Western New Guinea campaign

Australian infantrymen resting on a river bank

Australian infantrymen resting on a river bank

West New Guinea campaign (1944-1945) – one of the campaigns, the Pacific theater of World War II.


In the summer of-the autumn of 1943 year, the American and Australian troops slowly moved ahead forth along the of the northern the coast of of the island New Guinea. With the of the Japanese side fights of waged the troops 8-th of the front. In autumn 1943 in Indonesia of Manchukuo was transported 2nd front, as the dividing line between the fronts has been set to the 140th meridian east.

In connection with the advance of Allied forces in the direction of the Admiralty Islands, the Japanese rate of 25 March 1944 transferred to the 2nd front of 18th Army and the 4th Air Army, putting him accountable for the eastern part of New Guinea. 18th Army was ordered to gradually focus their main forces on the outskirts of Holland, firmly hold them and defeat the enemy, who will go on the offensive. Total in New Guinea six weak Japanese divisions confronted the the fifteen divisions to the Allies (the eight the American and the seven an Australian).

The course of events

Capturing the Netherlands and Aitape

Using the superiority of the sea and in the air Americans, while the Australian 7th and the 11th Division advancing along the coast, after heavy bombing on April 22 landings landed in Holland and Aitape, in the rear of the defending Japanese forces at Wewak. U.S. intelligence estimated the number of Japanese troops in Holland in 14,000 people, and in Aitape – in 3500, so in order to ensure success, MacArthur attracted to participate in the operation of about 50,000 soldiers. The so-as a of the defending it turned out a much less than, than presupposed exploration, and they belonged to a surround back piecemeal, then the operation do not amounted to for the Americans special work.

The capture of the island Vakde

Americans became the next target located 200 km west of the coastal island Vakde where the Japanese built airfield. In the the middle of May American troops landed on the island itself and on the of opposed shore of the island of New Guinea (to in paragraphs Toem and Ar’ar). Heavy fighting ensued. During these battles of the Japanese troops managed to separate herself from the Netherlands to the island Sarma.

Seizure of the island Biak

Biak Island was an important stronghold of the 2nd fronts: he controlled the entrance to the Gulf Gelvink, which, in turn, played a crucial role in the defense of the Japanese throughout the north-western part of New Guinea. On 25 December 1943 there was a separate detachment stationed allocated from the 36th Division and reports directly to the 2nd Army. On the island there was an airfield. In view of the importance of the island guarding against his unit, which, according to U.S. data, consisted of 8,000 people, the Americans landed division with reinforcement units. Despite the decisive superiority in strength, stubborn Japanese resistance has led to the fact that the battle for the island lasted from late May to early July.

The capture of the island Noemfor

Once halted fighting on Biak, MacArthur made an attack on the nearby island of Noemfor. Landing took place on July 2 and July 6 to have been captured all three are on the island airfield.

Japanese attempt to break under the Aitape

Immediately after the landing of American troops in Aitape and Dutch Japanese 18th Army decided to hit the abandoned territory. However, at the time of its 20th Division has retained only 60% of the personnel, 41th – 80%, and the 51th – only 30%. Deciding to leave the main forces of the 51st Division in Wewak, the Japanese command threw 20 th and 41 th Division (with part of the forces of the 51st Division) in the attack on the Aitape.

To cover the distance of 130 km from Wewak to Aitape, initially planned to build a highway and use the landing barges. However, the rainy season has made the road impassable prepared, but because of a lack of berths and shelters landing barges could not re-roll war materials farther than 60 km from Wewak. As a result of the combat units of the 18th Army were forced to manually drag the military supplies through the jungle, in the face of constant enemy air raids and reducing food supplies. In the meantime by Order Bids 18-I army of has been withdrawn out of the composition of 2-th of the front and handed over to under the direct subordination of the Southern Group the armies of.

July 10 the Japanese offensive at Aitape finally begun. However, MacArthur threw the sea there are three strong American divisions, and after 25 days of bloody fighting the remnants of the Japanese troops were forced to go back to the east.

Final fights

July 30, 1944 at Cape Sansapor where there was no Japanese troops had landed American division, which quickly built a defensive line and started the construction of new airports. Backed by three groups of airfields in the western tip of New Guinea, the Americans were able to begin operations against the Philippines. The task of eliminating the remnants of Japanese forces in New Guinea instructed Australians.

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