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Thread: Invasion Australia

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    Default Invasion Australia

    While looking at a few threads, I pondered a too often incorrect belief of Australian history. The Allied victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea saved Australia from invasion by the forces of Imperial Japan.

    The Japanese amphibious force was intended to land on the southern coast of New Guinea to seal the fate of Port Moresby. Too often this force has been quoted as the force to invade Australia.

    So we still have the myth the Battle of the Coral Sea and later American reinforcements saved Australia, when evidence suggests an invasion of the Australian continent was never a definate plan on the Japanese objectives and war aims.

    It's my contention even if the Japanese had actually invaded Australia, the venture would have been doomed to failure.

    Regards Digger

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    The risk of Japanese invasion of Australia happens to have been my pet topic for a couple of years. I've researched it about as much as anyone can from readily available sources, and some not so readily available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    While looking at a few threads, I pondered a too often incorrect belief of Australian history. The Allied victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea saved Australia from invasion by the forces of Imperial Japan.

    The Japanese amphibious force was intended to land on the southern coast of New Guinea to seal the fate of Port Moresby. Too often this force has been quoted as the force to invade Australia.

    So we still have the myth the Battle of the Coral Sea and later American reinforcements saved Australia, ...
    You're correct that Coral Sea didn't save Australia from any direct threat of invasion. However, had Japan taken Moresby, and depending how the war went for Japan elsewhere, it probably would have increased the risk of an invasion of the mainland at a later stage, even if just a limited one to neutralize the air base at Townsville which could attack Moresby and interfere with Japanese exploitation of the harbour there. Midway and Guadalcanal contributed more to saving Australia from invasion in the long term. Midway by reducing the IJN‘s power and willingness to undertake unnecessary operations. Guadalcanal as will be explained later.

    Strictly, Japan did invade Australia. Papua was Australian territory at the time, having been annexed by Queensland in the 19th century. Japan never invaded the mainland, nor had any approved operational plans to do so. There were, however, one or possibly two captured maps for an invasion of Australia but these were of questionable significance and at best probably just staff exercises or the sort of experimental future planning that all armed services do. If you want the sources let me know and I’ll dig them up.

    ... when evidence suggests an invasion of the Australian continent was never a definate plan on the Japanese objectives and war aims.
    Invading Australia was never part of Phase 1 of Japan's war plans, which stopped at New Britain and, provisionally, New Guinea as the limit of the southward advance. It was never part of any approved operational plan. It was discussed seriously and vigorously in February-March 1942 as the IJN was keen to invade but the IJA opposed it, essentially because the IJA estimated it would need about 12 divisions which it couldn’t take from China and far more shipping and fuel oil than Japan could find. At one stage the IJN proposed a poorly thought out two division raid down the centre of Australia to Adelaide and afterwards “let’s see what happens and maybe Australia will be so frightened it will surrender”. There was a lot of tension and hostility between the IJA and the IJN over this issue and some furious debates between them. The compromise, in a plan designated Operation FS, approved at Imperial Conference (effectively by the Emperor) in early March 1942 was that Japan would advance to the Solomons, Fiji and New Caledonia regions to establish bases to attack American shipping to Australia. The aim was to isolate Australia to force it to surrender. The other aim was to deny America a base to strike at Japan from below its ‘ribbon defence’ along the island chain to Australia’s north. Taking Guadalcanal was part of Operation FS. The American victory there prevented Japan executing that plan.

    The invasion of Australia was not a specified part of Japan's long term war aims, but the conquest of Australia was. Tojo was demanding our surrender in 1942. To explain Japan’s war aims regarding conquest of Australia I need to go into some detail about Japan's overall war aims, which I'll do if anyone is interested.

    It's my contention even if the Japanese had actually invaded Australia, the venture would have been doomed to failure.
    Probably, but it depends where they landed and in what force. It also depends on when, and what was happening in relation to the return of the 6th and 7th Divisions from the Middle East, and also on American forces coming to Australia which might not have happened if Australia looked like going under.

    Apart from being unable to take the necessary troops from China, Japan simply didn’t have the shipping and fuel oil to land and supply an invasion force of the required size. The shipping it did have was needed to exploit its gains in the countries it had already invaded. Australia was saved from invasion in 1942 more by Japan’s inability to do it than by any military operations opposing Japan. What might have happened if Japan had succeeded in Papua and Guadalcanal is a different question.

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    I should have mentioned the Papuan campaign.

