Section I: The Crisis in the South and Southwest Pacific
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Map 1: Pacific Theaters

Chapter 1: New Guinea and the Solomons

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was followed by a rapid succession of victories in the enemy's southward drive to gain possession of the Netherlands East Indies. Within little more than five months not only had he won that prize but the collapse of the American resistance in the Philippines had given him undisputed control of the sea communications joining the Indies with the home islands. For the protection of his new conquest he had seized Singapore in the west, and by overrunning Burma he had placed his forces in position to cut the last remaining line of supply by which China could draw upon outside aid for her continued resistance to the invader. Meanwhile, the enemy's perimeter had been pushed eastward in the Central Pacific to Wake Island and in the Southwest Pacific to Rabaul in New Britain, with its command of the approaches to Australia and the South Pacific.

Not until May, in the Battle of the Coral Sea, did Allied forces succeed in breaking the chain of Japanese victories. In the enemy's attempt to extend his lines eastward to Midway in June, he sustained a decisive defeat at the hands of American forces. But if there was cause for new optimism in the victory at Midway and in the limited success of the enemy's simultaneous venture in the North Pacific, there still remained an especially critical threat to the Allied position in the South and Southwest Pacific.

One by one the outposts had been stripped away from Australia, now destined to become the focal point of Allied resistance and offensive power in the Southwest Pacific. No less urgent than the problem of the subcontinent's immediate defense was the question of how best


to retain a line of communication between Australia and the West Coast of the United States. Sydney and Brisbane faced Los Angeles and San Francisco across 7,500 statute miles of water and islands- islands whose retention and safety following the loss of Wake and Rabaul had become a critical necessity to the Allies. Palmyra, Canton, the Fijis, New Caledonia, all were indispensable to maintenance of an air route to Australia and as a screen for vital seaways. Some consideration was given to the possibility of falling back upon an alternate air route running farther south through Christmas, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, Aitutaki in the Cook group, Tongatabu in the Tonga Islands, and thence on to Auckland in New Zealand, but this plan was viewed as a last resort.

Japanese forces had seized New Britain as early as January 1942. To the southeast of the great harbor at Rabaul, stretching away more than 600 miles from Buka Island on the north to San Cristobal in the south, lay the rugged and jungle-covered Solomon Islands, leading toward the New Hebrides and the Fijis. In the bays and harbors of Bougainville, Shortland, Choiseul, Florida, New Georgia, Kolombangara, Vella Lavella, and Santa Isabel were anchorages for Japanese surface craft, habitable areas for personnel, protected shelter for float planes and long-range flying boats. On some of the islands there were flat areas capable of development into airfields for land-based aircraft. The value of the Solomons in the defense of New Britain had not been lost upon the planners of Japanese strategy, particularly upon the naval commanders at Rabaul. Within a few weeks after the capture of Rabaul and Kavieng, on near-by New Ireland, the Japanese began to extend their grip down the chain.1

As early as February the U.S. Navy had received indications of enemy offensive action in the area, and during the following months Japanese activity in the Solomons increased. By 4 April, Buka, Bougainville, Sohana, and Faisi in the Shortland area, all had been occupied; six weeks later far down on New Caledonia, Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Patch read the fresh reports of enemy concentrations at Rabaul and anticipated an offensive move southward in the near future.2 Early in May the Japanese did move down to Tulagi, off Florida Island, where their ships were hit hard by Yorktown's aircraft on 4 May in the opening round of the Battle of the Coral Sea but, fortunately, fears of a serious offensive in that direction for the moment lacked justification.


The offensive would follow another direction south. Southwest from Rabaul the island of New Britain led down toward the Huon Peninsula on New Guinea across the Vitiaz Strait, and from here the path of the invader swung southeastward along the north coast of Papua. Having seized airfields on New Britain, the Japanese had placed themselves within easy bombing distance of the scattered Australian outposts on New Guinea; Lae and Salamaua, both located on the Huon Gulf, had experienced air raids as early as mid-January, raids which were followed by enemy seizure of the two outposts on 8 March. The thin Australian garrisons could offer only light opposition to the assaults against Lae and Salamaua or against Finschhafen, which fell on 10 March.3 And so by May 1942 Japanese troops and planes stood only 170 air miles from Port Moresby, the most important outpost remaining to the Allies on New Guinea.

New Guinea and the Solomons

Threat to New Guinea

In the early summer of 1942, Port Moresby was the focal point of Allied effort to stem the progress of Japan's conquering forces. Lying on a narrow coastal plain outside the neighboring jungle, protected


from most seaward approaches by dangerous coral reefs, and possessing the only harbor in eastern New Guinea large enough to shelter a fleet, it was of vital importance both in the defense of Australia and as a point of departure for an Allied offensive. Already it had become an outpost of flourishing activity and the target of frequent air raids by the enemy, who struck regularly at the port's satellite airstrips--some of them new fields under construction, some old ones now undergoing improvement by hard pressed engineers. Leading back into the jungle and the Owen Stanley Mountains, which dominate the topography of Papua, were several tracks. The most important of these was that winding up through mountain forest to The Gap, a pass cutting across the Owen Stanleys at elevations varying from 5,000 to 8,000 feet and emerging at the native villages of Isurava and Deniki, just short of Kokoda. At Kokoda an Australian government station 1,200 feet above sea level marked the halfway point between Port Moresby and Buna, on the northern coast of the Papuan Peninsula. To Buna from Kokoda the track carried for a relatively easy sixty-three miles over undulating country.

The area lying between Buna presented most formidable barriers to military operations. Slashed with rivers and creeks which drain the upper regions and lead down to the swampy lowlands of the coast, the surface of this primitive land was further tortured by a mass of lush and often impenetrable vegetation. There were no railroads nor were there any motor roads linking the principal villages and administrative centers; inland after a storm the narrow native tracks became little better than muddy ruts through the forest. Papua thus was a land peculiarly dependent upon seaborne and airborne transport. Kokoda and Buna, like Lae, Salamaua, and Wau to the north, possessed all-weather strips.4

Port Moresby had been the goal of the enemy in an attempted amphibious invasion early in May but that effort ended in failure in the Battle of the Coral Sea. There is some evidence to indicate that the Japanese Navy made further plans to take Moresby, even going so far as to establish the Eighth Fleet for the operation, but the designated forces were destined to be expended in the Solomons and not in a second amphibious attempt against Port Moresby.5 Meanwhile, the Japanese army had drawn its own plans for the capture of the port on the south coast of Papua; it would land at Buna on the north coast, then cross the high Owen Stanley range to take Port Moresby from


the rear.6 If this was a formidable undertaking the Japanese army did not so regard it, for it labored under the impression that neither the U.S. nor Australian army forces possessed the stamina to offer any serious obstruction, and Imperial army commanders were filled with confidence that the crossing could be made without difficulty.7

The Allied forces whose task it would be to meet the enemy thrust were organized under the leadership of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had assumed command of the Southwest Pacific Area on 18 April 1942. [See Vol. I, 419.] His command consisted of the Allied Naval Forces under Vice Adm. Herbert F. Leary; the Allied Air Forces under Lt. Gen. George H. Brett; the Allied Land Forces, commanded by Gen. Sir Thomas Blarney, popular Australian leader of earlier battles in the Middle East; and the U.S. Army Forces in Australia under Maj. Gen. Julian F. Barnes, a command to be reorganized on 20 July as the US. Services of Supply in the Southwest Pacific and placed under Brig. Gen. Richard J. Marshall.8 To the poorly armed and inadequately trained Australian militia, traditionally limited in its activity to operations within Australia, were added almost two Australian divisions of desert-toughened troops only recently returned from the Middle East. Two American divisions, the 32d and 41st, rounded out BIamey's command.

American air units in Australia and New Guinea were not to be organized into a separate U.S. air force until September. Because the Australians were in a position to furnish the communications and headquarters personnel the Americans lacked, an Allied command incorporating both Australian and American units had seemed appropriate. The American planes were assigned late in May to the operational control of the commanding general of the land forces of the Northern Territory and to the commander of the New Guinea Force on the understanding that these ground commanders would not interfere with the control exercised by air officers except in the event of an imminent attack. [See Vol. I, 420-21.]

U.S. air units in the Southwest Pacific--regarded as "pitiably inadequate" for their task-consisted on 31 June 1942 of 1,602 officers and 18,116 enlisted men with a paper strength of two heavy, two medium, and one light bombardment groups, three fighter groups, two transport squadrons, and one photographic squadron. Of the heavy groups, the 43d would not be ready to carry its share of the burden until


autumn, a fact which forced the 19th Group and its veterans of the Philippine and Java campaigns to continue as the mainstay for heavy bomber operations. The 38th Bombardment Group (M), which was to be equipped with B-25's, did not have its planes in commission until mid-September and even then two of its squadrons, the 69th and 70th, actually served on assignment to the South Pacific. The 22d Bombardment Group (M) had been in operation with its B-26's since April; the 3d Bombardment Group (L) having incorporated the remnants of the 27th Group after the fall of Java, fought in July under the experienced leadership of Col. John Davies with an assortment of planes which included twenty-two A-24's, thirty-eight A-20's, and seventeen B-25's. All bomber groups were based within Australia, and for strikes against Rabaul and intervening targets they used the fields at Port Moresby only as a staging point, in part because of the frequent bombing raids delivered against Moresby by the enemy's 25th Air Flotilla. The heavy bombardment missions pulled the B-17's away from their home bases at Townsville for thirty-six to forty-eight hours, including approximately eighteen hours in actual flight, and levied a heavy drain upon the air crews.9 Of the fighters, the three groups were reported on I May to be 100 per cent complete with a 50 per cent reserve. By July, two squadrons of the 35th Fighter Group equipped with P-400's had moved up to Port Moresby. The 8th Fighter Group had withdrawn its P-39's to Australia, while the P-40's of the 49th Fighter Group continued to concentrate upon the defense of Darwin.10

The American units were deployed for the most part in areas remote from the main centers of Australian population. Primitive living conditions, lack of opportunity for recreation, unfamiliar rations, the war weariness of men rescued from the Philippines and Java, the inexperience and inadequate training of some of the more recently arrived units, stagnancy in the promotion list, lack of adequate provision for hospitalization, and other such influences made it difficult to maintain a necessary level of morale. And if it was difficult to hold at a high level of efficiency the men who flew the planes, it was equally difficult to maintain the equipment. Heavy tasks confronted the U.S. Army Air Services under Maj. Gen. Rush B. Lincoln. His shops and depots were more than 7,500 miles from the United States, shipping space was at a premium, and the demands of other theaters often took precedence. Even the planes dispatched over the South Pacific ferry


route [See Vol. I, 180-81, 359-60, 428.] were subject to raids upon their incidental equipment at the hands of US. air personnel stationed along the island chain, who themselves were in dire need of parts.11 Australian industrial facilities already were overburdened, the local transportation system was woefully inadequate in the most critical areas, and a persistent shortage of spare parts, trained mechanics, and service units, together with imperfect landing fields, hazardous weather, great distances, and unceasing combat, made it difficult to keep more than 50 per cent of available aircraft in commission. Even the estimated wastage factor of 20 per cent was regarded as conservative, and the best efforts of representatives of American and Australian commercial firms, who continued to perform much of the repair work, were unable to meet the demand.12

