The Pacific Ocean theater, during World War II, was a major theater of the war between the Allies and the Empire of Japan. It was defined by the Allied powers' Pacific Ocean Area command, which included most of the Pacific Ocean and its islands, while mainland Asia was excluded, as were the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, Australia, most of the Territory of New Guinea, and the western part of the Solomon Islands.
It officially came into existence on March 30, 1942, when US Admiral Chester Nimitz was appointed Supreme Allied Commander Pacific Ocean Areas .In the other major theater in the Pacific region, known as the South West Pacific theatre, Allied forces were commanded by US General Douglas MacArthur. Both Nimitz and MacArthur were overseen by the US Joint Chiefs and the Western Allies Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCoS).
Most Japanese forces in the theater were part of the Combined Fleet (連合艦隊, Rengō Kantai) of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), which was responsible for all Japanese warships, naval aircraft, and marine infantry units. The Rengō Kantai was led by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, until he was killed in an attack by U.S. fighter planes in April 1943. Yamamoto was succeeded by Admiral Mineichi Koga (1943–44) and Admiral Soemu Toyoda (1944–45). The General Staff (参謀本部, Sanbō Honbu) of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) was responsible for Imperial Japanese Army ground and air units in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. The IJN and IJA did not formally use joint/combined staff at the operational level, and their command structures/geographical areas of operations overlapped with each other and those of the Allies.
In the Pacific Ocean theater, Japanese forces fought primarily against the United States Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other Allied nations also contributed forces.
Isoroku Yamamoto was a Japanese Marshal Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II until his death.
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.
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, 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. During 1945, the United States added the United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, commanded by General Carl A. Spaatz.
During World War II, the United States Army divided its operations around the world into four theaters. Forces from many different Allied nations fought in these theaters. Other Allied countries have different conceptions of the theaters and/or different names for them.
The Battle of the Philippine Sea was a major naval battle of World War II that eliminated the Imperial Japanese Navy's ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions. It took place during the United States' amphibious invasion of the Mariana Islands during the Pacific War. The battle was the last of five major "carrier-versus-carrier" engagements between American and Japanese naval forces, and pitted elements of the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet against ships and aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Mobile Fleet and nearby island garrisons. This was the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history, involving 24 aircraft carriers, deploying roughly 1,350 carrier-based aircraft.
The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. It was geographically the largest theater of the war, including the vast Pacific Ocean theater, the South West Pacific theater, the South-East Asian theater, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Soviet–Japanese War.
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, fought during 25–27 October 1942, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Santa Cruz or in Japan as the Battle of the South Pacific, was the fourth carrier battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II. It was also the fourth major naval engagement fought between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the lengthy and strategically important Guadalcanal campaign. As in the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and the Eastern Solomons, the ships of the two adversaries were rarely in sight or gun range of each other. Instead, almost all attacks by both sides were mounted by carrier or land-based aircraft.
The Tokyo Express was the name given by Allied forces to the use of Imperial Japanese Navy ships at night to deliver personnel, supplies, and equipment to Japanese forces operating in and around New Guinea and the Solomon Islands during the Pacific campaign of World War II. The operation involved loading personnel or supplies aboard fast warships, later submarines, and using the warships' speed to deliver the personnel or supplies to the desired location and return to the originating base all within one night so Allied aircraft could not intercept them by day.
The Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal is a United States military award of the Second World War, which was awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945. The medal was created on November 6, 1942 by Executive Order 9265 issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The medal was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones; the reverse side was designed by Adolph Alexander Weinman which is the same design as used on the reverse of the American Campaign Medal and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, Ceylon, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in this theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded French Indochina in September 1940 and rose to a new level following the Attack on Pearl Harbor, and simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaya on 7 and 8 December 1941. The main landing at Singora on the east side of the Isthmus of Kra preceded the bombing of Pearl Harbor by several hours. Action in the theatre officially ended on 9 September 1945.
The Allies of World War II conducted an air attack upon a cruiser force at the major Japanese base of Rabaul in November 1943. In response to the Allied invasion of Bougainville, the Japanese had brought a strong cruiser force down from Truk, their major naval base in the Caroline Islands about 800 miles north of Rabaul, to Rabaul in preparation for a night engagement against the Allied supply and support shipping. Allied carrier- and land-based planes attacked the Japanese ships, airfields, and port facilities on the island of New Britain to protect the Allied amphibious invasion of Bougainville. As a result of the Rabaul raids, the Japanese naval forces could no longer threaten the landings. The success of the raid began to change the strongly held belief that carrier-based air forces could not challenge land-based air forces.
Pacific Ocean Areas was a major Allied military command in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands during the Pacific War, and one of three United States commands in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of the U.S. Navy, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, headed the command throughout its existence.
The invasion of Tulagi, on 3–4 May 1942, was part of Operation Mo, the Empire of Japan's strategy in the South Pacific and South West Pacific Area in 1942. The plan called for Imperial Japanese Navy troops to capture Tulagi and nearby islands in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. The occupation of Tulagi by the Japanese was intended to cover the flank of and provide reconnaissance support for Japanese forces that were advancing on Port Moresby in New Guinea, provide greater defensive depth for the major Japanese base at Rabaul, and serve as a base for Japanese forces to threaten and interdict the supply and communication routes between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.
The South West Pacific theatre, during World War II, was a major theatre of the war between the Allies and the Axis. It included the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, Australia and its mandate Territory of New Guinea and the western part of the Solomon Islands. This area was defined by the Allied powers' South West Pacific Area (SWPA) command.
The IJN 8th Fleet was a fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) established during World War II.
Prior to World War II, the Indian Ocean was an important maritime trade route between European nations and their colonial territories in East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, British India, Indochina, the East Indies (Indonesia), and Australia for a long time. Naval presence was dominated by the Royal Navy Eastern Fleet and the Royal Australian Navy as World War II began, with a major portion of the Royal Netherlands Navy operating in the Dutch East Indies and the Red Sea Flotilla of the Italian Regia Marina operating from Massawa.
The Naval Battle of Casablanca was a series of naval engagements fought between American ships covering the invasion of North Africa and Vichy French ships defending the neutrality of French Morocco in accordance with the Second Armistice at Compiègne during World War II. The last stages of the battle consisted of operations by German U-boats which had reached the area the same day the French troops surrendered.
The United States Navy grew rapidly during World War II from 1941–45, and played a central role in the war against Japan. It also assisted the British Royal Navy in the naval war against Germany and Italy. The U.S. Navy grew slowly in the years prior to World War II, due in part to international limitations on naval operations in the 1920s. Battleship production restarted in 1937, commencing with the USS North Carolina (BB-55). The navy was able to add to its fleets during the early years of the war while the US was still neutral, increasing production of vessels both large and small, deploying a navy of nearly 350 major combatant ships by December 1941 and having an equal number under construction.
The following references are arranged in descending chronological order: