View images from Guadalcanal, one of the largest islands in a cluster in the South Pacific know as the Solomon Islands. It was a key strategic position for the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II. U.S. Marines and other Allied troops engaged in the first offensive of the war in the Pacific on Guadalcanal. The battle lasted six months, from August 1942 until February 1943. U.S. forces were intent on taking control of the island, and particularly the air base the Japanese had built, which was renamed after the American victory, “Henderson Field."