New Guinea campaign

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New Guinea Campaign
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
Australian infantry and armour at Buna (AWM 014008).jpg
7 January 1943. Australian forces attack Japanese positions near Buna. Members of the 2/12th Infantry Battalion advance as Stuart tanks from the 2/6th Armoured Regiment attack Japanese pillboxes. An upward-firing machine gun on the tank sprays treetops to clear them of snipers. (Photographer: George Silk).
Date 23 January 1942 – August 1945
Location New Guinea
Result Allied victory


 United States
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom

 Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Douglas MacArthur
George H. Brett
George Kenney
Arthur S. Carpender
Herbert F. Leary
Charles A. Lockwood
Thomas Blamey
Ennis Whitehead
Empire of Japan Hitoshi Imamura
Empire of Japan Hatazō Adachi
Empire of Japan Tomitarō Horii
Empire of Japan Heisuke Abe [N 1]
Casualties and losses
42,000[2] 127,600[3]

The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. In the initial phase in 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered territories of the New Guinea Mandate (23 January) and Papua (8 March) and overran western New Guinea (beginning 29/30 March), which was a part of the Netherlands East Indies. In the second phase, the Allies cleared the Japanese first from Papua, then the Mandate and finally from the Dutch colony.

New Guinea was strategically important because it was a major landmass to the immediate north of Australia. Its large land area provided locations for large land, air and naval bases.[citation needed]

The campaign between Allied and Japanese forces commenced with the Japanese assault on Rabaul on 23 January 1942. Rabaul became the forward base for the Japanese campaigns in mainland New Guinea, including the pivotal Kokoda Track campaign of July 1942 – January 1943, and the Battle of Buna-Gona. Fighting in some parts of New Guinea continued until the war ended in August 1945.

General Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander in the South West Pacific Area, led the Allied forces. MacArthur was based in Melbourne, Brisbane and Manila. The Japanese 8th Area Army, under General Hitoshi Imamura, was responsible for both the New Guinea and Solomon Islands campaigns. Imamura was based at Rabaul. The Japanese 18th Army, under Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi, was responsible for Japanese operations on mainland New Guinea.

Major battles and sub-campaigns[edit]

22 April 1944. US LVTs (Landing Vehicles Tracked) in the foreground head for the invasion beaches at Humboldt Bay, Netherlands New Guinea, during the Hollandia landing as the cruisers USS Boise (firing tracer shells, right center) and USS Phoenix bombard the shore. (Photographer: Tech 4 Henry C. Manger.)
Two dead Japanese soldiers in a water filled shell hole somewhere in New Guinea
Australian soldiers resting in the Finisterre Ranges of New Guinea while en-route to the front line
Soldiers of the 1st Marine Division display Japanese flags captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1886-1943, Died after suffering from Dracunculiasis.[1]


  1. ^ Biography of Lieutenant-General Heisuke Abe - (阿部平輔) - (あべ へいすけ) (1886 – 1943), Japan. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
  2. ^ New Guinea: The US Army Campaigns of World War II. 8,500 prior to January 1943, 24,000 between January 1943 and April 1944, and 9,500 from April 1944 to the end of the war. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  3. ^ 大東亜戦争に於ける地域別兵員数及び戦没者概数 Ministry of Health and Welfare, 1964. Retrieved 23 July 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]