Bougainville, 1943-1945: The Forgotten Campaign by Harry A. Gailey

By Harry A. Gailey

" The 1943 invasion of Bougainville, greatest and northernmost of the Solomon Islands, and the naval battles in the course of the crusade for the island, contributed seriously to the defeat of the japanese within the Pacific struggle. the following Harry Gailey offers the definitive account of the lengthy and sour scuffling with that came about on that now all-but-forgotten island. A maze of swamps, rivers, and rugged hills overgrown with jungle, Bougainville afforded the Allies a strategic website for airbases from which to assault the japanese bastion of Rabaul. by means of February of 1944 the japanese air power at Rabaul had certainly been burnt up and their different forces there were remoted and rendered useless. The early phases of the crusade have been detailed within the measure of cooperation between Allied forces. the general commander, American Admiral Halsey, marshaled land, air, and naval contingents representing the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. in contrast to the opposite island campaigns within the Pacific, the combating on Bougainville used to be a prolonged fight lasting approximately years. even supposing the preliminary plan used to be just to grab adequate zone for 3 airbases and go away the remaining in jap fingers, the Australian commanders, who took over in November 1944, made up our minds to occupy the total island. The outcome was once a sequence of hard-fought battles that have been nonetheless happening whilst Japan's quit ultimately introduced them to an finish. For the americans, a impressive point of the crusade was once the 1st use of black troops. even though every one of these troops did good, the bad functionality of 1 black corporation used to be drastically exaggerated in studies and within the media, which ended in black squaddies within the Pacific theater commence relegated to non-combat roles for the rest of the warfare. Gailey brings back to existence this lengthy fight for an island within the a long way Pacific and the tale of the tens of millions of fellows who fought and died there.

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Sample text

Mono and Stirling, despite the large permanent garrison of New Zealanders, soon became a backwater as the more important actions then occurring in the Solomons centered on Bougainville. At the same time that the New Zealanders were attacking the Treasury Islands, a far more adventuresome and potentially more dangerous diversionary attack was occurrin~on the large island of Choiseul located less than fifty miles from the southeastern end of Bougainville. At one time the planners at Halsey's headquarters had seriously considered a full-scale assault on the western part of the island as a necessary preliminary to any attack on Bougainville.

Intelligence reports indicated that half of an estimated thirty-five thousand Japanese on Bougainville were located in the south,17 Thus any invasion there would obviously encounter very strong resistance. By then the New Georgia campaign had bogged down, and· Halsey was not eager to plan for a similar slugging match. He had been impressed by the success of artillery fire from offshore islands against Munda and so proposed seizing the Shortlands and Ballale. He could then place heavy artillery on the Shortlands to negate Kahili airfield.

This was the attack on New Georgia, whose main objective was the seizure of Munda airfield, appropriately code named TOENAILS. The forces available to Halsey for the central Solomons campaign were considerable. Only warships of the New Zealand navy were ever 26 Bougainville permanently assigned to him, but Admiral Nimitz detached whatever warships he could spare from the Central Pacific, depending on his analysis of Halsey's requests for support. Moreover, the South Pacific Amphibious Force (Task Force 32), commanded by Admiral Thrner, was permanently assigned to Halsey and requisite land forces could be added according to the needs of a particular operation.

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