Other difficulties arose from the lack of reliable information concerning a combat area known to only a few white men and for which no adequate maps existed.13 Although an effective intelligence organization had been established at Brisbane and was operating under Air Cdre. Joseph E. Hewitt, its evaluation of enemy activities suffered from poor communication. However, it did have the benefit of reports sent in by the coast watchers, a group of men of great daring and ingenuity, Australians for the most part, who worked their way close up to Japanese airfields and installations, sending back over their small radio sets regular reports on enemy activity.14 Aerial reconnaissance provided a second vital source of information but it was a function which imposed a heavy burden upon the limited resources of the Allied Air Forces. Planes searched for submarines 500 miles off the coast of Australia, patrolled the East Indies and New Guinea, and covered the sea and air lanes along New Britain, New Ireland, and the northern Solomons.15 All bombardment squadrons occasionally performed these missions, but it was the 435th Squadron of the 19th Group which flew the majority of them in the New Guinea-New Britain area through the summer and early autumn of 1942. Originally flying two daily missions out from TownsviIle, by August this unit moved four aircraft and eight crews up to Port Moresby and doubled its missions to four per day.16

Under the leadership of Maj. Karl Polifka the 8th Photo Squadron complemented the work of the 435th. After Flight A of the 8th had reached Australia in April, Polifka in an F-4--a P-38 stripped of its guns and equipped with special cameras for aerial mapping--had performed


almost single-handed the feat of mapping a large portion of the eastern New Guinea and New Britain areas. In June, Flights B and C arrived and a month later, in conjunction with the 435th, the squadron was operating out of Port Moresby, although the base of both units was 675 statute miles distant at Townsville. The normal route led from Port Moresby up to Rabaul, thence back over Lae and Salamaua, but the light F-4 often received a heavy battering from weather as it crossed the equatorial front on the way up to Rabaul. It was a task that extended plane and pilot to the limit, and in time Wewak and Madang became the most distant objectives.17

The Problem of the South Pacific

The successive attempts that had been made to halt the southward thrust of Japan's forces had given a high priority to the claims of the Southwest Pacific on available military forces. But the build-up to assigned strength, and even the reaching of a firm decision on strategic questions, was complicated by problems of the neighboring South Pacific. It having been settled by the Combined Chiefs of Staff that the Pacific should be an area of American strategic responsibility, the Joint Chiefs had reached agreement in April to establish a separate Southwest Pacific Area under MacArthur's command and to divide the Pacific Ocean Area, under Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, into the North, Central, and South Pacific.* Upon this last command, which joined the Southwest Pacific Area east of the Solomons, fell the primary responsibility for defense of the island chain extending back from Australia toward Hawaii.

Vice Adm. Robert L. Ghormley was assigned as Commander South Pacific (COMSOPAC) on 13 April, with command of all base and local defense forces then assigned or to be assigned to the South Pacific islands, exclusive of the land defenses of New Zealand. The naval forces of that country, however, would come under Ghormley's control, and through his air officer, Commander Aircraft South Pacific Force (COMAIRSOPAC) , he would hold responsibility for the operational control of all aircraft in the area.18 Rear Adm. John S. McCain assumed command as COMAIRSOPAC on 20 May 1942 from his headquarters aboard USS Tangier at Noumea, New Caledonia.19 General Patch, as commander-designate of the New Caledonia Task

* For the geographical limits of these several commands, see Samuel E. Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, IV, 249-50.


Force, had reached his post as early as 7 March, five days in advance of a strong force which by April was up to division strength. Another division, the 37th, was scheduled to leave the West Coast for Fiji in May.20

When Admiral McCain reached Noumea on 18 May 1942, he found only meager resources available. At Noumea he had one and a half squadrons of PBY's, and elsewhere on New Caledonia one squadron of Army fighters (the 67th, which had come in on I 5 March), the Army's 69th Bombardment Squadron (M), and one fighter squadron of the Marine Corps, this last squadron in training preparatory to its movement to Efate. At Efate the field was not yet completed but was being covered by a half squadron of scout observation planes. Based in the rear area was an Army fighter squadron (the 70th) at Fiji, another (the 44th) in the Tonga group, one Marine squadron of fighters and one of SBC-4's at Samoa, plus some miscellaneous scouting aircraft at Tonga, Samoa, and Bora Bora.21

Operational bases consisted of one field each at New Caledonia, Tongatabu, and Samoa. Another was then under construction on Efate, where since 4 May the 1st Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) had continued the work originally begun by the Marines and Army engineers. According to plan, this field would be ready for B-17 test landings on 23 June.22 Over on Fiji, pilots had been using two fields (Nausori and Nandi) since January and February, respectively, and Narewa was added to these two in May when P-39's of the 70th Fighter Squadron moved over from Nandi on the 25th.23

Tontouta, about thirty miles northwest of Noumea, was the major base on New Caledonia, having been taken over by the 811th Engineer Aviation Battalion early in April 1942. Until this unit departed from New Caledonia on 27 March 1944, it continued to rebuild, improve, and maintain Tontouta, assisted later by the 873d Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion and by the 131st Engineers. The combined efforts of these service units made Tontouta the most important base on New Caledonia and one of the most highly developed in the entire South Pacific theater.24 Simultaneously, construction of an air base was under way at Plaines des Gaiacs, lying 116 miles northwest of Noumea. Planned and originally begun by U.S. engineers from the Hawaiian Department, this project was taken over on 10 April 1942 by the 810th Engineer Aviation Battalion, which like the 811th had reached New Caledonia on 15 March. At Plaines des Gaiacs the first


Island Chain of the South Pacific


runway was declared operational by approximately 1 May 1942, although the entire project did not reach completion until mid-December, after a constant 24-hour daily construction program. In addition to these installations, the 67th Fighter Squadron then operated from a number of very small and inadequate strips in southwest New Caledonia, plus one more on the east coast of the island.25

The need for occupation of Espiritu Santo as a defense for Efate early became apparent to Brig. Gen. Harry D. Chamberlin, U.S. Army commander at Efate, and to McCain as well, who requested that 500 troops be sent to Espiritu in order to prevent the Japanese from moving in. Troops actually were sent to the large island, a small detachment moving up by 28 May under Brig. Gen. William I. Rose, but COMAIRSOPAC was not allowed to construct an air base. The best Rose could do was to run a survey of a site for the field, construct a road to it, then sit back and await orders to complete the project, orders he knew would come in time.26

The air power thus far available to the air commander of the South Pacific was at best limited to a defensive role. Excluding the Catalina (PBY), his aircraft were of short range, were bound to their bases, and the vulnerability of the PBY served to restrict drastically its offensive function. Nowhere was there a striking force of bombardment aircraft capable of fending off thrusts at considerable distances from the island bases, Indeed, the question of how this need should be met was still under debate at the highest level of command.

A wide margin of difference persisted between the U.S. Navy and the Army Air Forces as to the most efficient means of defending the South Pacific islands. Consistently the AAF rejected the Navy's contention that the solution lay in establishing a series of bases, each to be defended by substantial air strength that would include a component of heavy bombers. The AAF had no desire to immobilize any of its precious heavy bomber strength solely in defensive positions far out on the lesser Pacific islands. Instead, it believed that the answer to their defense lay in holding major mobile striking forces at each end of the line; as necessity arose these could be shifted rapidly along the island chain.27 It had been clear to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the early months of 1942 that no sound action on the debate could be taken without a survey of the existing situation and commitments. Accordingly, the Joint Staff Planners had been directed to present an assessment of defense requirements for the ferry route,28 and as a result the


Joint Chiefs were offered on 2 May a thorough canvass of all factors affecting the South Pacific. Representatives from all services squarely met the fact that the South Pacific constituted only a small segment of a great global war, that there were many factors over which neither the Army nor the Navy exercised any significant degree of control and which at any time might capsize the entire program for distribution of resources. It was necessary to recognize not only enemy activity in the Pacific but existing obligations in the European theater; even the decision to move 40,000 British troops from the United Kingdom to replace Australian divisions in the Middle East had retarded reinforcement of the Pacific line of communications. In addition, and of somewhat more significance, it was only too plainly evident that Allied forces were unable to confine the Japanese fleet to the western Pacific.29

General Arnold approached the discussions with a firm conviction that no additional air units of any kind would be dispatched to Pacific or India bases over and above those which already had been allocated by earlier decisions.30 Despite this initial reservation, there was general agreement on the necessity for holding the Pacific line of islands, and a directive to this effect had been prepared for the two supreme commanders in the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur. The former was directed explicitly to hold island possessions between the United States and the South Pacific necessary for security of the line of communications and for supporting naval, air, and amphibious operations against the Japanese. Further, he was instructed to prepare for the execution of major amphibious offensives against positions held by the enemy, offensives which were to be launched initially from the South and Southwest Pacific. For his part, General MacArthur was directed to check the enemy advance toward Australia and its essential lines of communications by destroying enemy troops and supply ships, aircraft, and bases in eastern Malaysia, New Guinea, and the Bismarck-Solomon Islands region.31

The Joint Staff committee had agreed upon a number of procedures for defending the South Pacific islands. It recognized that effective defense of the line would depend upon mutual support and use of (1) direct naval and air escort of shipping en route; (2) direct ground and air defense of the positions in the area in use as naval and air bases, either for forces operating in the area or for refueling or staging purposes; (3) covering operations by naval and air forces, interposed between the enemy and important convoys or vulnerable positions, in


readiness to accept combat with enemy striking forces; (4) denial to the enemy of positions which would enable his forces to disrupt Allied sea and air communications, a task involving the employment not only of sea and air forces to prevent enemy establishment in such positions but also of amphibious troops to dislodge enemy forces from positions in which they already were established.32 This final point assumed fresh importance in view of the planners' conclusion that seizure by amphibious forces of positions which would in turn threaten Japanese control of vital sea and air communications offered the greatest promise of success in containing enemy forces in the Pacific. The planners gave some attention to the role of aircraft carriers as defensive weapons for the islands, but there was general agreement that these naval units should not be relied upon, except in their proper function as essential components of naval task forces. Naval men regarded as unsound practice any attempt to place major elements of the fleet in fixed relation to particular shore positions-the fleet must be left free to operate in the theater as a whole.33

