The volumes of the United States Army in World War II devoted to the war in the Pacific form a comprehensive account which should be of interest both to soldiers and civilians. Each volume is complete in itself and can be read independently. (Cross references guide the reader to other volumes for additional information.) The emphasis throughout is on the U.S. Army, but operations of the U.S. Navy, Air Forces, and Marines, as well as those of Allied nations, are covered in summary where they are related to the Army's operations or when they had an important or decisive effect on the outcome. The level of treatment and the amount of detail included vary with each volume and are determined by the nature of the operation. Each book includes sufficient material on strategy, logistics, and the activities of supporting arms and services to make clear why an operation was undertaken and how it was supported.
The War in the Pacific
The plan of the Pacific subseries was determined by the geography, strategy, and the military organization of a theater largely oceanic. Two independent, coordinate commands, one in the Southwest Pacific under General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and the other in the Central, South, and North Pacific (Pacific Ocean Areas) under Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, were created early in the war. Except in the South and Southwest Pacific, each conducted its own operations with its own ground, air, and naval forces in widely separated areas. These operations required at first only a relatively small number of troops whose efforts often yielded strategic gains which cannot be measured by the size of the forces involved. Indeed, the nature of the objectives-small islands, coral atolls, and jungle-bound harbors and airstrips- made the employment of large ground forces impossible and highlighted the importance of air and naval operations. Thus, until 1945, the war in the Pacific progressed by a double series of amphibious operations each of which fitted into a strategic pattern developed in Washington.
In recognition of this fact, the Pacific subseries is organized chronologically by campaigns corresponding approximately to the divisions of command and to the strategical objectives set by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. First in the subseries (the volumes are unnumbered) is The Fall of the Philippines which describes fully the Japanese air attacks on the opening days of the war, the invasion that followed, the withdrawal to Bataan, the tragic defeat there and on Corregidor, the campaigns in Mindanao and the Visayas, and the final surrender in May 1942.
The next two volumes deal with the operations in the Solomons and New Guinea conducted simultaneously (August 1942-February 1943) but under separate commands. Guadalcanal: The First Offensive describes the campaign in the Solomons by Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr.'s South Pacific forces; Victory in Papua details the long struggle of General MacArthur's Southwest Pacific forces to oust the Japanese from Buna on the southeast coast of New Guinea. Final success in these two campaigns in February 1943 removed the danger to the Allied line of communications running from the United States to Australia and prepared the way for an offensive against Rabaul, the great Japanese base in New Britain.
Neutralization and encirclement of that bastion were accomplished between June 1943 and March 1944 in a series of operations described in CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul. These operations consisted of simultaneous and coordinated drives along the New Guinea coast and up the Solomons "ladder" by forces of the South and Southwest Pacific under MacArthur's direction. Included in the volume are accounts of the campaigns against New Georgia, Bougainville, Lae, Salamaua, Finschhafen, Cape Gloucester, and the Admiralties.
While the offensive against Rabaul was in progress, Admiral Nimitz's forces in the Central Pacific took the offensive and between November 1943 and March 1944 seized successively positions in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands (Makin, Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Eniwetok). These operations, described in Seizure of the and Marshalls, advanced Allied forces 2,700 miles across the Pacific. Operations in the Marianas during the following June and July are covered in a separate volume, Campaign in the Marianas, which describes operations against Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, take-off point for the B-29 raids against Japan.
In the Southwest Pacific General MacArthur's forces, starting with the landing at Hollandia in New Guinea in April 1944, advanced by a series of amphibious hops up the New Guinea coast until by September they had reached Morotai, at the threshold of the Philippines. These operations, which include the seizure of Aitape, Wakde, Biak, Noemfoor, and Sansapor as well as the Central Pacific Campaign in the Palaus, are described in The Approach to the Philippines.
The liberation of the Philippines is described in two volumes. The first, Leyte: The Return to the Philippines, carries MacArthur's forces, augmented by a U.S. Army corps from the Central Pacific, into the heart of the archipelago in October 1944. From there, the troops of the Southwest Pacific went on to take Mindoro, Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao in a series of operations described in the volume entitled Triumph in the Philippines. The bulk of this volume deals with the recapture of Luzon, the most important island in the archipelago.
The forces of the Central Pacific, meanwhile, had continued their drive toward the Japanese home islands, capturing Iwo Jima in February 1945 (an operation not covered in this series since no Army troops were involved) and landing in the Ryukyus at the end of March. This last campaign, which went on until July, a month before the Japanese surrender, is described in Okinawa: The Last Battle.
A capstone volume, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years, views the background and progress of the war in the Pacific from the perspectives of Washington as well as of the theater commanders. It deals with the major strategic, organizational, and logistical plans and problems through December 1943 that affected U.S. Army operations in the Pacific and set the pattern for the war against Japan.
- Strategy and Command: The First Two Years
- The Fall of the Philippines
- Guadalcanal: The First Offensive
- Victory in Papua
- CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul
- Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls
- Campaign in the Marianas
- The Approach to the Philippines
- Leyte: The Return to the Philippines
- Triumph in the Philippines
- Okinawa: The Last Battle
** Table of Contents **
STRATEGY AND COMMAND: THE FIRST TWO YEARS By Louis Morton. (1962, 1989; 761 pages, 13 tables, 16 charts, 17 maps, 92 illustrations, 23 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-1.)
