The Battle For New Guinea Essay

3235 words - 13 pages

AMERICAN MILITARY UNIVERSITYThe Battle for New GuineaThe battle for the Pacific was largely fought by the United States Navy and the Marine Corps. The island hopping campaigns fought by the Marines take center stage with battles like Iwo Jima, Saipan, Tarawa, and Guadalcanal. The battle of New Guinea should not over look as the turning point of the Pacific Campaign during World War Two. The key to liberating the Pacific islands was a starting point for land based airfields to support ground forces. The airbases would also provide locations to launch long range strategic bombing. These airfields would also provide the needed airstrips to provided safe landing areas for damaged planes. This key location would New Guinea and the surrounding islands of New Britian and New Ireland, and the area know as the Bismark Sea.The Japanese were steam rolling threw the Pacific Ocean taking islands at will and destroying Allied ships and planes with easy. The Japanese had set their sights on Australia, New Guinea and New Zeeland to complete their sweep of the Pacific Ocean. A short three weeks after the Japanese captured Manila early in January of 1942, they put troops on the islands of New Britain, better know as Rabaul, and New Ireland. The island of Rabaul became the Japanese center of power and strength in the Southwest Pacific region. Once the islands were secured, the Japanese planned a two-pronged attack that was designed to establish new line communications and defensive positions the remaining area of the Southwest Pacific area. The Japanese knew that if they could control this last remaining area of the Pacific all lines of communications with Australia would be severed. The United States and the rest of the allied nations would be cut off from the last reaming vestige in the Pacific Ocean theater of war.Their Japanese forces started moving southeastward from Rabaul, first through the Solomon Islands then turned westward, setting their sights on the large island of New Guinea. The island of New Guinea was the last import hurdle to cross that seperated the Northern areas of Australia and the advancing Japanese occupying forces.The Japanese war machine began the invasion of New Guinea in the opening weeks of March 1942. The first landing made by the Japanese on New Guinea where at the locations of Lae and Salamaua that is located in the of the Huon Gulf. The Japanese wasted no time starting on the construct of airfields in order to support further advances deeper into the island of New Guinea. The United States knew all to well that they needed to halt the advance of the Japanese in order to maintane the vital lines of communications to Australia.The Japanese did not go untouched during their operations to occupy New Guinea; the United States used carrier based planes in order to disrupt the landings. The carrier planes managed to damage a light cruiser, a destroyer and a mine layer. The high point of the attacks came from the sinking of three merchant...

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