This recognition of the necessity for mobility, which the Navy sought for its surface craft, was precisely what the Army Air Forces desired for its own weapons. In a discussion of the proposed commitments for the South Pacific involving an immediate objective, including reserves, of 40 medium bombers and 162 fighters and an ultimate goal of 40 mediums, to light bombers, and 193 fighters, it was essential to consider the possible types of attack which the enemy might throw against the islands. The alternatives ranged from isolated thrusts by surface raiders and enemy submarines to air attacks from carriers and, most dangerous, to sustained assaults by the Japanese in an attempt to seize elements of the island chain, as had occurred at Wake. AAF spokesmen considered these threats and restated their doctrine more fully than they had done at any time before; to them the most economical method of conducting air warfare in the islands lay in the maintenance of air bases properly disposed to accommodate air striking forces capable of concentration wherever needed.34 To be sure, a persistent element of risk was inherent in the application of this arrangement, yet the airmen, viewing the strategic role assigned to the Pacific, were quite willing to accept the risk. And in any case, they did not regard it as sound policy to establish a chain of subsidiary fortresses reaching all the way to Australia in a theater which properly should claim minimum rather than large air forces. In the opinion of the airmen the solution to the defense problem lay in providing mobile air


forces based in Hawaii and Australia, forces which could be concentrated in the central portion of the island chain in approximately one day.35 They estimated that this central island chain could accommodate simultaneously a total of eighteen heavy bombardment squadrons, a force representing three-fifths of the mobile strength recommended for assignment to the entire area, to which could be added about seventeen naval patrol squadrons. Fiji provided an example. Within Fiji's radius of action lay airfields capable of basing approximately twelve bomber squadrons. Two squadrons already were set up for New Caledonia, leaving a total of ten to be flown in from Australia, New Zealand, or Hawaii. Since some twenty-six were committed to these three areas, a concentration of ten in the Fijis would entail a reduction of nearly 40 per cent in the defensive strength of Australia and Hawaii, and this was not regarded as a dangerous depletion.

With these factors in mind, Army Air Forces representatives submitted their proposal for the air garrisons, recommending that no additional medium or heavy bombardment groups be assigned to the central section of the island route over and above the medium group allocated to Fiji and New Caledonia in March.36 Minor increases were in order. Tongatabu was granted two pursuit squadrons instead of one because of its increasing importance as a refueling base for naval and merchant surface craft. For Fiji, it appeared desirable to form the entire garrison exclusively of New Zealand troops; New Zealanders already comprised the ground forces and the Royal New Zealand Air Force was operating one squadron each of medium bombers and sea- planes from Fiji bases. The presence on permanent station of medium bombers in Fiji and New Caledonia would insure the provision of adequate facilities for both heavy and medium bombers which might be moved in for a particular operation. Such was the Army view. In presenting it the airmen included a summary of their estimate which indicated a total of 2,379 Allied aircraft currently in the Pacific, distributed as follows:37

United States RNZAF   RAAF
Navy seaplanes 276   Land planes 210   152
Marine land planes 399   Seaplanes 12    
Carrier land planes  300 (approx.)        
Army land planes  1,030                      
  2,005      222    152
    Grand Total 2,379      


The crux of the AAF argument lay in the plea for mobility. Air planners firmly believed that although mobile bombardment forces could not be assembled with sufficient rapidity to operate effectively against a hostile raiding force, whose carriers could strike and fall back with great speed, they at least could be concentrated in time to oppose a landing in force against any one of the principal islands of the chain. Naval spokesmen opposed this solution throughout and could come to no agreement with the Army. Whereas the AAF put strong reliance upon local fighter squadrons emplaced along the line and supported by mobile striking forces at the ends, the Navy demanded heavier strength in the center. Fighter aircraft alone, according to the Navy, would not suffice. The air component of each island base must include fighters to oppose the enemy in the air and light or medium bombers--or pursuit aircraft fitted to carry heavy bombs--to attack enemy carriers or surface raiders. Pearl Harbor had left a bitter memory and the Navy had no desire to risk a repetition even in miniature; furthermore, Navy men possibly were motivated by a traditional high regard for a chain of powerful fixed bases linking the area of their forward operations with the homeland. Although the Army did assent to the assignment of 120 patrol planes and 70 heavy bombers to Hawaii, Navy men felt that all these must be held in the Central Pacific area, including Canton Island, if fleet mobility were to be assured. And of this number, 72. patrol planes and 5 2 heavy bombers should be retained continuously in the Hawaiian group to meet minimum requirements for long-range air reconnaissance and striking forces. Nor did the Navy believe that the allotment for Australia was adequate to meet the continuing need of that area and for sudden emergencies in the South Pacific as well.38

The Navy even parted company with the Army Air Forces over the ostensibly undebatable question of facility of movement. Navy spokesmen were of the opinion that there was currently a lack of appreciation for the distances and logistical problems involved in movements from Hawaii to the South Pacific and that several days might elapse before large numbers of aircraft could be prepared, moved through the intervening bases, and readied for effective operations. Nor could the Navy share the Army's sanguine view of the effectiveness of aircraft: "Exclusive reliance on long-range aircraft from Hawaii and Australia to meet needs for the defense of intervening communications will jeopardize the safety of these communications and of the forces overseas


which depend on them."39 So the Navy requested the continuous availability in the South Pacific area of long-range aircraft suitable for sustained operations. Specifically, it asked that one medium and one heavy bombardment group be assigned to the South Pacific area, a demand exceeding the Army proposals by thirty-one medium and thirty-five heavy bombardment aircraft, plus fifty-five fighters.40 To its request the Navy appended the statement that if all these aircraft could not be provided by the Army, the necessary planes should be allocated to the Navy from current production and manned by naval personnel.41

General Arnold already had seen these proposals and had called for study of them with the admonition that no additional forces above current allocations could be sent to Pacific bases.42 The AAF planners accordingly reacted sharply against the suggested increase, stating that the AAF had been able to furnish only about one-third of the fighter aircraft and none of the bomber forces prescribed for the area by the decision of 14 March 1942. [See Vol. I, 436-37.] Furthermore, they added that this latest plan failed to conform to current policy in that if approved, it would authorize equipping the RNZAF with aircraft for one medium and one fighter group in New Zealand and two fighter squadrons and one of medium bombardment in Fiji, including the necessary reserves for maintenance and attrition. As for the proposal to allocate planes to the Navy from current production, the planners reminded General Arnold that "if the airplanes were available, we would man them ourselves."43 It was clear that a substantial margin existed between the two proposals, substantial in respect to the total aircraft available to the AAF in the spring of 1942, even though in retrospect the number of planes involved appears pathetically small.

It was left to the Japanese commanders to heighten the sense of urgency already pervading the discussions concerning the South Pacific, Though the Japanese were turned back in the Battle of the Coral Sea, to Admiral King the outcome of the battle merely delayed formidable aggressive action on the part of the enemy, and the admiral suggested a trial concentration of land-based aircraft on some of the island bases to determine how rapidly this could be accomplished and what additional facilities were required for effective operations.44 The Operations Division of the War Department promptly ordered Lt.


Gen. Delos C. Emmons, in command of the Hawaiian Department, to prepare the Fiji airfields for accommodation of approximately seventy bombers. A similar order to ready the bases on New Caledonia went out to General Patch.45 But intelligence of Japan's intended thrust against Midway soon arrived, and until that challenge was met, it became necessary to concentrate all available forces at the eastern anchor of the chain. And for the time being the discussions rested.

No comprehensive plan agreeable to both Army and Navy for the air garrisons of the Pacific had yet been devised. Army air and ground forces both were planning for a major effort in Europe whereas the Navy was geared by training and indoctrination to a Pacific war. The Army's viewpoint did receive substantial support from the Commander in Chief. On 4 May, General Marshall laid the problem before Mr. Roosevelt, who assured the Chief of Staff two days later that only those heavy and medium bombers and pursuit aircraft necessary to maintain the existing commitments in the Pacific at full strength should be dispatched; as for sacrificing forces from the European theater, he reminded General Marshall that "I do not want Bolero slowed down." [BOLERO was the plan for build-up of forces in the United Kingdom. (See Vol. I, Passim.)]46 In view of the recent successes of the naval task forces in raiding operations against the Japanese mandates and Lae, the President seemed confident that a strong Japanese offensive against Australia or New Zealand could be prevented.

Because no generally acceptable long-range program for Pacific air allotments had yet been formulated in Washington, General Arnold continued to work with those forces he felt he might reasonably spare. On the day following the Battle of the Coral Sea, 9 May 1942, he outlined his plans for Pacific air strength to be achieved by 1 July. His schedule included twenty-three fighter aircraft for Christmas, twenty-five for Canton and Fiji, forty each for Tongatabu and New Caledonia; Australia and Hawaii continued as before to serve as the repositories of the heavy bombers, and General Arnold indicated eighty planes for each.47 These figures seemed not excessive to the commander of the AAF and he agreed that the necessary planes should be sent out to the Pacific as quickly as possible if the quotas could be attained without seriously interfering with BOLERO.48 A more comprehensive statement appeared a few days later in compliance with a request from the Joint Chiefs of Staff as to how the Army proposed


to implement the President's position of 6 May relative to deployment of forces in the Pacific. The Army Air Forces presented both an immediate and an ultimate objective, the latter merely restating the recommendations already offered on 2 May.49 But even the dispatch of planes and personnel sufficient to meet the ultimate goal would not close the gap between Navy and Army plans for Pacific air garrisons.

