Aside from my own participation, I have always felt a keen interest in the New Britain operation. Here, apparently, military teamwork came near to perfection. Here it would seem that all arms co-operated so smoothly as to make the result easy.
The truth is that nothing was easy on New Britain. Jungle, swamp and mountain combined with atrocious weather to multiply problems of time and space. Then, too, the Japanese held an inestimable advantage in their familiarity with the terrain--an advantage which they exploited with no little skill. It took maneuver on our part to cope with this phalanx of difficulties, and before the fighting ended it had sprawled over more territory than any other Marine campaign of the war.
There is no such thing as a "light" casualty list, and more than 300 Marines paid with their lives in New Britain's fetid jungle. But viewed in the light of numbers engaged, ground gained, and enemy losses, it was not a costly victory. On the contrary, the fighting that ranged from Cape Gloucester to Talasea ranks as one of the most economical operations in the entire Pacific.
LEMUEL C. SHEPHERD, JR.
GENERAL, U. S. MARINE CORPS
COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
THE CAMPAIGN ON NEW BRITAIN, a monograph prepared by the Historical Branch, Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps, is the tenth in a series designed to give both a casual reader and the military student an accurate and complete account of the operations in which Marine units participated during World War II. When sufficient of these monographs have been brought to completion, they will in turn be condensed and edited into a final, definitive Operational History of the Marine Corps in World War II.
While the campaign on New Britain was conducted under the aegis of the Southwest Pacific commander, and the first assault landing was made at Arawe by an Army regimental combat team, Army activities are treated herein only as necessary to lend perspective and substance to the over-all account. This was done in the belief that Army agencies are better qualified to deal with Army operations, and would prefer to tell the Army story themselves.
Many officers and men who participated in this campaign have contributed to the preparation of this monograph, either by written comments on preliminary drafts or by submitting to interview. To them grateful acknowledgment is made. Major John A. Crown, a participant throughout the operation, prepared the story of the Talasea phases. The Office of Naval Records and History, Department of the Navy, and the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, made available their records and furnished helpful comments to assist in making this study complete and accurate. Maps included herein were prepared by the Reproduction Section, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia. Official Marine Corps photographs have been used to illustrate this monograph unless otherwise noted.
T. A. WORNHAM
BRIGADIER GENERAL, U. S. MARINE CORPS
ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF, G-3
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