The battle for New Guinea

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Harry Ree, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Exactly my point. If they negated the effect of New Guinea, they would not have any need to protect their flank and could have put everything against Guadalcanal.

    Whether they could or not is not in question because they already had troops in every part of New Guinea except for Port Moresby.
    Although the plans were in place for such an occurrence you don't just let it happen.

    Why not Townsville or Brisbane or Sydney.

    Not even close. It is over 1,000 kms or over 600miles or a 1200 mile round trip. And remember at this crucial time on Guadalcanal they could not support bombers from Guadalcanal.

    September, October 1942.

    Well if this was common knowledge in 1942, why did they even bother invading Guadalcanal. They should have just waited until the end of 1943 or maybe 1944, bypass everything and go straight into Tokyo bay.

    I am not marginalizing the the taking of Betio and the resultant loss of life. I am just making the point that New Guinea would not have left only a few thousand Japanese behind their lines.

    With the operation in The Marshalls, with Kwajalein Island in particular, they bombed them incessantly for two months prior to the invasion by sea and Air with 15,000 tons of bombs.

    Rabaul could be isolated because New Guinea was in Allied hands. There were 100,000+ Japanese on Rabaul which were available and could have been sent to Guadalcanal.

    It is history that it did not and nearly 90,000 Japanese surrendered there in 1945.

    Of course. The war in the Pacific was won with Naval supremacy.

    I can imagine anything however all what you are saying and predicting is with the benefit of hindsight and not as the situation was in 1942.

    Even Yamamoto knew that after Pearl Harbor, Japan could not match the industrial might of the United States and consistently pushed for those battles that would destroy the US naval strength and make the US sue for peace.

    Coral Sea, Midway and other major naval battles, except for a lot of luck and better intelligence, could have altered the course of the war. (Not the result)

    Just supporting how precarious the situation was, a group of Coastwatchers provided the intelligence and early warning system that saved Guadalcanal. And I qoute:

    United States Admiral of the Fleet, William F. Halsey paid high tribute to Australian Coastwatchers.
    He said: "The Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal, and Guadalcanal saved the South Pacific."


     
  2. syscom_3

    syscom_3 Member

    It doesnt matter how many troops the IJA had in NG, because the whole key to the campaigns were the ability of the navy's of both sides to supply the forces they had.

    The IJN would be hard pressed to supply both forces in NG and forces in the Solomons.

    And if the Japanese did control NG, then they sure were not going to pull forces off the island, as allied forces were just across the Torres Straight.

    All what would have happened is the Japanese would expend more shipping to keep the airfields at Port Moresby "humming" and their supply situation in the Solomons would still be precarious.

    Now skip forward to Nov 1943. The USN rolls across the central pacific, putting bomber bases on a few islands, and instantly Rabaul and Truk are in trouble. And remember that in the summer of 1943, the US sub force finally had torpedo's that worked and captains that looked for a fight. The Japanese shipping would be extremely vulnerable and the Japanese positions untenable.

    No matter how many troops the Japanese have at their disposal to put on the central pacific islands, the ultimate number is completely dependant on their logistics capability. Plus if you put to many men on a small island, youre boxing them up for group distruction. So even if the Japanese flank in NG was in their hands, it means little.

    Another thing to ponder..... as Truk goes, so does Rabaul.
     
  3. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    It doesnt matter how many troops the IJA had in NG, because the whole key to the campaigns were the ability of the navy's of both sides to supply the forces they had.

    The IJN would be hard pressed to supply both forces in NG and forces in the Solomons.

    And if the Japanese did control NG, then they sure were not going to pull forces off the island, as allied forces were just across the Torres Straight.

    All what would have happened is the Japanese would expend more shipping to keep the airfields at Port Moresby "humming" and their supply situation in the Solomons would still be precarious.

    Now skip forward to Nov 1943. The USN rolls across the central pacific, putting bomber bases on a few islands, and instantly Rabaul and Truk are in trouble. And remember that in the summer of 1943, the US sub force finally had torpedo's that worked and captains that looked for a fight. The Japanese shipping would be extremely vulnerable and the Japanese positions untenable.

