20 Oct 43 HISTORICAL RECORD INDEX CARD
TYPE: Mimeo Secret Outline Plan,
20 Oct 43 FROM: G-3 GHQ Planning PAGES: Cover, (4), 13, plus maps and charts TO: (Not stated) SUBJ: Reno III, Outline Plan for Opns of the SWPA, 1944
(Plan Reno III was promulgated as a result of certain Quadrant (Quebec I) Conference decisions and differs rather radically from Reno, Reno II-A, and Reno II, which have been treated separately. Attached hereto is a memo dated 31 Oct 43 saying in part:
("The accompanying Reno III Outline Plan for operations of the Southwest Pacific Area to reoccupy the Southern Philippines has been submitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in compliance with the enclosed directive. Pending approval this plan will be utilized as a guide by the commander to whom issued for long-range planning for the year 1944 ...."
(The directive mentioned is a radio, #8162/19th, presumably Oct 43, from Gen Marshall to Gen MacArthur, saying in part: ("Certain papers delivered to you by Colonel Ritchie contain quadrant decisions covering operation against the Japanese. It is requested that you forward by 1 November 1943 outline plans for your operations to seize Kavieng and Admiralty Islands and for your advances in New Guinea as far west as Vogelkop .... This information is necessary for the integration of operations in your area with other approved operations against the Japanese in 1943-1944, particularly those to be conducted in the Japanese Mandates."
(Herewith follows the synopsis of Reno III -- Ed.)
Our strategic objective is the isolation of Japan from the Malaya-NEI area. Present tasks are to:
- Seize or neutralize E NG as far W as Wewak and including the Admi ralties and the Bismarck Archipelago.
Neutralize, rather than capture Rabaul.
- Advance along the N coast of NG as far W as the Vogelkop by AB-amphib jumps.
- Prepare to seize Mindanao by AB-amphib opns.
Our eventual task is to reoccupy the S PI, and by subsequent opns isolate Japan from the Malay-NEI area.
Accomplishment of the tasks presently assigned by Quadrant decisions initially requires opns along 2 general axes.
- NW along the NG coast from Vitiaz St in order to advance land-based air.
- W through the N Solomons-New Ireland, including the Admiralties, to a junction with the W axis in order to complete the isolation of Rabaul and obtain necessary bases for naval support of opns along the axis.
The eventual task requires seizure of Mindanao, followed by opns in conjunction with other Theaters to sever sea and air communications between Japan and the Malaya-NEI area. These opns require attacks against strongly defended air and naval bases. Our advantages lie in superior equipment and potentially superior strength in the air and on the sea, but amphib equipment will be limited pending cessation of the offensive in Europe. On the assumption that the Japanese will maintain their strategic defense, our advantages must be fully utilized to deal him a succession of blows precluding his recouping of air and sea forces after each of his defeats and so permit destruction of his bases in detail.
The general scheme of maneuver is to advance our land-based bomber line rapidly W along the land masses of NG and the PI by successive occupation of the minimum bases required. Hostile strength is by-passed wherever practicable to avoid costly and time-consuming opns; our flanks are protected by air opns; and necessary advanced naval bases are established under protection of landbased aviation in order to extend the range of naval action. Destructive air attacks are employed to soften up objectives and to gain air superiority. Hostile naval forces and shipping are destroyed along our line of advance to prevent reinforcement. Ground forces are displaced forward by air and amphib movements. Air and naval forces are established at each objective and the process is then repeated, neutralizing by air and sea action hostile concentrations that may be by-passed. The number of objectives is decreased and the length of bound increased by the use of a/c carriers to provide close air support. The same result is aided by extending the destructive effort of bombers through use of air envelopment to advance the fighter line through inland fields established and maintained by air support.
Sequence and timing are based on present enemy dispositions and are subject to change dependent upon enemy reaction and success of our opns. Timing is also dependent upon the availability of means, particularly amphib forces, and the timing given herein is based on an estimate of means to be available as a result of quadrant.
