The Allied Side: Documentary Sources
The Records of Higher Headquarters
War Department Files. The strategic background of this volume was developed for the most part from War Department files. The applicable papers of the U.S. Joint Chiefs (JCS), the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS), the Combined Staff Planners (CPS), and the Joint Staff Planners (JPS), were consulted in the files of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, War Department General Staff. Two main collections of joint and combined papers, belonging originally to the Operations Division, War Department General Staff (OPD), were used: the files of the Strategy and Policy Group (the “ABC” Files), now in the Departmental Records Branch, Historical Records Section, Adjutant General’s office (DRB HRS, AGO) at Alexandria, Virginia, and those of the Executive Group (the “Exec” File), now temporarily in the custody of the Chief of Military History. In these files, the OPD decimal files, the files of OPD’s predecessor, WPD, and the various War Department message files were also found the relevant messages and correspondence passing between General Marshall and Admiral King, between Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill, and Mr. Curtin, and between Mr. Roosevelt, General Marshall, and General MacArthur.
The Files of GHQ SWPA. The files of General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area (GHQ SWPA) include the daily G-3 journal in DRB HRS, AGO, and the numbered decimal files in the Organizational Records Branch, Records Administration Center, Adjutant General’s Office (ORB RAC, AGO) at Kansas City. The G-3 journal is without question the most valuable single collection of records kept by GHQ. In addition to current planning papers, movement orders, operating instructions, conference minutes, appreciations by the Australian Chiefs of Staff, and the more important messages, general orders, letters, and periodic intelligence reports, each day’s journal usually includes the daily G-3 operations report, the daily situation report, the daily G-2 intelligence summary, and the daily operations reports of the Allied Air Forces, Allied Land Forces, and Allied Naval Forces. In the decimal files, the 314.7 MacArthur file, was an invaluable source as regards General MacArthur’s relations with Mr. Curtin, and the 384 and 385 files were extremely useful in operational and planning matters.
The Records of Other Headquarters. The files of other higher headquarters which were of use in the preparation of the volume include the following: the Surgeon General’s Historical File, the U. S. Army Forces Pacific (AFPAC) Engineer File, and the I Corps File. The Surgeon General’s Historical File, kept in the Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) at Washington, D. C., was valuable chiefly for its monthly reports on the physical condition of the troops in the field. The AFPAC Engineer File is the wartime file of Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Casey,
General MacArthur’s Engineer Officer. The best single source for the construction of the early bases in the Southwest Pacific Area, it was consulted in the District Engineer’s Office, Baltimore, Maryland, its present repository. The I Corps File, kept in ORB RAC, AGO, at Kansas City, was useful for its account of the activities of the corps staff during the campaign.
The Combat Records
American Ground Action. All the official records of Buna Force, I Corps, the 32nd Division, the 163rd Infantry, and the attached units, located at the time of writing in the DRB HRS, AGO, at Alexandria, and in the ORB RAC, AGO, at Kansas City, were consulted. The G-2, G-3 journals of the 32nd Division, filed together during the period 17 September to 30 November, and thereafter (and until the end of the campaign) kept separately—a total of 8,921 separate messages and other entries—were a principal, primary source. The message files and journals of the combat units on the battalion and regimental level were also valuable primary sources. The histories and after action reports (AAR’s) of these units, and General Eichelberger’s official report, Report of the Commanding General Buna Forces on the Buna Campaign, December 1, 1942-January 25, 1942, were useful secondary sources.
Other sources used included on-the-spot reports of three Army Ground Forces observers—Col. Harry Knight, Col. Herbert B. Laux, and Col. H. F. Handy. The report of Maj. David B. Parker, an engineer observer, who was present at Buna during the early days of the attack, was useful. Materials in the possession of Mr. Hanson W. Baldwin, Military Editor of The New York Times, on the march across the Owen Stanleys of the 2nd Battalion, 126th Infantry, obtained by Mr. Baldwin from a participant, were also helpful, as were the dispatches from the field of another staff member of The New York Times, Mr. F. Tillman Durdin. Col. Bernd G. Baetcke’s letters to GHQ SWPA on the early fighting on the Sanananda track were a useful source, as was an interview by the Historical Section, GHQ SWPA, with Col. J. Tracy Hale, Jr., previously commander of Warren Force. Two Infantry School monographs written by participants—Maj. Alfred Medendorp’s study, The March and Operations of the Antitank and Cannon Companies, 126th Infantry, in the Attack on Wairopi, and Capt. Louis A. Chagnon’s account of his experiences in the Tarakena area—served to clarify events which otherwise would have remained obscure. The letters passing between Maj. Gen. Clovis E. Byers and Col. Roy F. Zinser helped to clear up certain disputed points on the capture of the Coconut Grove, and the personal experiences of troop commanders of the 163rd Infantry at Sanananda, as embodied in the 41st Division training notes filed in DRB HRS, AGO, were of great help in describing the final phases of the Sanananda fighting.
