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Appendix D: Chronology

The following listing of events is limited to those coming within the scope of this book, and those forecasting events to be treated in the volumes to follow.


23 JanCasablanca Conference approves ELKTON plan for operations against Rabaul.

23-24 JanKolombangara bombarded by cruiser-destroyer and carrier group.

7-8 FebJapanese destroyers successfully evacuate 13,000 troops from Guadalcanal.

9 FebOrganized resistance on Guadalcanal ends.

12 FebGen MacArthur issues ELKTON I plan.

15 FebComAirSols, a joint air command, established on Guadalcanal.

21 FebRussell Islands seized by 43rd InfDiv troops reinforced by Marines.

2-5 MarBattle of Bismarck Sea; US and Australian aircraft bomb Japanese destroyers and troop transports en route to Lae, New Guinea.

6 MarU.S. naval force bombards Vila-Munda area. First Japanese air raids on Russells.

29 MarCARTWHEEL directive issued by JCS.

7 AprFAdm Isoruku Yamamoto begins “I” Operation, designed to drive Allies out of Solomons and New Guinea.

15 AprFirst of Russell Islands’ air strips operational.

18 AprAdm Yamamoto is killed when his plane is shot down by P-38s.

26 AprGen MacArthur issues ELKTON III, superseding previous ELKTON plans.

2 MayJapanese commanders at Rabaul create Southeast Detached Force for the defense of the central Solomons.

25 MayTRIDENT Conference in Washington ends; CCS decide to seize Marshalls and to move against Japanese outer defenses.

3 JunAdm Halsey issues orders for assault on New Georgia Islands.

5 JunFirst long-range daylight raid by Marine SBDs and TBFs on ships in Kahili-Buin waters.

16 JunNew Georgia Occupation Force FO #1 issued; sets D-Day as 30 Jun.

21 JunOne-half of 4th RdrBn lands at Segi Point; begins operations in eastern New Georgia.

22-23 JunArmy units begin Trobriand Islands invasion with landing on Woodlark Island.

28 Jun4th RdrBn meets first resistance of New Georgia campaign while approaching Viru Harbor.

30 JunArmy troops, reinforced by Marine elements, land on Vangunu and Rendova. Army troops, reinforced by 12th DefBn, seize Kiriwina.

1 JulViru Harbor seized. 9th DefBn shells Munda from Rendova.

3 JulSouthern Landing Group lands on Zanana Beach.

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5 JulNorthern Landing Group lands at Rice Anchorage. Cruiser-destroyer force bombards Vila, Kolombangara, and Bairoko Harbor.

5-6 JulBattle of Kula Gulf; U.S. naval task force engages 10 Japanese destroyers carrying reinforcements and supplies to Kolombangara. Some troops land during battle.

8 JulMajGen William H. Rupertus relieves MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift as CG, 1st MarDiv.

10 JulNorthern Landing Group attacks and takes Enogai.

11 JulAdm Halsey issues directive for an attack on an unannounced position in the Bougainville area; Gen Vandegrift, CG, IMAC, selected to head invasion force. Segi Point air strip become operational.

11-12 JulCruiser-destroyer force bombards Munda.

13 Jul2nd naval Battle of Kolombangara marks end of Japanese attempts to resupply and reinforce their New Georgia garrison by destroyer.

20 JulNorthern Landing Group launches unsuccessful attack on Bairoko Harbor; falls back to Enogai under cover of one of heaviest air strikes of central Solomons campaign. Marine land-based aircraft attack Japanese shipping south of Choiseul; two enemy destroyers sunk.

5 AugMunda airfield, main objective of central Solomons campaign, falls.

6-7 AugThree Japanese destroyers sunk, one damaged, in Battle of Vella Gulf.

8-9 AugMain body of Southeast Detached Force moves to Kolombangara.

9 AugNorthern and Southern Landing Groups of New Georgia Occupation Force establish contact.

11 AugAdm Halsey issues orders for Vella Lavella invasion.

13 AugJapanese Imperial Headquarters issues Navy Staff Directive No. 267, authorizing abandonment of central Solomons after delaying actions.

