A hero is unmade

“On August 12 [1942] the Japanese High Command in Tokyo ordered Lieutenant General Haruyoshi Hyakutake’s Seventeenth Army to take over the ground action on Guadalcanal, and Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka’s Eighth Fleet to take over at sea. The nearest thing at hand for Hyakutake’s use was a 2,000-man force of infantry, artillery, and engineers under Colonel Kiyono Ichiki that had been put together as the landing force for Midway. Tanaka put the first echelon—some 900 men—of Ichiki’s force ashore on Guadalcanal on August 18. What happened now was a calamity for the Japanese. Without waiting for the rest of his men, cocky Colonel Ichiki sent those he had across the sandspit at the Tenaru River against the Marines on the night of August 21. He lost 600 men, accomplished nothing, and expressed his chagrin by committing suicide.” – George McMillan, “I’ve Served My Time in Hell”

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