Australian Ground Action. The following were the principal official operational reports used to portray Australian ground action: Allied Land Forces, Report of New Guinea Operations, Buna to Ioribaiwa; Allied Land Forces, Report on New Guinea Operations, 23 September 1942–22 January 1943; Allied Land Forces, Summary of Operations in New Guinea, Owen Stanley, Buna–Gona Areas, 22 July 1942–22 January 1943; Allied Land Forces, Report on New Guinea Operations, Goodenough Island and Milne
Bay; New Guinea Force, Notes on Operations in New Guinea, Serial 3; Commander Milne Force, Report on Operations, 25 August-7 September 1942; 18th Brigade, Report on Operations 18th Australian Infantry Brigade Group at Cape Endaiadere Giropa Point and Sanananda Area, 14 December 1942–22 January 1943, with appendixes.
Draft chapters in the forthcoming Australian official history by Dudley McCarthy, The Southwest Pacific Area: The First Year, which the author was permitted to see and use, were drawn upon heavily in the discussion of early operations on the Sanananda track, and the fighting at Gona. Brig. S. H. Porter’s report on the part played by the 30th Brigade in the Owen Stanleys, and Osmar White’s notes on the fighting in the Owen Stanleys (copies of which are to be found in OCMH files) were of help in portraying the desperate fighting along the Kokoda track. Another useful source was Maj. J. W. Dunlop’s account of the operations of his battalion, the 2/2nd, on the Sanananda track. The daily Allied Land Forces operations report, the daily G-3 report, and the situation reports of the Australian units filed in the 32nd Division G-3 Journal were constant standbys, and there was always John Balfour of the office of the Official Australian War Historian at Canberra to write to, when a knotty problem arose to which the available Australian documents seemed to give no ready answer.
Air Force and Naval Action. The day-to day stand-by for Allied air operations was the daily Allied Air Forces operations report in the G-3 Journal, GHQ SWPA, and for naval operations in the SWPA, the periodic reports of Allied Naval Forces filed in the same journal. Two Air Forces studies—The Army Air Forces in Australia to the Summer of 1942, and Air Action in Papua, 21 July 1942–23 January 1943—were useful, as was the History of the 19th Bomb Group (H). Manuscript histories in the Office of Naval History, Washington, which were of value included the History of U.S. Naval Administration in World War II, Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific, and Comdr. Robert J. Bulkley’s History of Motor Torpedo Boats in the U.S. Navy. The three ONI operational studies cited—Early Raids in the Pacific, The Battle of the Coral Sea, and The Battle of Midway—were all useful.
The following miscellaneous records were used: Allied Geographic Section, Southwest Pacific Area, Terrain Study No. 28, Main Routes Across New Guinea, 18 October 1942; Maj. Gen. Julian F. Barnes, The Organization and Activities of the United States Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA); History of Port Detachment E, Combined Operational Service Command (COSC), Buna, all in OCMH files; War Department, Survey of Australia, 25 February, 1942, in G-2, WDGS files; Report on Australia for the Commander in Chief Allied Forces, 14 March 1942, in G-3 Journal, GHQ SWPA; The Koninklijke Paktevaart Maatschappij (K.P.M. Line) and the War in the Southwest Pacific, in the Office of Naval History, Washington.
Information From Participants
Interviews. Except for an interview of Maj. Gen. Albert W. Waldron by 1st Lt. Kenneth Hechler, and one of Lt. Gen.
Richard K. Sutherland by Louis Morton, all the interviews used in the preparation of the volume were conducted by the author in Washington, D. C. Individuals interviewed by him there included: Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlin, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Maj. Gen. Clovis E. Byers, Maj. Gen. Edwin F. Harding, Col. Bernd G. Baetcke, Col. Julian F. Barnes, Col. John E. Grose, Lt. Col. Clifton P. Hannum, Lt. Col. Carroll K. Moffatt, Lt. Col. Peter S. Teesdale-Smith, AMF, and Maj. Robert H. Odell. Copies of the interviews are in OCMH files.
