The ‘Images of War’ series has become very popular because it provides rare selections of photographs, concise text and low pricing of military history. This new addition to the series also covers a seriously neglected key campaign of WWII. – Most Highly Recommended.
NAME: Images of War, MacArthur's Papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives FILE: R3167 AUTHOR: Jon Diamond PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PRICE: £15.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, World War Two, Second World War, Pacific War, Far East, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japanese, jungle fighting ISBN: 1-52675-740-0 PAGES: 236 IMAGE: B3167.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y93t3vnu LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The 'Images of War series has become very popular because it provides rare selections of photographs, concise text and low pricing of military history. This new addition to the series also covers a seriously neglected key campaign of WWII. – Most Highly Recommended.
The Japanese had romped through Indo China, Malaya and Singapore before charging through Indonesia. It was a major military achievement although they had been aided greatly by the deliberate neglect of Britain, France and the Netherlands. Britain was in a different situation from its European neighbours because it was still independent of Nazi rule and fighting back. Britain therefore had choice in how it expended its scarce resources. It chose wisely to concentrate on defending the British Isles and moving over to the offensive with Bomber Command. The next priority was North Africa because it had to retain control of the Suez Canal and clear a path through the Mediterranean. Without meeting those priorities the was no way of preserving the Far East territories and interests from Japan. The result was that the best fighters, bombers and warships were retained to defend the British Isles and the critical North Atlantic sea routes. The obsolescent equipment was sent to North Africa as quickly as it could be replaced in home defence. Whatever was left over was obsolete and in very small quantities and that was sent to India and on.
The Japanese helpfully brought the United States into the war when it tried to destroy the USN Pacific Fleet in harbour. That meant the Allies would be greatly expanded and US war production would make improved resources available ahead of Britain being able to divert more, and more effective, resources to the Pacific. That would inevitably lead to the defeat of Japan who could only hope for a fast war with an armistice that let them keep most of what they had gained. However there would be a lag while the Allies pulled themselves together, got organized and started to strike back. In this period, Japan threatened Australia and began bombing Northern Australia. Unless something was done very quickly they could bring Australia into their portfolio of occupied territories and present a major difficulty for the Allies.
MacArthur was tasked with planning an offensive through Papua New Guinea that would drive back the Japanese air attacks on Australia and begin the roll back of Japanese forces. His task would be made possible by the courage of Australian and New Zealand troops who fought through the jungles with great courage and determination, driving the Japanese back from the high point of their advances. It was one of the critical battles of WWII, a point where failure could at best prolong the war for years and at worst deny victory to the Allies. Quite why this offensive failed to achieve parity in coverage at the time and later by historians may be one of the great mysteries of WWII. The probability is that there were two factors at play. Britain was focused on Europe and the Mediterranean and its 14th Army in Burma was the forgotten army, out of sight and out of mind. For the Americans, Papua New Guinea was something of a side show where the Anzacs were doing most of the work and there were soon naval battles and great amphibious attacks on other parts of the Japanese perimeter where the forces were almost exclusively American. There was natural pride by Americans in their own forces and a limit to the space for news. That left only Australians and New Zealanders to take pride in their forces.
Happily this new book goes a long way towards correcting this neglect.