World War II in the Pacific
The Battle for New Guinea, 1942
Papua/New Guinea was part of the defensive ring around Japanese conquests of the Dutch East Indies. New Guinea would close the door from Australia, which is closer than Cuba is to Florida. Japan had declared war on the Neitherlands in January, completed the occupation and destroyed the Allied ABDA Navy
in February, invaded New Guinea in March as Java surrendered. That landing is opposed on Mar 10, 1942. as Lexington and Yorktown attack Japanese invasion force at New Guinea destroying serveral ships, but the landing continues.
In April the Japanese
Apr 1 . invaded the Solomon islands and by August reach the southern end, Tulagi and Guadalcanal,
Apr 5 . Jap fleet w/5 carriers attack Ceylone causing the British fleet to withdraw to Africa.
Apr 8 . Force from Rabaul lands in Western New Britain.
Apr 10. Completes conquest of the Philippines.
Apr 12. Victorious Japanese fleet starts its return to home waters having lost no surface warships in war to date.
Apr 17. Japanese army takes central Burma.
Apr 18. Suffered the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and approved plans to take Midway Island
Apr 19. Japanese land in Dutch New Guinea
Apr 29. Japanese land on Mindanao, southern Philippine Islands
Apr 29 have reached the southern end to occuply seaplane base at Tulagi.
Apr 30. Japanese cut China Road by capture of Lashio, Burma.
Apr 6 . Advance elements of the U.S. Army 41st Division reach Melbourne, Australia.
Apr 9 . US troops surrender on Bataan peninsula. Over 10% die in Death March
Apr 14. Adm Nimitz assigned to South Pacific. Sends Yorktown (CV-5, RAdm Fletcher) to Tongatabu, south of Samoa, to replenish for anticipated defense of New Guinea and Solomon Islands at the end of the month.
Apr 18. Doolittle Raid on Tokyo with 16 Army B-25 bombers from Hornet, escorted by Enterprise.
Apr 22. Lexington joins Yorktown at Tongutabu to prepare for expected battle in Coral Sea.
Apr 28. VAdm Ghormley arrives from Europe to take South Pacific.
May 2 . Australian seaplane base at Tulagi (Guadalcanal) evacuated.
May 5 . Corregidor surrenders, 13,000 soldiers, last of the Philippine defenses.
May 8 . Battle of Coral Sea stops Japanese advance in the South Pacific
May 17. French colonies of New Caledonia declare for Allies, but many spy for Vichy.
May 24. All warships from Coral Sea recalled to Pearl Harbor to aid at the Battle of Midway.
Japan had occupied the north coast of New Guinea and the next step was to go round the tip of island to take the city of Port Moresby on the south coast opposite Australia. A landing force was prepared to enbark from Rabaul, New Britain to sail through the Coral Sea about the same time as the soutern Solomon Islands and use the same naval forces for both tasks.
We have seen that at the Battle of Coral Sea, the invasion convoy directed to the south coast had
been stopped and the Japanese forced to make a land attack over rugged mountains that failed.
Concurrent with Guadalcanal, 7Aug'42.
Kokoda Track campaign-- Aug'-Sep'42
Milne Bay -- Aug'42-Sep'42
Buna and Gona Nov'42-Jan'43
Holding Wau -- Jan'43
Concurrent with Japanese withdrawal from Guadalcanal, 9Feb'43
Battle of Bismarck Sea -- Mar'43
Air Retaliation -- April'43
Salamaua-Lae campaign (22 April – 16 Sep 1943)
The Setup - Japanese
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Last updated on November 19, 2017
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