The Battle of Arawe was fought between Allied and Japanese forces during the New Britain Campaign of World War II. The battle was initiated by the Allies to divert Japanese attention away from the Cape Gloucester area of New Britain ahead of a major offensive there in late December 1943. A force built around the U.S. Army's 112th Cavalry Regimental Combat Team landed at Arawe on 15 December 1943 and rapidly overcame the area's small garrison. Japanese air units made large-scale raids against the Arawe area in the following days, and in late December elements of two Imperial Japanese Army battalions unsuccessfully counter-attacked the larger American force. In mid-January 1944 the 112th Cavalry Regimental Combat Team was reinforced with additional infantry and U.S. Marine Corps tanks, and launched a brief offensive that pushed the Japanese back. The Japanese units withdrew from the area towards the end of February as part of a general retreat from western New Britain. There is no consensus among historians on whether the Allied landing at Arawe was needed, with some arguing that it provided a useful diversion while others judge that it formed part of an unnecessary campaign.