Admiralty Islands campaign
The Admiralty Islands campaign was a series of battles in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. Allied victory completed the isolation of the major Japanese base at Rabaul. A major air and naval base was developed in the Admiralties that became an important launching point for the campaigns of 1944 in the Pacific. The campaign officially ended on 18 May 1944.
About Admiralty Islands campaign in brief
The Admiralty Islands campaign was a series of battles in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. The Allied victory completed the isolation of the major Japanese base at Rabaul that was the ultimate objective of the Allied campaigns of 1942 and 1943. A major air and naval base was developed in the Admiralties that became an important launching point for the campaigns of 1944 in the Pacific. The campaign officially ended on 18 May 1944. The Admiralties lie 200 miles north east of the mainland of New Guinea and 360 miles west of Rabaul, only two degrees south of the equator. The largest island in the group is Manus Island, which is about 49 miles across from east to west and 16 miles wide from north to south. The interior is mountainous, with peaks rising to 3,000 feet and largely covered with thick tropical rainforest. The then largely uncharted coastline had numerous reefs. The shoreline consisted mostly of mangrove swamp, with a narrow Loniu Passage. The island contains two important harbours of its own, Papitalai on the west coast, which connects with Seeadler Harbour, and Hyane on the east coast. The two are separated by a 50-yard wide sandy spit. Here, the natives built a skidway over which they could drag canoes between the two harbours. The main entrance was through a 1. 5-mile wide passage between Hauwei and Ndrilo Islands. The islands contained flat areas for airstrips, military installations, and Seeader Harbour, which was large enough to accommodate a naval force.
The Allies were considering the possibility of neutralising Rabaul and bypassing it with a neutralisation plan. On 6 August 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff adopted a plan that called for the neutralisation of the Rabaul area rather than neutralising it. The final stage of the plan was postponed until 1944. In March 1943, General Douglas MacArthur approved the latest version of the Elkton plan for an advance on Rabaul. At the Pacific Military Conference in March 1943 the final stage was postponed and the capture of the base was postponed. The Japanese reaction was more violent than anticipated and some months passed before the Guadalcanal Campaign was brought to a successful conclusion. Meanwhile, General MacArthur’s forces—primarily Australian—fought off a series. of Japanese offensives in Papua in the Kokoda Track Campaign, Battle of Milne Bay and Battle of Buna-Gona, and the Battle of Wau. In the end, air superiority and command of the sea allowed the Allies to heavily reinforce their position on Los Negros. The U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division could then overrun the islands and take the islands on 29 February 1944. A furious battle over the islands ensued. In July 1942, the joint chiefs of staff approved a. series of operations against the Japanese bastion atrabaul, which blocked any Allied advance along the northern coast of New. Guinea.