The Seizure of the Marshalls and the Gilberts (US Army Green Book)
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No further offensive action was undertaken by U. Naval engagements and air attacks throughout this entire period effected considerable damage on the enemy. In the latter part of September , nearly two months after the invasion of Guadalcanal, the initial Allied blow of the second prong was made in Papua. On 16 September the enemy advance in Papua was halted at a point less than 20 miles from Port Moresby where it was met by stiffened Australian resistance. American troops were rushed into Port Moresby by plane and boat, and a counterattack was launched in the last days of September.
The enemy fell back to Buna and, while the Australian forces laboriously made their way over the steep mountain trails, American troops were flown overland toward Jaure. During this campaign U. By 23 January organized resistance had been wiped out, ending the Papua Campaign. While the ground forces were fighting the enemy in Papua, U. In the latter part of January, American troops followed by Australian troops, were flown over the mountains to engage the enemy at threatened points along his advance from his defense bases.
Fighting over the rugged terrain in this area was slow and costly.
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Salamaua was overrun on 12 September, and when troops entered Lae on 16 September the enemy had fled into the hills to the north. To prevent the Japanese from attempting further advances between September and December, pressure was maintained by the Allies in a slow move toward Ma-dang on the northeast coast of New Guinea.
New moves to isolate Rabaul started on 15 December, when troops landed on Arawe on the southern coast of New Britain, and on 26 December, when landings were made on both sides of Cape Gloucester. At the end of the year Rabaul was under constant air attack by U. Meanwhile, the plan of operation against the Japanese in the Aleutians was to attack Attu in an attempt to compel them to evacuate Kiska. Attu was invaded on 11 May and for eighteen days a bitter and bloody fight ensued. The fighting ended on 30 May but mopping-up operations continued for several days. When Kiska was invaded on 15 August the island was deserted; the Japanese had withdrawn.
While the enemy was fully occupied in the Southwest Pacific, an invasion of the Gilbert Islands was made on the Makin and Tarawa Atolls on 20 November. This was the first in a series of moves to recover Japanese-held bases that could be used to further the Allied advance toward the heart of the Japanese Empire.
Only moderate opposition was met at Makin and by evening of the 23d its capture was complete. At Tarawa much stronger resistance was encountered but was destroyed by the 24th, except for isolated groups which were later eliminated. Other islands in both atolls were occupied during the following days. Lunga River can be seen in right foreground.
Battle of Tarawa
The airfield, in the process of being built by the Japanese in the summer of , was the immediate objective of the marines who landed on the island on 7 August Gavutu Island, on left, is connected with Tanambogo by a stone causeway and is about a mile and three quarters to the east of Tulagi Island. These islands form the western side of Gavutu Harbour where the Japanese had developed a seaplane base. Occupation of the island group, Tulagi and its satellites, was accomplished in three days- The enemy garrisons were wiped out except for about 70 survivors who made their way to Florida Island.
Mopping-up operations on Florida continued for a few weeks. The mortar is an mm. Ml on mount Ml. On the evening of 8 August, the airfield on Guadalcanal was in U. During the following weeks enemy attempts to retake the airfield were repulsed. On 7 October six Marine battalions attacked westward to prevent the enemy from establishing positions on the east bank of the Matanikau River. Although this weapon was primarily used for operations in mountainous terrain, it was capable of engaging antitank targets.
Several men and a plane can be seen at the bow of the ship. This aircraft carrier, patrolling near Guadalcanal, was struck by three torpedoes from enemy submarines. Despite efforts of her crew, fires and explosions made such a shambles of the ship that she had to be sunk by her own men.
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Smoke from bomb strikes can be seen in the background. This ram was part of a series of air attacks on the enemy during the fight for Guadalcanal. Boeing Hying Fortress heavy bomber B-I7. The USS Hornet after a Japanese dive bomber hit the signal deck; note Japanese dive bomber over the ship and the Japanese torpedo bombing plane on left top.
The USS Enterprise, damaged during the one-day battle of Santa Cruz when a great Japanese task force advancing toward Guadalcanal was intercepted by a much weaker American task force bottom. The American ships were forced to withdraw but the enemy turned and retired to the north instead of pursuing them. Japanese bombing at first was amazingly accurate. Smoking ruins are all that remain of an airplane hangar after a direct hit top. Marines extinguish fire destroying a burning Grumman Wildcat fighter by the bucket brigade method bottom. The raid also destroyed most of the ready ammunition available at the time.