This volume is the capstone of The War in the Pacific subseries, drawing on the operational volumes that preceded it in the subseries and providing the broad perspective on Japanese and Allied interests in the Pacific basin that shaped the war between these antagonists. As one of the later volumes in the United States Army in World War II series, it cross-references and often amplifies coverage of global strategic issues in the volumes on Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare and Global Logistics and Strategy. Since this work traces the growing tensions between Japan and the United States against the broad background of prewar military planning, it also provides a useful complement to Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations.
After sketching early U.S. strategic thinking about the problem of Pacific strategy, with special attention to the problems of defense of the Philippines, the work presents a full treatment of evolving Japanese strategy through the decision for war. Early Allied strategic decision, to include the "Europe First" policy, the challenges associated with accommodating U.S. policy to "colonial" and commonwealth expectations, and the tensions between the U.S. Army and the Navy are developed carefully. Steps taken at the national and coalition level during the early months of Japanese victories on vast fronts are presented in the context of the clashes of arms that resulted in those victories. After the fall of the Philippines, the Allied command relationships stabilized, and the various headquarters are described in detail as products of the complex political, geographic, and strategic factors that shaped them. Complementary sections analyze the Japanese command system, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses.
Since the Pacific is clearly a joint theater, naval battles, Marine Corps contributions, and the myriad tactical questions that spill over into strategic debates are presented. Logistical difficulties abound in the theater selected for the "economy of force" effort, and the ways in which enemy action, bureaucratic decision making, and powerful personalities undermined the Europe First priority system provide useful lessons for those who are interested in problems in policy implementation.
After the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, both sides in the Pacific theater attempted to match resources with strategic concepts to impose their will on the enemy. The United States was hampered in this effort by a lack of unity of command, the vastness of the Japanese defensive perimeter, and the distances from U.S. ports. This volume traces the evolution of strategic plans designed to overcome those difficulties and outlines the operations conducted in consonance with those plans. Throughout, the impact of the major conferences among the Allies that shaped their grand strategy of the war is assessed, and the twists and turns imposed on strategy by the actions of the enemy are described. Even though the volume ends with plans being evolved in late 1943, the material capabilities and doctrinal framework necessary to achieve tactical victory were in place by that time, and the strategic pattern for the remainder of the war was reasonably clear. The last six volumes of operational history in the subseries each contain the necessary strategic setting for the campaign described.
While focusing primarily on action in the Central and Southwest Pacific, this volume also provides the strategic setting for operations in the Aleutians covered in greater detail in Guarding the United States and Its Outposts. In this volume, as in all others, the detailed citations to the U.S. Navy's and U.S. Air Force's histories provide a fuller understanding of the campaigns in the Pacific theater.
- Unity of command, combined and joint (Chs. XI, XVI, XXIV).
- Planning and preparation for joint operations (Chs. XIX, XX, XXI, XXV).
- Interplay among theater, JCS, and combined strategic concepts (Chs. VII, VIII, XI, XXIV).
- Relationships between political and military considerations (Chs. II, III, IV, VII, IX, XXII, XXVII).
- Divergence of strategic outlook of the Army and Navy (Chs. XI, XIII, XVI, XXII
- Relation between military planning and war aims (Chs. II, V, XVIII, XXII, XXIX).
- Planning against scarce resources (Chs. XIV, XV, XXIII, XXVI).
- War Department and Joint Board prewar strategic planning (Chs. I, II).
- Evolution of the Europe First policy (Chs. II, III, XVIII).
- Japanese High Command organization and decisions (Chs. IV, V, X, XVIII, XXVII).
- Initial Japanese offensive (Chs. VI, VII, VIII, XII).
- Initial Allied command relationships and defensive responses (Chs. VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI).
- Army-Navy command relationships and theater-level joint planning (Chs. XI, XIII, XVI, XVII, XIX, XXIII, XXIX).
- Planning and executing CARTWHEEL (operations in South and Southwest Pacific, August-December 1943) (Chs. XX, XXV, XXVI, XXVIII).
- The Philippines and the Central Pacific strategy debate (Chs. XXII, XXIII).
- The Aleutians in Pacific strategy (Ch. XXI).
THE FALL OF THE PHILIPPINES. By Louis Morton. (1953,1989; 626 pages, 11 tables, 26 maps, 57 illustrations, bibliographical note, index, CMH Pub 5-2.)
This work treats one of the initial campaigns of the war of the Pacific (8 December 1941 through 6 May 1942), which ended with the Japanese conquest of the Philippine Islands. The records of the victorious force, always better preserved than those of the vanquished, were at the disposal of the author, while those of the U.S. Army that survived have been supplemented with personal documents, letters, and extensive interviews. The result is a study of decisions and operations on each side of this campaign in relation to those of the other.
The first Philippine campaign presents an opportunity to study a retrograde movement by large American forces (the withdrawal to Bataan) and the methods by which General MacArthur and his commanders executed it with complete success. The book also recounts in detail the defeat and surrender of an American force of 140,000 men. It also presents the campaign in the larger perspective of global strategy and national policies, underlining the consequences of staking vital strategic and political objectives on military means insufficient to secure the objects of national policy.
The hope of holding the Philippines until the fleet could arrive was fading long before that fleet was crippled at Pearl Harbor. But the belief that long-range bombers in the Philippines could serve as a deterrent to the military expansion of the Japanese in Southeast Asia led the United States in July 1941 to place at General MacArthur's disposal all the B-17 bombers then available and in production. That illusion was destroyed and the Philippines virtually isolated when General MacArthur's air power was shattered on the first day of war. The present volume focuses new light on the heritage of controversy and conflicting explanations which that disaster produced.