Logistic support is provided by the SOS of Sopac and SWPA. As opns progress to the NW, ports and supply bases are advanced by corresponding bounds. Heavy shipping is used wherever unloading facilities are available and amphib craft are used for assault elements and where the use of heavy shipping is impracticable. Trans-Pacific shipping is diverted directly to newly established bases along the line of advance. Bulk petroleum is transported forward in small tankers to points where the tactical situation permits the installation of bulk storage tanks.
Known requirements in items of special equipment, major units, air and service units, are set forth in the "1944 Troop Basis, GHQ, SWPA, 9 October 1943." (Requirements for each phase of the opns are set forth below -- Ed.)
Naval bases are required in the Bismarcks to support subsequent opns into W NG. Direct attack to capture Rabaul will be costly and time-consuming. Anchorages and potential air and naval bases exist at Kavieng and in the Admiralties. With the capture and development of such bases, Rabaul can be isolated from the NE. Direct attack into the Wewak area would also be costly in means and time. Presently occupied a/mes do not provide sufficient protection to by-pass the area, but potential air bases exist in the Hansa Bay area, from which the isolation of Rabaul can be completed and opns to the W of Wewak be protected. Scheme of Maneuver:
- Target date 1 Feb 44. SWPA forces seize the Hansa Bay area by amphib opns with AB support. Direct air support is provided from the Vitiaz St-Ramu valley a/mes. Shore-to-shore opns secure the mouth of the Sepik to contain enemy forces in the Wewak area. Advance bases are established for the support of opns in the Humboldt Bay area. Hostile forces in the Madang-Alexishafen area are isolated and the area later occupied by holding forces from the Huon Peninsula-Ramu Valley.
- Target date 1 Mar 44. Kavieng is occupied by an amphib opn of Sopac Forces. The opn is preceded by intensive air and naval neutralization of the Rabaul area and has the direct support of heavy elements of the PacFlt. Air support comes from W New Britain and from carriers. General air support is from NG, Nor-Sols, and Kiriwina and Woodlark. Interference from hostile flt is covered by opns of Cenpac and in the Mandates and by the PacFlt. Air elements are then established for support of opns against the Carolines and Rabaul. Light naval forces are established for support of opns to the W and to help blockade Rabaul.
- Target date 1 Mar 44. The Admiralties are taken by amphib opns of SWPA Forces staging through Vitiaz St. Direct air support comes from the Vitiaz St area and from CVEs. General air support from the Markham-Ramu area. Air and naval forces are established in the Admiralties, and base facilities developed, for the support of opns along the N coast of NG.
- When the blockade has sufficiently reduced the defensive capacity of the enemy garrison, Rabaul is occupied at a date and by forces later to be determined, and appropriate base facilities are established.
Garrison Assault Air Naval 2 US inf divs
6 Austn divs
1 NZ div
1 Austn armd bde
7 US inf divs
2 US Para RCTs
HB 5 grps
MB 10 grps
LB 111/2 grps
Day F 161/2 grps
Night F 14 grps
Trp Carr 61/4 grps
Photo & Recce 81/2 grps
Naval strategic support will be elements of the US Pac Flt as designated by the JCS. Location and types of bases for logistic support are mapped in Annex 4-b, and the scheme of maneuver is mapped in Annex 2-a.
(Initiated 1 Jun 44)
Advanced air and naval bases are required at an intermediate point on the N coast of NG for the support of opns into Geelvink Bay and protection of the L/C thereto. Air bases in Wewak are too distant from the Geelvink area to support attacks and are held in great strength by the Japanese. Costly and timeconsuming opns will be avoided by by-passing and neutralizing the Wewak area. Partially developed sites exist in the Humboldt Bay area which may be improved to meet essential requirements. The concentration of hostile a/mes in the Banda Sea area requires establishment of flank protection and support for opns into Geelvink Bay. Occupation of the Aroe-Kai-Tanimbar Islands provides a difficult but feasible means of securing this protection and support. Scheme of Maneuver
- Humboldt Bay, target date 1 Jun 44. An amphib opn from NG bases with AB support seizes objectives in the Aitape-Humboldt Bay area, by-passing Wewak. Air support is provided from the Markham-Ramu Valley, Hansa Bay, and the Admiralties. Close support comes from CVEs. Inland air bases are established in the upper Digoe-Fly Rivers by air transport as practicable. Adv bases are established in the Humboldt Bay area for support of opns into the Geelvink-Vogelkop area. Forces in the Aitape area initiate infiltration opns from the W toward Wewak and finally occupy it when hostile resistance has deteriorated.