    Kokoda - Milne Bay - Buna - Gona - Sanananda were probably less important in preventing Japanese conquest of Australia, in the sense of stopping troops advancing towards the mainland and getting a jumping off point for a later invasion, and more important in stopping Japan filling in a missing link in its defensive string and lines of communication for the advance eastwards towards the Solomons, Fiji and New Caledonia.

    In conjunction with Guadalcanal, the Papuan campaign destroyed Operation FS and prevented Australia being isolated.

    Whether Japan could have isolated Australia by naval action is an entirely different question. I suspect that it couldn't because it probably didn't have the fuel oil to sustain operations deep into the Pacific nor the naval forces to spare from more important engagements elsewhere. American merchant ships often went unescorted into the central Pacific areas without severe losses, which reflects both Japan's flawed strategy in not targeting merchant shipping more heavily and its fairly low success rate in sinking merchant shipping. I don't know that Japan could have done much better covering the Pacific south of Fiji and the approaches to Australian ports, particularly as a concentration of IJN surface or submarine forces on the approaches would attract a concentration of Australian and American naval forces.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 03-30-2007 at 10:37 PM.

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    Thanks for your detailed response Rising Sun. You basically confirm my own findings. The thing that bugs me about this subject is the continued ignorance of people, especially the media to this subject.

    I still believe any Japanese invasion of Australia would have failed, as such a venture would have gone the way of the German attempt to invade the Soviet Union.

    While in the not too detailed plans which suggest 12 divisions were needed for such a venture, caution to the idea was thrown up that to garrison and defend the country would probably require a force of up to one million men.

    Nothing changes the fact the Japanese never had the resources to carry out such a venture and for anyone to suggest there was ever an "imminent threat of invasion of Australia" as some people have suggested is just plain wrong.

    Regards Digger.

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    Excuse me poking my nose in, gentlemen. My knowledge of the Pacific Theatre is very limited. Particularly regarding timelines. It is my understanding (probably from viewing documentories such as The World At War), that the main strategy behind the first campaign of conquest mounted by the Japanese was to acquire raw materials and reduce the Allies ability to strike back at them.

    The second campaign (which included the battles: Coral Sea and Midway) was provoked by and mounted as a response to the 'Dolittle Raid', as it left them feeling vulnerable to air attack. The Japanese aim was to widen their area of control in order to prevent subsequent raids striking the Japanese 'home islands'.

    If this is so, and I am by no means certain, it would make sense of the comments already made regarding an invasion of the Australian mainland as never having been on the agenda nor it being a viable option, but it fits with the invasion of Papua.

    It coud also have been, and this is just supposition, that the press were hyping-up a potential threat of invasion in order to generate a defiant spirit among Australians - not that they ever lacking in that. Sometimes these things become a part of a countries myth and legend, hence the claims continuing on to the present time.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 03-31-2007 at 05:26 AM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    The thing that bugs me about this subject is the continued ignorance of people, especially the media to this subject.
    Why would the media to be any more informed on this subject than any other subject?

    I still believe any Japanese invasion of Australia would have failed, as such a venture would have gone the way of the German attempt to invade the Soviet Union.
    Even if Japan could find and transport the troops, which it couldn’t, any invasion from the north or west was probably well beyond Japan‘s capacity after the landing, and was probably doomed if it was attempted. Just transporting water for the troops would have been a fair exercise. Rations would have introduced problems that didn’t apply in other campaigns. Japanese supply processes were often based on initial complete ration issues for landing troops with lower subsequent rations in the expectation that they would forage in the field to supplement the lower maintenance rations. That wasn‘t going to happen anywhere between, for example, Broome or Darwin and Broken Hill, especially if most livestock was killed or driven ahead of the invaders as planned. So Japan has to take and pack rations from somewhere else and transport them here with shipping it doesn’t have.

    The lines of supply across the continent would probably have been beyond Japan‘s land transport capacity. Japan would not have been able to capture much transport because of Australia’s scorched earth policy, and even without it there wasn’t enough up there anyway to supply 10 to12 divisions. So Japan would have had to find and take vehicles from somewhere outside Australia and transport them here, thus requiring more shipping which it didn’t have. (The vehicles weren’t going to come from Japan. In 1940, the last year for which wartime figures are available, Japan had 217,000 registered motor vehicles, about 60,000 fewer than New Zealand and about 590,000 fewer than Australia according to Japanese estimates at the time.) As Japan advanced further across the continent it would have chewed up more and more precious fuel, which it would have had to transport here thus using more shipping it didn’t have to use fuel it needed for other purposes.

