Japanese Mass Grave
Coffin Corner is the nickname of the October 1942 battle area, south east
of Edson Ridge. Large numbers of Japs were
slaughtered about five large mass grave were dug by boring holes and
craters with explosives.
The bodies were then buried in these holes.
In the early 1970s the Jap war grave people came
and excavated all these graves. They never filled in the holes after
them. One hole in particular is about 20 ft across. All these holes
are full of water. In the spoil from the big hole I found a Type 100
rifle grenade launcher that fires the smaller smooth-bodied grenades.
Other small items are also in the earth around these grave holes.
US line was just inside the jungle
line and the pits where the 37mm guns were and other holes are still
there. There is still some barbed wire strung out in front of this
attached to pitons.
jungle line is still the same. The grassy field between the jungle
and the river is now planted with coconuts. It is a very large grove. Walking about in the grassy field
you can easily find bits and pieces of Jap gear on the ground. I
did the place twice with a metal detector but cartridge cases are
Peter Besi from the Gifu was with me and
is standing on the Crash Strip that fronted the "Coffin Corner" October
1942 battle area.
believe this is Crash Strip that the Japanese thought was the main
field when they sent back the message 'Banzai' during the October
Battle thinking they were attacking Henderson Field. As you can
see the grass is now head high. This is because the cows that kept
the grass down between the more recently planted coconut trees
have been eaten. Coffin Corner is in the background.
In one place we had a good reading from the metal detector
and found a piece of aluminum from a Jap plane. In another place we
found a US Jerry can full of bullet holes. In the jungle behind the
lines here and the original access track can be discerned and followed.
Searching in the jungle around this track reveals all sorts of junk
hidden in the dripping wet undergrowth. I skewered my trouser pants
on a short star picket in there. In the grassy field about mid way from
the corner and the present road there is a very large hole which must
be an excavation, it is not a bomb crater. This is full of water and
also much junk.
There were unused rolls of barbed wire, a jeep
trailer and a water trailer and a reasonable 50 cal 200rd drum
magazine that I can remember. There is a (modern) wire fence running
east-west from the corner. If the fence is followed W for about a mile there
is the wreck of a Betty right next the this fence. The Grassy
Knoll is about one mile SW of the Corner. This is where the US
troops had an OP anticipating the Jap attack.
When the Japanese came this knoll was in the middle
of their drive to the corner and the US troops took off and ran back
to the corner. The US artillery must have had this knoll registered
because when the Japs set up two 70mm guns on top and began firing the
US guns fired back immediately with their 155s. I have been up there
and had a look around.
I saw an unexploded 155mm HE shell at the base
of the hill. On top right in the place where one would place artillery
I had two really big readings which outlined something about the
size and shape of the 70 mils. We tried digging but the ground
that day was rock-hard. I told my SI companions what was probably
there and suggested that they have a dig some time.
Later my English friend informs me, he went to have
a look and he found a dirty great hole up on that hill. No body wanted
to say anything and the land is/was owned by an MP and he was most emphatic
that he won't let any more visitors up on that hill!
The Grassy Knoll (Briggs Outpost)
I just parked nearby, put all my bush gear
on and went for it. I pushed on through the kunai grass without
stopping and when I did stop for a breather near top and turned
around there were three young SI guys right behind me and I didn't
even know! They followed me around all through my expedition to
the Grassy Knoll. The other gun is probably still buried up there
just like the one was buried at Hill