The author's account of the subsequent campaign presents in detail a fight by American ground forces against an enemy in complete control of the air and sea. His book traces step by step the short-lived effort to stop the Japanese on the beaches, the withdrawal to Bataan, and the stubborn defense of Bataan and the island of Corregidor. The American forces, largely Filipino, were ably handled but were inadequately trained, ill equipped, and hastily mobilized. They included one infantry regiment of the U.S. Army and the 4th Marine Regiment. Their armament was of ancient vintage: the Enfield rifle, Stokes mortar, 2.95-inch mountain gun, 75-mm. and 155-mm. guns of European manufacture, and the light tank. The condition of Corregidor, Gibraltar of the Far East, illustrates vividly the effects of military obsolescence in armament and concepts of defense. In a real sense, the Philippine campaign was the last battle of World War I.
The logistical aspects of the campaign were of great importance and are fully developed in this volume. The long-standing ORANGE plan called only for defense of Corregidor and Bataan until the fleet could arrive in Manila Bay-a period estimated at six months. But Bataan had not been adequately stocked for a siege of this duration. Furthermore, General MacArthur, departing from the ORANGE plan, decided to oppose the enemy on the beaches. When this opposition immediately collapsed, supply officers had only two weeks to retrieve the stores they had brought forward and move them back to Bataan on crowded roads. Much had to be destroyed. The book gives a full account of the effect of shortages of supplies in producing the final agony of the troops and the decision by Maj. Gen. Edward P. King, Jr., to surrender in spite of direct orders of superior authority not to do so.
The reduction of Corregidor, Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright's surrender, and its effect on the forces in the southern Philippines illustrate vividly the situation of commanders confronted with the unwelcome decision to surrender while still capable of effective local resistance. They also bring out with dramatic vividness the problems that face higher commanders confronted with defeat.
- The effect of military unreadiness on a major strategic plan (ORANGE) (Ch. IV).
- The capabilities and limitations of a force of non-American troops constructed around a trained American nucleus (Chs. VIII, X-XIII).
- The defense of a beachhead by American forces (Chs. VI, VIII).
- The effect of communications and command relationships under conditions of surprise (Ch. V).
- Effects of enemy command of the air and sea on the control, tactics, and morale of an American force (Chs. IX, XXII, XXIV, XXV, XXVII, XXX).
- The prolonged retrograde movement of a large force under strong pressure (Chs. XIII, XVI).
- The prolonged defense of an extensive fortified position under conditions of siege, air attack, and supply shortages (Bataan) (Chs. XVI-XIX, XXIII-XXVI).
- Defense of a heavily armed and fortified island under similar conditions (Corregidor) (Chs. XXVII, XXIX-XXXI).
- The relation of logistical planning and the disposition of supplies to the capacity for resistance (Chs. IX, X, XV, XXI, XXII).
- The problems of surrender (Chs. XXVI, XXXII).
- The use of World War I weapons and tactics in the first American campaign of World War II (Chs. II, VIII, XI, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX).
GUADALCANAL: THE FIRST OFFENSIVE By John Miller, jr. (1949,1989; 413 pages, 3 charts, 36 maps, 76 illustrations, 5 appendixes, glossary, index, CMH Pub 5-3.)
Guadalcanal: The First Offensive is a tactical history of ground operations involved in seizing and holding the heavily jungled island of Guadalcanal in the British Solomon Islands. It covers the campaign from the initial invasion on 7 August 1942 to 21 February 1943 when the area including the Russell Islands was finally secured. In the Pacific subseries this volume follows The Fall of the Philippines, is concurrent with Victory in Papua, and precedes CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul.
The Guadalcanal Campaign was the first sustained Allied offensive in the Pacific. It began a series of amphibious attacks in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas which pointed toward the reduction of the great Japanese base at Rabaul in the Bismarck Archipelago. Just as the Japanese hoped to use Rabaul and their forward bases in the Solomons, the Bismarck Archipelago, and New Guinea to sever the U.S.-Australian line of communications, so the Allies planned their offensives to protect that line of communications and indirectly to clear the way for the return of American forces to the Philippines.
To seize the initiative from the Japanese, the Americans were initially forced to launch their offensive before they had amassed the preponderance of military strength that characterized the latter phases of the war. Japanese reaction was so violent and the contestants were so evenly matched on the sea and in the air that the campaign developed into a six-month struggle for control of the approaches to Guadalcanal coupled with intense ground fighting for possession of the island itself. While air and naval forces fought six full-scale naval battles and hundreds of smaller engagements, American ground combat troops grappled with Japanese military forces in the tropical rain forests, in the mountains, and on grassy hills. The fight was hard, and the enemy skillful and stubborn. Nevertheless, the final American victory demonstrated that their leadership, determination, tactics, and weapons were as effective in the damp dark of the jungle as in the desert or on the open plains.
The measure of the campaign is not to be found in the relatively small numbers of troops engaged. The Americans and Japanese were straining to bring their forces to bear at the end of long and vulnerable lines of communications, so that battalion and regimental actions assumed a much greater degree of importance than they did in, for example, the campaign in Europe during 1944 and 1945.