    Japan’s problems get progressively worse the further it advances into the continent, with the longest lines of supply from Japan it had in WWII and the longest land supply lines it had in WWII in the most inhospitable country it faced in WWII. And that’s without the surface and submarine attacks that are going to harry its sea transport and the air attacks that are going to damage its lines of supply on land. Depending upon the air forces Japan commits to the operation, which have to be land based rather than carrier planes, and require more shipping and land transport Japan didn't have to transport fuel, supplies, and ground crew etc, Australia has a good chance of weakening or even stranding the invaders in the desert just by air attacks on Japan‘s land lines of supply. All this is a problem for Japan before we even begin to consider the forces available to defend the south east corner by the time Japan gets there with whatever manages to cross the continent. Meanwhile Australia has all the advantages of short supply lines from its supply sources which are protected by its land forces while Japan wears itself out just crossing the continent.

    The only invasion that had a reasonable chance of avoiding all the problems of a northern or western landing and succeeding in taking the Adelaide - Brisbane south east corner where all the main agricultural and industrial assets were had to land on the east coast and no further north than Townsville, preferably a lot further south to overcome land transport problems.

    Any east coast landings put much larger strains on Japan’s shipping and fuel oil as the ships now have to travel much further and spend more time at sea. This problem got progressively worse the further down the east coast they landed and advanced. Any east coast landing required many more ships and much more oil to provide the same effective level of transport for a north or west invasion, which ships and oil Japan didn’t have as it didn’t even have the ships and oil for the initial phase of a western or northern invasion.

    A major problem with any land invasion advancing down the east coast was that it was also heading straight into the most heavily defended area on a front contained by the sea on the east which, as Australia would probably have an extended westward defence line in depth at some point, requires Japan to use vehicles it didn't have and couldn't ship to go westward inland to hook behind the defence line. It's not going to be a foot or bicycle advance like Malaya. Nor will landings further down the coast behind the main front have the same effect as they did in Malaya as they are going to run into other forces there, assuming they can get through the concentration of air and naval forces which Australia will have deployed there. Japan is also going to encounter, for the first and only time in WWII, united, cohesive and competently led forces fighting on their own soil for their, their families’ and their nation’s survival.

    If you talk to a range of Australians who lived through that time, there would have been a reasonable amount of panic among sections of the civilian population but the blokes in the services had in many cases resolved to put up what amounted to a no-surrender and even kamikaze defence of a type that Japan never encountered in the war.

    While in the not too detailed plans which suggest 12 divisions were needed for such a venture, caution to the idea was thrown up that to garrison and defend the country would probably require a force of up to one million men.
    Which is about 50 divisions, which is about the number of divisions Japan had at the start of the war in 1941. It used only about 15 divisions for its thrusts outside China, the other 35 being required in China. It couldn’t garrison Australia in a fit. Which then exposed it to the guerilla problem.

    Nothing changes the fact the Japanese never had the resources to carry out such a venture and for anyone to suggest there was ever an "imminent threat of invasion of Australia" as some people have suggested is just plain wrong.
    Agreed. There was a long term risk of conquest, and maybe invasion, but there was no imminent threat at any time. Although in 1942 anyone in Australia was perfectly reasonable in concluding from Japan’s advance towards Australia and its belligerent attitude towards Australia and demands for its surrender that Japan intended to invade.

    In case you haven’t already come across them, there are two interesting articles by Dr Peter Stanley, the Principal Historian at the AWM. I think he goes over the top on a number of issues and is frankly laughable on some, as well as being very superficial in his understanding of some relevant events and issues, but there’s some worthwhile stuff in his articles if you can sift it out from the nonsense.

    “He’s not coming south” http://www.awm.gov.au/events/confere...nley_paper.pdf

    He wrote a subsequent and more contentious paper “Threat made manifest” which used to be available free here
    http://www3.griffith.edu.au/01/griff...ons.php?id=201 but now it seems you have to buy it. Unless you enjoy raising your blood pressure by reading nonsense which shows why some academic-type historians need to get more sunlight, it’s not worth spending the money.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 03-31-2007 at 06:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    Excuse me poking my nose in, gentlemen.
    Mate, you're always welcome to poke your nose in.

