Operation Cartwheel - the Reduction of Rabaul (30 June 1943- January 1944)
Operation Cartwheel (30 June 1943- January 1944) was the name given to a series of interlocked invasions in New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomn islands originally designed as preparation for the conquest of the Japanese base at Rabaul, but that eventually led to the isolation of that base.
The Elkton III plan laid down a series of six interlocking operations for MacArthur's South West Pacific Command (Operations I, II and II) and Admiral Halsey's South Pacific Command (Operations A, B and C). These were eventually implemented as five major operations, beginning on 30 June 1943 and ending in the spring of 1944.
The conquest of Rabaul was originally part of the overall Allied plan. By July 1943 the Joint Chiefs of Staff were looking at bypassing that strong Japanese base instead of conquering it. The idea was approved by President Roosevelt in August and the new plan officially reached MacArthur's HQ on 17 September. This didn't have much impact on the Cartwheel operations, but it did help move the Admiralty Islands operation forwards.
Both commands would follow the spirit of Elkton III, but not all of the details. MacArthur made the fewest changes, mainly in the order of attacks, while the planned attack on Madang wasn't needed. The biggest change in his area was the invasion of the Admiralty Islands, which was brought forward so that it overlapped with the Elkton Plan.
Halsey made more changes to his timetable. The main invasion of New Georgia, timetabled for Operation B, ended up as part of the first phase of operations. The plans for Bougainville were totally altered. The original aim had been to take the Shortland Islands, off the southern tip of the island, and Buin, in southern Bougainville, as part of Operation B. Operation C would see the capture of Kieta on the east coast of the island and the neutralisation of the Japanese airfields at the southern end of Buka Island, off the northern tip of Bougainville. Instead the decision was made to land at Empress Augusta Bay, on the almost undefended west coast of Bougainville, and built new airfields in that area. The rest of Bougainville would be neutralised by air power.
Operation I - Operation Chronicle
Operation I was implemented as Operation Chronicle. This involved the invasions of Woodlark Island and Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands. These islands hadn't been occupied by the Japanese, and the occupation went without too many problems. On the same day the Allies landed at Nassau Bay, south of Salamaua, in preparation for the second phase of the offensive.
Operation A - Operation Toenails
The original plan for Operation A was for a minor attack in either New Georgia or Santa Isabela. The aim was to pin down the Japanese aircraft in the area and prevent them from interfering elsewhere. The main invasion of New Georgia was originally timetabled for Operation B.
Halsey decided to bring the main attack on New Georgia forward to Operation A. The new attack was given the codename Operation Toenails, and the main aim was the capture of Munda, the major Japanese base at the western tip of the island. The invasion began on 30 June, with landings at Rendova, close to Munda, and secondary landings at the eastern end of the island. The main part of the invasion was the battle of Munda, which lasted from 2 July to 5 August. This was followed up mopping up operations, partly on the coast near Munda and partly on nearby islands. The fighting on the mainland finished at the end of August, and on the outlying islands by late September.
Operation II - Operation Postern
Operation II called for the occupation of the Japanese bases on the north-eastern coast of New Guinea, from Lae and Salamaua in the Huon Peninsula, to Finschhafen on the Huon Peninsula and then on to Madang, north of Astrolabe Bay. Although the overall aim was achieved, the order of events rather differed from the timetable in Operation II. D-Day for Postern was set as 4 September 1943, but the fighting around Salamaua actually began with the landings at Nassau Bay on 30 June 1943, and continued at a lower level across July and August.
The main Salamaua- Lae campaign began when Australian troops landed east of Lae on 4 September. This was followed by a parachute drop at Nadzab on 4 September, and the two forces then began to converge on Lae. The Japanese decided to evacuate the area, and after some fighting Salamaua was captured on 11 September and Lae on 16 September.
The campaign then split in two. The Huon Peninsula campaign saw Australian troops with US support fight their way around the coast of the peninsula. At the same time other Australian troops advanced west up the Markham Valley into the Ramu Valley, and were then involved in heavy fighting in the Finisterre Mountains. Finschhafen, on the tip of the peninsula, fell in October. The Australians then defeated a Japanese counterattack and began to make slow progress along the north coast. To the west their countrymen in the Finisterre Range ended up fighting a difficult battle on Shaggy Ridge, where the Japanese held up their attempts to cut north across the mountains to the north coast. The key moment in both campaigns came when US troops landed at Saidor, on the north coast, isolating the Japanese troops left on the Peninsula. General Adachi decided to order a retreat to Madang, and ordered his men to pull back from Shaggy Ridge. By April the Allies had met up at Astrolabe Bay, on the north coast. The Japanese them decided to evacuate Madang, which fell to the Allies on 24 April 1944.
Operation B - Operation Cherryblossom
The second stage of Cartwheel in the South Pacific, Operation B, originally had three objectives. The foothold on New Georgia that was to have been established in Operation A was to be expanded to complete the conquest of the island. The Japanese base at Faisi in the Shortland Islands, to the south-east of Bougainville, was to be captured. Finally the invasion of Bougainville itself was to start with an attack on the strong Japanese base at Buin on the south-east coast. This fighting was to begin five and a half months into Cartwheel - mid November 1943, and last to the end of December.
The first part of the plan had already been superseded by the decision to carry out a full-scale invasion of New Georgia as part of Operation A. The key Japanese base at Munda finally fell on 5 August, after an unexpectedly hard fight, and the clearing up operations were over by the end of September.
The second part of the plan was altered when Halsey's planners suggested bypassing the strongest Japanese positions and focusing instead on the undefended west coast of Bougainville. The Japanese bases elsewhere on the island could be dominated from new airfields built around this beachhead. This new plan was adopted, as Operation Cherryblossom. On 1 November 1943 American troops landed at Empress Augusta Bay, on the west coast, and quickly overcame very limited Japanese resistance. Although the Japanese believed this to be a diversion they still launched an immediate counterattack, using troops from Buin and Rabaul. This attack had been defeated by 11 November.
The Japanese then began to prepare to make a more powerful attack on the American beachhead. This finally came in March 1944 and put the beachhead under severe pressure for much of the month, but was eventually defeated. Operation B had been timetabled for mid November 1943, Cherryblossom began just ahead of schedule, while the Japanese counterattack was defeated just after the original time allocated to Operation C.
Operation III - Operation Dexterity
The final major part of Operation Cartwheel was the invasion of western New Britain, Operation Dexterity. This began with a diversionary landing at Arawe on the south coast on 15 December. The main landings came at Cape Gloucester, on the north-western tip of the island, on 26 December. Both areas were secure by early in 1944. The Americans then advanced east towards the Willaumez Peninsula, which jutted out from the north coast. After a final amphibious landing at Talasea on 6 March 1944 the fighting on New Britain died down.
The original Cartwheel plan had called for attacks on Kieta, on the eastern coast of Bougainville, and Buka Island, at the northern end of Bougainville, under the codename Operation C. They were to start seven months into Cartwheel, or January 1944. These attacks were cancelled.
While Cartwheel was still underway the Allies attacked the Admiralty Islands, landing on Los Negros on 29 February 1944. This campaign helped close the trap on Rabaul, and also forced the Japanese to evacuate Madang. The attention then moved west, towards Hollandia and Aitape. These key Japanese bases were attacked in April 1944 as Operation Reckless. This helped isolate the remaining Japanese troops in eastern New Guinea, and was also a key step in the advance towards the Philippines. In the meantime Rabaul was left to wither on the vine, and was the target of repeated Allied air attacks for the rest of the war.
Bombing of Rabaul (November 1943)
The Allies of World War II conducted an air attack upon a cruiser force at the major Japanese base of Rabaul in November 1943. In response to the Allied invasion of Bougainville, the Japanese had brought a strong cruiser force down from Truk, their major naval base in the Caroline Islands about 800 miles north of Rabaul, to Rabaul in preparation for a night engagement against the Allied supply and support shipping. Allied carrier- and land-based planes attacked the Japanese ships, airfields, and port facilities on the island of New Britain to protect the Allied amphibious invasion of Bougainville. As a result of the Rabaul raids, the Japanese naval forces could no longer threaten the landings. The success of the raid began to change the strongly held belief that carrier-based air forces could not challenge land-based air forces.
“It Was Not Rifles That Mattered it was Artillery and Tanks.”
The infantry was worn out by the hot, humid conditions and by the onslaught of tropical disease. In addition, the officers of the 32nd were unaware of the extent of the Japanese defenses and manpower. In Brisbane, MacArthur, away from the fighting and ignorant of the conditions, instead concluded that the problem must be poor leadership. He sent the I Corps commander, General Robert Eichelberger, to investigate and to make changes if necessary. Eichelberger reluctantly did so, replacing the commander, Maj. Gen. Edwin Harding, but the problem was not in the leadership on the ground.
According to historian Geoffrey Perret, “MacArthur seemed to be thinking of the Western front, rather than the jungles and swamps of Papua. There was no elbow room for troops fighting their way into Buna. It was like crossing a bridge or advancing into a cave. It was not rifles that mattered it was artillery and tanks.” What was needed were reinforcements, and Buna was not taken until they arrived, with a better logistical situation and long-awaited air support. When fresh firepower and fresh troops were supplied, the Japanese defensive system collapsed quickly.
