The campaign described in the present volume was important to the Army as an experience in amphibious warfare and combined operations against a formidable and still resourceful enemy. It was also of critical importance in the evolution of American strategy in the Pacific. CARTWHEEL began as an uphill fight with means that seemed inadequate to the ends proposed, even though these were limited. But it swiftly brought our forces to a crest from which we were able to launch the two powerful drives, through the Southwest and Central Pacific, that crushed Japan before we redeployed the forces directed against Germany. The campaign put to the test the principle of unity of command, and also the capacity for co-operation between two theaters, one under Army, the other under Navy command, and both under forceful and dominant commanders. By ingenious and aggressive use of the ground, sea, and air forces at their disposal they made these suffice to achieve more than had been foreseen as possible, and opened up a new vista of strategy. They took a heavy toll of the enemy's resources, established the technique of bypassing his strongholds, including finally Rabaul itself, and threw him on the defensive. This book will be of interest not only to professional officers, but also to a wide variety of other readers and students.
Washington, D. C. R. W. STEPHENS 30 May 1958 Maj. Gen., U. S. A. Chief of Military History
Born in Scotland and a U.S. citizen since 1928, John Miller, jr., was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History by the State University of Iowa in 1942. In World War II he saw service overseas with the U.S. Marine Corps in New Zealand and in the Solomon Islands, where he participated in the Bougainville operations described in this volume. A member of the historical staff of the Department of the Army since 1945, Dr. Miller is the author of Guadalcanal: The First Offensive in the present series, coauthor of Korea: 1951-1953, and contributor of several chapters to the 1956 edition of ROTC Manual 145-20, American Military History, 1607-1953. He has written articles and reviews for historical and military journals, and has taught history at the University of Omaha, the State University of Iowa, the Graduate School of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and The American University in Washington, D.C.
The reduction of Rabaul was accomplished by a gigantic double envelopment which required closely co-ordinated land, sea, and air operations by the armed forces of the United States and her Pacific allies. This volume, like the others in the series, attempts to explain in detail the part played by the U.S. Army ground forces and to make clear, by summary, the contributions of all forces and nations.
The CARTWHEEL battles differed from those of the two earlier campaigns, Guadalcanal and Papua, that were directed toward the reduction of Rabaul. In Guadalcanal and Papua the antagonists, more evenly matched than in later campaigns, strained themselves to bring relatively small ground forces to bear on narrow fronts, so that great issues hinged on the outcome of regimental and battalion actions. A study of those campaigns, therefore, quite properly focuses on tactics. During the period covered by this book the Allied commanders could employ superior forces over a vast area while the Japanese had no recourse but to entrench themselves in an effort to hold out and inflict as many casualties as possible. This volume attempts to analyze the techniques by which the Allies employed their strength to bypass fortified positions and seize weakly defended but strategically important areas, or, in the apt baseball parlance used by General MacArthur, to "hit 'em where they ain't." It is, therefore, a study in strategy and high command as well as in tactics.
The willing, able counsel and assistance I have received in preparing this book have greatly eased my task. Dr. Louis Morton, Chief of the Pacific Section of the Office of Military History during the period of research and writing, and my other friends and colleagues in this Office have aided unstintingly. Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian of the Army, has been a constant source of wise and kindly help. The successive Chiefs of Military History--Maj. Gens. Orlando Ward, Albert C. Smith, John H. Stokes, and Richard W. Stephens--and Cols. Thomas J. Sands, George G. O'Connor, Ridgway P. Smith, Jr., and Seneca W. Foote have appreciated the nature and worth of history and provided encouragement and powerful support.
For locating and furnishing to me, without restriction, all the necessary records I wish to make public my gratitude to the efficient records
staff of this Office and of the Military Records Branch, Federal Records Center, of the U.S. General Services Administration; the Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps; and the Naval History Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. I also owe thanks to Messrs. Stanley L. Falk and Thomas G. Wilds for performing research and translation in Japanese records, to Mrs. Marguerite Bartz for typing the manuscript, and to the participants named on pp. 386-87 who generously read all or parts of the manuscript and sent in helpful comments and additional information.
Final editing was the responsibility of Mrs. Gay Morenus Hammerman, who also prepared the index. Mrs. Nancy Easterling Payne was copy editor. Maps were prepared under the supervision of Maj. James F. Holly and Mr. Elliot Dunay. Miss Margaret E. Tackley selected the photographs and wrote the captions. To these capable and friendly colleagues who contributed so much--many thanks.
Responsibility for any deficiencies in this book is mine alone.
Washington, D. C. JOHN MILLER, JR. 30 May 1958
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