Letters. Letters replying to the author’s inquiries or reviewing the manuscript in draft form were received from the following: Gen. George C. Kenney, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, Maj. Gen. Joseph S. Bradley, Maj. Gen. Clovis E. Byers, Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Casey, Maj. Gen. Jens A. Doe, Maj. Gen. Edwin F. Harding, Maj. Gen. Clarence A. Martin, Maj. Gen. Albert W. Waldron, Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, Col. Bernd G. Baetcke, Col. Richard D. Boerem, Col. Charles R. Dawley, Col. John E. Grose, Col. Carl Hanna, MC, Col. Paul G. Hollister, Col. Harold M. Lindstrom, Col. Alexander J. MacNab, Col. Kelsie E. Miller, Col. Gordon B. Rogers, Col. Herbert A. Smith, Col. Clarence M. Tomlinson, Lt. Col. Peter L. Dal Ponte, Lt. Col. Oliver O. Dixon, Lt. Col. Charles W. Hash, Lt. Col. Wilbur A. Larson, Lt. Col. Bevin D. Lee, Lt. Col. Robert P. McCampbell, Lt. Col. Carroll K. Moffatt, Lt. Col. Ewald E. Mietzel, Lt. Col Herbert M. Smith, Lt. Col. Bert Zeeff, Maj. Robert H. Odell, Maj. Phillip A. Jenson, and Capt. Alfred E. Meyer. Lt. Gen. V. A. H. Sturdee, and Lt. Gen. Sydney F. Rowell, then Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff respectively of the Australian General Staff, wrote an extremely valuable memorandum for the author’s benefit on the deliberations of the Australian Chiefs of Staff during the early days of the war, and General Rowell, by that time Chief of Staff in succession to General Sturdee, reviewed the entire manuscript, and made very valuable comments on it.
Private Papers. General Eichelberger and General Harding each loaned the author his letters and private papers for use in writing the volume, and General Harding loaned his diary. Colonel Grose also gave the author permission to use his diary, and General Waldron put all his papers relating to the campaign at the author’s disposal, as did Colonel Dawley and Major Odell. These private papers were of value, not only for the wealth of information they afforded, but also for the insight they gave the author into his other materials.
The Japanese Side: Documentary Sources
The Wartime Records
Captured Documents. Japanese documents captured in the fighting and published by the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section, Southwest Pacific Area (ATIS SWPA), a section of G-2, GHQ SWPA, proved very useful since they included diaries, messages, field orders, headquarters correspondence, and the like. A full set of these documents, divided into two principal groups, Enemy Publications and Current Translations, are on file in the Intelligence Library, War Department General Staff. Relevant materials were found
in Enemy Publications 24 through 39, and in Current Translations 1 through 4 and 14 through 29.
Prisoner of War Interrogations. Prisoner of war interrogations are to be found in the 32nd Division Interrogation and Translation File, and in the mimeographed publications of the G-2 Section of Buna Force. Generally speaking, these interrogations were of limited usefulness since most of the prisoners taken were either laborers or low-ranking enlisted men, who, except for conditions on their immediate front, knew little of what was going on.
Intelligence Summaries. The G-2 Daily Summary of Enemy Intelligence, and the periodic intelligence summaries of the Allied Air Forces, the Allied Naval Forces, and of the Combined Operational Intelligence Center (COIC) were the best day-to-day sources on what the Allies knew or thought they knew about the enemy. The periodic intelligence summaries put out by the 32nd Division and by Buna Force were useful in this respect, as was the current intelligence information radioed or phoned to the 32nd Division by New Guinea Force and recorded in the division’s G-2, G-3 journals.
Intelligence Studies. The following intelligence studies were particularly useful: Allied Land Forces, History of the Lae-Salamaua Garrison (Japanese), in DRB HRS, AGO; Southeast Asia Translator and Interpreter Section, Historical Bulletin No. 243, History of the Japanese 28th Army, in G-2, WDGS Files.
The Postwar Records
Japanese Studies in World War II. These studies were prepared under the direction of the Historical Section, G-2 Far East Command (FEC) by former Japanese staff officers from official documents and their own knowledge or personal recollection of the events described. The studies are uneven in quality, but taken together form a valuable summary of Japanese operations in World War II. Studies used in preparation of the volume include the following: No. 35, Japanese Activities in Mopping-Up Operations; No. 36, Central Pacific Operations; No. 39, 17th Army Operations, Volume I; No. 41, 18th Army Operations, Volume I; No. 48, Southeast Area Naval Operations, Volume I; No. 55, South Seas Detachment Operations; No. 72, Historical Record, Army Section Imperial General Headquarters; No. 100, Naval Account, Japanese Invasion Eastern New Guinea; No. 109, South Seas Detachment Operations, 2nd edition.