The arrival of the veteran Australian 18th Infantry, along with seven light tanks allowed for an attack along the coast. With their tanks forming a wedge, the Australians charged between the Japanese defenses and the sea. A supporting attack from the west by two American and one Australian brigade cleared that section. Further attacks, even with weak firepower, finally drove the Japanese from the Buna region. But in Buna, the Allies came up against what would be typical of the Japanese: strong defenses based on interlocking entrenchments and bunkers with overlapping fields of fire.
The fall of Buna led to further attacks up the coast with the use of tanks and fresh reinforcements, tactics and capabilities the Japanese could not imitate. By the end of December, reinforcements had been flown in and blocked the Japanese, while the 127th Infantry Regiment moved north along the coast and an Australian brigade placed tanks before the southern Japanese roadblock. By January 9, attacks against those positions opened up routes to the west and up the coast. The 127th then was able to get behind the Japanese, return to the coast, and cut them off. By January 16, Papua New Guinea was in Allied hands all that was left was to destroy the remaining strongpoints and defeat the Japanese holdouts.
MacArthur released a typically grandiose statement claiming that it was a well-designed and inexpensive victory. This was misleading at best. The campaign was not without its errors, missteps, and recklessness, and it was very costly. Over 4,000 Allied soldiers were killed, most of them Australian. However, the operation was a strategic success. Among other positive results, MacArthur had garnered airfields from which to strike at Rabaul with Air Force bombers and fighters of the air force, and from which he could cover the future assaults on Japanese strongpoints on New Guinea. MacArthur had also learned that, unless forced, he should abjure frontal attacks without adequate artillery or air preparation.
After the Papuan campaign, MacArthur’s supply and manpower situation greatly improved. By the start of the Cartwheel operation, he had four U.S. and six New Zealand and Australian divisions, with a number of specialized corps, including paratroop regiments. The Navy had sent a number of ships to his theater to augment his slight forces, adding some cruisers and destroyers as well as improved charts of the New Guinea waters.
Australian troops slosh through knee-deep water in the jungles of Buna. The stifling heat and swampy, insect-infested terrain took a harsh toll on the morale of many.
Most important was the addition of landing craft. Also aiding MacArthur’s operations were new bombers and fighters arriving to serve with the Fifth Air Force. The added elements, which continued to grow, would be used to keep the pressure on Rabaul and other Japanese air and naval bases, as well as directly support MacArthur’s further operations on New Guinea.
One of the first uses of this augmented airpower capability was in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, March 2-5, 1943. A large convoy of Japanese ships was seen at Rabaul, betraying the Japanese plan to reinforce one of their garrisons. It was believed the target was Lae, as the Japanese had previously landed a regiment there and launched a series of attacks.
On the last day of February, the convoy sailed from Rabaul. Spotted off Cape Gloucester at the western tip of New Britain, it was attacked by heavy bombers from the Fifth Air Force. The weak Japanese fighter support was intercepted, and the bombers, flying low and using skip-bombing techniques, devastated the convoy in three days of attacks. This battle was of tremendous importance to the success of Cartwheel as it so alarmed the Japanese high command that they never again sent large ships to reinforce their garrisons on New Guinea. As a result, those garrisons became more isolated and suffered great shortages of supplies.
In further attacks on New Guinea, the Allies executed a series of amphibious landings east of Lae on the coast south of the Huon Peninsula and in conjunction with an airlift of troops in the Japanese rear. After seizing the airstrip, the airlifted troops met up with the Australian 9th Division, which had landed on the beaches east of Lae. An amphibious landing to the west completed the three-pronged convergence on Lae. Air superiority was maintained not only by the capture of the airstrips, but by a well-timed assault on Japanese airfields which caught numerous enemy planes on the ground at Wewak. Combined with the Japanese commitment to the defense of Rabaul and the central Solomons, this spelled inadequate air protection for the Japanese in the region.
The Army relied on reconnaissance parties and coastwatchers, but Rear Admiral Daniel Barbey, commander of the 7th Amphibious Force which was responsible for the landing, preferred overlapping aerial photographs. He felt that interpretations of these photographic images were more reliable than the observations of local landowners who had not seen how the shore looked from the sea. Occasionally, he had some of his men make on-the-spot reconnaissance forays from rubber boats to obtain information.
Implementation of Cartwheel
MacArthur had presented Elkton III, his revised plan for taking Rabaul before 1944, on 12 February 1943. It called for an attack by MacArthur against northeast New Guinea and western New Britain, and by Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. (then in command of the South Pacific Area) against the central Solomons. This plan required seven more divisions than were already in the theater, raising objections from the British. The Joint Chiefs responded with a directive that approved the plan using forces already in the theater or en route to it, and delaying its implementation by 60 days. Elkton III then became Operation Cartwheel.
The Cartwheel plan identified 13 proposed subordinate operations and set a timetable for their launching. Of the 13, Rabaul, Kavieng, and Kolombangara were eventually eliminated as too costly and unnecessary, and 10 were actually undertaken.
- Operation Chronicle – 30 June 1943
- Woodlark Island (112th Cavalry Regiment)
- Kiriwina (158th Regimental Combat TeamRCT U.S.)
- 43d Infantry Division U.S.) – 30 June 1943
- Segi Point, New Georgia (4th Marine Raider Battalion U.S.) – June 21, 1943
- Rendova (169th and 172nd RCT's U.S.) – 30 June 1943
- Zanana, New Georgia (169th and 172nd RCT's U.S.) – 5 July 1943
- Bairoko, New Georgia (4th Marine Raider Battalion U.S.) – 5 July 1943
- Arundel Island (172nd RCT, 43rd Infantry Division U.S.) – 27 August 1943
- Lae, New Guinea (9th and 7th Division Australia, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment U.S.)
- Treasury Islands (8th Brigade New Zealand)
- Choiseul Island (2nd Marine Parachute Battalion U.S.)
- Bougainville (3d Marine Division U.S., 37th Infantry Division U.S.)
- Arawe, New Britain (112th Cavalry U.S.) – 15 December 1943
- Cape Gloucester (1st Marine Division U.S.) – 26 December 1943
- Saidor (32nd Infantry Division U.S.) – 2 January 1944
In the midst of Operation Cartwheel, the Joint Chiefs met with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Quadrant Conference in Quebec in August 1943. There, the decision was made to bypass and isolate Rabaul rather than attempting to capture the base and attack Kavieng instead. Soon after the decision was made to bypass Kavieng as well. Although initially objected to by MacArthur, the by-passing of Rabaul in favor of its neutralization meant that his Elkton plan had been achieved, and after invading Saidor, MacArthur then moved into his Reno Plan, an advance across the north coast of New Guinea to Mindanao.
The campaign—which stretched into 1944—showed the effectiveness of a strategy which avoided major concentrations of enemy forces and instead aimed at severing the Japanese lines of communication.
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Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander in chief of the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Ocean Area (POA), strategize Operation Cartwheel, the campaign designed to eliminate Rabaul. Its location was near the border between SWPA and POA, and Cartwheel’s campaign would cross both borders. Photo was taken in Brisbane, Australia, March 1944. Source: “Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul.” John Miller Jr. Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army 1959
Rabaul, located on the island of New Britain, was the Imperial Japanese army and navy’s main forward operating base in the Southwest Pacific, containing a large anchorage, four major airfields, and more than 110,000 troops. Its strategic location put it at the crossroads of a two-prong offensive strategy that called for Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s forces in the southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) to advance north from bases in Australia and New Guinea and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz’s Pacific Ocean Area (POA) forces to advance west through the central Pacific. Operation Cartwheel was the campaign designed to eliminate Rabaul. As Rabaul’s location was near the border between SWPA and POA, Cartwheel’s campaign would cross both borders. Before any campaign against Rabaul could be launched, the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy had to answer an explosive question: Who would exercise overall command?
“We respected this type of strategy for its brilliance because it gained the most while losing the least.”
– Col. Matsuichi Juio, senior intelligence officer, Eighth Area Army, Rabaul
In World War II, relations between the Army and Navy were formal at best. Army Maj. Telford Taylor discovered just how bad cooperation was when his first assignment in Army Intelligence was to literally spy on the Navy Department to discover what had happened in the Battle of Savo Island. Making matters worse, the Navy’s hatred of MacArthur, a former Army chief of staff, bordered on the pathological. With the Navy demanding Nimitz be supreme commander in the entire Pacific and the Army backing MacArthur, the result was the POA and SWPA compromise.
U.S. Marines hit 3 feet of rough water as they leave their Landing, Ship Tank to take the beach at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, Dec. 26, 1943. The Battle of Cape Gloucester was a major part of Operation Cartwheel. National Archives photo by Sgt. Robert M. Howard, Wikimedia Commons
That meant overall command in Cartwheel would be bifurcated. Adm. William Halsey Jr., who had succeeded Vice Adm. Robert Ghormley as commander South Pacific Area, a subordinate command under Nimitz, ceded control of his ground troops once they crossed into SWPA’s (MacArthur’s) territory, but retained independent command of naval forces on both sides of the border. With Cartwheel containing 13 proposed amphibious assaults over several months, such a command structure risked failure. Fortunately, when they met, Halsey and MacArthur hit it off well. MacArthur later wrote in his autobiography Reminiscences: “[Halsey] was of the same aggressive type as John Paul Jones, David Farragut, and George Dewey. His one thought was to close with the enemy and fight him to the death.” For his part, Halsey recalled, “Five minutes after I reported, I felt as if we were lifelong friends.”