- Arafura Sea. 1 Jun 44. Preceded by aerial neutralization of Timor a/mes, the Aroe-Kai-Tanimbar Islands are occupied by an amphib assault of Austn troops supported by AB elements. General air support is provided from Darwin area, convoy cover from Merauke-Horn Is-Arnhem Bay, and by CVEs. Air bases are promptly developed.
Garrison Assault Air Naval 6 Austn divs
1 NZ div
5 US inf divs
1 Austn armd bde
4 US inf divs
2 Austn inf
1 US AB div
2 para RCTs
221/2 Night F
81/2 Trp Carr
11 Photo Recce
Naval strategic support will be from the US PacFlt as designated by the JCS to insure noninterference by hostile heavy fit elements. Locations and types of bases for logistic support are in Annex 4-c.
(Initiated 15 Aug 44)
Major naval and air bases are required in W NG to support opns to the NW. Potential sites are available in the Geelvink Bay-Vogelkop area. Opns require protection against major enemy flt elements by the US Flt. Scheme of Maneuver (see also map, Annex 2-c):
- Geelvink Bay. 15 Aug 44. Anchorages, a/mes, and potential base sites are seized by an AB overseas landing, staged in NG. Babo and Nabire are neutralized by air staged through Aroe-Kai-Tanimbar. Direct air support is provided from the Humboldt Bay area through inland air bases established and maintained in favorable locations by air transport, and also by CVEs. Major air and naval base development is instituted for support of opns against Mindanao.
- Vogelkop Area, 1 Oct 44. The Sorong and Kabui Bay areas are occupied by an amphib opn with AB support. This opn is launched as soon as air support is available from Geelvink Bay bases. The Klamono oil field is occupied and intensively developed as a source of bunker fuel.
Forces required (see also Annexes 3-2, -b, and -c):
Garrison Combat Air Groups 7 Austn inf divs
1 NZ inf div
4 US Inf divs
1 Austn armd bde
Naval Combat Amphib Craft 2
(Initiated 1 Dec 44)
Advance into Mindanao requires a broadening of the front for deployment of air forces, protection for flanks, and establishment of advance bases for support of sea and AB movements. These requirements can be met by establishing air and light naval elements on Halmahera and/or Morotai. Menado must at least be denied to the enemy and Palua must be occupied by either Cenpac or SWPA forces. The Ambon area must be neutralized by air action, but may have to be occupied if hostile strength in the NEI requires such action. Scheme of Maneuver (see also map in Annex 2-d):
- Halamhera-Menado, target date 1 Dec 44. A/mes or sites therefor on Halamahera and/or Morotai are occupied and Menado seized by amphib opns
from Geelvink Bay, supported by AB elements. Air and naval forces are established for flank protection and support of subsequent opns to seize and occupy Mindanao.
- Ambon (contingent opn), 1 Dec. 44. In the event that hostile strength in the E NEI jeopardizes opns on Mindanao, it may be necessary to establish air and naval forces on Ambon. If required, this opn will be amphib, staged from Geelvink via the Dampier Strs, will seize enemy air bases on Ceram and Boeroe and capture Ambon. Enemy air forces on Timor are neutralized from Darwin, and general air support comes from Aroe-KaiTanimbar-Geelvink-Vogelkop areas.
- Palau, 1 Dec 44, or 15 Jan 45 if Ambon is occupied. In the event that SWPA forces are assigned the task of occupying Palau, that group is seized by amphib opns with the direct support of the PacFlt, including strong carrier elements. Naval air elements are established on Palau for protection of the axis of. advance against enemy air attacks from the N.
