July 5, 1943 (Monday)

“Cactus,” Carney Field, Guadalcanal

Still raining. Mud everywhere.

Forgot to mention that last night, as I was returning from patrol, I spotted 4 Cleveland class cruisers between Florida Island and Malaita, accompanied by 5 destroyers, headed up the Slot. Just off Lunga Point, also headed NW were 10 APDs (converted Marine landing destroyers) escorted by 5 destroyers.

This morning we heard that the Marines had landed and taken Rice Anchorage, northern New Georgia, under  cover of a cruiser bombardment of Vila Field on Kolombangara, which is only about 10 miles north of Bairoko across Kula Gulf.

The taking of Rice Anchorage will allow the complete cutting off of Munda from the rest of New Georgia. The Marines at Bairoko will push south to meet the Army and Marines pushing north from Roviana Lagoon.

This evening we got word of an impending naval battle. The Japs have 17 ships, including one CA, four CL, destroyers, APs, AKs, etc. leaving Tonolei Harbor for Kolombangara and Munda. Waiting for them we have two task forces; one south of Rendova, and the other east of the Kula Gulf and northern New Georgia. No matter which side the Japs come down, we’ll catch them, one unit meeting them head-on while the other steams NW and cuts off their retreat.

For lunch the patrol crews today had mashed potato sandwiches! This food will kill us all yet.

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