14 AugMarine aircraft begin operations from Munda airfield as ComAir New Georgia opens command post there.

15 AugVella Lavella invaded in force; 4th DefBn included in invasion group.

24 AugQUADRANT Conference in Quebec ends; CCS decide to attack Japan along both central and southwest Pacific routes.

25 AugNew Georgia campaign ends as Bairoko Harbor is seized without opposition.

27 AugMarines and Seabees occupy Nukufetau, Ellice Islands; Arundel Island occupied by Army troops.

28 AugForward echelon of 7th DefBn occupies Nanumea, Ellice Islands.

29 Aug1st RdrRegt withdraws from New Georgia operation.

31 Aug1st MarDiv alerted for movement from Melbourne to advance staging area.

1 SepComAirNorSols formed at Espiritu Santo under command of BGen Field Harris in preparation for northern Solomons offensive.

4 SepV Amphibious Corps (VAC) formed under command of MajGen Holland M. Smith. Australian troops land near Lae, New Guinea.

11 SepCinCSWPA requests Adm Halsey to strike in northern Solomons in accordance with JCS directives.

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15 SepMajGen Charles D. Barrett relieves Gen Vandegrift as CG, IMAC.

16 SepArmy troops fighting on Arundel Island reinforced by three platoons of Marine defense battalion tanks.

17 Sep3rd NZ Div lands on Vella Lavella relieving Army landing force.

19 Sep1st MarDiv combat teams begin departure from Melbourne.

20-21 SepMajGen Sasaki withdraws last Japanese survivors from Arundel as island is declared secure by Allied forces.

22 SepAdm Halsey issues warning order for northern Solomons invasion of Treasury Islands and Empress Augusta Bay area of Bougainville. Gen MacArthur issues orders for DEXTERITY. Australian troops land at Finschhafen.

24 SepALAMO scouts begin reconnaissance of Cape Gloucester area.

25 SepForward echelon of IMAC Corps Troops land on Vella Lavella.

27 SepIMAC issues instructions to 3rd MarDiv for Bougainville operation. ComAirSols planes begin operations from Barakoma air strip.

28 SepJapanese begin withdrawal from Kolombangara.

1 OctAdm Halsey informs Gen MacArthur of decision to invade Bougainville on 1 Nov and is promised maximum air assistance from SWPA air units. Low-level reconnaissance flights made over Cape Torokina region with ground officers acting as observers.

2-3 OctJapanese complete safe withdrawal of some 9,400 troops from Kolombangara. Australian troops capture Finschhafen.

6 OctAction in central Solomons ends as Army units make unopposed landing on Kolombangara.

6-7 OctBattle of Vella Lavella; nine Japanese destroyers evacuating troops from Vella Lavella attacked by U.S. naval force.

8 OctGen Vandegrift reassumes command of IMAC upon death of Gen Barrett.

9 Oct3rd NZ Div declares Vella Lavella secure.

15 OctIMAC issues OpO #1 directing 3rd MarDiv to seize Cape Torokina. Beginning of intensified preinvasion air bombardments of Bougainville by Allied aircraft.

22 OctIMAC directs 2nd ParaBn to land on Choiseul, night of 27-28 Oct, to conduct diversionary raid.

27 OctMarine advance party lands at Atsinima Bay, north of Karuma River on Bougainville, to prepare for assault. 8th NZ Brig lands on Treasury Islands.

28 Oct2nd ParaBn lands on Choiseul.

31 OctBougainville invasion groups head for target area after rendezvous west of Guadalcanal.

1 NovIMAC lands at Cape Torokina with 3rd and 9th Marines and 2nd RdrRegt in assault. First successful night air interception in Pacific by VMF(N)-531 aircraft.

1-2 NovBattle of Empress Augusta Bay; U.S. fleet turns back Japanese naval attempt to counteract landing on Cape Torokina.

4 Nov2nd ParaBn withdraws from Choiseul.

5 NovFirst carrier-based air strike at Rabaul.

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6 NovElements of 21st Marines arrive to reinforce Bougainville beachhead.

7 NovJapanese counterattack Bougainville beachhead by landing troops near Laruma River.

8 NovBattle of Koromokina Lagoon ends as the Japanese landing force is defeated by elements of 3rd, 9th, and 21st Marines. First elements of 37th InfDiv arrive at Bougainville. MajGen Roy S. Geiger assumes command of IMAC as Gen Vandegrift is ordered home to become 18th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

11 NovAdditional elements of 21st Marines arrive on Bougainville.

13 NovPre-invasion bombardment of western New Britain targets begins.

17 NovJapanese aircraft attack convoy carrying Marine reinforcements to Bougainville; APD McKean is sunk with loss of some personnel from 21st Marines.