Cartwheel kicked off on the third week of June 1943, with assaults on the islands of Woodlark and Kiriwina (Operation Chronicle) and New Georgia (the first stage of Operation Toenails). Woodlark and Kiriwina, needed as airfield sites, were captured unopposed. The Japanese Army had about 10,500 troops on New Georgia, however, and fighting to seize that island took a little over a month.
Cartwheel was in full swing when American and British leaders met in Quebec for the Quadrant Conference. The combined chiefs of staff conducted a re-evaluation of resources for the various theaters within the context of the build-up for Operation Overlord. Given the strength of Japanese defenses at Rabaul and an insufficient number of troops, landing craft, and supplies available to attack it, the decision was made to bypass Rabaul and isolate it with a ring of island outposts, initiating a strategy that came to be called island hopping.
Even if one accepts MacArthur’s lexicon gymnastics, the facts undercut his claim. With its concentration of archipelagos, SWPA had an advantage of geography over POA, whose widely spaced atolls limited strategic options. In addition, the high casualty count in the Battle of New Georgia (about 1,100 killed and 4,000 wounded) undercuts MacArthur’s assertion when compared to POA battles at Tarawa (about 1,000 killed and 2,100 wounded) and Kwajalein (about 400 killed and 1,500 wounded). Finally, MacArthur wanted to attack Rabaul. It was Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and the Joint Chiefs who said no.
Ironically, this strategy was credited to MacArthur, who was against it. In Reminiscences, he recalled his objections in a meeting with his staff in which he explained the difference between his by-pass strategy and island hopping: “I intended to envelop [enemy strongpoints], incapacitate them, apply the ‘hit ’em where they ain’t – let ’em die on the vine’ philosophy. I explained that this was the very opposite of what was termed ‘island hopping,’ which is the gradual pushing back of the enemy by direct frontal pressure, with the consequent heavy casualties which would certainly be involved.”
Retreating at first into the jungle of Cape Gloucester, Japanese soldiers finally gathered strength and counterattacked the Marines, who pushed them back, but at a cost. U.S. Navy photo
Any account in Reminiscences has to be taken with a grain of salt (for instance in it MacArthur referred to Eleanor Roosevelt, whom he couldn’t stand, as an “old friend”). Even if one accepts MacArthur’s lexicon gymnastics, the facts undercut his claim. With its concentration of archipelagos, SWPA had an advantage of geography over POA, whose widely spaced atolls limited strategic options. In addition, the high casualty count in the Battle of New Georgia (about 1,100 killed and 4,000 wounded) undercuts MacArthur’s assertion when compared to POA battles at Tarawa (about 1,000 killed and 2,100 wounded) and Kwajalein (about 400 killed and 1,500 wounded). Finally, MacArthur wanted to attack Rabaul. It was Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall and the Joint Chiefs who said no.
By the end of 1943, Rabaul was an impotent outpost. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, its roughly 69,000 surviving Japanese soldiers laid down their arms.
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Operation Cartwheel (1943–1944) was a major military operation for the Allies in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Cartwheel was an operation aimed at neutralising the major Japanese base at Rabaul. The operation was directed by the Supreme Allied Commander in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA), General Douglas MacArthur, whose forces had advanced along the northeast coast of New Guinea and occupied nearby islands. Allied forces from the South Pacific Area, under Admiral William Halsey, advanced through the Solomon Islands toward Bougainville. The Allied forces involved were from Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the US and various Pacific Islands. 
Japanese forces had captured Rabaul, on New Britain, in the Territory of New Guinea, from Australian forces in February 1942 and turned it into their major forward base in the South Pacific, and the main obstacle in the two Allied theatres. MacArthur formulated a strategic outline, the Elkton Plan, to capture Rabaul from bases in Australia and New Guinea. Admiral Ernest J. King, the Chief of Naval Operations, proposed a plan with similar elements but under Navy command. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, whose main goal was for the US to concentrate its efforts against Nazi Germany in Europe and not against the Japanese in the Pacific, proposed a compromise plan in which the task would be divided into three stages, the first under Navy command and the other two under MacArthur's direction and the control of the Army. This strategic plan, which was never formally adopted by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff but was ultimately implemented, called for the following:
- Capturing Tulagi (later Guadalcanal) and the Santa Cruz Islands (Operation Watchtower)
- Capturing the northeastern coast of New Guinea and the central Solomons 
- Reducing Rabaul and related bases 
The protracted battle for Guadalcanal, followed by the unopposed seizure of the Russell Islands (Operation Cleanslate) on 21 February 1943, resulted in Japanese attempts to reinforce the area by sea. MacArthur's air forces countered in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea from 2–5 March 1943. The disastrous losses suffered by the Japanese prompted Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto to initiate Operation I-Go, a series of air attacks against Allied airfields and shipping at both Guadalcanal and New Guinea, which ultimately resulted in his death, on 18 April 1943.
MacArthur had presented Elkton III, his revised plan for taking Rabaul before 1944, on 12 February 1943. It called for him to attack northeastern New Guinea and western New Britain and for Admiral William F. Halsey Jr., then in command of the South Pacific Area, to attack the central Solomons. The plan required seven more divisions than were already in the theatre, which raised objections from the British. The Joint Chiefs responded with a directive that approved the plan if forces already in the theatre or en route were used and the implementation was delayed by 60 days. Elkton III then became Operation Cartwheel.
Cartwheel identified 13 proposed subordinate operations and set a timetable for their launching. Of the 13, Rabaul, Kavieng, and Kolombangara were eventually eliminated as too costly and unnecessary, and only 11 were actually undertaken (the Green Islands,   only 117 miles from Rabaul, were substituted for Kavieng):
- Operation Chronicle – 30 June 1943
- (112th Cavalry Regiment) (158th Regimental Combat TeamRCT US)
- (43d Infantry Division US) – 30 June 1943
- Segi Point, New Georgia (4th Marine Raider Battalion US) – 21 June 1943 (169th and 172nd RCT's US) – 30 June 1943
- Zanana, New Georgia (169th and 172nd RCT's US) – 5 July 1943 , New Georgia (4th Marine Raider Battalion US) – 5 July 1943 (172nd RCT, 43rd Infantry Division US) – 27 August 1943
- Segi Point, New Georgia (4th Marine Raider Battalion US) – 21 June 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_8 (169th and 172nd RCT's US) – 30 June 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_9
- Zanana, New Georgia (169th and 172nd RCT's US) – 5 July 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_10 , New Georgia (4th Marine Raider Battalion US) – 5 July 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_11 (172nd RCT, 43rd Infantry Division US) – 27 August 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_12
- , New Guinea (9th and 7th Division Australia, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment US)
- (8th Brigade New Zealand)
- (2nd Marine Parachute Battalion US)
- (3d Marine Division US, 37th Infantry Division US)
- , New Britain (112th Cavalry US) – 15 December 1943 (1st Marine Division US) – 26 December 1943 (32nd Infantry Division US) – 2 January 1944
The New Guinea Force, under General Thomas Blamey, was assigned responsibility for the eastward thrusts on mainland New Guinea. The US 6th Army, under General Walter Krueger, was to take Kiriwina, Woodlark, and Cape Gloucester. The land forces would be supported by Allied air units under Lieutenant General George Kenney and naval units under Vice Admiral Arthur S. Carpender.
In the midst of Operation Cartwheel, the Joint Chiefs met with President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Quadrant Conference in Quebec City in August 1943. There, the decision was made to bypass and isolate Rabaul, rather than attempting to capture the base, and to attack Kavieng instead. Soon afterward, the decision was made to bypass Kavieng as well. Although initially objected to by MacArthur, the bypassing of Rabaul, instead of its neutralisation, meant that his Elkton plan had been achieved, and after invading Saidor, he then moved into his Reno Plan, an advance across the north coast of New Guinea to Mindanao.
The campaign, which stretched into 1944, showed the effectiveness of a strategy of avoiding major concentrations of enemy forces and instead aiming to sever the Japanese lines of supply and communication.
Neutralisation of Rabaul
The Japanese Navy decided to try to save Rabaul by sending hundreds of airplanes from aircraft carriers based at Truk in December 1943 to counter the U.S. and Australian bombers. The only thing that this operation accomplished, was the destruction of 200-300 irreplaceable carrier planes and the loss of experienced naval aviators. This degradation of the Japanese aircraft carrier air fleet led to preparations by the U.S. Navy to start the Marianas campaign a few months later. Also, the Admiralty Islands campaign was conducted starting in late February after the Allies confirmed that Rabaul no longer had any airplanes.
By February 1944 Rabaul had no more fighters or bombers for the rest of the war due to the non-stop bombing by land-based Allied airplanes only a few hundred miles from Rabaul after most of Operation Cartwheel was completed. 120 airplanes were evacuated to Truk on 19 February in an attempt to replace the destroyed Navy carrier airplanes. Rabaul's valuable mechanics attempted to leave Rabaul by ship on 21 February, but their ship, the Kokai Maru, was sunk by Allied bombers.  Rabaul became a de facto prisoner of war camp.
On June 30, the Allies launched simultaneous attacks in New Guinea and New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. Woodlark and Kiriwina were occupied without resistance on the same day. The Battle of New Georgia , led by Admiral William Halsey on the Allied side , did not go smoothly, as the attackers were faced with a large Japanese garrison and the terrain was very difficult. It lasted until August, delaying the attack on Bougainville until November.
