United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific

Strategy and Command: The First Two Years

by Louis Morton


. . . to Those Who Served




The Pacific World—The Ocean and Its Islands—The Great Powers in the Pacific

Part One: The Road to War

Chapter 1: The Beginnings of Pacific Strategy

Early Plans for Defense—The ORANGE Plan—RED and RED-ORANGE—Strategic Dilemma

Chapter 2: Japanese Policy and Strategy, 1931–July 1941

Japanese Expansion—Economic and Military Preparations—Japan Moves South

Chapter 3: Europe versus the Pacific

Strategic Adjustment, 1938–1940—The Critical Summer of 1940—Shift to the Atlantic, September 1940–January 1941—RAINBOW 5

Chapter 4: The Fatal Turn

The July Crisis—America Faces the Far East—The Plan for War

Chapter 5: The Decision for War

Tojo Takes Over—The Progress of Negotiations—The Die Is Cast—Conclusion

Part Two: The Defensive: Pearl Harbor to Midway

Chapter 6: The First Weeks of War, 7–26 December

The Japanese Offensive: First Phase—Meeting the Emergency

Chapter 7: The Malay Barrier

Allied Strategy—The ABDACOM Interlude

Chapter 8: The Philippines

The Siege of Bataan—Strategy and Logistics—Command

Chapter 9: Australia and the Line of Communication

The Northeast Area—The Line of Communications—The Japanese Threat—Pacific Build-up

Chapter 10: The U.S. and Japanese High Commands

The Washington Command Post—The Japanese High Command

Chapter 11: Organization AND Command of the Pacific

The Problem of Responsibility—The Southwest Pacific and Pacific Ocean Areas—The South Pacific Area

Chapter 12: Transition

The Fall of the Philippines—The Tokyo Raid—Coral Sea and Midway

Part Three: Seizing The Initiative

Chapter 13: Planning the Offensive

Early Plans—Strategy and Command—Compromise: The 2 July Directive

Chapter 14: Preparations and Problems

Logistics and Strategy—The Pacific Versus Europe—MacArthur Prepares—Final Preparations

Chapter 15: Crisis in the Pacific, August–November 1942

Emergency Measures—The Debate Over Priorities—The October Crisis—The Shipping Crisis—The Crisis Ends

Chapter 16: Command and Cooperation

Army-Navy Relations in the South Pacific—The Southwest and Central Pacific—A Unified Command for the Pacific

Chapter 17: Japanese and American Plans

The Japanese Regroup—Tasks Two and Three: The Indivisibility of Strategy and—Command

Chapter 18: The Pacific in Grand Strategy

Strategic Concepts—The Casablanca Conference—Strategy for 1943

Chapter 19: Means and Ends: The March 1943 Directive

Theater Plans—The Pacific Military Conference

Chapter 20: Cartwheel and the I-Go Operation

CARTWHEEL—The I-GO Operation

Part Four: Emerging Patterns

Chapter 21: The North Pacific and the Soviet Union

Strategic Background—The Aleutians

Chapter 22: The Revival of Orange

The Central Pacific War—The Philippines in Central Pacific Strategy—The Japanese—The Central Pacific in Long-Range Strategy

Chapter 23: Central Pacific Timetable

The TRIDENT Conference—The Marshalls Plan—Alternate Proposals—Gilberts-Nauru Plan

Chapter 24: Organizing for the Offensive

The Problem—Theater Organization—The Joint Staff

Chapter 25: Operations and Plans, Summer 1943

CARTWHEEL Begins—Strategic Forecast, August 1943

Chapter 26: Review and Adjustment

Ships and Plans—Strategic Role of the North Pacific—CARTWHEEL and RENO

Chapter 27: The Japanese Revise Their Strategy

The New Operational Policy—The Decision Is Made—The New Strategy in Action

Chapter 28: The Execution of Strategy: Pacific Operations, August–December 1943

New Georgia—Salamaua to Sio—The Gilbert Islands—CARTWHEEL Completed

Chapter 29: Prospects for the Future

The Pattern of Pacific Warfare—The Prospects for Japan—Long-Range Plans for the Defeat of Japan—Operations for 1944

Appendix A: Directive to the Supreme Commander, ABDA Area, 3 January 1942 (ABC-4/5)

Appendix B: General Outline of Policy of Future War Guidance, adopted by Liaison Conference, 7 March 1942, and report of Prime Minister and Chiefs of Staff to Emperor, 13 March 1942

Appendix C: Directive to the Supreme Commander in the Southwest Pacific Area, 30 March 1942 (CCS 57/1)

