Lieutenant General Hyakutake’s plan is commendable. The Marine’s were heavily fortified along the Matinakau River and a Japanese attack there would most probably have failed. Attacking Edson’s Ridge was not only completely unexpected by the Marines but there was also no second line of defense between the Marine lines and the airfield. If the Japanese had been successful, the U.S. soldiers, who were spread out all along the front, would have been without the artillery and air support that was so key to their defenses. The ships that brought supplies to the U.S. soldiers would have also been forced to pull back without the support of the planes from Henderson Field. It is probable that the loss of their central command and an enemy at their back would have caused enough confusion that the individual U.S. defensive lines would have surrendered.
This is from the historical description of the first Bonus FF for the U.S. Army that you can download from Academy Games. I just wanted to point out that there was a second line of defense between Puller's lines and Henderson Field. The entire 2nd Marines (regiment) was in reserve somewhere within the Maine perimeter, and at least some of it was truck mounted. Secondly, the entire 1st USMC Tank battalion of up to 45 M3A1 Stuart light tanks with was within the perimeter. These tanks had excellent canister ammunition that had been so effective in the Meat Grinder FF. Thirdly, the 1st Defense Battalion's 90mm anti-aircraft guns were within the perimeter. Fourthly, the 10th Marines had twelve 105mm howitzers and between 24 and 36 75mm howitzers within the perimeter that had been supporting 1/7, 2/164, and 3/164. Fifthly, the 5th Marines (regiment) were dug in along the Lunga River on the west side of the perimeter. And finally, 1/164 was dug in along Alligator Creek on the east side of the perimeter. That was a lot of firepower and units to claim that there was no second line of defense.
Consider this: On Saipan in 1944, a 5,000 man Japanese Banzai charge attacked the U.S. lines (it was the largest one in the war). The Japanese broke through the U.S. Army's line by sheer weight of numbers, leaving the USMC artillery that was behind it facing the charge on its own. The gunners lowered their cannon barrels and continued to fire point blank into the Japanese charge until it broke around their positions, and the Japanese moved on. In Korea in 1950 during the 1st Marine Division's retreat from the Chosin Reservoir USMC artillery again lowered its gun barrels and engaged a Chinese Battalion at point blank range. The 10th Marines and 1st Defense Battalion would very likely have done the same thing on Guadalcanal if the Senai Division had broken through.
And finally, Gen. Vandergrift had already decided that the 1st Marine Division would take to the hills as guerrilla fighters rather than surrender if the Japanese ever did capture Henderson Field.
That is all. I just wanted to set the record straight. I doubt the Sendai Divsiosn would have captured the airfield that night even if they had broken through, and that the chance of the the 1st Marine Divison surrendering in mass was slim to none.
Take care all.