    My knowledge of the Pacific Theatre is very limited. Particularly regarding timelines. It is my understanding (probably from viewing documentories such as The World At War), that the main strategy behind the first campaign of conquest mounted by the Japanese was to acquire raw materials and reduce the Allies ability to strike back at them.
    Yes, essentially. The aim was that Japan would acquire the resources down to the oil in the NEI, which is bound up with the wider war aims of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which was the whole purpose of the exercise, and extend its ‘ribbon defence’ along the island chain. But Japan’s strategy was like a lot of bad novels: a good and strong start but no idea how to end it. Japan was banking on holding the conquered territories long enough for the Allies to accept it as a fait accompli. The dominant leadership failed to grasp that the Americans would be outraged by Pearl Harbor and would not rest until they ground Japan into defeat. The dominant leadership also failed to accept that Japan lacked the industrial capacity for a long war, and America didn’t. Yamamoto accurately said, expressing his misgivings before the war, something along the lines that Japan could run rampant for the first six to twelve months of the war, but it would be on the back foot after that.

    The second campaign (which included the battles: Coral Sea and Midway) was provoked by and mounted as a response to the 'Dolittle Raid', as it left them feeling vulnerable to air attack. The Japanese aim was to widen their area of control in order to prevent subsequent raids striking the Japanese 'home islands'.
    Not quite.

    The Dolittle Raid didn’t influence Coral Sea or Midway, which were undertaken for other reasons.

    You’re right enough about Coral Sea being just a consequence of Japan’s extenstion of its defences, although it was also part of an attempt to isolate Australia.

    Midway, and the whole Pacific war, was in fact the culmination of a recognition by both America and Japan going back to the 19th century that they would sooner or later contest control of the Pacific. Long before the war Japanese naval strategy was focused on the ‘decisive battle’ with the US which would defeat it and give Japan naval supremacy in the Pacific. Midway was designed by Japan to entice the USN into that battle. It went against Japan for a variety of reasons, notably the excellent US code breaking which forewarned the US of Japan’s intentions at Midway and a lot of luck for the US in finding and sinking IJN capital ships.

    If this is so, and I am by no means certain, it would make sense of the comments already made regarding an invasion of the Australian mainland as never having been on the agenda nor it being a viable option, but it fits with the invasion of Papua.
    Papua was just the second bite of the cherry. After Coral Sea prevented a sea borne landing to take Moresby, Japan decided to try it overland from the north. And went very close to pulling it off, due in no small part to lousy work and incredible pettiness by none other than Gen Douglas MacArthur and his deputy, the Australian Gen Thomas Blamey who was also CIC Australia. Japanese problems with Guadalcanal were significant in its decision to retreat when very close to Moresby with its pretty much exhausted force after a sterling advance.

    It coud also have been, and this is just supposition, that the press were hyping-up a potential threat of invasion in order to generate a defiant spirit among Australians - not that they ever lacking in that. Sometimes these things become a part of a countries myth and legend, hence the claims continuing on to the present time.
    The press wasn’t hyping it up. Australians were rightly very alarmed by the apparent advance towards Australia. Although now we now that there was no plan to invade the mainland, it didn’t look like that in 1942. Australians knew what they could expect under Japan from its well-publicised behaviour in China and various events after December 1942. Murder, rape, torture and enslavement would be the order of the day.

    “Oh yes, people expected an invasion after Darwin was hit – once they invaded Australia at all we knew anything might happen.
    Ray Adams, farmer, Gulgong, New South Wales

    Stories had come in of course from the atrocities that they’d performed elsewhere, and so there was an absolute dread of what would happen if the Japanese took over here. A lot of it came through by word-of-mouth of course – you really had to live in those days to realise what rumours were. …
    Ralph Doig, Premier’s Department, Perth

    Oh, it was horrifying. I was very pregnant at the time, and you heard stories of the Japs slitting open pregnant women and things like that. It was terrifying.

    Barbara Doig, housewife and mother, Perth

    I can remember a conversation in the workshop which went like this: someone said, ‘What are you going to do when the Japs come?’ – not if they come but when they come. …
    Bob Bahnsen, machinist, Sydney

    I knew a girl in Geelong who had a pistol her father had brought back from the World War and she had ammunition and she was quite definite that if the Japanese came to her suburb, she was going to shoot herself, and I think she meant it and a lot of people no doubt felt the same.
    John Slee, Army engineer, Victoria

    I overheard my mother talking with a friend who had children the same age, they decided if the Japanese got to Swan Hill, they would kill us rather than let the Japanese get us.
    Margaret Maxwell, schoolgirl, Swan Hill, Victoria”
    from Joanna Penglase & David Horner, When the War Came to Australia – Memories of the Second World War, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1992, pp 90 – 93.