Appendix D: Directive to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Ocean Area, 30 March 1942 (ccs 57/1)

Appendix E: Joint Directive for Offensive Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area agreed upon by the United States Chiefs of Staff, 2 July 1942

Appendix F: Letter of Instructions to Maj. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific, 7 July 1942

Appendix G: Japanese Army-Navy Central Agreement concerning South Pacific Area operations, with supplement, 4 January 1943

Appendix H: Conduct of the War in the Pacific Theater in 1943, Memorandum by u.s. Joint chiefs of Staff, 22 January 1943 (CCS 168)

Appendix I: The Elkton Plan for the Seizure and Occupation of the New Britain-New Ireland-New Guinea Area, prepared by GHQ, SWPA, 28 February 1943

Appendix J: Japanese Army-Navy Central Agreement on South-East Area Operations, with supplement, 15 March 1943

Appendix K: Joint Chiefs of Staff Directive: Offensive Operations in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas during 1943, 28 March 1943 (JCS 238/5/d)

Appendix L: Joint Chiefs of Staff Directive: Unified Command for U.S. Joint Operations, 20 April 1943 (JCS 263/2/D)

Appendix M: Joint Chiefs of Staff Memorandum: Strategic Plan for the Defeat of Japan, Approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 19 May 1943 (JCS 287/1 and CCS 220)

Appendix N: Extract from the Final Report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and Prime Minister at the Trident Conference, Approved 25 May 1943 (CCS 242/6)

Appendix O: Extract from the Final Report of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and Prime Minister at the Quadrant Conference, 24 August 1943 (CCS 319/5)

Appendix P: Appointment of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., as Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces, Central Pacific Area, 16 August 1943

Appendix Q: Japanese General Outline of the Future War Direction Policy, Adopted at the Imperial Conference, 30 September 1943

Appendix R: Japanese Army-Navy Central Agreement Concerning the Central and South Pacific Operations, with Supplement, 30 September 1943

Appendix S: Summary of RENO III, Outline plan for operations of the Southwest Pacific Area to reoccupy the southern Philippines, prepared by GHQ, SWPA, 20 October 1943

Appendix T: Overall plan for the Defeat of Japan: Report by the Combined Staff Planners, approved in principle, 2 December 1943 (ccs 417)

Appendix U: Specific Operations for the Defeat of Japan, 1944, 3 December 1943 (CCS 397 rev), Memorandum by the U.S. chiefs of staff

Appendix V: “ELKTON” III, General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, 26 April 1943

Appendix W: RENO III, Historical Record Index Card, GHQ SWPA, 20 October 1943

Guide to Footnotes

The Sources



1. Japanese Military Budget, 1931–1940

2. Japanese Army Ground and Air Forces and Navy Air Forces, 1937–1941

3. Major Army Combat Forces for the Pacific, Present and Projected, April–May 1942

4. Army Strength in the Pacific, April 1942

5. Timetable of Pacific Operations, August 1943

6. Strength, U.S. Forces in the Pacific, 31 December 1943

7. Major U.S. Combat Forces in the Pacific, 31 December 1943

8. Major U.S. Combat and Air Forces in Pacific and European Areas, 31 December 1943

9. Japanese Shipping Losses, 7 December 1941–20 September 1943

10. Japanese Army Reinforcements, Central Pacific, September 1943–January 1944

11. Army (and AAF) Battle Casualties, Pacific Areas, December 1941–December 1943

12. Battle Casualties, Navy and Marine Corps, December 1941–December 1943

13. Specific Operations for the Defeat of Japan, 1944


1. Disposition of Major Japanese Forces for War, December 1941

2. Organization of ABDACOM, January–February 1942

3. The Washington High Command and the Pacific Theaters, December 1942.

4. The Japanese High Command

5. Command Organization in the Pacific, July 1942

6. Organization of Japanese Forces, Solomons–New Guinea Area, January 1943

7. Command Organization, South Pacific Forces, August 1943

8. Organization for Administration and Supply, U.S. Army Forces, South Pacific Area, July 1943

9. Organization of South Pacific Air Forces, Solomon Islands, July 1943

10. Command Organization, Southwest Pacific Area, July 1943

11. Organization for Administration and Supply, U.S. Army Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, July 1943