The struggle between supporters of the European and Pacific theaters was destined to continue for many months to come. That struggle was not without its influence even on the question of an immediate strategy for containing the Japanese in the southern Pacific. General MacArthur proposed an assault by way of the northeastern coast of New Guinea against Rabaul, main center of the enemy's menace to both Australia and the South Pacific chain. Naval and other forces of Admiral Ghormley's command would thus operate in support of the Southwest Pacific forces in the latter's assumption of the primary responsibility for throwing back the enemy. The Navy, objecting to a commitment of its forces between New Guinea and the Solomons while the enemy held the latter, argued instead for an initial conquest of Tulagi by South Pacific forces with those of the Southwest Pacific in support. The approach to Rabaul, in other words, would be by way of the Solomons with the initial responsibility falling chiefly to the naval command of the South Pacific. The question of command was in itself a difficult one. Tulagi fell within the Southwest Pacific, but it was evident that the Navy anticipated that the operation would be mounted in the South Pacific and controlled by Ghormley. By late June, in fact, Admiral King had made specific proposals to that effect, Ghormley would be in command until the seizure of Santa Cruz and Tulagi had been accomplished. General MacArthur would then assume leadership in a concerted effort directed against Rabaul.50

The proposal offered the basis of a working compromise and on 2 July 1942 the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a directive outlining a three-task plan of operation.51 Under this plan, Task I, the occupation of Santa Cruz and Tulagi in the lower Solomons, would be accomplished by Admiral Ghormley's South Pacific forces with the assistance of the Southwest Pacific command. Task 2, which called for reoccupation by Allied forces of the northeastern coast of New Guinea together with capture of the upper Solomons, and Task 3, which set as its goal the reconquest of New Britain, became the primary


responsibility of MacArthur. Control of composition of forces, the timing of the tasks, and the "passage of command" remained with the Joint Chiefs. To avoid jurisdictional complications the boundary joining the two theaters would be moved westward as of 1 August to the 159th meridian, thus placing all of the lower Solomons under the command of the South Pacific. The first of August was set tentatively for the inauguration of Task 1.

General MacArthur, already committed to a forward movement of his forces in the hope of beating the enemy to the occupation of positions on the New Guinea coast that would be vital to achievement of Task 2, argued against an early mounting of Task 1. With additional training, his ground forces might meet his needs, but both his air and naval forces he considered inadequate for the interdiction of enemy operations against the Solomons and the establishment of air superiority over New Guinea.52 Admiral Ghormley was little if any more enthusiastic about his share in Task 1, but the Joint Chiefs dared not risk postponement. MacArthur was warned that global requirements might delay provision of forces equal to the accomplishment of Tasks 2 and 3, and so he was left to do what he could toward preparing for the second while assisting in Task 1.53 Although the decision promised to deprive him of badly needed naval support, his air obligations to Task 1 presented a less serious problem. Reconnaissance for intelligence of Japanese movements out of Rabaul and the bombing of that vital center would be the chief obligation imposed on the Allied Air Forces, and this was work of critical importance to both commands.

The Japanese Landing at Buna

In plans for contesting the possession of the upper coast of eastern New Guinea, sites suited to the development of advanced airfields assumed a critical importance. Polifka's 8th Photographic Squadron had undertaken surveys which indicated that the best location for an airstrip lay near Buna, former government station at the mouth of the Giriwu River, and on 15 July, Maj. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, MacArthur's chief of staff, announced detailed plans for the occupation of the Buna area.54 A company of Australian infantry already had started a difficult overland march to reach Buna by way of the Kokoda pass. Engineers were dispatched to Milne Bay for the development of airstrips in that area, which could control the water approach around New Guinea to the Coral Sea. It was not anticipated that


occupation of Buna in any force could be attempted prior to 3 August, but immediate action was taken to land supplies and equipment by small boat at selected points along the seaward approach to Buna.55 The Australians by 19 July were halfway across the Owen Stanley range on their way to Buna. On 20 July, General Headquarters, theretofore located at Melbourne, was moved to Brisbane, and there were other indications of an effort to concentrate available Allied strength in the forward area. But the race was against time, and on 21 July the Japanese upset the Allied timetable by landing in force just north of Buna.

The enemy landing at Buna came as no complete surprise to the Allied command, which had received a number of advance warnings. On 12 July local observers at Buna had spotted a Japanese float plane over the area; and captured documents indicated that a special landing force had sailed from Truk on 10 July with eastern New Guinea as its destination. Lt. Don Tower in a B-17 of the 435th Squadron reported a convoy in the neighborhood of Rabaul on the 19th, and on the next day the Japanese struck Moresby with twenty-six bombers escorted by fifteen fighters.56 By the 2 1st a convoy reported to consist of a cruiser, four destroyers, a 10,000-ton transport, and several small craft appeared to be heading for the Buna area; in the afternoon of the same day a float plane strafed the shore, followed by a bombardment from the surface craft which left little doubt as to the enemy's intentions. He was landing at Buna and the place was virtually without land defenses. The advance reconnaissance party pushing over the Kokoda track still was three days' march from the area, and only a few patrols from a Papuan infantry battalion commanded by Australian officers were within striking distance.57 If there was to be any opposition, it would come from the Allied Air Forces at Port Moresby.

Only two U.S. fighter squadrons--the 39th and 40th of the 35th Group--plus certain Australian units were based at Port Moresby to ward off enemy attack, but bomber squadrons now were brought up in preparation for the Japanese landing. Late in the afternoon of 21 July one B-17 and five B-26's succeeded in locating the targets. The medium bombers met with some success, dropping their 500-pound bombs from 6,000 to 7,000 feet and observing one direct hit on a transport.58 A later mission by five B-25's was unable to find the target because of darkness, which also served to conceal the enemy's


preliminary landing at Gona, twelve miles north of Buna.59 Early on the 22d the air forces delivered their main attack in a series of three heavy bomber, five medium bomber, and five fighter strikes against the convoy, landing barges, supplies, and personnel already ashore on the beaches. The enemy presented almost no air opposition, but his antiaircraft guns kept ten B-17's high; these scored no hits from 25,500 feet, nor did five B-25's and six B-26's, although another B-26 claimed a direct hit on a transport. Lt. Robert M. Debord of the 435th Squadron brought his plane down to a much lower altitude, enabling his bombardier, Sgt. Richard H. Olson, to report two hits squarely on a transport. Amid the bombing attacks RAAF P-40's dive-bombed barges and supply concentrations with 500-pound bombs, while P-39's and P-400's poured heavy fire into barges and enemy shore positions.60

But the Japanese had accomplished their initial mission. They had landed between 4,000 and 5,000 men who had established a base protected by antiaircraft guns. They had shot down one RAAF P-40 and a P-400, and they had damaged several bombers. In return they had suffered losses to their personnel in the strafing attacks, some damage to shipping off the beaches, and the possible loss of one transport61--a cost low enough for the advantage gained. The development of airstrips in the Buna area would strengthen the Japanese hold on New Guinea. Of more immediate significance, the landing placed the enemy in position to attempt dislodgment of the Allies at Port Moresby. Japanese army commanders were highly confident, immediately sending their troops up the track toward Kokoda against practically no opposition. By the afternoon of the 22d, their patrols already were on a line twelve to fifteen miles inland. Four days later the Australians were attempting to hold the enemy off from Kokoda, receiving their supplies from the planes of the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron, whose pilots did not always know which side controlled the strip as they came in to land. Until 9 August the Australians held on, and then fell back toward the villages of Deniki and Isurava at the gateway to the gap through the Owen Stanleys.62 And so began the Papuan campaign in a rapid thrust which promptly brought the enemy dangerously close to Port Moresby.

Air force responsibilities through these first few days of the fight were prophetic of the wide variety of duties that would fall to the lot of the Allied Air Forces through the long months leading down to


the final expulsion of the Japanese from Buna in January 1943. Planes of the 435th Squadron kept an alert watch for convoys carrying supplies and reinforcements for the Papuan invaders. On 28 and 29 July transports were sighted heading south from St. Georges Channel. RAAF Hudsons and PBY's, AAF B-17's and A-24's all went out from Port Moresby to oppose the landing, and eight of the B-17's bombing from approximately 2,000 feet claimed direct hits upon a transport, but the enemy landed his troops regardless. And he did it again on 13 August, despite the efforts of fifteen B-17's and four B-26's.63

First priority naturally went to the defense of Allied bases, a burden which fell upon the fighter units at Moresby and Darwin. Over both points the enemy bombers usually came in at 22,000 feet and above, too high for satisfactory interception by P-40's, P-39's, or P-400's, the only fighters available to the AAF in the Southwest Pacific, and their limitations seriously affected Allied operations.64 During July the P-39 had made contact with enemy bombers only four times in a series of nine raids despite a thirty-minute warning; in sixteen actual contacts it never once enjoyed an altitude advantage and the Zero invariably could outclimb and outmaneuver this fighter, which suffered the additional disadvantage of increased vulnerability because of the location of its motor behind the pilot. The P-40 was somewhat better, but it, too, was outperformed by the more nimble enemy fighters, particularly at high altitudes. Inferior performance of their planes lowered the morale of the pilots.65 It was true that the Allied planes were more rugged and less inflammable, they could outdive the Zero, and if given warning to permit them to reach sufficient altitude they could achieve creditable scores, as they did on 30 July over Darwin when twenty-seven P-40's shot down six Zeros and two bombers at the cost of one P-40.66 But pilots continued to be frustrated, as on 17 August, when for the seventy-eighth time enemy bombers struck Moresby in an attempt to disable their favorite target, Seven-Mile Airdrome. Although defending fighters had received adequate warning, they were unable to intercept.67

The thirty-two Lockheed and Douglas cargo aircraft, a few old B-17's, and a pair of LB-30's which constituted the equipment of the 21st and 22d Troop Carrier Squadrons on 21 July were already overtaxed in their efforts to supplement the generally inadequate transportation of the theater. Neither unit, moreover, possessed anything like enough skilled maintenance personnel, but their planes had taken


up at once the additional duty of flying supplies and equipment to the hard pressed Australians at Kokoda.68

The first phase of the Papuan campaign served not only as a severe testing period for air transport, but provided opportunity as well for applying both fighters and bombers to the direct support of ground troops fighting deep in jungle terrain, P-4OO's, unable to compete on even terms with the Zeros, made excellent strafers, and on 8 August thirty-two of them from the 35th Fighter Group swept up from Port Moresby through the gap in the Owen Stanleys and on over to the Kokoda area where they thoroughly strafed the enemy's supply dumps; sixteen of the fighters equipped with bomb racks dive-bombed the target area on the same mission.69 Of the two light bomber types in the Southwest Pacific, the A-20 and the A-24, only the latter was used during the Buna-Kokoda operations, since the A-20's at the time were back in Australia undergoing radical modification. The A-24--Army version of the Navy's SBD dive bomber--was so poorly armed that pilots dreaded flying it without fighter protection, and its speed was so slow that fighters lacked sufficient fuel capacity to provide continuous protection even on normal missions from Port Moresby to the northeastern coast of New Guinea. It was a vulnerable plane, one whose pilots had suffered severe losses in the earlier fighting. When seven of these planes went out on 29 July to strike at a Buna convoy, only a single dive bomber, that piloted by Lt. Raymond H. Wilkins, returned intact to its base. Five were shot down after becoming separated from their P-39 escort and one riddled aircraft reached Milne Bay. Thereafter the A-24 was employed solely for noncombat missions.70

