The fist part of the the ground warfare in the surrounding area were covert operations and sabotage conducted by Marine Raiders. One consequential battle occurred when Lt. Col. Frank B. Goettge led 25 Marines to a place where a white flag had been spotted. They expected a Japanese surrender but the flag was not a flag of surrender. It was in fact a Japanese flag but the rising flag on the flag was hidden from view. The Americans were met with heavy machine gun fire and all but three were killed. The Americans had there revenge though. The Japanese encampment in a village was invaded and all of the Japanese there were killed or captured. The ground war was won overall by the Americans who were underestimated by the Japanese.