The main responsibility for the operations in the eastern part of New Guinea rests with the Australian General Thomas Blamey . The attack on Lae and Salamaua from the land side was supported by a combined air and sea landing at Lae in early September and Lae was captured on September 15. The Australian New Guinea Army then marched along the Finisterre Mountains towards Madang, which fell in April 1944. The landing forces carried out another landing at Finschhafen on September 22nd, which they captured in January 1944 (see Battle of the Huon Peninsula ).
The landing on New Britain - Operation Dexterity - was carried out by the 6th US Army. The landings took place on December 15 at Arawe on the south coast and on December 26 at Cape Gloucester . The land forces received support from the Allied Air Forces, led by Lieutenant General George Kenney , and the naval forces under Vice Admiral Arthur S. Carpender . By February 1944, the Japanese withdrew from the western part of the island.
Operation Cartwheel - the Reduction of Rabaul (30 June 1943- January 1944) - History
On 30 June 1943--D Day for C ARTWHEEL --Allied air, sea, and ground forces facing the Japanese from New Guinea to the Solomons were ready to attack. The Japanese were expecting the offensive but did not know just when or where it would come. And the Allies had determined to compound their uncertainty by launching not one, but three invasions--in New Georgia, at Woodlark and Kiriwina, and at Nassau Bay in New Guinea in preparation for the Markham Valley-Lae-Salamaua operations.
Plans and Preparations
Planning for the seizure of Woodlark and Kiriwina (designated Operation C HRONICLE ) had started at General Krueger's Sixth Army headquarters near Brisbane in early May. General MacArthur had directed Allied Air and Naval Forces to support A LAMO Force and had made Krueger responsible for the co-ordination of ground, air, and naval planning. 1 Krueger, Kenney, Carpender, Barbey, and staff and liaison officers participated. Krueger's authority to co-ordinate planning gave him a pre-eminent position he was first among equals.
Planning had not proceeded far before a hitch developed. When Admiral Halsey suggested the seizure of Woodlark and Kiriwina he offered to provide part of the invasion force, an offer that had been cheerfully accepted. Thus in midmonth Generals Harmon and Twining and Vice Adm. Aubrey W. Fitch, who commanded all South Pacific aircraft, flew to Brisbane to discuss details of the transfer of forces to the Southwest Pacific. On the way over from Noumea Harmon and Twining made an air reconnaissance of Woodlark, and on arriving at Brisbane offered their opinion that Woodlark would be of little use in providing air support for the South Pacific's invasion of southern Bougainville. But Kenney, Carpender, Brig. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlin, G-3 of GHQ, and Brig. Gen. Hugh J. Casey, the chief engineer of GHQ, explained how difficult it would be for Kenney's aircraft to support that invasion without the additional airfield that Woodlark would provide. The South Pacific representatives
Operation C HRONICLE Area
30 June 1943
then agreed to go on with the operation, and the details whereby ground force units, a fighter squadron, naval construction units, and six motor torpedo boats would be transferred, and destroyer-transports (APD's) and tank landing ships (LST's) would be lent to the Southwest Pacific, were arranged. 2
The invasion of the two islands was the first real amphibious movement undertaken in MacArthur's area. Planning was so thorough and comprehensive that the plans for movement of troops, supplies, and equipment in amphibious shipping became standing operating procedure for future invasions.
Kiriwina, a narrow, north-south island twenty-five miles long, lies within fighter and medium bomber range of Rabaul, Buin in southern Bougainville, and Lae, and 60 miles from the nearest Allied base at Goodenough Island in the D'Entrecasteaux group. From Rabaul to 44-mile-long Woodlark is 300 nautical miles, from Buin 225, from Lae 380, and from Goodenough 160. Neither island was occupied by the Japanese. (Map 5)
MacArthur had ordered Allied Naval Forces to support the A LAMO Force by carrying troops and supplies, destroying Japanese forces, and protecting the lines
BRIG. GEN. NATHAN F. TWINING, left, Lt. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, and Col. Glen C. Jamison examining a map of the South Pacific area. Photograph taken October 1942.
of communication. To carry out these orders Admiral Carpender organized several task forces of which the most important were Task Forces 74 and 76. (Chart 4) The first, commanded by Rear Adm. V. A. C. Crutchley, RN, and consisting of Australian and American cruisers and destroyers, was to destroy enemy ships in the Coral and Arafura Seas and be prepared to co-operate with South Pacific forces in the event of a major Japanese naval offensive. Task Force 76 was the Amphibious Force which had been organized in January 1943 under Admiral Barbey. Barbey's ships--4 APD's, 4 APC's, 12 LST's, 18 LCI's, and 18 LCT's with 10 destroyers, 8 subchasers, 4 minesweepers and 1 tug as escort--would transport and land the attacking troops. As ships at Kiriwina would be vulnerable to submarine attack, Barbey assigned 4 destroyers to cover Kiriwina until all defenses were in, and ordered PT boats to patrol at each island. 3
Kenney's orders directed Air Vice Marshal Bostock's Royal Australian Air
Southwest Pacific Organization for Woodlark-Kiriwina
Force Command to protect the lines of communication along the east coast of Australia and to support the defense of forward bases, but assigned the support of the Woodlark-Kiriwina operation to the Fifth Air Force as a primary mission. The V Bomber Command, under Col. Roger M. Ramey, was to attempt the destruction of Japanese air power at Rabaul, using one heavy bomb group nightly from 25 through 30 June, weather permitting, and to attack Japanese ships, continue its reconnaissance missions, provide antisubmarine patrols during daylight within two hundred miles of the Allied bases in New Guinea, and render close support to the ground troops as needed. Since there were no Japanese on the islands support bombardment was not necessary. To Brig. Gen. Paul B. Wurtsmith's V Fighter Command went the main burden of providing fighter escort and cover for convoys and landing operations from the airfields at Dobodura, Port Moresby, and Goodenough Island. Wurtsmith was also directed to be prepared to station fighters on Woodlark and Kiriwina once the airstrips were ready.
The 1st Air Task Force and No. 9 Operational Group of the RAAF, respectively commanded by Col. Frederic H. Smith and Air Commodore J. E. Hewitt, were ordered to destroy Japanese ships and aircraft threatening the operation, and to provide antisubmarme escort and reconnaissance. No fighter umbrella was provided for the convoys, a lack which the naval commanders protested vigorously but unsuccessfully. Fighter squadrons were maintained on ground alert at Dobodura, Milne Bay, and Goodenough Island, ready to fly if hostile aircraft attacked the shipping. 4
The 112th Cavalry Regiment, Col. Julian W. Cunningham commanding, and the 158th Infantry, a separate regiment led by Col. J. Prugh Herndon, plus substantial supporting arms and services, had been allotted to the A LAMO Force. Krueger organized the troops that had come from the South Pacific--the 112th Cavalry (a dismounted two-squadron unit serving as infantry), the 134th Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm. howitzers), the 12th Marine Defense Battalion, plus quartermaster, port, ordnance, medical, and engineer units, a naval base unit and a construction battalion--into the Woodlark Task Force and ordered it to seize and defend Woodlark and build an airfield. 5 The Kiriwina Task Force, under Herndon's command, consisted of the 158th Infantry (less the 2d Battalion),
the 148th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm. howitzers), plus additional 155-mm. gun units and engineer, ordnance, medical, antiaircraft, and quartermaster troops. It was to capture and hold Kiriwina and construct an airdrome. The first echelon of the Woodlark Force would be carried on 6 APD's, 6 LCI's, and 6 LST's, that of the Kiriwina Force on 2 APD's and 12 LCI's. 6
Doctrine regarding unity of command and the passage of command from ground to naval officers on embarkation, and back to ground officers on landing, was not clearly set forth in the plans. For the relationship between naval and ground commanders, the principle of unity of command rather than co-operation seems to have been followed, but it would have been sounder to have prescribed the exact command relationships in the orders.
In contrast with the practice of the South Pacific Area, where naval doctrine prevailed, no air units were placed under naval or ground commanders. The ultimate authority common to air, naval, and ground units was GHQ itself. Air liaison and support parties, however, were set up at A LAMO Force headquarters and at Dobodura.
Krueger from the first had planned to establish A LAMO headquarters at Milne Bay. When reconnaissance showed that development of the bay into a satisfactory base would constitute a sizable operation, he and his staff pitched in to do the job.
Assembly of the invasion force was complicated by the fact that the Kiriwina Force was scattered from Port Moresby to Australia. (The Woodlark Force had come virtually intact from the South Pacific, and was, except for naval and air elements, concentrated at Townsville). Movement schedules were carefully worked out, and the first elements of the Kiriwina Force reached their staging area at Milne Bay in early June. It was soon apparent that assembly of the forces could not be completed before the third week in June. For this reason D Day for C HRONICLE , which would also be D Day for Nassau Bay and New Georgia, had been set for 30 June. 7
On 20 June Krueger's A LAMO headquarters opened at Milne Bay, and MacArthur and Barbey arrived shortly afterward. Within a few days all elements of Herndon's Kiriwina Force reached the bay. Final training of this regimental combat team in loading and unloading landing craft and in beach organization was inhibited by the necessity for unloading ships and developing the base. On the other hand the 112th Cavalrymen at Townsville were able to make good use of the opportunity to train uninterruptedly. Barbey's amphibious force, Task Force 76, was also able to train effectively, an activity that had begun in early May. 8
At Townsville and Milne Bay, soldiers and sailors marked "loading slots" or
deck-plan layouts of LST's and LCT's on the beaches with tape, then assembled loads in the slots to test the cargo space allotted against the cargo assigned. All units agreed the technique worked very well.