During these initial operations of the Papuan campaign the Allied Air Forces experienced a change in command. Neither the War Department nor General MacArthur had been completely satisfied with the organization and operations of the air forces in the Southwest Pacific, and both believed that the organization would profit by a change of command.71 Dissatisfaction found further expression in MacArthur's headquarters at the time of the Japanese landing at Buna. Intelligence officers pointed out that they had indicated Buna as an enemy objective as early as 23 May, that they had predicted a landing there would occur on or about 16 July, and that the convoy had been sighted ten hours in advance of the landing, but "we were able to deliver only five B-26's at the decisive point."72 By this time, however,


the choice of Maj. Gen. George C. Kenney to succeed General Brett had already been made by MacArthur from a list of possibilities suggested by the War Department.73 Kenney, who had jumped from the rank of lieutenant colonel to brigadier general in January 1941 and to major general in February 1942, had a brilliant record as commander of the Fourth Air Force and before that had been in charge at Wright Field of the activities of the Materiel Division, OCAC. He reached Australia on 28 July and on 4 August assumed command of the Allied Air Forces.74

Among his first duties was the execution of plans for coordination of the operations of his long-range planes with the landing of the U.S. Marines at Guadalcanal in the lower Solomons, scheduled for 7 August. As early as 3 June the 435th Squadron had sent a photo reconnaissance mission over Tulagi. Three weeks later another had gone to Guadalcanal to provide photos supplementing the meager intelligence available to the Navy in its planning for the invasion of the lower Solomons; still another mission flown on 17 July with two Marine officers as observers had proved especially helpful.75 The North Eastern Area Command in Australia [See Vol. I, 420-21.] had been warned on 3 July of the necessity for coordinating reconnaissance and strike missions with the landing operation, and plans subsequently perfected gave full responsibility to SWPA planes for search west of 158'E.°E.76 AAF bombers sent down to the South Pacific from Hawaii assumed a large share of the responsibility for reconnaissance east of that line, and on D-day Kenney's 19th Group had as its own special job an attack on Rabaul.


As had been the case all through the early months of the war, the selection of the point at which the Marines would go ashore had been determined in large part by the enemy's own action. The Japanese commander at Tulagi had been quick to recognize that the northern coastal plain on Guadalcanal across the Sealark Channel offered an area suitable for the development of an airfield. In June, reports reached Noumea that the enemy was burning off the grass from the level area of upper Guadalcanal, presumably in preparation for construction of an airdrome.77 Shortly thereafter, on or about 4 July, a considerable force of troops and construction personnel was landed on Guadalcanal not far from Lunga Point; by 11 July, unloading was


completed and a week later the labor force began construction of the field. Down on New Caledonia it was not difficult for the intelligence officers to estimate the enemy's future utilization of Guadalcanal as they scanned the reports of trees being cut away and of clouds of smoke arising from the Lunga plain.78 By the end of July they reported that something very much like a concrete runway was growing on Guadalcanal, although, as the Marines learned later, the strip was not concrete at all but of tamped coral.79

The enemy's choice of construction mattered little; if he were allowed to continue unmolested, his land-based bombers would be in a fair position to threaten the line of communications with Noumea. Behind Guadalcanal, 675 miles distant, stood Rabaul; between Guadalcanal and Rabaul the enemy was laying out bases at Kieta and at Buka Passage on Bougainville, and seaplanes already were operating from several points in the Solomons. If he was to be halted short of a point where he could break the line to Australia, then Guadalcanal offered the last possible opportunity. One more leap and he would land in the New Hebrides, if not on New Caledonia itself. And once permitted to establish himself on any of these islands, his bombers could threaten critically much more than the line of communications to Australia; he could cut deeply into all Allied planning for the Pacific, in fact for the entire global war. For so sensitive was Allied strategy to threats upon inadequate shipping resources that undue pressure upon any point in any sea endangered the structure in all its component parts. Already the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff were hard pressed to find the ships to service the existing route to the Southwest Pacific; now, if that line were forced to seek safety by bending even farther to the south--perhaps even below New Zealand--the increased drain upon surface transport facilities might endanger projects already under way elsewhere. Clearly, Guadalcanal must not be left in Japanese possession.

In the plans for meeting this threat, the U.S. Army and its air forces assumed a secondary role. The responsibility was the Navy's and the first Marine Division under Maj. Gen. A.A. Vandegrift would bear the brunt. Nevertheless, AAF units formed a vital part of the hastily improvised defenses of the South Pacific chain and would play their part in the historic Guadalcanal operation.

First to participate actively in that operation was Col. Laverne G. Saunders' 11th Bombardment Group (H). General Arnold's plan to


hold the bulk of his heavy bomber strength at each end of the Pacific line, ready for concentration at any intermediate base as required, had received War Department approval by July. One heavy group then assigned to Hawaii would be available for operations outside the Central Pacific on orders from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.80 General Emmons, as commander of the Hawaiian Department, objected that removal of one of his two heavy groups would lessen his ability to defend the islands, but on 4 July-the same day on which Japanese troops were reported ashore on Guadalcanal to begin construction of an airfield--he received orders to designate one heavy bombardment group of the Seventh Air Force as the Hawaiian Mobile Air Force, with the stipulation that the group could leave the Central Pacific only when so directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.81 By 15 July the 19th Bombardment Group (H) had been designated as a mobile force in the Southwest Pacific,82 and on the following day the 11th Group, some of whose units had recently participated in the Battle of Midway, received its designation as the Mobile Force, Central Pacific. Within four days the group departed from Hickam Field under Saunders' command83 to begin an odyssey which eventually led this group over all the major islands of the South Pacific, then back to Hawaii, and thence once again down into the Pacific for the drive across the Gilberts, the Marshalls, the Marianas, and finally to Okinawa.

The 11th Group had flown down without its service crews, which followed by water transport. Originally, the group was to have operated from Efate, Fiji, and New Caledonia, but rapid construction of an airfield on Espiritu Santo permitted some alteration of the plan. To be sure, the order to construct the first Espiritu strip had not gone out until July, but within sixteen days after the order was received the 7th Naval Construction Battalion, engineers of Patch's Americal Division, and Company B of the 810th Engineer Aviation Battalion by their combined efforts laid down an airstrip 5,000 by 200 feet, hacking it out of coconut grove and jungle.84 On 30 July, Maj. Allan J. Sewart of the 26th Squadron landed the first B-17 on Espiritu and Colonel Saunders the next day estimated that he could operate six striking B-17's and two search planes from the new field. Lack of taxiways and dispersal areas prevented employment of a larger number.85

Already the 11th Group had taken up the work of reconnaissance begun by the 19th flying out from Port Moresby. On 23 and 25 July the newly arrived bombers flew photo missions over the Guadalcanal-


Tulagi-Gavutu area.86 Because of the lack of Army photographic equipment and trained personnel, the Navy provided the cameras, the Marines furnished the photographers, and the 11th Group provided the planes in a procedure which remained standard until AAF photo and mapping units arrived in 1943.

When Admiral McCain issued his operations order for SOPAC air forces on 25 July, he asked the ten B-26's of the 69th Bombardment Squadron (M) on New Caledonia and the six New Zealand Hudsons based there to conduct searches northwest of the island to a depth of 400 miles. To Colonel Saunders went the order to maintain with his twenty-seven planes a daily search of the southern Solomons and their western waters, to track important contacts, and to execute all air attacks as directed.87 Subsequently, the group was requested to strike Guadalcanal and Tulagi with maximum strength from 31 July to 6 August, inclusive.88 Because Saunders was uncertain of the service facilities on Espiritu Santo, he determined to open his attack from Efate even though this island lay 710 nautical miles from the target on Guadalcanal. After assembling every plane which was equipped with an extra fuel tank in its radio compartment, on 31 July, Saunders led the first formation of nine B-17&'S in the opening assault on Guadalcanal.89 His targets were the new landing strip and the area about Lunga Point, where the enemy had established his principal concentrations of supply and personnel, and these were bombed without meeting any air opposition. Opening of the new field on Espiritu on the following day permitted the carrying of full bomb loads, for now the planes could land at this northern base on their return flight to Efate.90 Such was the pattern for operations during the brief pre-invasion period. In the seven days remaining, the group flew fifty-six striking and twenty-two search sorties for an average of eleven aircraft in the air each day--a minuscule figure perhaps, but in view of the primitive conditions under which operations were conducted, this appeared as a very creditable performance.91

Meanwhile, there was agreement on problems of organization and command affecting Army forces in the South Pacific. At the time of Ghormley's designation as COMSOPAC in April, it had been indicated that COMAIRSOPAC would hold responsibility for operational control, including training and indoctrination, of all air units in the area.92 Army commanders were willing enough to place their air forces under the theater command, which was naval, but they demurred


at the prospect of intrusting to COMAIRSOPAC responsibility for training and indoctrination. Such a move, they believed, exceeded existing authority under the principle of unity of command. Even if a case could be made for it in the current emergency, the action would establish a poor precedent.93 AAF planners felt even more keenly that Army air units operating in support of naval forces should not be integrated into a naval force and assigned to a subordinate naval commander. They maintained instead that Army air forces functioning under the operational control of the Navy should be assigned appropriate missions by the naval commander in chief of the supported naval force; thereafter, the Army units should be permitted to carry out such operations under the command organization already established by the AAF for the conduct of these assigned missions. The basic objection of the AAF went against any development tending to fracture the organizational entity of the supporting air force; the entire AAF was geared to unit control, unit morale, unit organization, and unit training. If the squadrons were to be broken up and fed piecemeal into naval organizations, something less than satisfactory performance undoubtedly would result. For these reasons the air planners strongly recommended that naval jurisdiction should be confined to operational control and nothing more.