Guadalcanal: The First Offensive treats operations of U.S. Army ground combat troops in detail. It summarizes the achievements of U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Air, and Allied units in order to show the contributions of all. Starting at the level of corps and division headquarters, ground combat is explained systematically down to the battalion level. When possible, key actions are carried down to the level of companies, platoons, and even squads, for combat in the thick tropical jungles tended to break up into a series of small-unit fights. Every attempt is made to show the contributions of all supporting arms and services, so that air, artillery, engineer, and signal support are related to infantry action as closely as possible.
- A case study of the strategic problems facing the high (JCS) command: theater problems versus grand strategy (Ch. I).
- An amphibious offensive: an early example of planning and execution (Chs. II, III).
- Organizing beachhead defenses (Ch. IV).
- The dependence of tactical strength on logistics (summarized in Ch. XIII; see also Chs. II-V).
- Japanese offensive plans and operations (Chs. V, VI).
- As others saw us: "Through Japanese eyes" (App. D).
- Tactical subjects:
- The corps in the attack (Chs. XI, XII, XIV).
- The regiment in the attack, with artillery and air support (Ch. XI, Sec. 1).
- Attack of a heavily defended area (Chs. X, XII).
- Defense against Japanese attack (Chs. IV, V, VI).
- Employment of field artillery (Ch. XI, Sec. 1, and Ch. XII, Sec. 2).
- A hastily improvised attack (Ch. V).
VICTORY IN PAPUA. By Samuel Milner. (1957, 1989; 409 pages, 23 maps, 69 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-4.)
Soon after the shattered American Navy won its great victory at Midway, the United States launched its ground forces into their first offensives in the Pacific, at Guadalcanal as recounted above, and on the eastern tip of New Guinea. The offensive in Papua was an Allied operation in which the American ground contingent was supplied by two U.S. Army divisions, the 32d and a regiment of the 41st. Victory in Papua is a detailed account of their bitter experience in the operation to which they were committed, the objective of which was to expel the Japanese from their lodgments at Milne Bay, Buna, and Gona.
This was the first offensive under General MacArthur's command, and the American forces used were untried, neither trained nor seasoned for their difficult first assignment. For most of the Allied troops the Papua Campaign was a military nightmare. The work describes the agonies and frustrations of men living under almost intolerable conditions, plagued by disease, short of artillery, and pitted against a skilled and resolute foe.
While the narrative focuses on the painful struggles of the American ground forces to master their environment and overcome their foes, its scope is as broad as the campaign and includes the direction of joint, Allied operations; the operations of the Australians; and the sometimes highly experimental employment of air power to transport and supply the ground forces as well as support them in battle.
- Problems of joint and Allied command (Ch. II).
- Problems in theater strategy (Chs. I, II).
- Japanese offensive plans and operations (Chs. I, III, IV, V, VI).
- Air transport and supply (Chs. V, VII).
- Improvisation of logistic support (Chs. V, VII, VIII, X, XI).
- Effects of disease and insufficient training upon tactical efficiency (Chs. VII-XVIII).
- Small-unit attacks against fortified areas (Chs. VIII-XVIII).
- Special problems of command (Chs. X, XI).
CARTWHEEL: THE REDUCTION OF RABAUL. By John Miller, jr. (1959, 1984,1990; 418 pages, 2 tables, 11 charts, 22 maps, 89 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 5-5.)
The numerous and varied operations which resulted in the reduction of Rabaul illuminate Allied strategy, tactics, and command. The Allied offensive, begun with limited and costly counteroffensives on Guadalcanal and in eastern New Guinea, now began to take unexpectedly long strides. Postponement of the cross-Channel attack in favor of the invasion of North Africa, together with the rapidly mounting productivity of the American war economy, made it possible for the United States to deploy more strength in the Pacific in 1943 than its planners had originally anticipated. But Japanese strength had not yet been seriously impaired except in aircraft carriers, and Japan had the advantage of interior lines. The victorious operations that led to the isolation of Rabaul thus provide an inspiring and instructive story of successes won by strategic daring, tactical resourcefulness and flexibility, and human ingenuity and courage. They also demonstrate a remarkable capacity for teamwork at all levels. The Allied forces engaged, under the strategic direction of General MacArthur, were the ground, air, and naval surface forces of the South Pacific Area under the command of Admiral Halsey and those of the Southwest Pacific Area under the command of General MacArthur. Their ability to work and learn together was a remarkable achievement.
The operational strategy that grew into a pattern in this campaign called for ground forces, transported and protected by Allied naval and air forces, to seize bases from which the air forces and navy then neutralized other enemy bases in a continuous process of cooperation and forward leaps. To meet the enemy's determination to fortify heavily their advance bases and inflict high casualties in any attacking force, the Allied commanders used their superior strength to seize positions that were strategically important but weakly defended. Out of this emerged the bypassing technique whereby the Allies steamed or flew past strong enemy garrisons which were neutralized by air and naval action and left to wither on the vine. In the end, contrary to the original anticipations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General MacArthur, this method sufficed to dispose of the great enemy base at Rabaul.
CARTWHEEL provides information and references with which to study such variegated topics as Pacific strategy; inter-theater relationships and coordination of widely separated forces and operations; problems and solutions in theater commands involving ground, air, and naval forces (U.S. and Allied); the relationship of such forces in a new pattern of warfare; and tactical problems and their solution, particularly in amphibious and jungle operations. The author also describes the close relationship of artillery, air, and naval support to infantry action wherever the records enabled him to do so and has been attentive to the relationship of logistics to progress in battle.