    No matter how many troops the Japanese have at their disposal to put on the central pacific islands, the ultimate number is completely dependant on their logistics capability. Plus if you put to many men on a small island, youre boxing them up for group distruction. So even if the Japanese flank in NG was in their hands, it means little.

    Another thing to ponder..... as Truk goes, so does Rabaul.


    As I have said a few times during the course of this thread, the might of US industry was always going to prevail however you are debating this thread with the advantage of hindsight.

    New Guinea in the context of August 1942 was seen by military planners as a must win. When the Japanese were repelled at Milne Bay after creating a beachhead, this was the first time that this had occurred. It showed that the Japanese could be defeated.

    Milne Bay had proved for the first time that coordinated use of land troops, artillery, Air and Sea could be a winner if utilised correctly.

    The strength of the Japanese land forces in these areas is known now but it was not known then. The IJN was still as dangerous as ever as many future battles showed.

    Admiral King put forward the invasion of Guadalcanal which was the place to test the Japanese ability to defend their outer rim and it proved to be successful yet it was not a "Fait Accompli". It did though begin the rot for the Japanese once it was declared won in February 1943.

    All the tests and the learning of the Pacific type of war grew from New Guinea and Guadalcanal because everything that came before on land since December 7th was chalked up as a loss.

    Coral Sea was a greater victory than it is sometimes credited with as many lessons were learnt and used to advantage in later battles by the USN. Turning back the Japanese here had huge ramifications for what occurred in both New Guinea and Guadalcanal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  4. A Potts

    A Potts Member

     
  5. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    There have been many posts on this thread that gave no credence to the New Guinea campaign (with the benefit of hindsight) and its benefit to the outcome of hostilities in the Pacific in September 1942.

    I noticed the latest detail in wiki has been updated and includes all of the forces involved which was not clear previously. These included seasoned troops of the Australian 7th division (18th Brigade) from the Middle East (Tobruk) plus Militia Units and a couple of new photos of the area.

    Battle of Milne Bay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In fact, it was elite Japanese marines, known as Kaigun Rikusentai (Special Naval Landing Forces), rather than the Imperial Japanese Army who attacked the Allied forces at Milne Bay. The Japanese high command committed approximately 850 marines from the 5th Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) led by Commander Shojiro Hayashi, a company of the 5th Sasebo SNLF, led by Lieutenant Fujikawa, 10th Naval Landing Force and 2nd Air Advance Party with 350 (non-combat) personnel from the 16th Naval Construction Unit. The Japanese force was led initially by Commander Shojiro Hayashi.
    The Allies, commanded by the Australian Major General Cyril Clowes, were defending three strategically-important airstrips. The soldiers were made up of the 18th Infantry Brigade of the Australian 7th Division, the 7th Brigade, a Militia formation, Companies A, C and a section of E Company of the 55th Battalion of the 14th Brigade, 9th Battery of 2/3rd Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, US 709th Anti Aircraft Battery and the 9th Battery of 2/5th Field Regiment. In addition, a portion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 46th (General Service) Engineers Regiment, was deployed for the purpose of airfield construction.
    Although the Allied forces numbered 8,824, only about 4,500 were infantry. The Japanese enjoyed a significant advantage in the form of light tanks, which the Allies had not deployed. The Japanese also had complete control of the sea during the night, allowing reinforcement and evacuation. However, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 75 and 76 Squadrons, flying P-40 Kittyhawk aircraft together with No. 6's Hudsons from No. 1 Strip at Milne Bay, which played a critical role in the fierce fighting, were largely uncontested during the day.
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    A link to a good book on the action which includes a video of the Milne Bay actual footage.