During the last days of June bad weather prevented the planned air attacks against Rabaul, but B-25's and A-20's made about seventy sorties against Lae and Salamaua. On 30 June the weather cleared and eight B-17's and three B-24's attacked Vunakanau airstrip at Rabaul. Bombing on this small scale, which was all the resources in the area would permit, continued for the next few days while the ground troops consolidated themselves at Woodlark and Kiriwina. 9
The Advance Parties
In early May two small engineer reconnaissance parties headed by the Sixth Army's deputy engineer had slipped ashore on Woodlark and Kiriwina to gather data on airfield sites, beach conditions, and defense positions. 10 Their reports, coupled with the fact that there were no Japanese troops present, indicated that it would be advisable and possible to send in parties to prepare beaches and roads in advance of the main landings. Thus C HRONICLE was unusual among amphibious operations, for the shore party landed ahead of the assault troops.
At 0400, 21 June, the APD's Brooks and Humphreys left Townsville carrying almost two hundred men of the 112th Cavalry. They stopped at Milne Bay to pick up more men the next day, and at 1600 left Milne Bay at high speed to make the night run to Woodlark. The trip was timed to keep the ships within range of fighter cover until dusk on the outgoing trip, and after dawn on the return voyage. The APD's reached Woodlark without incident, and at 0032 of 23 June the advance party, under Maj. D. M. McMains, started landing at Guasopa Harbor in six LCP(R)'s. Rough seas and high winds slowed the landings, which were not completed until 0400, when the APD's shoved off for Milne Bay.
The Australian coastwatcher had not been informed before the landing. When told that troops were coming ashore he formed his native guerrillas in skirmish line and got ready to fight. Fortunately before anything tragic happened he heard the invaders speaking the American variety of English and joined them.
The Brooks and Humphreys reached Milne Bay during daylight of 23 June and took aboard the 158th Regimental Combat Team's shore party, a part of the 59th Combat Engineer Company and the 158th Infantry's communication platoon, under command of Lt. Col. Floyd G. Powell. Departing Milne Bay at 1810,
four hours behind schedule, they reached Kiriwina at midnight. 11 The island is almost entirely surrounded by a coral reef, with a five-mile-long channel winding through the reef to a 200-yard-wide beach at Losuia on the south coast of the main part of the island. Unloading of the APD's went very slowly as the LCP(R)'s threaded their way through the channel. The tide was low, and the landing craft ran aground several times in the darkness. Admiral Barbey also blamed the 158th's inadequate training for part of the delay. Daylight came before the ships were emptied they departed with part of their loads still on board. Three nights later they returned to unload heavy communication and engineer equipment that had been left in their holds. This led Barbey to recommend that APD's carry no item of equipment that could not readily be carried by one man.
At Woodlark the advance party reconnoitered, established outposts and beach defenses, dug wells, blasted coral obstructions out of the channels, cleared trails and dispersal and bivouac areas, prepared six beaching points for LST's, and installed signs, markers, and lights to mark channels and beaches for the main body, which would be landing in darkness to avoid Japanese air attacks. Similar efforts by the Kiriwina party were not as successful, partly because of the delay in landing engineer equipment. A good deal of effort was expended in building a coral causeway, 7 feet high and 300 yards long, across the reef on the north coast to permit a landing there. Natives aided in this work by lugging basketloads of coral.
The Japanese were unaware of, or indifferent to, the advance parties they launched neither surface nor air attacks against them.
About half the Woodlark Force--units of the 112th Cavalry, the 134th Field Artillery Battalion, and the 12th Marine Defense Battalion--left Townsville on 25 June aboard six LST's, with one subchaser and two destroyers as escort. The voyage to the target was uneventful. Landing of the 2,600 troops began at 2100 of 30 June. Unloading of the LST's at their beaching points was rapid. Cunningham's force had borrowed extra trucks at Townsville to permit every item of equipment to be put aboard a truck which was driven aboard an LST at Townsville, then driven off at Woodlark. Emptied of their loads, the slow-moving LST's cleared Woodlark before daylight.
Two APD's, carrying part of the Woodlark Force from Milne Bay, arrived shortly before 0100, 1 July, but encountered trouble in navigating the channel with the result that landing craft were not put into the water until 0230. The landing craft coxswains had trouble finding the right beach, but by 0600 the APD's were emptied and ready to leave. Some confusion had existed on the beach, but not enough to prevent its being cleared by the same time.
Additional echelons arrived in LCI's and LST's on 1 July, and all these were unloaded quickly and easily. The LST's took 310 instead of the 317 trucks,
Cunningham explained, because one LST raised its bow ramp and closed its doors before all its trucks could be driven aboard.
On shore, defense positions were set up. Antiaircraft and coast artillery pieces of the 12th Defense Battalion were installed, and machine gun and 37-mm. beach positions were established. Cargo was moved inland, and work on the airfield began on 2 July.
Meanwhile Colonel Herndon's Kiriwina Force had been landing, but without the smoothness that characterized operations at Woodlark. Shortly after dawn on 30 June, twelve LCI's, which with six escorting destroyers had sailed from Milne Bay the previous noon, began landing their 2,250 troops. Trouble accompanied the landing from the start. The LCI's had great difficulty getting through the narrow, reef-filled channel to R ED Beach near Losuia. And the water shallowed near shore so much that they grounded 200-300 yards from the shoreline. The landing went slowly. 12
Sunset of 30 June saw the arrival of twelve LCT's and seven LCM's which had left Milne Bay on 29 June and stopped overnight at Goodenough Island. Again there were problems. Heavy rains were falling. The tide was out. Only one LCT was able to cross a sandbar which blocked the approach to the jetty at Losuia. Other LCT's hung up on the bar and were forced to wait for the tide to float them off. The remainder
TROOPS DISEMBARKING FROM LCI at Kiriwina Island wade ashore, 30 June 1943.
made for R ED Beach but grounded offshore with the result that much of the gear on board had to be hand-carried ashore. Some of the vehicles were driven ashore, but several drowned out in the salt water.
LCT's in subsequent echelons avoided some of the difficulties by landing on the north shore of Kiriwina where the coral causeway had been built. Here trucks could back right up onto the bow ramps of the LCT's, but several were damaged by sliding off the causeway.
In the absence of enemy interference Admiral Barbey approved a change in the original plan to move part of the supplies to Goodenough aboard LST's, then transship them to LCT's for the trip to Kiriwina. After 12 July LST's
NATIVES CARRYING LUGGAGE which had been deposited on the coral causeway, north shore of Kiriwina Island, 1 July 1943.
sailed directly from Milne Bay to the north shore of Kiriwina.
Unloading on the north shore, while easier than at Losuia, complicated matters further for the troops ashore. Heavy equipment was landed some distance from the proposed airfield near Losuia. Building the necessary roads was slowed by heavy rains and lack of enough heavy engineer equipment.
Meanwhile the construction program at Woodlark went forward. By 14 July the airfield was near enough completion to accommodate C-47's. One week later 5,200 feet of runway were surfaced with coral, and on 23 July the air garrison--the 67th Fighter Squadron which had served on Guadalcanal in the grim days of 1942--arrived for duty.
On Kiriwina heavy rains continued and added to the engineers' troubles in building and maintaining roads. All construction equipment was used on the roads until about 10 July during that time the airfield site was partly cleared with hand tools. General Krueger visited the island on 11 July and expressed his dissatisfaction with the progress of road and airfield construction. Three days later he placed Col. John T. Murray, formerly of the 41st Division, in command of the Kiriwina Task Force and returned Colonel Herndon to command of the 158th Infantry. Herndon had asked for more engineers and machinery. These arrived after Murray took command
JEEP AND TRAILER LEAVING AN LST anchored off north shore of Kiriwina Island, July 1943.
and thereafter the work went faster. By D plus 20 the first airstrip, 1,500 feet long, was cleared, roughly graded, and ready for surfacing. By the month's end the strip was 5,000 feet long and ready for coral. No. 79 Squadron of the RAAF flew in and began operations on 18 August.
Except for reconnaissance and two small bombing attacks against Woodlark, the enemy did not react to the invasions, so that Barbey was able to transport twenty echelons to Kiriwina and seven to Woodlark without losing a ship or a man. By mid-August transport of supplies and men to the two islands was no longer a tactical mission. U.S. Army Services of Supply was ready to relieve Barbey of logistical responsibility.
Thus the Southwest Pacific Area, using small forces, was able to secure two more airfields to further the Allies' control over the Solomon Sea.