- The execution of national strategy: a study in balancing ends against means (Chs. I, II, XII).
- Theater headquarters in action: studies in unified command (Chs. III, VI, X, XI, XII, XIV, XV).
- Inter-theater cooperation and coordination (Chs. III, XII, XV).
- Planning and executing amphibious offensives (Chs. V, VI, XII, XIV, XV).
- Planning and executing a combined amphibious, overland, and airborne offensive (Ch. XI).
- The corps in the attack (Chs. VIII, IX).*
- The corps in defense, using interior lines (Ch. XVII).
- The division in a jungle (heavy forest) attack, with emphasis on difficulties (Ch. VII).*
- Operational techniques of bypassing strongpoints (Chs. X, XII, XV).
*These chapters also contain much material on operations of smaller units.
SEIZURE OF THE GILBERTS AND MARSHALLS. By Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love. (1955, 1985, 1989; 414 pages, 4 tables, 3 charts, 27 maps, 92 illustrations, appendix, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-6.)
This volume tells the story of the initial thrust in the drive across the Central Pacific. The campaign opened in November 1943 under Admiral Nimitz's direction, when the drive in the South and Southwest Pacific, directed by General MacArthur, was approaching Rabaul and was already on its way up the coast of New Guinea. Henceforth, a two-pronged offensive, coordinated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becomes the subject of the history of the war in the Pacific.
The decision to launch a double offensive against Japan revived the time-honored concept of a drive from Hawaii into the western Pacific, which had been laid aside, together with the ORANGE plan's focus on a Philippine offensive proved to be one of the momentous decisions in the war against Japan. A full account of the circumstances that lay behind this decision-the increase in American resources, the discussions at the level of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff-appears in the volumes on Global Logistics and Strategy and Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare. Its significance in Pacific strategy is further developed in the theater volume, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years. Here enough strategy is introduced to explain the two campaigns of the initial thrust under Admiral Nimitz.
In this first move only two Army divisions were engaged, the 7th and 27th. Their operations on Makin, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein are described and analyzed in detail, but the story of the whole operation, in which Navy, Marines and Army Air Forces played the leading roles, is retold to the extent necessary to illuminate the decisions of Army commanders and present the action of the 7th and 27th Infantry Divisions in a historical context.
The operation was amphibious throughout because the islands seized were so small that naval forces provided essential gunfire and aerial support to the troops ashore until the end of the fighting. Once captured, these island groups (atolls) served as steppingstones in the form of advance air and naval bases from which future amphibious operations to the westward could be supported.
The present volume is particularly valuable as a study of the role of ground forces in amphibious operations. The errors made were instructive, and the lessons learned as well as the positions seized were an important contribution to the success of the subsequent advances, described in other Pacific subseries volumes. Specifically, the account contains instructive examples of the coordination of naval gunfire, artillery, and air strikes and the problems of successfully orchestrating a wide variety of ground, air, and sea components toward a unified purpose.
- Strategic background of the campaigns (Chs. I, XXI).
- Tactical planning for amphibious operations (Chs. II, III, XI).
- Troop training for amphibious operations (Chs. III, XII, XIX).
- Logistics of amphibious operations (Chs. III, XII).
- Command relationships in joint (amphibious) operations (Chs. II, XI, XIX).
- Amphibious landings against defended atolls (Chs. V, IX, XIV, XVIII, XIX).
- Small-unit actions in atoll warfare (Chs. V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX).
- Naval gunfire support in amphibious operations (Chs. III, V, IX, X, XII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XXI).
- Employment of artillery in amphibious operations (Chs. V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX).
- Air support in amphibious operations (Chs. III, V, IX, X, XII, XIV, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI).
- Tank-infantry coordination in atoll operations (Chs. V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX).
- Inapplicability of envelopment in small island tactics (Chs. V, VI, VII, VIII).
- Underwater demolition teams in landing operations (Chs. XII, XIV).
- Employment of amphibian vehicles in landing operations (Chs. III, V, IX, X, XI, XIV, XIX).
- Japanese island defenses (Chs. IV, XIII, XIX).
- Japanese counterattacks (Chs. VIII, IX, XVI, XIX).
- Japanese strategy operations (Chs. IV, XIII, XIX).
- Supply over the beaches in amphibious operations (Chs. VI, VII, IX, X, XIV, XVIII, XIX).
CAMPAIGN IN THE MARIANAS. By Philip A. Crowl. (1960, 1985, 1989; 505 pages, 2 tables, 2 charts, 34 maps, 89 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-7.)
Campaign in the Marianas tells the story of the capture of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the Central Pacific in mid-1944, together with the strategic and tactical planning that preceded the fighting, the supporting operations by air and sea forces, and the final exploitation of these islands as bases. The Marianas victory was one of the key actions in the Pacific; the U.S. invasion of the Marianas provoked the Japanese Fleet into a major and unsuccessful engagement, and the Marianas provided the bases from which the Army Air Forces later immolated the cities of Japan.
All Central Pacific operations shared certain characteristics. They were joint amphibious operations conducted under the principle of unity of command over all air, sea, and ground forces. They had as objectives potential air and naval bases which were to be seized by ground troops who were carried forward and supported by warships and airplanes. Their accomplishments involved hard fighting and relatively heavy casualties.