    Milne Bay is the place where The Battle for Australia Day found its roots and is celebrated in Australia on the first Wednesday in September each year.

    file:///C:/Users/Geoff/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot.pnghttp://www.battleformilnebay.com.au/

    Scroll down to the actual footage and comment.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
    BarbaraWT likes this.
  8. jeffbubble

    jeffbubble Senior Member

    On the Kokoda Trail[​IMG]
     
  9. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    They have nearly got it back to flying condition - They are just having a break for lunch.:tongue:

    Have you been there Jeff?
     
  10. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Blamey responding to Macarthur offering to send in more US Troops " Would rather put in more Australians, as he knew they would fight"

    Spider
     
  11. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    My father in law was at both Tobruk and Milne Bay.

    He was adamant that the 2 weeks of Milne Bay was FAR more traumatic/intense than the 8 months of Tobruk.


    John.
     
  12. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Milne Bay has been somewhat underestimated over the years because it had a tendency to be compared with what was going on at Guadalcanal at the time. Milne Bay was savage and fought in quite terrible conditions.

    Even on this thread, there was a poster who stated that the first defeat of the Japanese by Australians didn't mean much because New Guinea didn't mean much. Strange how people are blinded by things when they have the benefit of hindsight.

    The poster even went as far as saying we should have just let the Japanese have New Guinea as they "had most of it anyway".

    At the time it was important and it was the start of a continual series of losses for Japan on land. Their "invincibility" was broken and bouyed the allies in their future clashes.
     
  13. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    36 Australian POWs murdered by our peace loving japanese brothers!
     
  14. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    36 Australian POWs murdered by our peace loving japanese brothers!

    That was the start of it - No prisoners for us either!

    Kill them twice was the motto I read somewhere - (Just to be sure)

    The Japanese feigned death then threw a grenade when the Aussies were checking for survivors. Definitely a tit for tat existence in Pacific fighting however it was similar with the SS in Europe - Not too many of them taken prisoner either in some battles.

    Kokoda confirmed their brutality and awakened the Aussies to a brand new ball game.

    The Japanese cannabilised a few of the Australians there (Kokoda) so the rule book was thrown out of the window from then on as well.
     
  15. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Even on this thread, there was a poster who stated that the first defeat of the Japanese by Australians didn't mean much because New Guinea didn't mean much. Strange how people are blinded by things when they have the benefit of hindsight.

    The poster even went as far as saying we should have just let the Japanese have New Guinea as they "had most of it anyway".

    Spidge

    The fact that the Japanese were pre-occupied in New Guinea, and also Timor, by the Australians stopped a lot of Japanese resources being sent to Guadalcanal.

    Could Guadalcanal have been isolated as Rabaul was? if so where would the Japanese resources have gone then?

    The far east was what the Japanese wanted for its resources (oil, rubber, food), unfortunately they also had to have a buffer zone.

    Spider
     
  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Just a little bit of "Lesser known facts from ww2" by George Duncan.

    George Duncan's Historical Facts of WWII

    AUSSIE VICTORY AT MILNE BAY
    The first Australian victory over the seemingly invincible Japanese Army. The Battle of Milne Bay (August 25 to September 6, 1942) on the eastern tip of New Guinea, was one of the great turning points of the Pacific war. Australian troops of the 2/12 Division, some just back from the fighting in the Middle East, fought an eleven day battle in jungle rain and mud, against an enemy force and for the first time in the Pacific war, beat them. The Japanese pulled out of Milne Bay on the 5th of September. Soon after the Japanese landings the Australian troops discovered, at a place called the KB Mission, several bodies of their comrades, who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese, tied to trees and stabbed full of holes. They had been used for bayonet practice.
    After this brutal discovery, no more prisoners were taken by the Australians during the battle. In the fierce hand to hand fighting for the airstrips, where bayonets were used as much as guns, Japanese soldiers had the habit of lying amongst the dead corpses and then rising up to shoot the Aussie soldiers as they passed. Soon both sides were bayoneting every dead body they came across just to make sure they were indeed dead. At Milne Bay the cost in Australian lives was high, 161 men were killed. Some 750 Japanese perished. No Australian prisoner lived to tell the tale, all were executed.
     