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    Thank you for the response, very informative and an enjoyable read.

    I find this rather interesting:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    The press wasn’t hyping it up. Australians were rightly very alarmed by the apparent advance towards Australia. Although now we now that there was no plan to invade the mainland, it didn’t look like that in 1942. Australians knew what they could expect under Japan from its well-publicised behaviour in China and various events after December 1942. Murder, rape, torture and enslavement would be the order of the day.
    With hindsight it is always easy to say: Operation Sea Lion would have failed; or that the Japanese would never have invaded Australia, or had no intention of doing so. But for the people living through these events, given their limited knowledge of enemy intentions and, indeed, capability, truth and perception can be two opposites and there is nothing quite like preparing for the worst to get things moving.

    Dark thoughts and fears were not just the stuff of dreams or those which come to one in the middle of the night but, given what news people were receiving and the situation at the time, it was, to them, a reality they had to live and deal with.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    The problem is, though the Japanese never actually planned to invade Australia in the short term, little has been done to correct the misconceptions of this dark period.

    When people continue to write and believe America saved Australia from conquest, I feel like screaming 'shutup you idiots.'

    My grandfather was serving in the army at the time(he had been repatted from overseas and was recovering from wounds) and he told me his unt was very well equipped at the time. This flies in the face of the semi official line Australia was ill prepared for invasion.

    I hope the new ABC series "Curtin" dispells some myths.

    Regards Digger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    With hindsight it is always easy to say: Operation Sea Lion would have failed; or that the Japanese would never have invaded Australia, or had no intention of doing so. But for the people living through these events, given their limited knowledge of enemy intentions and, indeed, capability, truth and perception can be two opposites and there is nothing quite like preparing for the worst to get things moving.

    Dark thoughts and fears were not just the stuff of dreams or those which come to one in the middle of the night but, given what news people were receiving and the situation at the time, it was, to them, a reality they had to live and deal with.
    Very eloquently put.

    Brits in 1940 were under constant air attack after Germany had advanced to the French coast, as Aussies were in early 1942 under much more minor* attack from Japan after it had advanced almost to our northern coast from another hemisphere. In each case our forces had been fighting the enemy to try to stop the advance. In each case it looked like the last move was going to be an invasion of our homeland. Any other conclusion would have been laughable at the time.

    *Although the first raid on Darwin was about the same size in Japanese air forces used as the raid on Pearl Harbor, but with a lot less to hit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    When people continue to write and believe America saved Australia from conquest, I feel like screaming 'shutup you idiots.'

    Regards Digger.

    Well, Digger, I think that was probably put about by the Coca-Cola company in order to get the rest of us to be thankful, favour and consume their product above all others.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    My only response 32Bravo is

    Regards Digger

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    When people continue to write and believe America saved Australia from conquest, I feel like screaming 'shutup you idiots.
    Agreed.

    I long ago gave up arguing with Australians who assure me from the depths of their ignorance that (a) America sprang to Australia's defence in WWII and (b) It will do so in future because of some sort of fraternal trans-Pacific ties (Just like it didn‘t in our conflicts with Indonesia in the early ‘60‘s over Confrontation and with Indonesia over East Timor in the late ‘90‘s).

    America bore the brunt of defeating Japan which assured Australia's survival, and for that Australia should be grateful to America and its people.

    But America didn't come to Australia's defence because we're mates. Australia happened to be a good base for America to fight against Japan, in its own interests. That's why they were here. But it wasn't guaranteed that they would be here.

    Eisenhower among others did a strategic assessment early in 1942 which included letting Australia sink or swim.
    “General Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his appraisal of global strategy to Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, went as far as writing off the security of Australia, since now the Japanese controlled the region’s oil and tin “and practically the entire rubber resources of the world.” Australia was not vital, only desirable as a rear supply area.”
    http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember...ges/NT00002FAA

    Nor were we guaranteed support from other quarters.

