In the wider view, it could be seen that the campaign aimed at Rabaul was now indeed making progress. MacArthur's Americans and Australians in a mainly Army operation advanced from the south via New Guinea and New Britain. Halsey's Americans and New Zealanders in a Navy-dominated operation advanced from the southeast via the Solomons. The two-pronged campaign--so far island by island, basically on a shoestring--was intended to be mutually supporting, and it was. But things were getting even better.
The Battle for Guadalcanal had now been reduced to one of attrition. In this--as their own Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, C-in-C Combined Fleet and the driving brain behind Pearl Harbor, had told them--they could not win. When the U.S. lost ships, these were getting replaced by more and better. When Japan lost ships, these might be painfully and slowly replaced, but seldom one for one. Tokyo began searching for a way out.
Ground forces continued to hammer each other in the jungle around the American perimeter. Vandegrift now held it with thirty- five thousand men--two divisions of troops--against barely twenty thousand starving enemy troops. Tanaka's Tokyo Express was kept