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MacArthur's Papua New Guinea Offensive, 1942-1943

MacArthur's Papua New Guinea Offensive, 1942-1943

by Jon Diamond


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The Japanese seizure of Rabaul on New Britain in January 1942 directly threatened Northern Australia and, as a result, General Douglas MacArthur took command of the Southwest Pacific Area. In July 1942, the Japanese attacked south across the Owen Stanley mountain range.

Thanks to the hasty deployment of Australian militiamen and veteran Imperial Force troops the Japanese were halted at Ioribaiwa Ridge just 27 miles from Port Moresby.

MacArthur’s priority was to regain Northeast New Guinea and New Britain. The capture of airfields at Buna and reoccupation of Gona and Sanananda Point were prerequisites. The Allied offensive opened on 16 November 1942 with Australian infantrymen and light tanks alongside the US 32nd Infantry Division.

Overcoming the Japanese and the inhospitable terrain in tropical conditions proved the toughest of challenges. It remains an achievement of the highest order that the campaign ended successfully on 22 January 1943. This account with its clear text and superb imagery is a worthy tribute to those who fought and, all too often, died there.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526757401
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 05/27/2020
Series: Images of War Series
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 709,676
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jon Diamond MD is a kidney specialist in the USA with a deep interest in the Second World War. He is a keen collector of photographs. His Stilwell and the Chindits, War in the South Pacific, Invasion of Sicily, Invasion of the Italian Mainland: Salerno to Gustav Line, 1943-1944, Onto Rome 1944; Anzio and Victory at Cassino and Beyond Rome to the Alps; Across the Arno and Gothic Line, 1944-1945 and Op Plunder The Rhine River Crossing are all published by Pen and Sword in the Images of War series.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 4

Abbreviations 5

Chapter 1 Overview of the South-West Pacific Area in 1948 and the Strategic Importance of Papua 7

Map 1 Strategic overview of the Pacific War, 1941-1942 8

Map 2 The Solomon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago, 1943-1943 11

Map 3 The Papuan Campaign, July 1942-January 1943 13

Map 4 MacArthur's counter-offensive against the Buna-Giruwa-Sanananda-Gona Front, November 1942 21

Chapter 2 Terrain, Weaponry and Fortifications 67

Map 5 Allied combat on the Warren Force Front, 18-28 December 1942 70

Chapter 3 Commanders and Combatants 123

Chapter 4 The Allied Attacks on the Buna, 16 November 1942 to 22 January 1943 170

Map 6 Combat on the Urbana Force Front, 18-28 December 1942 172

Chapter 5 The Allied Attacks on Gona, Sanananda and Giruwa 201

Epilogue 223

References 236

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