    Churchill made comforting noises to Curtin about coming to our defence if we were invaded, but he qualified it by requiring at least a 10 division Japanese invasion. Meanwhile, as David Day details in The Politics of War - Australia at War, 1939-45: From Churchill to Macarthur , Churchill and elements in Whitehall were privately bitter about losing Singapore and blamed Australia for it, and also saw Australia's recall of the 6th and 7th Divisions as selfish, and also thought that Australia's requests for greater defence assistance from Britain in 1942 were selfish, all of which gave rise to a "let Australia sink or swim" mentality among them.

    We weren’t assisted in England by our former conservative Prime Minister, the Anglophile Stanley Bruce who was our representative in England and at times traitorous to our interests, as when dealing with the Australian Labor government’s desire to recall the 9th Division from the Middle East early in 1942 when his private discussions with British ministers were contrary to Australia‘s interests and aims. Bruce was
    “not all that sympathetic. He was not convinced that Australia was in danger of invasion nor that it warranted a large diversion of resources that would otherwise go to the European theatre. In fact, on 8 April Bruce privately raised with Eden the idea of Britain abandoning the Indian Ocean to the Japanese and opening a second front against Hitler in Europe. Such a second front in 1942 would have consumed such a large proportion of Allied resources that the Pacific war would have been ceded almost by default to the Japanese.”
    David Day The Politics of War – Australia at War, 1939-45: From Churchill to MacArthur, Sydney, 2003 p.302

    America contributed nothing to Kokoda on land and almost nothing to Milne Bay which were the pivotal land events that repulsed Japan from our doorstep. Nor did America contribute the main effort to the grinding war in Papua New Guinea, which Australia fought as the primary Allied combatant from 1942 to 1944 while MacArthur was marshalling his forces for the advance to the Philippines which required the springboard Australia built in New Guinea during those grinding years.

    In the critical days in 1942 Australia defended itself, when England and America were something less than fully committed to its survival, and was the first nation to repulse the previously invincible Japanese forces. It continued the fight in a campaign that is forgotten outside Australia but the significance of which is neatly summarised here:

    In a way, for three years the Pacific war really took place in New Guinea. It was an important side theatre that for the length of the war conveniently pinned down 350,000 elite Japanese troops as MacArthur island-hopped his way to Tokyo.

    In New Guinea, Japan lost 220,000 troops….

    It is an irony of Pacific war history that several other islands come to mind immediately when we speak of action in the Pacific, but not New Guinea. The many battles there are little known, except to specialists who study that place and period and to people in Australia, although the war on that island was the most drawn out and frustrating of battles in the Pacific war.
    http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember...ges/NT00002FAA

    Australia couldn’t have defeated Japan in Papua without the American victory in the Coral Sea which prevented the first attempt on Moresby, but America couldn’t have won on land in Papua as it showed by its woeful performance at Buna. In any event, it didn’t have the forces to run the Papuan campaign. Even if America had lost in the Coral Sea it doesn’t follow that Australia was going to lose. America made an important and welcome contribution to Australia’s defence, but Australia made a bigger contribution to its own defence and to laying the foundations for American victory in the SWPA, not that you’ll hear much about that outside some serious military history circles.

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    And here's one of the serious history views I had in mind but couldn't find to finish my last post.

    The New Guinea Campaign is really the story of two Allied armies fighting two kinds of war—one of grinding attrition and one of classic maneuver. During the attrition period, from January 1943 until January 1944, Australian infantrymen carried the bulk of ground combat while the Americans reconstituted, reinforced, and readied themselves for the maneuver phase of the campaign. During attrition warfare characteristic of eastern New Guinea ground operations through the seizure of the Saidor in January 1944, the Allies suffered more than 24,000 battle casualties; about 70 percent (17,107) were Australians. All this to advance the front line 300 miles in 20 months. But following the decisive Hollandia, Netherlands New Guinea, envelopment in April 1944, losses were 9,500 battle casualties, mainly American, to leap 1,300 miles in just 100 days and complete the reconquest of the great island.

    The series of breathtaking landings, often within a few weeks of one another, were the fruits of the Australians' gallant effort in eastern New Guinea. They fought the Japanese to a standstill at Wau and then pushed a fanatical foe back to the Huon Peninsula. This gave Sixth Army the time to train and to prepare American forces for the amphibious assaults that MacArthur envisioned. It also bought the time to bring the industrial capacity of America to bear in the Southwest Pacific. Aircraft, ships, landing craft, ammunition, medicine, equipment—in short, the sinews of war—gradually found their way to MacArthur's fighting men.
    http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/brochures/new-guinea/ng.htm at page 28

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