The operations of the Guadalcanal campaign were carried out with the main objective of establishing an Allied air and troop presence in the southern Solomon Islands in order to secure the important shipping route between Australia and the USA. In 1942 the Japanese began construction of an airbase on Guadalcanal and occupied some of the surrounding islands, prompting Allied intervention. US Naval forces arrived under cover of darkness on 7 August 1942, landing on Guadalcanal and the smaller Florida and Tulagi islands in the north, and destroying the outnumbered Japanese forces defending the islands. Over the next six months a series of engagements between the Allied and Japanese navies, along with deployment of ground troops and air forces would take place in order to take control of Guadalcanal. Naval blockades and bombardment, along with outbreaks of disease, would make living conditions for the troops stationed on the islands very tough.