Ultimately, the discussion ended in an adoption of the viewpoint of the AAF. On 27 July, COMSOPAC informed all commanders of island bases in the South Pacific that responsibility for training of all units of Army ground and air personnel was the province of Maj. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, who had been designated Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area (COMGENSOPAC) on 7 July. To Admiral McCain went responsibility under COMSOPAC for direct operational control of all shore- and tender-based aircraft.94 These preliminary instructions were amplified on 3 August when Admiral McCain surveyed his air establishment and concluded that because of its dispersion and dissimilar composition, the variation in available facilities, inherent difficulties in communications, and differences in defense problems confronting the several commanders, it was entirely impracticable for him to exercise his command directly.95 After consultation with General Harmon, it was agreed that McCain should delineate the types of operations he might expect of the various air components. He would then promulgate a general doctrine for employment of available air forces, but he would


not assume responsibility for training of Army air units for these operations. This would remain with COMGENSOPAC, exercised through the several island commanders. By means of these officers Harmon would supervise normal and routine employment of his air units, whereas operational control would rest with COMAIRSOPAC, who normally would issue orders and instructions directly to defense commanders, task groups, or operational units as circumstances might dictate. For each base in the South Pacific, Admiral McCain prescribed a basic air organization encompassing all Allied air units in the area and calling for four commands: air patrol, bomber, fighter, and base. Control and coordination of these units was vested in the island defense commander, operating under the principle of unity of command, and he in turn exercised his command function through the air officer who controlled the local units.96

The necessity for mobility within the South Pacific was recognized in the provision that base units must be organized and prepared to accommodate for a short period during an emergency a concentration of aircraft in any locality. Similarly, all combat aircraft were to be maintained in a mobile status, prepared to shift at short notice to any point which might become the focus of an enemy attack. A clear indication of the future employment of heavy bombers in the South Pacific appeared in McCain's basic organization: heavy bombers and naval patrol bombers were carried under both the air patrol and the bomber command, with the justification that this arrangement would achieve a more effective off-shore patrol.97 B-17's thus were destined to search; during the early months of the Solomons campaign they were to search far more often than they fought. Meanwhile, the organization outlined by Admiral McCain was submitted to COMSOPAC and to General Harmon, both commanders granting their approval on 4 August 1942.98

General Harmon, who now was charged with the training and administration of all air and ground units in the South Pacific, had reached Noumea on 28 July, little more than a week prior to the opening of the Guadalcanal offensive. His arrival was the result of a realization by the War Department, with the Navy concurring, of the need for a general officer to command Army forces in the South Pacific.99 General Marshall had made it clear to Harmon that his new position would be subordinate to that of Ghormley.100 Harmon's instructions required that he assist COMSOPAC in the preparation and


execution of plans for the employment of Army forces in the South Pacific. In addition, he was ordered to make a survey of his entire organization, to analyze the means at the disposal of each Army command for the execution of its assigned mission, and to submit for approval his own recommendations for improving the position of each base command. Perhaps most significant of all, the Chief of Staff warned Harmon that for the time being operations in the Pacific were to be restricted to those necessary to support the strategic defensive, and that requirements for the South Pacific were to be held to a minimum consistent with that role. To General Harmon's new organization would fall the task of furnishing all bases with those supplies for which the Amy was responsible, drawing upon San Francisco as the port of embarkation. It was incumbent upon Harmon to remain in close contact with Ghormley on the one hand and with his subordinate base commanders on the other; because the Navy retained responsibility for providing Army units with aircraft components and parts, it was necessary for him to maintain a sharp check upon the stock levels at each base for relay to COMSOPAC and San Francisco.

These instructions contributed to the elimination of much of the initial confusion which had prevailed in the area. As late as the end of May, naval authorities possessed no information as to how the War Department intended to administer the forces in the South Pacific or what agencies were responsible for supplying them. Admiral Nimitz had received requests for supplies for Army forces, but in the absence of information he had merely passed these pleas on to the Navy Department.101 Now with the creation of the U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area (USAFISPA) there was some prospect in sight for improved organization of the numerous island bases scattered along the route to Australia.

In Washington, General Harmon immediately contacted Army and naval agencies in order to familiarize himself with his assignment, selecting his staff and key officers, while out at Fort Ord, California, the Headquarters Company of USAFISPA already had been organized on 30 June.102 After hasty preparations, Harmon left Washington by air on 16 July together with the key personnel of the forward echelon of USAFISPA, men who were to direct the operations of the South Pacific air units. At least seven of the original group of nine were Air Corps officers. Brig. Gen. Nathan F. Twining was destined to lead first the Thirteenth, then the Fifteenth and Twentieth Air


Forces; Lt. Col. Dean C. Strother was to command the fighters of the Thirteenth; and Col. Frank Everest eventually served as AAF representative on the staff of COMSOPAC. Thus headquarters personnel clearly were weighted in favor of the Air Corps, but to fill the remaining vacancies a policy was established to draw half the personnel from the Army Ground Forces and half from the Air Corps.103

Harmon's small forward echelon flew out from Hamilton Field on 21 July, arriving at Noumea seven days later and leaving behind at Camp Stoneman, California, the rear echelon which continued to absorb the new personnel then reaching it.*104 Meanwhile, General Harmon assumed tactical command of all US. Army forces in the South Pacific on 26 July when he reported to COMSOPAC and established a provisional command post at Suva.105 When the command post shifted to Noumea on the 29th, this French colonial city became the center of activity for USAFISPA, but Harmon had to wait until 15 October before he finally could assume complete control over tactical, administrative, and supply functions.

There remained much to accomplish in improving the Army organization throughout the area, but at least now a single Army agency existed through which the War Department might maintain contact with its widely scattered units and with which Admirals Ghormley and McCain might act in securing Army cooperation. To be sure, each island had its defense commander but his jurisdiction theoretically was limited. Instead of a fragmented structure in which Army units fell under the Navy, the Marine Corps, or the New Zealand forces on Fiji, there now was an Army spokesman to defend their interests. Even more hopeful from the viewpoint of the AAF was the fact that the new theater commander had stepped directly from his post as chief of the Army's air staff, bringing with him a staff dominated by air officers. Harmon personally held strong reservations as to the wisdom of sacrificing operational control over the air units, but in the absence of any specific directive or policy from the War Department to support him, he was disinclined to debate the point in conferences with Ghormley and McCain. Nor did he feel ,that the situation would permit a debate on the question of command. Instead, it demanded a maximum effort to insure the complete cooperation of all services necessary to defeat the Japanese, and he was determined to support his directive as fully as possible.106

* On 1 September this unit sailed from the West Coast for Auckland and joined Harmon's forward unit at Noumea on 29 November.


While on duty in Washington, General Harmon had been a member of those councils which determined the direction and flow of the Army's air units; now he was at the other end of the line--and it was by no means the main line. By the time he had reached Noumea, he had seen enough of the theater to convince him that it was in dire need of reinforcements. Immediately, he sent off the first of a long series of requests for equipment and personnel. Conceding that both the BOLERO and Middle East commitments would suffer if he were granted all that he asked, Harmon nevertheless submitted requests on the basis of what was necessary to discharge the task regardless of availability. He admitted also that he had not appreciated the situation of the South Pacific while on duty in Washington, and he pointed to the heavy Japanese forces then gathering in the Bismarcks.107

His first requirement was air transport, for Harmon discovered that his theater involved immense distances. He found as well a necessity for rapid movement of supplies and for construction and defense of advance airfields, all creating an imperative need for more rapid transportation facilities. Accordingly, to meet his requirements for interisland transport of materiel and personnel, he requested early dispatch to New Caledonia of one complete C-47 transport squadron. For the longer distances, particularly those separating New Zealand from New Caledonia, he recommended three B-24's as soon as they could be made available, and for local command use on New Caledonia, New Zealand, and in the Fijis he proposed that three BT-13's or primary trainer models be sent to each base. Roads were very poor, distances between installations extended up to 200 miles, and the sole available aircraft were limited to a few small New Zealand types in the Fijis.108

The request foundered on the hard rock of prior commitments elsewhere. No transports could be sent out to the South Pacific. Neither could the radar and signal personnel already requested, the general service engineer regiments or quartermaster truck battalions which COMGENSOPAC had called for on the day following his arrival in Noumea, nor the engineer battalions (aviation) needed in the Fijis and on New Caledonia.109 In fact, Harmon's vigor in uncovering the urgent requirements of his command ran well in advance of the available supply of equipment and men, despite a sharp reminder from OPD of his former instructions. However, one problem was soluble. With the invasion of Guadalcanal lying only a few days ahead on


the calendar, air units were scattered over a large section of the South Pacific, with no adequate organization existing for their operational control. The situation had become so acute the Navy was preparing to assume full responsibility itself, although unwillingly. Harmon's solution was to request activation of island combat control groups for New Caledonia and Fiji, units whose personnel would take over local operational direction not only of fighter aircraft but of all units in the island combat team.110 General Marshall appreciated the problem, supported the plan, and by 11 September both commands had been authorized, although effective activation for the I Island Air Command (New Caledonia) did not occur until 17 October 1942, and for the II Island Air Command (Fiji) until 20 October.111 Both were placed under the immediate control of COMGENSOPAC and upon the subsequent activation of the Thirteenth Air Force these island air commands remained directly responsible to General Harmon.

It had proved indeed fortunate that the order to assault Guadalcanal had come when it did. Work on the airfield there had been pushed and Japanese land planes were scheduled to move in on 7 August, but on that day at 0910 in the morning the First Marine Division began to move ashore off Lunga, after landings on Tulagi which had begun an hour earlier.112 The reconnaissance and bombing operations of the 11th Group had continued through the day preceding the landings, and even as the Marines landed they were covered by two B-17's searching out from Espiritu Santo in the area north of Guadalcanal on a mission which cost the loss of one plane. Maj. Marion N. Pharr and his crew may have fallen to enemy fighters.113 On that morning, too, sixteen B-17's of the 19th Group, led by Lt. Col. Richard H. Carmichael, refueled at Port Moresby and took off for Rabaul on a mission coordinated with the landing at Guadalcanal and for the purpose of pinning down enemy aircraft which otherwise might be sent against the Marines. One B-17 crashed on take-off, two turned back because of engine trouble, and of the thirteen attacking the Vunakanau airdrome one was destroyed by enemy fighters.114 Though it was difficult to assess precisely the results of this mission, the returning crews claimed seven enemy fighters shot down, and General Kenney concluded from enemy radio reports that a substantial number of bombers had been destroyed on the ground.115

Nor was it easy to evaluate immediately what Colonel Saunders and his B-17's had contributed to the success of the operation in their first


week of effort. For his part, Saunders believed that the ease of the landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi was attributable to the destruction his planes had inflicted upon the two areas and, conversely, that the heavy opposition encountered on Gavutu was due to the absence of preparatory air attacks.116 Yet in view of the small number of aircraft involved and the limited weight of bombs carried over the great distances, this estimate appears somewhat optimistic. Vandegrift's engineers found the runway on Guadalcanal in a damaged condition but not badly hurt and his troops captured an amazing supply of undamaged equipment useful for completing the field.117 There was much to learn about the enemy; neither naval gunfire, bombs of the carrier planes, nor strafing were able to do him much harm in his caves and tunnels on Gavutu, and it is doubtful that sporadic bombing by the B-17's could have achieved more. The cruiser San Juan alone had poured over thirty tons of five-inch shell into the island on the morning of the invasion. Two destroyers added the weight of their fire, and the bombardment by surface units came in supplement to a dawn attack by carrier planes.118

It would seem to be a safe assumption that AAF planes had contributed to the success of the Guadalcanal landing chiefly through the reconnaissance missions they had performed over the two months preceding it. Flying out of Port Moresby, New Caledonia, and Espiritu Santo, they had kept watch on the enemy's movements and had helped to chart the area of one of the war's critical battles. And these were substantial services to the Marines who so soon would be hard pressed to hold their easily gained footing on Guadalcanal.


