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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.
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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.
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 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 Mandated Territory of New Guinea and the Australian Territory of 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.
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:
Operations Reckless and Persecution were the Allied amphibious landings at Hollandia and Aitape, respectively, which commenced the Western New Guinea campaign. Both the Battle of Hollandia and the Landing at Aitape commenced on 22 April 1944.
The Battle of Hollandia was an engagement between Allies of World War II and Japanese forces during World War II. The majority of the Allied force was provided by the United States, with the bulk of two United States Army infantry divisions being committed on the ground. Air and naval support consisted largely of U.S. assets, although Australia also provided air support during preliminary operations and a naval bombardment force.
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, as part of Operations Reckless and Persecution. The amphibious landing was undertaken simultaneously with the landings at Humboldt and Tanahmerah Bays to secure Hollandia to isolate the Japanese 18th Army at Wewak. Operations in the area to consolidate the landing continued until 4 May, although US and Japanese forces fought further actions in western New Guinea following a Japanese counter-offensive that lasted until early August 1944. Aitape was subsequently developed into an Allied base of operations and was used by Australian forces throughout late 1944 and into 1945 during the Aitape–Wewak campaign.
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.
The Japanese 18th Army was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
The Battle of Noemfoor was a battle of World War II that took place on the island of Noemfoor, in Dutch New Guinea, between 2 July and 31 August 1944. United States and Australian forces attacked to capture Japanese bases on the island.
The Battle of Lone Tree Hill, is the name given to a major battle in 1944 in Dutch New Guinea, between United States and Japanese forces.
USS Oyster Bay (AGP-6), originally and later AVP-28, was a United States Navy motor torpedo boat tender in commission from 1943 to 1946. She saw service in World War II.
The Battle of Wakde(Operation Straight Line) was part of the New Guinea campaign of World War II. It was fought between the United States and Japan from 18 May 1944 to 21 May 1944 in Dutch New Guinea. The operation involved an assault on the Japanese-held Wakde island group by a reinforced US infantry battalion, which was transported from a beachhead the Allied troops had established around Arara, on the mainland, the previous day. Following the capture of the island, fighting on the mainland continued until September as Allied troops advanced west towards Sarmi. In the aftermath, the island's airbase was expanded and used to support operations around Biak and in the Marianas.
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.
USS LST-22 was a United States Navy LST-1-class tank landing ship used exclusively in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II and staffed 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.
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.