19 NovBattle of Piva Forks begins as final elements of 37th Inf Div arrive.

20 NovMajGen Ralph H. Mitchell assumes command of AirSols.

25 NovCarrier-based aircraft bomb Kavieng, New Ireland. Battle of Cape St. George concludes series of night naval engagements of the Solomons campaigns.

26 Nov3rd MarDiv advances to Piva River line, having defeated Japanese in Battle of Piva Forks.

29 Nov1st ParaBn conducts Koiari Beach raid on Bougainville.

30 NovEUREKA Conference at Teheran ends. Stalin agrees to commit Russian forces against Japan after Germany is defeated. CG, ALAMO Force issues Field Order #5 for Arawe and Cape Gloucester operations.

7 DecSEXTANT Conference at Cairo concludes; CCS set up timetable for offensive against Japan.

15 DecOperation DEXTERITY begins with invasion of Arawe. BACKHANDER force conducts final rehearsal at Cape Sudest, New Guinea.

17 DecFirst AirSols fighter sweep over Rabaul from Bougainville air strips.

26 Dec1st MarDiv lands on Cape Gloucester at Silimati Point and Tauali.

28 DecRelief of 3rd MarDiv begins as Americal Division takes responsibility for eastern sector of Bougainville beachhead.

30 Dec1st Marines secures Cape Gloucester airfield.


1 JanBGen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., issues first ADC attack order for the drive on Hill 660.

2 JanTask Force MICHAELMAS lands at Saidor, New Guinea.

11 JanAogiri Ridge taken, renamed Walt’s Ridge.

13 JanCinCPac-CinCPOA GRANITE plan issued; outlines tentative operation plans CATCHPOLE (Marshalls) and FORAGER (Marianas).

16 Jan3rd MarDiv completes withdrawal from Bougainville. Hill 660 taken by 3/7 on Cape Gloucester.

31 JanMarines and Army troops land on Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls.

1 FebMarshalls invasion continues as Marines land on Roi and Namur Islands.

2 FebRoi and Namur secured.

7 FebKwajalein Atoll secured.

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10 FebOperation DEXTERITY declared at an end by CG, ALAMO Force.

12 FebElements of the 1st Marines land on Rooke Island.

16 FebWestern New Britain secured as Gilnit patrol group meets Army patrol from Arawe on Itni River.

18 FebMarines and Army units land on Eniwetok Atoll.

19 FebRabaul installations attacked heavily by Marine, Navy, and Army aircraft; after this date, the enemy abandons air defense of Rabaul.

21 Feb3/5 lands at Karai-ai.

25 Feb2/5 lands at Iboki Plantation.

29 Feb1st Cavalry Division lands in the Admiralties.

6 Mar5th Marines, Reinforced, land at Volupai Plantation for the Talasea operation.

8 MarJapanese begin attack on 37th InfDiv sector on Bougainville.

9 MarTalasea declared secure.

18 MarPlans for Hollandia invasion issued jointly by CinCSWPA and CinCPac-CinCPOA.

20 Mar4th Marines seize Emirau.

24 MarLast intensive enemy attack on Bougainville beachhead.

25 MarIMAC, Corps Troops, 1st and 3rd MarDivs transferred to CinCPOA operational control.

27 MarJapanese begin withdrawal from Empress Augusta Bay area.

1 AprArmy troops begin advance up Numa Numa Trail on Bougainville.

22 AprArmy forces land at Hollandia. 1st MarDiv patrol clashes with enemy on Cape Gloucester for last time.

23 Apr1st MarDiv turns responsibility for New Britain over to 40th Inf Div.

15 JunCinCSWPA assumes command of all forces west of longitude 159° East; South Pacific campaign against Japanese virtually ended.

21 Jun3rd DefBn, which landed 1 Nov 43 on Bougainville and was last FMF ground unit in active SoPac area, withdrawn to Guadalcanal.

27 Nov40th InfDiv relieved on New Britain by Australian 5th Division.

3 DecFirst Marine air units assigned to Philippines campaign at Leyte.


11 JanMarine Air Groups, Dagupan (1st ProvMAW) organized at Luzon.

15 Aug1st MAW Hq moved to Philippines.

6 SepJapanese surrender Rabaul to the Australians.