was commonly referred to as “Edson’s” ridge in historical accounts of the battle in Western sources.
After Edson’s Ridge, the Japanese continued to send troops to Guadalcanal for further attempts to retake Henderson Field, affecting Japanese offensive operations in other areas of the South Pacific.