For location of bases for logistic support see Annex 4-e. Completion of Phase III accomplishes the tasks presently assigned to the SWPA by the quadrant decisions. Estimates of forces required to accomplish Phases IV and V of this plan are of problematical value in view of the certainty of major changes in the Pacific situation and in the availability and types of means available for the carrying out of Phase III. A tentative estimate of divs for Phases IV and V have been shown in Annex 3, but only as a basis for 44 troop estimates. For Phase IV these are:
Garrison Combat 5 Austn inf divs
4 US inf divs
1 Austn armd bde
7 US inf divs
1 Para RCT
2 US divs for possible opns in Jan 45
No estimates of naval or air means can be given at this time.
(Initiated 1 Feb 45)
Occupation of Mindanao requires an attack by major forces of all components over a widely spread area in order to achieve surprise and disperse the defensive effort. Employment of air envlopment on a major scale, using equipment now in prospect, becomes feasible upon establishment of adquate bases in the Geelvink-Vogelkop area. Present guerrilla organization provides necessary terminal facilities. Prompt and ample seaborne reinforcement of initial assault is essential. Consolidation of the S PI requires occupation of covering position in the islands to the SW and N of Mindanao and the establishment of major forces thereon preparatory to subsequent opns. "Inasmuch as the enemy must defend Mindanao with all the means at his disposal, prompt consolidation and subsequent
exploitation should meet a minimum of effective opposition." Scheme of Maneuver (see also map in Anex 2-c):
- Occupation of Mindanao, target date 1 Feb 45. Beachheads and a/mes through the N and NW portion of Mindanao are seized by major combined AB-amphib opns with carrier based air support. An AB invasion in strength is staged in New Britain and E NG via W NG. Guerrilla forces are employed to seize a/mes on which to land AB forces. Landing opns seize beachheads in the proximity of a/mes. Paratroops are dropped on a/mes. Light air elements are flown in to support the advance of occupation forces and protect subsequent landings. Initial landings are prompty reinforced by air transport.
- Consolidation of Southern PI: The Mindanao Occupation Force follows the AB invasion closely along the main line of advance to beachheads in our possession. All types of aviation are established in order to maintain air superiority and cover the occupation of Zamboanga and Davao and positions in islands to the SW and W. The L/C W of the line Palau-Vogelkop is kept open by naval elements from advanced bases in the Vogelkop area, supported by air from Palau, Menado, and Halmahera-Morotai. Additional forces of all arms are rapidly established on Mindanao in preparation for opns to reoccupy the northern PI and to isolate Japan from the Malay-NKI. Logistic bases are set forth on map of Annex 4-f. Ground forces required (a suggestion rather than definite estimate):
Garrison Combat 5 Austn inf divs
4 US inf divs
3 US inf divs for contingent opns
1 Austn armd bde
4 US inf divs
2 US AB divs
1 para RCT
Forces for the consolidation are undetermined. Impossible to estimate at this time the naval and air forces required.
(Annex 1 gives a map outline of the phases of opns as outlined above. An undated map attached to Annex 1 starts Phase I of the opns in the VogelkopGeelvink Area on 15 Jun 44, and must be dated after Apr 44 since it lists the Wadke-Sarmi Opn as a "Current Operation." It also lists the Marianas Opns of Cenpac to start on 15 Jun 44. (Annex 2-a through 2-f (3) outlines the scheme of maneuver for ground forces and the location of the.air forces throughout each phase of the operations.) (Annex 3 lists the combat elements required for navy, air, and ground forces. Information from this Annex has been integrated into the synopsis above. (Annexes 4-a through 4-f give the location and types of bases for logistic support of each phase of the opns planned in Reno III. (Supplement "A," G-2 Estimate of the Enemy Situation," is under a separate cover. (Supplement "B" is a chart showing the detailed use of ground, air and naval forces for each objective area, giving type and number of units for each opn. (Supplement "C" is a time and location schedule of each division utilized in the planned opns -- Ed.)
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