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    Hill 73 Guadalcanal Solomon Islands
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USMC c1942

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Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2006
Location
Hill 73 is located near the north coast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. During World War II, this kunai grass covered feature was designated "Hill 73" by the Americans. To the north is Point Cruz, to the east is the Matanikau River and to the south is Galloping Horse and Sea Horse and to the southeast is The Gifu and Mount Austen (Mt. Austen, Grassy Knoll). Today, the summit of Hill 73 is the Guadalcanal Memorial on Skyline Ridge in Honiara accessible via Skyline Road and overlooks Chinatown to the east.

Wartime History
On August 17, 1942 U. S. Marines (USMC) from L Company 3rd battalion 5th Marines (L/3/5) began their combat patrol that became known as "Matanikau One". During the afternoon of the August 18, 1942 they had reached the crossing point on the Matanikau River. They planned to bivouac the night and would cross the river the next day. Executive Officer Lt. George Mead Jr., observed this hill on the other side of the river opposite their planned camp. He became concerned that it could threaten their security if the Japanese were occupying the ridge and opted to ford the river, climb this hill and bivouac overnight. This hill provided excellent tactical views and the tall kunai grass atop provided excellent concealment.

At dawn on August 19, 1942 the Japanese spotted the Marines and brought mortars and small arms fire onto their position. During this action Sgt John Harold Branic was killed and buried on the hill. Afterwards, the Marines proceeded with their mission keeping to the east of a ridge line out of sight from the Japanese.

Guadalcanal Memorial (Guadalcanal American Memorial / U. S. Memorial)
Hill 73 was selected as the site for the main American memorial on Guadalcanal. This hill was selected because it provides excellent views over the northern coast of Guadalcanal and many of the battlefield area. Today, maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) with maintenance performed by Solomon Islanders.

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Guadalcanal Memorial, Solomon Islands
Guadalcanal American Memorial - American Battle Monuments Commission [PDF]
Thanks to John Innes for additional information

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Last Updated
October 20, 2018

 

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