Table of Contents ** (Previous Chapter) * Next Chapter (2)

Notes to Chapter 1:

1. US. Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific) Interrogation 503, Pt. 3, Vice Adm. S. Fukudome, 9 Dec. 1945, p. 37.

2. Navy msg., F-35 Navy, CINCPAC, 19 Feb. 1942; CM-IN-5992 (5-22-42), G-2 Necal to AGWAR, 138, 20 May 1942; AAF Historical Study 17, Air Action in the Papuan Campaign, p. 2; Americal Div. G-3 Journal file, May 1942.

3. USSBS, The Allied Campaign against Rabaul, 1 Sept. 1946, p. 8; AAFHS-17, p. 2.

4. AAFHS-17, p. 4.

5. USSBS Intr. 441, Capt. T. Ohmae, 25 Nov. 1945.

6. Ibid.; USSBS Intr. 53, Capt. M. Yamaoka, 19 Oct. 1945, p. 5.

7. USSBS Intr. 503, Pt. 3, Vice Adm. S. Fukudome, 9 Dec. 1945, p. 38.

8. CM-IN-5422 (4-20-42), MacArthur to AGO, 381, 20 Apr. 1942; CM-IN-7614 AGWAR, U341, 22 July 1945.

9. USSBS Intr. 446, Capt. T. Miyazaki, 19 Nov. 1945; CM-IN-4515 (7-13-4z),Hq. AAF Melbourne to CGAAF, A75,13 July 1942.

10. CM-IN-6747 (7-19-42), MacArthur to Marshall, C136, 19 July 1942; CM-IN-2014 (7-6-42), USAFIA to AGWAR, U88, 6 July 1942; Hq. US. Army Air Services, SWPA, US. Army Air Corps Units in Australia, 14 July 1942; CM-IN-7603 (722-42), CG USAAF SWPA to CGAAF, A135, 21 July 1942; 5th AF files in Unit Record Br., AC/AS OC&R; CM-IN-7875 (7-23-42), Hq. AAF SWPA to CGAAF, 127, 21 July 1942; CM-IN-0186 (5-1-42), MacArthur to Marshall, 558, 1 May 1942; History, 27th Bomb. Gp.

11. CM-OUT-7532 (6-29-42), HHA to CINCSWPA, 308, 29 June 1942; CM-IN-8678 (7-25-42), Brisbane to CGAAF, A147, 24 July 1942.

12. CM-OUT-5716 (6-23-42). Marshall to CG USAFIA, 2410, 23 June 1942; CM-IN-8604 (6-26-42), GHQ SWPA to AGWAR, 74, 26 June 1942; CM-IN-5370 (9-13-42), Hq. AAF SWPA to CGAAF, 514, 13 Sept. 1942; CM-OUT-7532 (6-29-42), HHA to CINCSWPA, 308, 29 June 1942; CM-IN-5228 (7-15-42), GHQ SWPA to C/S, C110, 15 July 1942; CM-OUT-7630 (7-26-42), WD OPD to CINCSWPA, 217, 25 July 1942; interview with Lt. Gerald J. Dix, 10 Dec. 1942; interview with Capt. Vincent L. Snyder, in record of interview with Col. Richard H. Carmichael and members of the 19th Gp., 5 Dec. 1942.

13. Interview with Gen. Kenney; G-2 32d Inf. Div. to CG 32d Div., Report of Action, Papuan Campaign, 3 Apr. 1943.

14. Interview with Col. John K. Gowan, Jr.; CM-IN-05352 (10-13-42), Brisbane to WAR, C698, 13 Oct. 1942; CM-IN-1882 (8-6-42), MacArthur to AGWAR, C205, 5 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-6047, MacArthur to AGWAR, C121, 16 July 1942; interview with Capt. Carey L. O'Brien, in Carmichael interview; interview with Capt. Charles L. Marburg, 3 Nov. 1942; unrecorded interview with Maj. M. J. Keane, March 1944; Eric Feldt, The Coastwatchers (New York, 1946).

15. CM-IN-7060 (5-25-42), GHQ SWPA to C/S, 808, 25 May 1942.

16. Interview with Maj. Frank P. Bostrom in Carmichael interview.

17. History, 8th Photo Sq.; interview with Maj. Karl Polifka.

18. Incl. 1 (WDGS Disposition Form [6-24-4] OPD 384 PTO [6-18-42] for AC/AS Plans from OPD), Instruction Relative to Duties as Commander, South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force, CINCPAC to Vice Adm. Robert L. Ghormley, A16-3/P17, Serial 090W, n.d.; CINCPAC War Diary, 13 Apr. 1942.

19. CM-IN-5445 (5-20-42), Emmons to CGAAF, 161, 20 May 1942.

20. Memo for Adm. King from C/S, 17 Mar. 1942. In mid-March plans were completed for the occupation of Efate and Tongatabu. (Minutes, JCS 6th Mtg., 16 Mar. 1942; Joint Basic Plan for the Occupation and Defense of Efate, New Hebrides, 20 Mar. 1942.)

21. Interview with Capt. M. B. Gardner, USN, 13 Jan. 1943.

22. Ibid.; CM-IN-6839 (6-21-42), Efate to Marshall, 134, 20 June 1942; William Bradford Huie, Can Do! The Story of the Seabees (New York, 1944), p. 90.

23. History, 70th Fighter Sq.

24. The Operations of Aviation Engineers in the South Pacific, Jan. 1942-Aug. 1944, pp. 66-67.

25. Ibid., p. 74; History, 67th Fighter Sq.; AAF Form 63 (Sup.), Foreign Airport Description, Nov. 1943.

26. Gardner interview; memo for record, Security of New Caledonia and Efate, New Hebrides, 20 May 1942 in OPD 381, PTO, 29. In all these labors McCain received complete cooperation from General Chamberlin and from General Rose, who succeeded Chamberlin when the latter was forced to return to Hawaii because of illness.

27. Memo, ns. and n.d., in JPS 21/7, 18 Apr. 1942.

28. JPS 21/5/D, 7 Apr. 1942.

29. JCS 48, 2 May 1942. JCS 48 never received the approval of the Joint Chiefs. It was superseded by later decisions, but its value lies in the conflicting points of view developed during the course of discussion.

30. Comment 1 (R&R, Arnold to AFAEP, 21 Apr. 1942) in J/CCS, 660.2 (4-7-42), AC/AS Plans.

31. JCS 48, 2 May 1942.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid.

34. Ibid.

35. Ibid.

36. JCS 23, 14 Mar. 1942.

37. JCS 48, 2 May 1942.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid.

40. JPS 21/7, in JCS 48, 2 May 1942.

41. JCS 48, 2 May 1942.

42. Comment 1 (R&R, Arnold to AFAEP, 21 Apr. 1942).

43. Comment 2 (R&R, Arnold to AFAEP, 21 Apr. 1942), AFAEP to Arnold, 4 May 1942.

44. JCS 14th Mtg., 11 May 1942. At this period of the Pacific war, Admiral King felt that it would be futile to oppose with the two undamaged U.S. carriers a powerful enemy force striking along the line, unless these were supported by land-based bombers. (Ltr., CNO to C/S, Situation in the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific Areas as of the End of May 1942, 12 May 1942.)

45. CM-OUT-2532 (5-13-42), OPD to CG Hawaiian Dept., 3708, 12 May 1942; CM-OUT-2531 (5-13-42), OPD to CG US. Army Forces in New Caledonia, 111, 13 May 1942.

46. Minutes, JCS 13th Mtg., 4 May 1942; memo for President from C/S, 4 May 1942; memo for President from C/S, The Pacific Theater versus "Bolero," 6 May 1942, and memo for Marshall from FDR, 6 May 1942, both in JCS 48.

47. Memo for Air Plans from Arnold, The Pacific Theater versus "Bolero," 9 May 1942.

48. Memo for Eisenhower from Arnold, 12 May 1942.

49. Memo from Gen. Smith, Sec. of JCS from Eisenhower, AC/S, US. Army Objectives in the Pacific, 19 May 1942, in J/CCS, 660.2 (4-7-42).

50. CM-IN-0469 (6-2-42), MacArthur to C/S, 217, 2 June 1942; CM-IN-2264, GHQ SWPA to C/S, 913, 8 June 1942; CM-OUT-5704 (6-23-42), Marshall to CINCSWPA, 277, 23 June 1942; memo for C/S from Brig. Gen. T. T. Handy, 24 June 1942; CM-OUT-7501 (6-29-42), Marshall to CINCSWPA, 306, 29 June 1942. For a fuller discussion, see John Miller, Jr., Guadalcanal: The First Offensive (The United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific) (Washington, 1949, pp. 10-15.

51. Directive quoted in COMSOPAC War Diary, 4 July 1942.

52. Msg., COMSOWESPAC to COMINCH, etc., 081015, 8 July 1942.

53. Msgs., MacArthur and Ghormley to COMINCH, 081012, 8 July 1942, and C/S and COMINCH to COMSOWESPAC and COMSOPAC, 102100, 10 July, 1942.

54. Ltr., Sutherland to Commander Allied Land Forces, etc., 15 July 1942, in GHQ G-3 Journal, 15 July 1942.

55. Report on Part Played by 30 Aus. Inf. Brig. in Owen Stanley Range, 13 to 30 Aug., 8 to 18 Sept. 1942, in GHQ G-3 Journal, 18 Sept. 1942.

56. CM-1N-4425 (7-13-42), MacArthur to C/S, C96, 13 July 1942; CM-IN-8344 July 1942; CM-IN-7237 (7-21-42), MacArthur to C/S, C144, 21 July 1942; Byron Darnton, New York Times, 29 July 1942.

57. SWPA Intel. Sum. 21, 31 July 1942, pp. 89; Polifka interview; George Henry Johnston, The Toughest Fighting in the World (New York, 1943), p. 112.

58. Hq. US. Army Air Services, SWPA, US. Army Air Corps Units in Australia, 14 July 1942; CM-IN-7636 (7-22-42), MacArthur to C/S, C149, 22 July 1942.

59. CM-IN-7636 (7-22-42), MacArthur to C/S, C149, 22 July 1942; SWPA Intel. Sum. 21, 31 July 1942, pp. 89.

60. SWPA Intel. Sum. 19, 24 July 1942, SWPA to C/S, C153, 23 July 1942; GO 39, Hq. Allied Air Forces, 20 Aug. 1942; History, 80th Fighter Sq., p. 4.