Plans and Preparations
The invasion of Nassau Bay was designed to ease the problem of supplying the troops that were to attack Salamaua and Lae. They could not be wholly supplied by ship, by landing craft, by airplane, or by land. The threat of Japanese air attacks in the restricted waters of Huon Gulf and Vitiaz Strait, coupled with the prevailing shortage of troop and cargo ships, rendered the use of large ships impractical if not impossible. The
CLEARING AIRFIELD SITE WITH HAND TOOLS, Kiriwina Island, July 1943.
shortage of landing craft and the distance limited the extent of any shore-to shore operations. The Australian troops operating out of Wau against Salamaua were still being supplied by air, and this placed a heavy burden on Southwest Pacific air transport and limited the number of ground troops that could be employed. In order to supplement air transport the Australians had begun their road from Edie Creek at the south end of the Bulolo Valley to the headwaters of the Lakekamu River on the southwest coast of the Papuan peninsula, but the tremendous difficulties inherent in pushing roads through New Guinea mountains slowed the Australians as they had the Japanese. It was clear that the opening of the Markham Valley-Huon Peninsula campaign would be delayed beyond August if it had to await completion of the mountain highway. 13
The seizure of Nassau Bay offered a possibility of at least partially solving these problems, a possibility which fitted neatly into the pattern of plans already being prepared. Nassau Bay lies less than sixty miles from Lae, or within range of the landing craft of the 2d Engineer Special Brigade which GHQ expected to employ, and it is just a short distance down the Papuan coast from Salamaua. Troops of the 3d Australian Division were operating inland from Nassau Bay at this time. Seizure of the bay by a shore-to-shore movement from Morobe, then held by the U.S. 162d Infantry
of the 41st Division, would provide a means by which the Australians getting ready to attack Salamaua could be supplied by water to supplement the air drops, and would also provide a staging point for the shore-to-shore movement of an entire Australian division to a point east of Lae. Therefore GHQ and New Guinea Force headquarters decided to seize Nassau Bay on the same day that Woodlark, Kiriwina, and New Georgia were invaded. The troops seizing Nassau Bay would then join forces with 3d Australian Division and press against Salamaua in order to keep the Japanese from deducing that the Allies were planning a major assault against Lae. 14
General Blamey was supposed to assume personal command of the New Guinea Force for the Markham Valley-Huon Peninsula operations but the pressure of his duties kept him in Australia until August. Pending his arrival in New Guinea Lt. Gen. E. F. Herring of the Australian Army retained command of the New Guinea Force and operated under Blamey's headquarters instead of GHQ as originally planned. Maj. Gen. Stanley G. Savige, General Officer Commanding the 3d Australian Division, had tactical command of the operations against Salamaua. Troops of the U.S. 162d Regimental Combat Team, which was assigned to Nassau Bay and subsequent operations against Salamaua, would come under General Savige's control once they were ashore.
When the Australians had defeated the Japanese attempt to capture Wau, they pursued the retreating enemy out of the Bulolo Valley and down through the mountains to a point inland from Nassau Bay. In preparation for Nassau Bay and the attack on Salamaua, Savige ordered his division to push against Salamaua from the west and south. He directed the MacKechnie Force, essentially a battalion combat team of the 162d Infantry, to make the initial landing at Nassau Bay and operate on the right (east) flank of his 17th Brigade. At the same time the 24th Australian Infantry Battalion would create a diversion by operating against the Japanese detachments in the Markham Valley and establishing an ambush on the Huon Gulf at the mouth of the Buang River, halfway between Lae and Salamaua. (Map 6)
From 20 through 23 June the Japanese counterattacked the 17th Brigade's positions in the vicinity of Mubo and Lababia Ridge, a 3,000-foot eminence that is surrounded by the Bitoi and Buyawim Rivers and has a commanding view of Nassau Bay to the southeast, Bitoi Ridge to the north, and the Komiatum Track which served as the line of communications from Salamaua to the Japanese facing the Australians. The Japanese fought hard but failed to budge the 17th Brigade. Starting on 23 June they retired a short distance to the north. On 30 June Savige's 15th Brigade was attacking Bobdubi and the 17th Brigade, facing north, was holding Mubo and Lababia Ridge. 15
Southern Approaches to Salamaua
The MacKechnie Force, designated to land at Nassau Bay on 30 June, consisted of the reinforced 1st Battalion, 162d Infantry. In command was Col. Archibald R. MacKechnie, commander of the 162d. This regiment had arrived in New Guinea from Australia in February 1943. Organized in March, the MacKechnie Force moved by land marches and seaborne movements in landing craft and trawlers from the Buna-Sanananda area to Morobe, where it set up defensive positions to protect an advanced PT boat base. For Nassau Bay the force was augmented by American and Australian units. 16
By late June the 3d Battalion, 162d, had relieved the MacKechnie Force of the mission of defending Morobe. Thirty days' supply and ten units of fire had been assembled. The troops trained for the landing by boarding PT boats, then transferring at sea to LCVP's, and debarking on beaches from the landing craft. On the night of 28 June the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, 162d, outposted the islands lying offshore between Nassau Bay and Mageri Point about ten miles north-northwest of Morobe, where the invasion was to be mounted, in order to install lights to guide the invasion flotilla. Colonel MacKechnie flew to the Bulolo Valley for a conference with General Savige, and at his request Savige dispatched one of his companies from Lababia Ridge to the mouth of the Bitoi River to divert Japanese attention from Nassau Bay. As
the landing was to be made in darkness, one platoon of this company was sent to the landing beach to set up lights to guide the landing craft. Company A, Papuan Infantry Battalion, of the MacKechnie Force, reconnoitered to Cape Dinga just south of Nassau Bay, and one of its scouts even sneaked into the enemy camp at Cape Dinga and spent the night with the Japanese. On the basis of the Papuan Infantry Battalion's reports it was estimated 300-400 Japanese were in the vicinity of Nassau Bay, and about 75 more near the south arm of the Bitoi River. 17
This estimate was somewhat exaggerated. Present at Cape Dinga were about a hundred men of the 102d Infantry, 51st Division, and about fifty sailors of a naval guard unit. 18 The Japanese were expecting an Allied landing to come in Huon Gulf rather than at Nassau Bay, and had made their dispositions accordingly.
General Adachi, commanding the 18th Army from his headquarters at Madang, had been carrying out the 8th Area Army commander's orders to strengthen Wewak, Madang, Finschhafen, and especially Lae and Salamaua to protect Vitiaz Strait while preparing to attack Wau, Bena Bena, and Mount Hagen and infiltrate the Ramu and Sepik River Valleys. (See below, Map 12.) The Madang-Lae Highway was still under construction but had been pushed only to the Finisterre Range which parallels the north coast of the Huon Peninsula. The Japanese correctly estimated that the Allies planned to use the air base sites in the mountain valleys to support their advances along the coast. Therefore they planned the moves against Wau and against Bena Bena and Mount Hagen, two outposts that had been used since 1942. The 6th Air Division, based in the Wewak area, was ordered to attack these points daily.
In command at Lae was Maj. Gen. Ryoichi Shoge, infantry group commander of the 41st Division. His command at this time was largely transient, as the 18th Army was sending troops through Lae to strengthen Salamaua. Since the March disaster in the Bismarck Sea, some troops had been landed at Lae from submarines, forty men per boat others came in barges and destroyers to Cape Gloucester from Rabaul, thence to Finschhafen by barge and overland or by barge to Lae. In April and May the 66th Infantry (less the 3d Battalion), 51st Division, had been transferred to Salamaua from Lae, and elements of the 115th Infantry, the 14th Artillery Regiment, and the 51st Engineer Regiment, all of the 51st Division, staged through Lae for Salamaua. At Salamaua Lt. Gen. Hidemitsu Nakano, commander of the 51st Division, was directing operations.
The third infantry regiment of Nakano's division, the 102d, had made the January attack against Wau and had been almost continuously in action since that time.
By the end of June Nakano had six thousand men under his command. The Japanese defensive positions included the high ground inland from the shore--Mount Tambu, Komiatum, and Bobdubi.
Landing of the MacKechnie Force
As dusk fell at Morobe on 29 June three PT boats of the Seventh Fleet took aboard 210 men of the MacKechnie Force. A fourth PT, without passengers, escorted. 19 At the same time twenty-nine LCVP's, two Japanese barges, and one LCM of the 532d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment took the other 770 men of the MacKechnie Force on board at Mageri Point. The landing craft were organized in three waves which departed Mageri at twenty-minute intervals. The night was dark, the sea heavy rain was falling.
The first two waves rendezvoused with the two PT boats from Morobe which were to guide them to the target but the third missed and proceeded on the forty-mile run to Nassau Bay without a guide.
Thus far things had gone fairly well but the remainder of the night was full of troubles. The rain obscured the guide lights on the offshore islands. The escorting PT lost the convoy. The lead PT overshot Nassau Bay. Some of the landing craft of the first wave followed it, then lost time turning around and finding the convoy again.
The landing began, in rainy darkness, shortly after midnight. The Australian platoon on shore had lost its way and arrived at Nassau Bay in time to install only two instead of three lights. Thus the first two waves of landing craft intermingled and landed together on the same stretch of beach. And a ten- to twelve-foot surf, a rare occurrence at Nassau Bay, was pounding. It rammed the landing craft so far up on the beach that seventeen of them could not back off but promptly broached and filled with water, almost complete wrecks. The LCM, after unloading a bulldozer, was able to retract it proceeded out to sea and got the troops off the lead PT boat, and then returned to the beach where it swamped.
There was no enemy opposition, nor any casualties. Japanese in an outpost at the beach had fled into the jungle, believing, prisoners reported later, that the bulldozer was a tank. Except for the landing craft, there were no serious losses of equipment, but most of the radios were damaged by salt water.
Seven hundred and seventy men were landed that night. 20 The leader of the third wave, which arrived hours after the first two, realized that his craft were the only ones immediately available for resupply and decided not to land until the surf abated. He took the barge and the rest of the LCVP's, with B Company
on board, to shelter in a cove down the coast. When the storm subsided they returned to Nassau Bay but failed to make contact with the troops, who were beating off a Japanese attack. The wave returned to Mageri Point, then went back to Nassau Bay and landed on the afternoon of 2 July.
