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|Western New Guinea campaign|
|Part of World War II, Pacific War|
Australian infantrymen resting on a river bank before attacking Japanese positions near Matapau in January 1945
|Casualties and losses|
|1,922+ killed or missing 8,000+ wounded||42,000+ dead and nearly 1,000 POWs|
The Western New Guinea campaign was a series of actions in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. Dutch East Indies KNIL, United States and Australian forces assaulted Japanese bases and positions in the northwest coastal areas of Netherlands New Guinea and adjoining parts of the Australian Territory of New Guinea. The campaign began with Operations Reckless and Persecution, which were amphibious landings by the U.S. I Corps at Hollandia and Aitape on 22 April 1944. Fighting in western New Guinea continued until the end of the war.
The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. During the initial phase in early 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered territories of the New Guinea Mandate and Papua and overran western New Guinea, which was a part of the Netherlands East Indies. During the second phase, lasting from late 1942 until the Japanese surrender, the Allies—consisting primarily of Australian and US forces—cleared the Japanese first from Papua, then the Mandate and finally from the Dutch colony.
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.
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Dutch government in 1800.
Operations Reckless and Persecution were the Allied amphibious landings at Hollandia and Aitape, respectively, which commenced the Western New Guinea campaign. Both operations commenced on 22 April 1944.
The Landing at Aitape was a battle of the Western New Guinea campaign of World War II. American and Allied forces undertook an amphibious landing on 22 April 1944 at Aitape on northern coast of Papua New Guinea. The amphibious landing was undertaken simultaneously with the amphibious landings of Battle of Hollandia at Hollandia to isolate the Japanese 18th Army at Wewak.
The Battle of Hollandia was an engagement between American and Japanese forces during World War II. It took place in spring of 1944 and was part of the New Guinea campaign. The time it took place was a very tumultuous time so it was very difficult for the Allies to invade. They needed to recover from great losses in previous battles. As a result, the Allies were not able to send in as many troops as they would have liked. The landings were undertaken simultaneously with the amphibious landings at Aitape to the east. The battle was an unqualified success for the US forces, resulting in a withdrawal by the Japanese to a new strategic defence line in the west of New Guinea and the abandonment of all positions in the east of the island.
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USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) was an Ashland-class dock landing ship in the United States Navy, named in honor of Carter Hall, the Millwood, Virginia estate of Lt. Col. Nathaniel Burwell (1750–1814).
USS Kilty (DD–137) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was the first ship named for Admiral Augustus Kilty.
Aitape is a small town of about 18,000 people on the north coast of Papua New Guinea in the Sandaun Province. It is a coastal settlement that is almost equidistant from the provincial capitals of Wewak and Vanimo, and marks the midpoint of the highway between these two capitals. Aitape has 240 V power, telephone, a bank, a post-office, a courthouse and a police station, a supermarket and many tradestores, a petrol station, two airstrips, two secondary schools, a mission office and a hospital.
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 Battle of Driniumor River, also known as The Battle of Aitape, 10 July – 25 August 1944, was part of the Western New Guinea campaign of World War II. Japanese forces attacked United States forces on the Driniumor River, near Aitape in New Guinea. The battle should not be confused with Operation Persecution, which included amphibious landings near Aitape in April 1944, or the Aitape-Wewak campaign, which began in November. The Japanese referred to the Driniumor as the Hanto.
The Markham and Ramu Valley – Finisterre Range campaign, was a series of actions in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. The campaign began with an Allied offensive in the Ramu Valley, from 19 September 1943, and concluded when Allied troops entered Madang on 24 April 1944. During the campaign, Australian forces – supported by Australian and US aircraft – advanced through the Markham and Ramu Valleys during which there were minor clashes with Japanese forces, which withdrew towards their main defensive line in the Finisterre Range. The central geographical and strategic feature of the campaign was the imposing Shaggy Ridge, running north-south in the Finisterres; this was the scene of a climactic battle during which the Australians assaulted the Japanese positions in December 1943 and January 1944. Following the fighting around Shaggy Ridge, the Japanese withdrew towards the northern coast of New Guinea, where they were pursued by Australian and US forces advancing through the Finisterres and along the coast from Saidor. Following the capture of Madang, the Japanese eventually withdrew to Wewak where further fighting took place in 1944 and 1945.
The name Battle of Aitape or Aitape campaign may refer to any one of three military actions in proximity to Aitape in the Western New Guinea campaign of 1944-45:
No. 78 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter squadron of World War II. It was formed in July 1943 as part of expansion of the RAAF's fighter force, and was assigned to mobile striking forces for the duration of the war.
The Aitape–Wewak campaign was one of the final campaigns of the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Between November 1944 and the end of the war in August 1945, the Australian 6th Division, with air and naval support, fought the Imperial Japanese 18th Army in northern New Guinea. Considered a "mopping up" operation by the Australians, and although ultimately successful for them with the Japanese forces cleared from the coastal areas and driven inland, amidst difficult jungle conditions, casualties from combat and disease were high. With Japan on the verge of defeat, such casualties later led to the strategic necessity of the campaign being called into question.
USS Epping Forest (LSD-4/MCS-7) was an Ashland-class dock landing ship acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II for duty in the Pacific Theater. Her task was to carry and land amphibious landing craft and other equipment and to recover and repair landing craft when possible. Named for an estate in Lancaster County, Virginia where Mary Ball Washington, mother of George Washington, was born, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.
The Japanese 18th Army was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
USS LST-247 was a tank landing ship in the United States Navy. Like many of her class, she was not named and is properly referred to by her hull designation.
No. 71 Wing was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) wing of World War II. It was formed in February 1943 at Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, as part of No. 9 Operational Group. The wing initially comprised two squadrons of P-40 Kittyhawks, one of Lockheed Hudsons, and one of Bristol Beauforts. The wing's mainstay soon became the Beaufort, which eventually equipped five squadrons attached to the formation. No. 71 Wing took part in the New Guinea campaign under the auspices of No. 9 Group, before transferring to No. 10 Operational Group for the Western New Guinea campaign during 1944. It then returned to the control of Northern Command to support Australian ground forces in the Aitape–Wewak campaign, and completed its final combat mission only hours before the Japanese surrender in August 1945. No. 71 Wing remained in New Guinea following the war and was disbanded in January 1946.
No. 79 Wing was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) wing of World War II. It was formed in December 1943 at Batchelor, Northern Territory, as part of North-Western Area Command. Led by Group Captain Charles Eaton, the wing comprised four squadrons on its establishment, flying Beaufort and B-25 Mitchell bombers and Beaufighter heavy fighters. No. 79 Wing took part in the New Guinea and North-Western Area Campaigns during 1944–45, eventually transferring to Balikpapan in the Dutch East Indies as the Allies advanced northward. By the end of the Pacific War, the wing was attached to the Australian First Tactical Air Force and was made up of Nos. 2 and 18 Squadrons, both flying Mitchells. The latter transferred to the Netherlands Air Force in late 1945, while the former returned to Australia where it disbanded the following year. No. 79 Headquarters itself disbanded in October 1945, soon after the end of hostilities.
Operation Whiting was a military operation by Dutch and Australian forces during World War II in New Guinea by M Special Unit. It ran in conjunction with Operation Locust, and resulted in the capture and execution of Leonard Siffleet in October 1943, producing one of the most famous photographs of the war.
USS LST-26 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II and manned by a United States Coast Guard crew. Like many of her class, she was not named and is properly referred to by her hull designation.