Because the number of Army troops in the Marianas was relatively small, much attention is devoted to small-unit actions, with the spotlight often falling on the rifle company. This account, like others in the Pacific subseries, also contains instructive examples of the coordination of naval gunfire, artillery, and air strikes, providing an exceptional opportunity to study the coordination of ground, air, and sea forces.
The Marianas invasions again demonstrated the soundness of U.S. amphibious doctrine and tested the principle of unity of command. This volume sheds light on interservice command and cooperation, treating frankly some of the bitter interservice controversies between the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps which emerged at the local level.
- Strategic background of the operations (Ch. I).
- Tactical planning for amphibious operations (Chs. III, XIII, XV).
- Troop training for amphibious operations (Chs. III, XV).
- Logistics of amphibious operations (Chs. III, VII, XV).
- Command relationships and interservice cooperation and controversy in joint operations (Chs. III, VII, X, XV).
- Amphibious landings on defended beaches (Chs. V, XVII).
- Small-unit actions in island warfare (Chs. V, VI, VIII, IX, XI, XII, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX).
- Naval gunfire support in amphibious operations (Chs. V, VII, XIV, XV, XVII).
- Employment of artillery (Chs. VII, XII, XIII, XIV).
- Air support (Chs. V, VII, XIV, XV, XVII).
- Employment of amphibian vehicles in landing operations (Chs. V, XIII, XIV, XVII).
- Japanese defenses (Chs. IV, IX, XIII, XVI).
- Japanese counterattacks (Chs. VI, XII, XIV, XVII, XVIII).
- U.S. and Japanese fleet operations (Ch. VII).
- Movement of supplies over beaches in amphibious operations (Chs. V, VII, XIV, XVII).
- Army versus Marine Corps (Chs. IX, X).
THE APPROACH TO THE PHILIPPINES. By Robert Ross Smith. (1953, 1984; 623 pages, 2 tables, 14 charts, 34 maps, 51 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-8.)
The Approach to the Philippines covers a series of seven complex amphibious and ground operations along the northern coast of New Guinea during the period April-October 1944, in the Southwest Pacific Area, and the capture of the southern Palau Islands, September-November 1944, in the Central Pacific Area. These operations paved the way for the Allied invasion of the Philippines in the late fall of 1944.
The Approach to the Philippines covers all activities-ground, air, and naval- necessary for adequate understanding of the Army ground narrative. The nature of combat usually involved a series of coordinated but separate operations by regimental combat teams. Divisions seldom fought as integral units during the approach to the Philippines.
The operations involved all the mechanics of amphibious warfare in 1944-strategic and logistical planning, naval gunfire, carrier-based and land-based air support, infantry maneuver, small-unit actions, artillery support, tank actions, tactical supply ashore, medical problems, and civil affairs. The series of operations described was unique, and the problems of execution involved were vastly complicated by the fact that they were executed in rapid succession. While one was being planned, another was being launched, the height of combat was being reached in a third, and still others had entered a consolidation stage.
Basically, The Approach to the Philippines becomes a story of joint operations from the highest to the lowest levels. Pertinent information about strategic planning by the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff is included to fit the tactical narrative into its proper perspective in the global war. At theater level the problems of joint planning, command, and organization for amphibious operations are covered in detail. At the tactical level may be found the story of a U.S. Army infantry company advancing along a coastal strand with the support of a U.S. Navy PT boat, while a fighter-bomber of the Royal Australian Air Force orbited overhead, ready to dive-bomb or strafe targets that the ground and naval units could not destroy. Or there is the story of a U.S. Navy destroyer and guns aboard amphibious craft manned by U.S. Army engineers that covered the withdrawal of an Army infantry battalion, while Army Air Forces planes protected all three elements. Finally, the plans and actions of the enemy are covered, principally from Japanese records.
- Strategic planning, Allied and Japanese (Chs. I, IV, XV, XVIII, XIX).
- Intelligence (Chs. II, VI, X, XII, XIII, XVII, XIX, XXII-XXIV).
- Tactical planning for amphibious operations (Chs. II, IX, XII).
- Logistical aspects of joint operations (Chs. II, III, V, XIX).
- Organization for joint operations (Chs. II, IX, XIX).
- Naval gunfire support (Chs. II, III, V, IX, XII, XIII, XVII-XXI).
- Amphibious landings (Chs. III, V, IX, XII, XVII, XVIII, XX, XXI).
- Assaults on defended islands (Chs. IX, XXI).
- Defense of, withdrawal from, and reestablishment of a river line (Chs. VI-VIII).
- Enveloping maneuvers in jungled terrain (Chs. III, VIII, XIII).
- Cave and tunnel warfare (Chs. XIV, XVI, XXII-XXIV).
- Air support, strategic (Chs. II, III, XVIII-XXI).
- Tank operations, problems involved (Chs. III, X, XI, XIII, XIV, XXI-XXIV, XXVI).
- Flamethrowers (Chs. XVI, XXII-XXIV).
- Defense against naval counterattack (Ch. XV).
- Army units under Marine Corps command (and vice versa) (Chs. XIX, XXI-XXIV).
- Supply problems in roadless, tropical terrain (Chs. III, V, XIII, XIV).
- Parachute operations (Ch. XVII).
LEYTE: THE RETURN TO THE PHILIPPINES. By M. Hamlin Cannon. (1954, 1987; 420 pages, 5 tables, 3 charts, 23 maps, 70 illustrations, 2 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 5-9.)
In this narrative, the Sixth Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, emerges from the series of island-hopping, bypassing operations described in CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul and in The Approach to the Philippines and engages a Japanese army on a land area of 2,785 square miles in a war of maneuver. The Sixth Army landed on Leyte on 20 October 1944 with the support of the fleets of the Pacific Ocean Areas and the Southwest Pacific Area, and these, in the famous Battle of Leyte Gulf on 24 October, blocked the desperate attempt of the Japanese Navy to destroy the expedition. U. S. Army troops were engaged in greater numbers than ever before assembled in the Pacific and were supported by naval and air forces of corresponding size. The Sixth Army had to overcome Japanese forces of greater magnitude than any previously encountered. On 25 December 1944, the island was declared secure, and General MacArthur returned in triumph to the Philippines. The breach in Japan's line of communications with Southeast Asia that had been effected by U.S. submarines was now permanent and its last hope of victory destroyed.
The Sixth Army accomplished its task on Leyte by executing a gigantic double envelopment coupled with an amphibious landing in the enemy's rear area. Throughout the campaign Krueger's army was aided by strategic and tactical air cover and support from its old companion, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney's Fifth Air Force, and the Navy's air arm, and enjoyed the cooperation of guerrilla forces. The roles of supporting forces and strategic prospects and plans affecting the campaign are described to the extent necessary to explain the Army's plans and performance.
Leyte deals systematically with both American and Japanese operations. It gives an account of the plans and countermoves of the enemy, derived from Japanese sources. On the American side two corps and nine divisions were committed, and the study approaches operations from a corps and division level, but it amplifies the action of smaller units when those activities were particularly decisive or when available source material and space allowed the author to highlight the nature of the small-unit operations conducted.
The Leyte Campaign lasted longer than originally planned. In setting forth the circumstances of this delay Leyte illustrates the interdependence of ground and air forces. Although General Krueger officially assumed responsibility for the delay, the difficulty in constructing adequate airfields was the immediate culprit. The air forces were, for a considerable period, unable to seal off the battlefield, and the Japanese were able to funnel in reinforcements because the air bases on Leyte were not ready on time and were unsatisfactory when ready-a condition blamed on the soil, drainage, and climate of Leyte.
- Logistical planning for an island campaign (Ch. III).
- Relationships of ground, air, and naval forces in war (Chs. III, VI, XVI).
- A large-scale amphibious operation: planning (Ch. III) and execution (Chs. IV-V).
- Japanese command and strategy: a study in insufficiency, delay, and piecemeal commitment (Ch. IV, 3d section; Ch. VI; Ch. VII, 1st section; Ch. XVII; Ch. XXI, 3d section; this topic should be studied in conjunction with the Luzon Campaign).
- Logistical problems in a tropical operation (Chs. XI, XVIII).
- Mountain warfare (Chs. XII, XIII).
- Exploiting an opportunity: an infantry division in amphibious envelopment (Ch. XVI).
- A field army's summary of its tactical experience (Ch. XIV).
- Kamikaze attacks (see Index).
- Movement of supplies during the amphibious phase of an invasion (Ch. V, 4th section).
- Guerrillas as a source of intelligence and employed in conjunction with regular troops (see Index: "Guerrilla movement").
TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES. By Robert Ross Smith. (1963, 1984, 1991; 756 pages, 9 tables, 45 maps, 87 illustrations, 8 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-10.)
Triumph in the Philippines is the third volume in the subseries to deal with the reconquest of the Philippine Archipelago. The narrative traces the broad strategic vision that was employed in arriving at the decision to invade Luzon and bypass Formosa as a steppingstone to Okinawa. This study focuses on the Luzon Campaign with twenty-nine of its thirty-two chapters devoted to this subject. Although the Pacific is decidedly a joint theater, the reader will find only passing references to naval activities in support of this campaign and will have to look to other sources for a more complete picture.
On 9 January 1945, the Sixth Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger commenced the largest United States Army operation in the Pacific. It entailed the use of more ground forces than did the operations in North Africa, Italy, or southern France. Unlike previous operations in the Pacific, the number of U.S. troops engaged, coupled with the ability to maneuver these forces in the central plains north of Manila, was more characteristic of European operations than any other Pacific campaign. By the time the campaign officially closed on 15 August 1945, over sixteen American divisions, or their equivalents, were committed to the liberation of the Philippines and the fulfillment of MacArthur's promise.
Starting with the landings at Lingayen Gulf, this volume traces the advance of the U.S. troops through the Philippine central plains and the recapture of Clark Air Base and Manila. The volume ends with U.S. troops in northern Luzon and the southern Philippines. Unusual for the Pacific theater are the operations associated with the capture of a major urban center, which proved to be more costly and destructive than originally estimated.
Accurate intelligence, always in short supply during hostilities, proved no less allusive in 1945. Throughout the campaign intelligence estimates between MacArthur and his field headquarters varied widely, affecting both strategic and tactical decisions. No where is this more evident than in the D-day estimate of Japanese strength on Luzon. Eight days after the invasion, the Sixth Army's original estimate of 152,500 defenders had been raised to 234,500, which proved closer to the Japanese actual strength of some 250,000. Continued overly optimistic assessments of Japanese strength eventually took its toll in American casualties and on morale during the seven and one-half months of campaigning.