12. Organization of Japanese Forces, Southeast Area, July 1943

13. Command Organization, Pacific Ocean Areas, October 1943

14. Organization for Administration and Supply, U.S. Army Forces, Central Pacific Area, December 1943

15. Headquarters Organization, CINCPOA-CINCPAC FLEET, October 1943

16. Organization of Japanese Forces in Pacific and Southeast Asia, November 1943


1. The Japanese Plan for War, December 1941

2. The ABDACOM Area, January–February 1942

3. The South Pacific Line of Communications to Australia, 1942

4. The Japanese Advance Into the Solomons–New Guinea Area, January–July 1942

5. The Battle Area, August 1942

6. The North Pacific

7. The Central Pacific

8. New Georgia Operations, 21 June–5 July 1943

9. Japan’s National Defense Zone, Southeast Area

10. South Pacific Operations, June–November 1943

11. Southwest Pacific Operations, September 1943–February 1944

12. Makin Atoll

13. Tarawa Atoll

14. Progress and Prospects, 31 December 1943

Maps I-III are in the Maps chapter at the end

I. The Japanese Offensive, December 1941–May 1942

II. The Pacific and Adjacent Theaters, April 1942

III. The CARTWHEEL Operations


Fujiyama—On Board the Powhatan—View From Manila Bay—Washington Conference, 1921–22—General Douglas MacArthur—Brig. Gen. Stanley D. Embick—Japanese Cabinet, March 1936—Japanese Troops Marching Through the Peiping Gate—Konoye Cabinet of June 1937—General George C. Marshall—Admiral Harold R. Stark—Brig. Gen. George V. Strong—General Teiichi Suzuki—Admiral Osami Nagano—Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short—Admiral Husband E. Kimmel—Japanese Mock-up of Ford Island and Battleship Row—General Hideki Tojo—Japanese Signs Proclaiming Economy Drive—Joint Board Meeting—Kurusu and Nomura—“Banzai!”—Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941—President Franklin D. Roosevelt—Admiral Ernest J. King—Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons—Admiral Chester W. Nimitz—Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson—Lt. Gen. H. ter Poorten—ABDA Command—Vice Adm. Conrad E. L. Helfrich and Admiral Thomas C. Hart—Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma—General MacArthur With Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley—Brig. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, Jr—Forward Echelon of the 41st Division—Joint Chiefs of Staff—General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz—Vice Adm. Herbert F. Leary—Rear Adm. Robert L. Ghormley—Rear Adm. John R. McCain—Rear Adm. Aubrey W. Fitch—Rear Adm. Richmond K. Turner—Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright—Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle and Capt. Marc A. Mitscher—Explosion on the Lexington—Battle of Midway—Training on Australian Beaches—Brig. Gen. Thomas T. Handy—Rear Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr.—General MacArthur and Maj. Gen. George C. Kenney—Maj. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger and General Sir Thomas Blarney—A-20 Skip-Bombing an Enemy Freighter—B-17 Over the Solomons—New P-38’s at Nouméa—Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold—Admiral Nimitz at Nouméa—Ships at Nouméa—Damaged Supplies—Henderson Field—Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., and Maj. Gen. Millard F. Harmon—Lt. Gen. Hatazo Adachi—Lt. Gen. Haruyoshi Hyakutake—Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto—Lt. Gen. Hitoshi Imamura—Plenary Session at Casablanca—Conference at ALAMO Headquarters—Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt—Rear Adm. Thomas C. Kincaid—Planning the Kiska Operation—Vice Adm. Raymond A. Spruance—Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr.—Maj. Gen. Holland M. Smith—Rear Adm. John H. Hoover—Maj. Gen. Willis H. Hale—Fijian Commandos—Rendova Commanders—Rendova Landing Forces—Munda Airfield—On New Georgia—American Strategic Planners at QUADRANT—The Combined Chiefs of Staff at Quebec—Vice Adm. Jinichi Kusaka—Australian Troops Go Ashore Near Lae—Airborne Operations at Nadzab—LVTs at Tarawa—Landing Craft Moving in on Butaritari Island

United States Army in World War II

Stetson Conn, General Editor

Advisory Committee

(As of 5 April 1961)

Fred Harvey Harrington, University of Wisconsin

Mai Gen. Louis W. Truman, U.S. Continental Army Command

William R. Emerson, Yale University

Brig. Gen. Evan M. Houseman, Industrial College of the Armed Forces

Oron J. Hale, University of Virginia

Brig. Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr., U.S. Army War College

W. Stull Holt, University of Washington

Brig. Gen. William A. Cunningham III, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Bell I. Wiley, Emory University

Col. Vincent J. Esposito, United States Military Academy

C. Vann Woodward, John Hopkins University

Office of the Chief of Military History

Brig. Gen. James A. Norell, Chief of Military History

Chief Historian, Stetson Conn

Chief, Histories Division, Col. Leonard G. Robinson

Chief, Publication Division, Lt. Col. James R. Hillard

Editor in Chief, Joseph R. Friedman