  17. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    To me the campaigns in Papua and New guinea as well as the campaign at Guadalcanal were all very important they combined were the start of the end for the Japanese. Was one more important than the other, at times yes but to both sides they were areas that they felt that must control. If either or both fell to the Japanese then we Allies would of been in a tight spot. With the Japanese controlling all the immediate north of Australia.

    Milne Bay was a time when the Aussies in particular finally used a combined force though they still lacked many support weapons. But as it has been said they were the first to throw back a Japanese landing.
    (Better organisation and deployment of troops at start of Pacific war could of seen some success in defeating certain japanese landings prior to Milne Bay.)
    Which was the most important? To me they all were, the Japanese stopped the attack on Kokoda track only 30 or so miles from Port Moresby so they could send every possible reinforcement and supplies to Guadalcanal. This showed just how important this campaign was.
    However it also according to Wiki it also worked the other way and when the fighting in the battles for Gona and Buna were raging Japanese stopped Reinforcements and supplies from being sent to Guadalcanal as they saw Buna and Gona as the more important.

    Wikipedia {Reinforcements and supplies were diverted to New Guinea.
    On November 26, Japanese Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura took command of the newly formed Eighth Area Army at Rabaul. The new command encompassed both Hyakutake's 17th Army and the 18th Army in New Guinea. One of Imamura's first priorities upon assuming command was the continuation of the attempts to retake Henderson Field and Guadalcanal. The Allied offensive at Buna in New Guinea, however, changed Imamura's priorities. Because the Allied attempt to take Buna was considered a more severe threat to Rabaul, Imamura postponed further major reinforcement efforts to Guadalcanal to concentrate on the situation in New Guinea} Wikipedia.[121] }

    I also dislike MacArthur and also Blamey. Pity General White died so early in war as he was listened to and the General Staff became nothing after Whites death in facvour of Macarthur who just left them alone and went straight to the Prime minister which left the General staff out in the cold. As people have said when it involved US troops MacArthur only mentioned US troops any other was Allies, well it also worked similar when we Aussies were fighting along with the Brits, all victories were recorded or reported as British Victories and all forces were described as British Troops Usually it was only the Aussie and other Commonwealth reporters historians who reported that it was Australians.
     
  18. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member

    A question for members.

    I have often wondered at the timing of the arrival of the 18th Brigade, and the two RAAF Squadrons.

    Has it ever been indicated that the broken jap code may have assisted the AIF in preparing for the invasion?

    John.
     
  19. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    A question for members.

    I have often wondered at the timing of the arrival of the 18th Brigade, and the two RAAF Squadrons.

    Has it ever been indicated that the broken jap code may have assisted the AIF in preparing for the invasion?

    John.

    Seems so!

    The Australians at War Film Archive - 44

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  20. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Spidge

    The fact that the Japanese were pre-occupied in New Guinea, and also Timor, by the Australians stopped a lot of Japanese resources being sent to Guadalcanal.

    Could Guadalcanal have been isolated as Rabaul was? if so where would the Japanese resources have gone then?

    The far east was what the Japanese wanted for its resources (oil, rubber, food), unfortunately they also had to have a buffer zone.

    Spider
    The "island hopping" or "leap-frogging" campaign which involved the taking of islands that was deemed important to paving the way to Tokyo was developed in late 1943, and implemented with Operation Cartwheel, which was a scaled back effort that was wanted by General MacArthur (Southwest Pacific Area) and Admiral King (South Pacific Area). This was at the recommendation of General Marshall, who insisted that the brunt of the US effort was to be directed at Germany and not in the Pacific against the Japanese Empire. Coupled with the brutal lessons learned at Guadalcanal and New Guinea led to this new strategy, to neutralize then bypass Japanese strong-points, leaving them to "wither on the vine". Up until that point, it appears that we were going to take the Japanese head-on and slug it out all the way to Tokyo.
     

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