When the war ended, General Yamashita, the Japanese commander, was still conducting an active defense in northern Luzon with over 65,000 troops, estimated at the time by General Krueger to be no more then 23,000. Because of the surrender, large numbers of Japanese sources were available to the author, providing insight into the extensive Japanese dispositions, plans, and actions. The reader will find that due credit is given in this volume to the Japanese and their defense of the Philippines.
- 1. Assault of an urban center (Manila) (Chs. XIII-XVI).
- 2. Intelligence estimates during the Philippine campaign (Chs. II, X, XVIII, XXIX).
- 3. Use of armor (Chs. II, V, VI, IX, XI, XXIX).
- 4. Use of guerrillas in support of U.S. troops (Chs. XVII, XXII, XXV, XXVI, XXX, XXXI).
- 5. Use of tactical air to support ground operations (Chs. II, IV, XIII, XVII).
- 6. Airborne operations in support of the campaign (Chs. XII, XVII, XXIX).
- 7. Assault of heavily armed and fortified island positions (Ch. XIX).
- 8. Amphibious landings in the Philippines (Chs. II, IV, VI, XVII, XXII, XXXI).
OKINAWA: THE LAST BATTLE. By Roy E. Appleman, James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, and John Stevens. (1948,1984,1991; 529 pages, 10 tables, 9 charts, 54 maps, 107 illustrations, 3 appendixes, bibliographical note, index, CMH Pub 5-11.)
Okinawa: The Last Battle is a tactical history of the conquest of the Ryukyu Islands by forces under the command of the U.S. Tenth Army in the period 1 April to 30 June 1945. The volume takes its name from the principal island of the Ryukyu island group, where the critical and decisive battles of the campaign were fought. The Ryukyus Campaign followed the capture of Iwo Jima and was planned as the last of the Pacific island operations before the invasion of Japan itself.
This work is an account of all United States forces engaged-Army, Navy, Air, and Marine. It also tells in considerable detail the story of the Japanese 32d Army, which was the Okinawa garrison, and of Japanese naval and air forces committed in the defense of the Ryukyus. The volume begins with the planning for this amphibious operation at the threshold of Japan, one of the largest of the Pacific war, and follows the operation through all succeeding phases to the death of the Japanese commanding general and his chief of staff.
Of special interest was the tremendous volume of naval firepower employed by ships stationed offshore on the flanks of the American ground forces as the latter advanced across the island. The concentration of naval, air, and ground firepower employed by American forces in the Okinawa campaign was unparalleled for any comparable force, length of front, and duration of time in the history of warfare. Nevertheless, blunting this great firepower was the most extensive network of underground cave and tunnel defenses with tightly interlocking fields of fire encountered in the history of warfare. The Japanese defensive system stretched from coast to coast and converged ring upon ring in depth, with Shuri, the ancient capital of the Ryukyus, at its center.
The battle resolved itself into a myriad of small-unit actions against enemy cave and firing positions. This fight was conducted at close quarters by infantry-engineer and infantry-tank teams. Tank flamethrowers and engineer and infantry demolition teams, covered by small groups of riflemen, often formed the combat units that enabled Tenth Army slowly to destroy the many well-constructed defensive positions, eliminate their dedicated defenders, and move gradually forward. The extensive attacks of Japanese Kamikaze pilots against the American naval forces supporting the ground forces are also treated as an important part of the operation.
The ground combat story is told principally from regimental level. But as often as not, the treatment goes down to battalion level and frequently to company, platoon, and squad. It was the small unit that normally destroyed a particular enemy position holding the key to further advances. Often it was the individual soldier whose heroism was the decisive factor in such laborious activities, making it the theme of the immediate narrative.
The XXIV Army Corps and the III Amphibious Corps, U.S. Fleet Marine Force, were the principal subordinate units of Tenth Army. In the two corps were the Army's 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th Infantry Divisions and the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions. In addition, the 2d Marine Division played a minor role in the preinvasion maneuvers, and its 18th Regiment was in limited action for a few days toward the end of the campaign.
- The planning and conduct of a major amphibious operation (Chs. I, II).
- Naval participation in an amphibious operation (Chs. I-III).
- Establishment of beachheads on a hostile shore (Chs. III-VII).
- Assault on a strongly defended small island (Ie Shima) (Ch. VII).
- Attack and defense of a fortified line (Chs. V, VIII, IX, XI, XIII, XIV, XVII).
- Attack of a fortified area (Chs. VIII-XV).
- Small-unit tactics (Chs. V, VII, VIII, XI, XIII, XIV, XV, XVII).
- Cave and tunnel defense (Chs. VIII, IX, XI, XVII).
- Successful (enemy) withdrawal under attack (Ch. XV).
- Naval gunfire support of operations ashore (Ch. VIII).
- Employment of armor in broken terrain (Chs. V, VII, VIII, IX, XI, XIII, XIV, XVII).
- Artillery (Ch. VIII).
- Air support-Navy, Marine, and Army-much of it in close support of ground operations (see Index: "Air support").
- Improvised use of weapons (Ch. X).
- Supply (Ch. XVI).
- Intelligence (Chs. IV, XV).
- Influence of weather (rain) (pp. 360-82).
- The relation of strategy and tactics (Ch. X).
- Japanese defense:
- Organization and weapons (Ch. IV).
- Counterattack (Ch. XII).
- Kamikaze attacks (Chs. III, IV).
- Hara-kiri (Ch. XVIII).