Asiatic-Pacific Theater

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A map of the Asiatic-Pacific Theater showing its component areas. The China-Burma-India Theater fell under the British-led South East Asia Command. Pacific Theater Areas;map1.JPG
A map of the Asiatic-Pacific Theater showing its component areas. The China-Burma-India Theater fell under the British-led South East Asia Command.
Pacific Theater section of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Pacific War Section, Nat. WWII Memorial, IMG 4652.JPG
Pacific Theater section of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Asiatic-Pacific Theater, was the theater of operations of U.S. forces during World War II in the Pacific War during 1941–45. From mid-1942 until the end of the war in 1945, there were two U.S. operational commands in the Pacific. The Pacific Ocean Areas (POA), divided into the Central Pacific Area, the North Pacific Area and the South Pacific Area, [1] :652–653 were commanded by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean Areas. The South West Pacific Area (SWPA) was commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander South West Pacific Area. [2] During 1945, the United States added the United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, commanded by General Carl A. Spaatz.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Pacific War theatre of war in the Second World War

The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.

Chester W. Nimitz United States Navy fleet admiral

Chester William Nimitz, Sr. was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, commanding Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II.

Contents

Because of the complementary roles of the United States Army and the United States Navy in conducting war in the Pacific Theater, there was no single Allied or U.S. commander (comparable to General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the European Theater of Operations). There was no actual command; rather, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater was divided into SWPA, POA, and other forces and theaters, such as the China Burma India Theater.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

Pacific Ocean Area major campaigns and battles

Japanese naval aircraft prepare to attack Pearl Harbor. Carrier shokaku.jpg
Japanese naval aircraft prepare to attack Pearl Harbor.
Okinawa, 1945. A U.S. Marine aims a Thompson submachine gun at a Japanese sniper, as his companion takes cover. Ww2 158.jpg
Okinawa, 1945. A U.S. Marine aims a Thompson submachine gun at a Japanese sniper, as his companion takes cover.

North Pacific Area

Aleutian Islands Campaign battle

The Aleutian Islands Campaign was a military campaign conducted by the United States and Japan in the Aleutian Islands, part of the Alaska Territory, in the American theater and the Pacific theater of World War II starting on 3 June 1942. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, where the remoteness of the islands and the challenges of weather and terrain delayed a larger U.S.-Canadian force sent to eject them for nearly a year. The islands' strategic value was their ability to control Pacific transportation routes, which is why U.S. General Billy Mitchell stated to the U.S. Congress in 1935, "I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world." The Japanese reasoned that control of the Aleutians would prevent a possible U.S. attack across the Northern Pacific. Similarly, the U.S. feared that the islands would be used as bases from which to launch aerial assaults against the West Coast.

Battle of the Komandorski Islands naval battle between American and Japanese forces in the North Pacific area

The Battle of the Komandorski Islands was a naval battle between American and Imperial Japanese forces which took place on 27 March 1943 in the North Pacific, south of the Soviet Komandorski Islands. The battle was a daylight surface engagement in which air support played a negligible role and in which the inferior American force escaped complete destruction mostly by luck.

Central Pacific Area

Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States' formal entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Battle of Guam (1941) 1941 World War II battle

The First Battle of Guam was an engagement during the Pacific War in World War II, and took place from 8 December to 10 December 1941 on Guam in the Mariana Islands between Japan and the United States. The American garrison was defeated by Japanese forces on 10 December, which resulted in an occupation until the Second Battle of Guam in 1944.

Battle of Wake Island battle of World War II

The Battle of Wake Island began simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor naval/air bases in Hawaii and ended on 23 December 1941, with the surrender of the American forces to the Empire of Japan. It was fought on and around the atoll formed by Wake Island and its minor islets of Peale and Wilkes Islands by the air, land, and naval forces of the Japanese Empire against those of the United States, with Marines playing a prominent role on both sides.

South Pacific Area

South West Pacific Area major campaigns and battles

China-Burma-India Theater major campaigns and battles [14]

Notes

1944 Strategy Conference in Honolulu. Left to right: MacArthur, Roosevelt, Leahy, Nimitz. The discussion weighs the options of Formosa or the Philippine Islands as the next operational target in the Pacific theater. FDR conference 1944 HD-SN-99-02408.JPEG
1944 Strategy Conference in Honolulu. Left to right: MacArthur, Roosevelt, Leahy, Nimitz. The discussion weighs the options of Formosa or the Philippine Islands as the next operational target in the Pacific theater.
  1. Note that the Battle of Leyte Gulf is listed in both the Central Pacific Area (under Nimitz) and in the South West Pacific Area (under MacArthur). Leyte Gulf is where Nimitz's western thrust across the central Pacific Ocean intersected MacArthur's northern thrust across the western Pacific Ocean. While the Pacific Ocean command structure was convoluted, operations were "designed to sequence the SWPA's operations with POA's forces across the central Pacific. [6] :IX-136The main purpose of sequencing is to arrange objectives/tasks in such a progression that collectively they lead to the accomplishment of the assigned ultimate objective in the shortest time possible and with the least loss of personnel and materiel." [6] :IX-135 Nimitz provided, but maintained control over, Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet to cover and support Admiral Kinkaid's Seventh Fleet operating under General MacArthur. The result of this imprecise arrangement was the crisis precipitating the Battle off Samar. Halsey was operating under Commander in Chief, Pacific Operating Area's (Nimitz') Operations Plan 8–44. [7]
  2. By US Navy's Third Fleet under Admirals Halsey and Nimitz.
  3. By US Navy's Task Force 38 under Admirals Mitscher and Nimitz.

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Potter & Nimitz (1960).
  2. Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander SWPA
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Silverstone (1968) pp.9–11.
  4. Kafka & Pepperburg (1946) p.185.
  5. Ofstie (1946) p.194.
  6. 1 2 Vego 2007
  7. Vego 2006, pp. 126–130
  8. Dull 1978, p. 61.
  9. Silverstone 1968, pp. 9–11.
  10. Dull 1978, p. 75.
  11. Dull 1978, p. 91.
  12. 1 2 3 Sulzberger 1966, pp. 332–333.
  13. Potter & Nimitz 1960 , p. 759.
  14. U.S. Army Center of Military History. "World War II – Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaigns – U.S. Army Center of Military History". U.S. Army Center of Military History. U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 21 October 2015.

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Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal military award

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South West Pacific theatre of World War II

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Pacific Ocean theater of World War II

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USS <i>LST-469</i>

USS LST-469 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-459</i>

USS LST-459 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-452</i>

USS LST-452 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II.

USS <i>LST-454</i>

USS LST-454 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II.

USS <i>LST-456</i>

USS LST-456 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II.

USS <i>LST-458</i>

USS LST-458 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II.

USS <i>LST-460</i>

USS LST-460 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-462</i>

USS LST-462 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-463</i>

USS LST-463 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-466</i>

USS LST-466 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-468</i>

USS LST-468 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-470</i>

USS LST-470 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-474</i>

USS LST-474 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

USS <i>LST-475</i>

USS LST-475 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. As with many of her class, the ship was never named. Instead, she was referred to by her hull designation.

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