Sets 1 through 5 of 7
MS antitank guns on the beach bottom. On 13 October sorely needed reinforcements for the malaria-ridden marines started to arrive, and by the end of the year U.
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The Japanese situation on the island had deteriorated rapidly by this time, partly because of the costly defeats suffered while attempting to bring in supplies and replacements. A group of eleven transports proceeding to Guadalcanal were intercepted by aircraft from Henderson Field. Seven ships were sunk or gutted by fire.
Four were damaged and were later destroyed near Tassafaronga Point where they had been beached. This transport struck an Allied mine in Pallikula Bay. Espiritu Santo Island, 26 October Of the 4, troops aboard, only two men were lost; however, vitally needed equipment and stores went to the bottom with the ship.
Trails such as this made the use of chains on wheeled vehicles imperative top. Engineers, constructing a heavy-traffic bridge across the Matan-ikau River, lay planking over framework of palm tree logs bottom , Advance on Guadalcanal was difficult and slow. Troops cleared the areas from which the final drive was to begin and pressure slowly increased against the enemy until the offensive was in full swing.
This trail, having many grades approaching 40 degrees, was slick and dangerous after heavy rains and was of little use for heavier vehicles. Note the use of steel helmets as cooking vessels. Fighting during the first part of the month had been bitter; the enemy had taken advantage of the numerous north-south ridges and streams to establish a strong defensive position. On the 15th a loud speaker was set up on this hill and the Japanese were told to send an officer to arrange for a surrender.
There was no response to the order.
In the absence of reliable radio communications, wire communications were heavily relied upon. The EE-8 field telephone and the sound-powered telephone were used for long and short distances, respectively. Native carriers bringing supplies through the jungles into the hills top ; boat filled with radio equipment being pushed through a narrow, shallow portion of the Matanikau River.
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The boat line established on this river was called the "Pusha Maru" bottom. The supplies first had to be brought by boat up the shallow river and then carried over the trails which were passable only for men on foot. During January the enemy situation became hopeless and some senior Japanese commanders began deserting their troops.
The jeep, converted into an ambulance used to transport patients to the rear areas, could carry three litters and one sitting patient top. Casualties being unloaded near new bridge construction. The first part of their trip was in flat bottom boats pulled through shallow rapids; the latter part was made in outboard motor boats bottom.
The procedure for moving supplies forward for the most part was reversed for the evacuation of the wounded. In mid-January ground force units attacked Mount Austen, the southern anchor of the enemy's position. While some Army units pushed through the jungle in an enveloping maneuver designed to cut off the enemy at Kokumbona, other Marine and Army units advanced along the coastal road.
Supply dump which was set up on Kokumbona beach after pushing the enemy back; note shell and bomb craters which were used as foxholes by the troops bottom. The enveloping movement trapped several enemy units at Kokumbona which were then quickly destroyed. By the end of the month U. The Guadalcanal Campaign was a costly experience for the enemy. In addition to the loss of many warships and hundreds of planes with experienced pilots, the Japanese expended some two and one-half divisions of their best troops. The Guadalcanal Campaign drew to a close shortly after two U.
The enemy had committed at least 36, men on Guadalcanal. Of these, some 14, were killed or drowned while attempting to land; 9, died of sickness, starvation, or wounds; 1, were captured; and about 13, were evacuated. Sunlight Field can be seen across Renard Sound. Unopposed landings in the Russell Islands, located about sixty miles northwest of Guadalcanal, were made on 21 February By early evening all elements of the landing force could communicate by telephone, the troops had dug themselves into defensive positions, and outposts and observation posts had been established.
Construction of roads, airfields, and boat bases began in February and by 15 April the first of the two airfields was ready for operation. The torpedo boat base at Lingatu Wern-ham Cove went into operation on 25 February. During the tactical offensive of the U. By 16 March, 15, troops of all services had reached the Russells.
Beach and antiaircraft defenses, including long-range and fire-control radar, mm.