Once on shore A and C Companies, 162d Infantry, established defense lines three hundred yards north and south, respectively, of the landing beach. The Australian platoon defended the west (inland) flank. There was no contact with the enemy that night. By daybreak of 30 June the beach was cleared of all ammunition, equipment, and supplies. Beach defenses, employing machine guns salvaged from the wrecked landing craft, were set up. Communication with higher headquarters was a problem. Most of the water-soaked radios would not work, and during the first few days Colonel MacKechnie was out of contact with New Guinea Force, 41st Division headquarters, and Morobe at one time or another. Nothing was heard from the Papuan Infantry Battalion elements on the other side of Cape Dinga for several days. All the SCR's 511 and 536, the small hand radios used for tactical communication within infantry battalions, had been soaked and were never usable during the subsequent operations against Salamaua.
After daylight of 30 June C Company marched south to the Tabali River just west of Cape Dinga. Company A started north from its night positions to clear the area as far as the south arm of the Bitoi River but soon ran into enemy mortar and machine gun fire (its first such experience) and halted. Patrols went out and reported the enemy as present in some strength. Then A Company, reinforced by a platoon of D Company, 216th Australian Infantry Battalion of the 17th Brigade, which had flashed the landing lights, attempted to strike the Japanese right (west) flank but was stopped. When the Australian platoon ran out of ammunition it was relieved by a detachment of engineers from the crews of the wrecked landing craft. Two of the C Company platoons came up from the south to join A Company. At 1500 the force started forward and by 1650 had brushed away scattered Japanese opposition to reach the south arm of the Bitoi River.
When General Adachi received word of the invasion his first thought was to destroy the MacKechnie Force before it had a chance to consolidate. But General Nakano persuaded him that it would be better to "delay the enemy advance in NASSAU from a distance" and to concentrate on the Australian threat at Bobdubi. 21 So no more enemy troops were sent against MacKechnie. Meanwhile the Papuan Infantry Battalion troops began pressing against the rear of the Japanese detachment at Cape Dinga. This detachment began moving toward the American beachhead.
About 1630 the C Company platoon defending the left (south) flank reported that Japanese troops were crossing the Tabali River just south of its position, whereupon it was ordered to withdraw to the south flank of the landing beach proper to hold a line between the beach and a swamp which began a short
distance inland. Before the platoon could move, Japanese troops attacked its rear and flank. The platoon fought its way north, losing its commander and four enlisted men killed on the way.
While the platoon was withdrawing, Capt. Paul A. Cawlfield, MacKechnie Force S-3, organized a defense line at the beach using engineers, part of D Company, and men from force headquarters. At dusk the harassed platoon reached this line, and then the enemy struck in a series of attacks that lasted all night. Machine gun, mortar, and rifle fire and grenades hit the American positions, and small parties attempted to infiltrate. But the American units, in action for the first time, beat off the attackers who, except for scattered riflemen that were hunted down and killed, pulled out just before sunrise. The MacKechnie Force estimated that it had killed fifty Japanese. Its own casualties were eighteen killed, twenty-seven wounded. Colonel MacKechnie later asserted that in his opinion several of the American casualties were caused by American troops firing at each other in the excitement of the night action.
By 2 July, with the landing of B Company and other elements of the third wave, the Nassau Bay beachhead was considered secure. On that date the Americans made contact with the 17th Brigade, and the MacKechnie Force made ready to execute its missions in the northward drive against Salamaua.
Thus with the landings at Woodlark, Kiriwina, and Nassau Bay, General MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area inaugurated C ARTWHEEL . Compared with the massive strokes of 1944 and 1945, the operations were small, but they gave invaluable amphibious experience to soldiers and sailors and they began a forward movement that was not halted until final victory.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Solomon Sea, Admiral Halsey's South Pacific forces had executed their first C ARTWHEEL missions by invading New Georgia.
1. GHQ SWPA OI 33, 7 May 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 8 May 43 CG Sixth Army, Hist of C HRONICLE Opn, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 30 Aug 43.
2. Rad [apparently from Twining] to Comdr AdVon 5AF, 16 May 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 16 May 43 Notes of Conf Between Reps of SOPAC and SWPA, Brisbane, 17 May 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 17 May 43.
3. ANF Opn Plan 4-43, 19 May 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 21 May 43 CTF 76 Opn Plan 1-43, 14 Jun 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 16 June 43: CTF 74 Opn Order 2-43, 18 Jun 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 24 Jun 43 Ltr, CTF 76 to COMINCH, 1 Oct 43, sub: Rpt on Opn C HRONICLE , in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 5 Aug 43.
4. AAF SWPA OI 36, 14 May 43, and Fifth AF OI 3, 15 May 43. Both in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 15 May 43. AdVon 5AF FO 83, 27 Jun 43 Ltr, CofS V Fighter Comd to CG E SCALATOR , 22 Jun 43, sub: Protection of Shipg Rad, CTF 76 to Comdr Seventh Flt, 23 Jun 43 Rad, CG AdVon 5 to CG E SCALATOR , 24 Jun 43 Rad, CG E SCALATOR to CTF 76, 26 Jun 43. Last five in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl and File No. 4, 23 Jun--1 Jul 43. CG Sixth Army, Hist of C HRONICLE Opn, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 30 Aug 43 Craven and Cate, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, pp. 164-65.
The 1st Air Task Force consisted of a headquarters based at Dobodura which had operational control of units temporarily assigned by General Whitehead. The additional headquarters was considered necessary because the towering Owen Stanleys rendered radio communication between Port Moresby and Dobodura somewhat temperamental. The Fifth Air Force thus had three headquarters as well as those of the bomber and fighter commands. See Craven and Cate, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, pp. 164-65.
5. A Marine Corps defense battalion consisted of antiaircraft batteries (90-mm., 40-mm., and 20-mm. antiaircraft guns, and searchlights) and coast artillery (155-mm. guns). A few defense battalions also included tank platoons.
6. E SCALTOR FO's 1 and 2, 2 Jun 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 12 and 10 Jun 43. Like Task Force 76's plans these orders included so much detail as to constitute standing operating procedure.
7. Rpt of Com Appointed by Gen Krueger, 25 May 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 27 May 43 GHQ SWPA OI 33/10, 17 Jun 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 8 May 43.
8. CG Sixth Army, Hist of C HRONICLE Opn, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 30 Aug 43 B YPRODUCT [Kiriwina] TF Jnl and Hist of Kiriwina TF CTF 7G Rpt on C HRONICLE .
9. Craven and Cate, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, p. 166.
10. This and the next two subsections are based on Morison, Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, Ch. IX Office of the Chief Engineer, General Headquarters Army Forces Pacific [GHQ AFPAC] Engineers of the Southwest Pacific: 1941-1945, I, Engineers in Theater Operations (Washington, 1947), 100-102 CG Sixth Army, Hist of C HRONICLE Opn, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 30 Aug 43 Ltr, CTG 76.1 to CTF 76, 24 Jun 43, sub: Adv Landing L EATHERBACK [Woodlark], in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl and File No. 4, 23 Jun-1 Jul 43 Ltr, Col Cunningham to CG E SCALATOR , 3 Jul 42, sub: Current Opns L EATHERBACK TF, in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl and File No. 4, 2 Jul-10 Jul 43 CTF 76 Rpt on C HRONICLE Sixth Army G-3 Jnl and File for the period covered Woodlark TF [112th Cav RCT] Opns Diary B YPRODUCT TF Jnl and Hist of Kiriwina TF.
11. Col Herndon's comments on draft MS of this volume, attached to his 1st Ind, 16 Nov 53, to Ltr, Gen Smith, Chief of Mil Hist, to Col Herndon, 6 Oct 53, no sub, OCMH.
12. Colonel Herndon stated on 16 November 1953 that part of the trouble arose from a navigational error that caused the ships to sail past Kiriwina and made them late. He also stated that, originally, the main body was to land on the north coast, but that for some reason the plan was changed and R ED Beach and Losuia Jetty were used.
13. USSBS, Employment of Forces, pp. 21-22 ALF, Rpt on New Guinea Opns: Wau-Salamaua, 22 Jan-13 Sep 43 Memo, Comdr ALF for GHQ SWPA, 5 May 43, sub: Warning Instns, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 6 May 43.
14. GHQ SWPA OI 33, 7 May 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 8 May 43 Ltr, Land Hq [ALF] to Gen Off Commanding NGF, 17 May 43, sub: P OSTERN --Seizure Lae-Salamaua-Finschhafen-Madang Area, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 7 Jun 43 GHQ SWPA OI 34, 13 Jun 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 14 Jun 43.
15. ALF, Rpt on New Guinea Opns: Wau-Salamaua, 22 Jan-13 Sep 43 Incl 1, Tactical Sit to 1630, 30 Jun 43, to GHQ SWPA G-2 Daily Summary of Enemy Int and G-2 Est of Enemy Sit 465, 30 Jun-1 Jul 43, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 1 Jul 43.
16. 162d Inf Rpt of Opns, 29 Jun-12 Sep 43, in Morobe-Nassau-Bitoi Ridge-Mt. Tambu-Tambu Bay-Salamaua Area of New Guinea William F. McCartney, The Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Division (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1948), p. 51 Ltr, Col MacKechnie to Gen Smith, Chief of Mil Hist, 20 Oct 53, no sub, OCMH.
