The fight for the island of Guadalcanal began in August 1942, when the U.S. 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal and the neighboring island of Tulagi. Their mission was to destroy the Japanese garrisions there and put a halt to the airbase being built on Guadalcanal. The Marines succeeded, and the Japanese called in naval support to fight the Americans. The Japanese warships encountered Allied naval forces, and the two engaged in battle off Savo Island, near Guadalcanal. The battle ended badly for the Americans, with the loss of several heavy cruisers. But fortunately for the Allies, the Japanese forces missed a strategic opportunity when they failed to destroy the American's transport anchorage at that time.