61. CM-IN-8344 (7-24-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, 153, 23 July 1942; SWPA Intel. Sum. 21, 31 July 1942; Diary of Lt. Col. John A. Rouse, 22 and 23 July 1942.

62. SWPA Intel. Sum. 21, 31 July 1942, pp. 8-9; CM-IN-9267 (7-27-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C160, 26 July 1942; CM-IN-9973 (7-29-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C162, 29 July 1942; Osmar White, Courier Mail war correspondent, Secret Report, 15 Sept. 1942, in 32d Div. Patrol Reports, Buna Campaign; CM-IN-7017 (8-19-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, 301, 19 Aug. 1942; Johnston, Toughest Fighting in the World, pp. 112-14; CM-IN-3646 (8-10-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C239, 10 Aug. 1942; History, 21st Troop Carrier Sq.

63. Allied Air Forces, SWPA, Operational Survey 1, Land-Air Offensive in New Guinea, Kokoda to Gona-Buna, Pt. II, App.; CINCSWPA to C/S: CM-IN-10526 (7-30-42), C168, 29 July 1942; CM-IN-10841 (7-31-42), 173. 30 July 1942; CM-IN-0074 (9-1-42), 178, 31 July 1942; CM-IN-5395 (8-15-42), C163, 14 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-5797 (8-16-42), C268, 15 Aug. 1942; SWPA Intel. Sum. 25, 14 Aug. 1942, p. 1; Lt. Andrew H. Price, Shadowing Mission, 435th Overseas, in History, 19th Bomb. Gp.; Rouse Diary, 13 and 14 Aug. 1942.

64. SWPA Intel. Sum. 22, 4 Aug. 1942, pp. 5-8; CM-IN-0928 (7-3-42), Brett to CGAAF, A10, 3 July 1942; CM-IN-5584 (7-16-42), Brett to CGAAF, A98, 16 July 1942; interview with Gen. George C. Kenney by Dr. Albert F. Simpson and Capt. B. L. Mortensen, Air Force Historical Div., 25 Jan. 1950 (hereinafter cited as Kenney interview).

65. Marburg, interview, 3 Nov. 1942; Johnston, Toughest Fighting in the World, p. 134; ltr., Kenney to Arnold, 28 Aug. 1942.

66. SWPA Intel. Sum. 22, 4 Aug. 1942, p. 5.

67. Ibid., 26, 18 Aug. 1942, p. 1; CM-IN-6597 (8-18-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C291, 18 Aug. 1942.

68. History, 374th Troop Carrier Gp.; CM-IN-7554 (8-20-42), Kenney to CGAAF, A315, 18 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-7603 (7-22-42), Brett to CGAAF, A135, 21 July 1942. This figure of thirty-two aircraft does not agree with record in Statistical Control Division and may include those in the RAAF. (See also interview with six members of Troop Carrier Command, 3 July, 1943: Majs. Fred G. Henry, Alan D. Moore, James A. McCullough, George E. Stover, Ray Vandiver, John W. Wise; memo for AC/S OPD from Col. O.A. Anderson, Acting AC/AS Plans, 15 July 1942; Osmar White, Secret Report; statement of Col. William Hipps to author.)

69. CM-IN-3443 (8-10-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C232, 9 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-1272 (8-22-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C199, 4 Aug. 1942.

70. CM-IN-4248 (8-12-42), Kenney to Arnold, A262, 12 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-7967 (8-22-42), Kenney to Arnold, Q546, 22 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-10841 (7-31-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C173, 30 July 1942; CM-IN-0074 (8-1-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, 178, 31 July 1942; R&R, AFADS to AFDMR, 14 Aug. 1942, and AFDMR to AFADS, 15 Aug. 1942; R&R, AFRBS/SUP to AFROM and AFACT, 17 Aug. 1942; History, 27th Bomb. Gp.

71. CM-IN-8604 (6-26-42), GHQ SWPA to AGWAR, 74, 26 June 1942; CM-IN-9902 (6-30-42), GHQ SWPA to AGWAR, 260, 30 June 1942.

72. G-2 Information Bull. 121, 22 July 1942, in GHQ G-3 Journal, 22 July 1942.

73. CM-IN-2174 (7-7-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C38, 7 July 1942.

74. George C. Kenney, General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War (New York, 1949). pp. 19-26, where the author gives his own account of his trip from California to Australia.

75. CM-OUT-2793 (8-9-42), Marshall OUT-2792 (8-9-42), OPD (Marshall) to Necal, 890, 9 Aug. 1942; Polifka interview; Lt. Walter H. Johnson, Short History, 435th Overseas, and App. G, Summary of Operations of the 435th Bombardment Squadron, in History, 19th Bomb. Gp.; Samuel E. Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, IV (Boston, 1949), p. 267.

76. Operations Instruction 18/1942 to Hq. North Eastern Area, 3 July 1942; Morison, History . . . Naval Operations, IV, 269.

77. CM-IN-8416 (6-26-42), G-2 Necal to WDGBI, 379, 21 June 1942.

78. CM-IN-9177 (8-24-42), G-2 Necal to AGWAR, AGWAR 802, 17 Aug. 1942.

79. CM-IN-5682 (7-17-42), G-2 Necal to WDGBI, 1566, 16 July 1942; CM-IN-11038 (7-31-42), G-2 Necal to WDGBI, 685, 31 July 1942.

80. CM-OUT-0221 (7-1-42), OPD to CGHD, 1 July 1942.

81. CM-IN-0741 (7-3-42), Emmons to WDCSA, 1229, 2 July 1942; CM-OUT-1100 (7-4-42), OPD to CGHD, 4695, 4 July 1942.

82. CM-OUT-4129 (7-15-42), WDOPD to CGHD, 4905, 15 July 1942.

83. CM-IN-5463 (7-16-42), Emmons to WDCSA, 1562, 16 July 1942.

84. Gardner interview, 13 Jan. 1943; The Operations of Aviation Engineers in the South Pacific, Jan. 1942-Aug. 1944, p. 84.

85. History, 26th Bomb. Sq.

86. History, 98th Bomb. Sq.

87. COMAIRSOPACFOR Operations Order 1-42, 25 July 1942, in History, 98th Bomb. Sq.

88. Ltr., Col. Saunders to Gen. Hale, 18 Aug. 1942.

89. Ibid.

90. History, 98th Bomb. Sq.; ltr., Saunders to Hale, 18 Aug. 1942.

91. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 18 Aug. 1942.

92. Ibid.; CINCPAC War Diary, 13 Apr. 1942.

93. Incl. 2 (Disposition Form for OPD from AC/AS Plans, 23 June 194t), memo for C/S from Brig. Gen. T.T. Handy, Directive to Commander Aircraft, South Pacific Area, 18 June 1942.

94. CM-IN-9710 (7-28-42), COMSOPAC to all COMGENS Island Bases SOPAC, 270510 NCR 954, 27 July 1942.


96. Ibid.

97. Ibid.

98. 1st and 2d ind. (ltr., COMAIRSOPAC to COMSOPAC, 3 Aug. 1942), by COMGENSOPAC and COMSOPAC, 4 Aug. 1942.

99. CM-OUT-0221 (7-1-42), Marshall to Emmons, 4630, I July 1942; CM-IN-3516 (7-10-42). Ft. Shafter to WDCSA, 14393, 10 July 1942.

100. Ltr., Marshall to Harmon, 7 July 1942.

101. CM-IN-8640 (5-30-42), CINCPAC to COMSOPACFOR, 292019CCR1404.

102. Memo for AC/AS OPD from Harmon, 10 July 1942; VII Army Corps GO 39, San Jose, Calif., 30 July 1942; WD ltr., AG 320.2 (7-22-42), MR-M-GN, 24 July 1942, cited in History, Hq. and Hq. Co., USAFISPA.

103. Memo for AC/S OPD from Harmon, 12 July 1942.

104. Ltr., Colonel Bradley, Chief, AFPMP to CO Force 9465, 26 Aug. 1942; History, Hq. and Hq. Co., USAFISPA; interview with Maj. S. W. Smith, 10 Mar. 1944; Kenney, General Kenney Reports, pp. 19-26.

105. CM-IN-9310 (7-27-42), COMGEN, 236, 26 July 1942.

106. Ltr., Harmon to Arnold, 5 Aug 1942; ltr., Harmon to Brig. Gen. St. Clair Streett, 5 Aug. 1942.

107. Ltr., Harmon to Streett, 5 Aug. 1942.

108. CM-IN-0058 (8-1-42), Harmon to Marshall, 675, 30 July 1942.

109. CM-OUT-0253 (8-1-42), OPD to Harmon, 789, 31 July 1942; WDGS Disposition Form OPD 452.1 PTO (30 July 1942) for CGAAF from Handy, AC/S, 3 Aug. 1942; memo for OPD from Actg. AC/AS A-3, 10 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-0058 (8-1-42), Harmon to Marshall, 675, 30 July 1942; CM-OUT-0253 (8-1-42), OPD to CG New Caledonia, 789, 31 July 1942.

110. CM-IN-10700 (7-31-42), Harmon to Arnold, 677, 30 July 1942.

111. CM-OUT-2177 (8-7-42) OPD to COMGENSOPAC, 866,7 Aug. 1942; AG 320.2 (9-10-42) MR:M:AF, 11 Sept. 1942; Hq. I Island Air Command GO 1, 17 Oct. 1942; Hq. II Island Air Command GO 29, Hq. USAF in Fiji, 20 Oct. 1942.

112. Hq. 1st Marine Div., Division Commander's Final Report on Guadalcanal Operation, Phase II, 24 May 1943.

113. History, 431st Bomb. Sq.

114. Interview with Maj. Felix Hardison, in Carmichael interview; Kenney interview; CM-IN-2937 (8-9-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C226, 8 Aug. 1942; CM-OUT-5507 (8-18-42), WDGBI to CINCSWPA, 937, 17 Aug. 1942; CM-IN-7704 (8-21-42), MacArthur to AGWAR, C311, 20 Aug. 1942.

115. CM-IN-10212 (10-24-42), Brisbane to WAR, Z873, 23 Oct. 1942; CM-IN-3795 (8-11-42), CINCSWPA to C/S, C245, 11 Aug. 1942; Hardison interview.

116. Ltr., Saunders to Hale, 18 Aug. 1942.

117. Hq. First Marine Div. Report, Phase III.

118. ONI, Landings in the Solomons, 7-8 August 1942, p. 42.

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