The augmented MacKechnie Force consisted of Lt. Col. Harold R. Taylor's 1st Battalion, 162d one platoon of the regimental Antitank Company part of the regimental Service Company one company of the 116th Engineer Battalion elements of the 116th Medical Battalion and a portable surgical hospital the 218th Field Artillery Battalion (75mm. pack howitzers), less A Battery detachments from the 41st Division signal, quartermaster, and ordnance companies detachments of the Combined Operational Service Command and the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit, a military organization in charge of native affairs a detachment of C Battery, 209th Coast Artillery Battalion (Antiaircraft) A Company, Papuan Infantry Battalion (native enlisted men and Australian officers) and A and D Companies of the 532d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, 2d Engineer Special Brigade.
17. 162d Inf Rpt of Opns McCartney, The Jungleers, p. 52.
18. This subsection is based on 8th Area Army Operations, Japanese Monogr No. 110 (OCMH), pp. 43-45 18th Army Operations, II, Japanese Monogr No. 42 (OCMH), 1-22 18th Army Operations, Annex B (Maps), Japanese Monogr No. 47 (OCMH) Hist Div MIS GHQ FEC, Statements of Japanese Officials on World War II (English Translations), IV, 119-20, OCMH Interrogation of Adachi et al., by Mil Hist Sec, Australian Army Hq, OCMH.
19. This subsection is based on McCartney, The Jungleers, pp. 52-55 Morison, Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, pp. 136-37 Office of the Chief Engineer, GHQ AFPAC, Engineers of the Southwest Pacific: 1941-1945, VIII, Critique (Washington, 1951), 84-85 ALF, Rpt on New Guinea Opns: Wau-Salamaua, 22 Jan-13 Sep 43 Ltr, Brig Gen William F. Heavey, CO 2d ESB, to Chief Engr SWPA, 13 Jul 43, sub: Rpt on Nassau Bay Opns, in GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl, 19 Jul 43 GHQ SWPA G-3 Jnl for period covered 41st Div G-3 Jnl and File for period covered 162d Inf Rpt of Opns, and Jnl and Files for period covered Ltr, Gen Heavey to Cof Engrs USA, 30 Jun 44, sub: Rpt of Combat Opns, DRB AGO MacKechnie, Notes on Nassau Bay-Mubo-Tambu Bay-Salamaua Opns, 29 Jun-12 Sep 43, no date, DRB AGO.
20. The first report gave 740 but was soon corrected. See msgs in 41st Div G-3 Jnl, 30 Jun 43.
21. 18th Army Operations, II, Japanese Monogr No. 42 (OCMH), 14.
World War II - Battles, Facts, Videos & Pictures - History.com
History - World War Two: Summary Outline of Key Events World War II History - World War II In North Africa, British and American forces had defeated the Italians and Germans by 1943. An Allied invasion of Sicily and Italy followed, and Mussolini’s government fell in July 1943, though Allied fighting against the Germans in Italy would continue until 1945. On World War II’s Eastern Front, a Soviet counteroffensive launched in November 1942 ended the bloody Battle of Stalingrad, which had seen some of the fiercest combat of the war. The approach of winter, along with dwindling food and medical supplies, spelled the end for German troops there, and the last of them surrendered on January 31, 1943. On June 6, 1944–celebrated as “D-Day”–the Allied began a massive invasion of Europe, landing 156,000 British, Canadian and American soldiers on the beaches of Normandy, France. In response, Hitler poured all the remaining strength of his army into Western Europe, ensuring Germany’s defeat in the east.
World War II | Facts, Summary, Combatants, & Causes World War II, also called Second World War, conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45. The principal belligerents were the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan—and the Allies—France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China. The war was in many respects a continuation, after an uneasy 20-year hiatus, of the disputes left unsettled by World War I. The 40,000,000–50,000,000 deaths incurred in World War II make it the bloodiest conflict, as well as the largest war, in history. Top Questions What was the cause of World War II? World War II began in Europe on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. What countries fought in World War II? The main combatants were the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and the Allies (France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China). Who were the leaders during World War II? What were the turning points of the war?
LOTF Welcome to Math Playground Battles of the Second World War Battles Operations Elkton III Plan Operation Aerial, the evacuation from north western France, 15-25 June 2008 Operation Appease - the battle of Talasea, 6-11 March 1944 Operation Blissful - The Choiseul Raid, 27 October-4 November 1943 Operation Cartwheel - the Reduction of Rabaul (30 June 1943- January 1944) Operation Chariot, the St. Nazaire Raid, Part One Operation Chariot, the St.
The Holocaust - World War II Beginning in late 1941, the Germans began mass transports from the ghettoes in Poland to the concentration camps, starting with those people viewed as the least useful: the sick, old and weak and the very young. The first mass gassings began at the camp of Belzec, near Lublin, on March 17, 1942. Five more mass killing centers were built at camps in occupied Poland, including Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and the largest of all, Auschwitz-Birkenau. From 1942 to 1945, Jews were deported to the camps from all over Europe, including German-controlled territory as well as those countries allied with Germany. Though the Nazis tried to keep operation of camps secret, the scale of the killing made this virtually impossible.
Famous People of World War Two Influential people who caused, influenced and fought during the Second World War. Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) Dictator of Nazi Germany from 1933-45. During the 1930s, Hitler sought to gain ‘lebensraum’ for Germany – claiming Austria, Czechoslovakia and finally invading Poland. Hitler’s initial success encouraged him to invade Russia, which ultimately would over-stretch his war-machine. Hitler’s regime also pursued the extermination of Jews and other ‘non-Aryan’ minorities in concentration camps across Europe. The Big Three The Big Three were the Allied leaders of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, who represented Great Britain, Soviet Union and the United States in the alliance against Germany and Japan. Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) – Churchill was elected Prime Minister of the UK in May 1940, when Britain and her Empire stood alone against Hitler. Franklin D. (1882 – 1945) – US President 1932 – 1945. Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953) Leader and dictator of the Soviet Union. Charles de Gaulle J.
The United States and the Holocaust During World War II, rescue of Jews and others targeted by Nazi Germany was not a priority for the United States government. Nor was it always clear to Allied policymakers how they could pursue large-scale rescue actions in Europe. IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE ERA OF THE HOLOCAUST US State Department policies made it very difficult for refugees to obtain entry visas. Despite the ongoing persecution of Jews in Germany, the State Department's attitude was influenced by the economic hardships of the Depression, which intensified grassroots antisemitism, isolationism, and xenophobia. The number of entry visas was further limited by the Department's inflexible application of a restrictive Immigration Law passed by the US Congress in 1924. Nevertheless in 1939 and 1940, slightly more than half of all immigrants to the United States were Jewish, most of them refugees from Europe. Further Reading Gurock, Jeffrey S., ed. Hamerow, Theodor.
Implementation Operation Cartwheel_section_1
MacArthur had presented Elkton III, his revised plan for taking Rabaul before 1944, on 12 February 1943. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_13
It called for him to attack northeastern New Guinea and western New Britain and for Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., then in command of the South Pacific Area, to attack the central Solomons. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_14
The plan required seven more divisions than were already in the theatre, which raised objections from the British. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_15
The Joint Chiefs responded with a directive that approved the plan if forces already in the theatre or en route were used and the implementation was delayed by 60 days. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_16
Elkton III then became Operation Cartwheel. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_17
Operations Operation Cartwheel_section_2
Cartwheel identified 13 proposed subordinate operations and set a timetable for their launching. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_18
Of the 13, Rabaul, Kavieng, and Kolombangara were eventually eliminated as too costly and unnecessary, and only 10 were actually undertaken: Operation Cartwheel_sentence_19
- – 30 June 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_3
- (112th Cavalry Regiment) Operation Cartwheel_item_1_4 (158th Regimental Combat Team RCT US) Operation Cartwheel_item_1_5
- (43d Infantry Division US) – 30 June 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_7
- , New Guinea (9th and 7th Division Australia, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment US) Operation Cartwheel_item_1_15
- (8th Brigade New Zealand) Operation Cartwheel_item_1_17
- (2nd Marine Parachute Battalion US) Operation Cartwheel_item_1_19
- (3d Marine Division US, 37th Infantry Division US) Operation Cartwheel_item_1_21
- , New Britain (112th Cavalry US) – 15 December 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_23 (1st Marine Division US) – 26 December 1943 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_24 (32nd Infantry Division US) – 2 January 1944 Operation Cartwheel_item_1_25
The New Guinea Force, under General Thomas Blamey, was assigned responsibility for the eastward thrusts on mainland New Guinea. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_20
The US 6th Army, under General Walter Krueger, was to take Kiriwina, Woodlark, and Cape Gloucester. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_21
The land forces would be supported by Allied air units under Lieutenant General George Kenney and naval units under Vice Admiral Arthur S. Carpender. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_22
In the midst of Operation Cartwheel, the Joint Chiefs met with President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Quadrant Conference in Quebec City in August 1943. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_23
There, the decision was made to bypass and isolate Rabaul, rather than attempting to capture the base, and to attack Kavieng instead. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_24
Soon afterward, the decision was made to bypass Kavieng as well. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_25
Although initially objected to by MacArthur, the bypassing of Rabaul, instead of its neutralisation, meant that his Elkton plan had been achieved, and after invading Saidor, he then moved into his Reno Plan, an advance across the north coast of New Guinea to Mindanao. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_26
The campaign, which stretched into 1944, showed the effectiveness of a strategy of avoiding major concentrations of enemy forces and instead aiming to sever the Japanese lines of supply and communication. Operation Cartwheel_sentence_27