Postwar Interrogations. The published interrogations of Japanese officials by the Naval Analysis Division of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey referred to elsewhere were of value, especially as to Japanese naval operations and strategic thinking. The interrogation by the G-2 Section, Far East Command, of Maj. Mitsuo Koiwai, a survivor of the South Seas Detachment, was an exceedingly valuable source, as was the Australian interrogation at Rabaul of Lt. Gen. Hatazo Adachi, Commanding General, 18th Army, and members of his staff. The other FEC interrogation cited, that of Col. Kazuyoshi Obata, Adachi’s supply officer, was of limited usefulness even as to supply matters.
The ATIS SCAP Documents. The orders of the Navy Section, Imperial General Headquarters, used in the volume are from the files of the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section, Supreme Commander Allied Powers (ATIS SCAP), postwar successor to ATIS SWPA
“ABDACOM”: An Official Account of Events in the South-West Pacific Command, January-February 1942 (New Delhi, 1942).
Despatch by the Supreme Commander of the ABDA Area to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the Operations in the South-West Pacific: 15 January 1942 to 25 February 1942 (London, 1948).
Hugh Buggy, Pacific Victory (Melbourne, 1945). A popular, semiofficial account of Pacific operations, written for Australians.
Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate (Boston, 1950). Useful for its discussion of Mr. Churchill’s relationships with Mr. Curtin.
Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume I, Early Plans and Operations, January 1939 to August 1942 (Chicago, 1948) . A well-written, well-documented history.
Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume IV, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944 (Chicago, 1950). Includes a valuable summary of air action at Buna.
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo (New York, 1950). Useful for its Buna chapters.
Comdr. Eric A. Feldt, RAN, The Coast Watchers (Melbourne, 1947). The accomplishments of the Coast Watchers by their wartime chief.
C. Hartley Grattan, ed., Australia (Berkeley, 1947). A notable symposium, useful chiefly for Gavin Long’s excellent chapter, “Australia in the Second World War.”
Frazier Hunt, MacArthur and the War Against Japan (New York, 1944). An admiring portrait of General MacArthur by a journalist accredited to his headquarters.
George H. Johnson, The Toughest Fighting in the World (New York, 1943). An Australian correspondent describes the New Guinea fighting.
George H. Johnson, Pacific Partner (New York, 1944). A vivid picture of Australia in wartime.
E. J. Kahn, Jr., G. I. Jungle (New York, 1943). Sketches of Army life in New Guinea by a former warrant officer of the 32nd Division.
Gen. George C. Kenney, General Kenney Reports (New York, 1944). A vivid memoir useful for Buna operations but occasionally inaccurate as to detail.
John Miller, Jr., Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1949). The Guadalcanal campaign by an Army historian.
Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume III, The Rising Sun in the Pacific (Boston, 1948). The first Pacific volume in this excellent, semiofficial series.
Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IV, Coral Sea, Midway, and Submarine Actions (Boston, 1949). The best account to date of the Coral Sea and Midway actions.
Office of the Chief Engineer, U. S. Army Forces Pacific, Engineers in Theater Operations, Volume I (Washington, 1949). The accomplishments of the Corps of Engineers in General MacArthur’s theater.
U. S. Army Air Forces, The Army Air Forces in the War Against Japan 1941–1942 (Washington, 1945). A useful, well written summary by the wartime historical section of the Army Air Forces.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Allied Campaign Against Rabaul (Washington, 1946). An excellent piece of work, based in large part on postwar interrogations at Rabaul.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Campaigns of the Pacific War (Washington, 1946). A good, one-volume treatment of the naval side of the Pacific war by the Naval Analysis Division of the Bomb Survey.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Interrogations of Japanese Officials (Washington, n.d.). A useful compilation chiefly concerned with Japanese strategic thinking and naval operations.
Roger W. Shugg and Harvey A. DeWeerd, The World at War: 1939–1944 (Washington, 1945). A useful reference work.
Roland E. Walker, The Australian Economy in War and Reconstruction (New York, 1947). A scholarly study.
Osmar White, Green Armor (New York, 1945). The fighting in the Southwest Pacific, as witnessed by a noted Australian correspondent.
Australian Military Forces, The Battle of Wau (Melbourne, 1943). A popular account of the fighting in the Bulolo Valley.
Australian Military Forces, The Battle of the Beaches (Melbourne, 1944). The fighting at the Buna–Gona beachhead, written for Australians.
Military Intelligence Division, War Department General Staff, Papuan Campaign, The Buna-Sanananda Operation, 16 November 1942–23 January 1943. AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION SERIES (Washington, 1944). A brief, well-written preliminary study designed at the time it was written for the information of wounded veterans of the campaign.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Fifth Air Force in the War Against Japan (Washington, 1947). A useful summary.
Office of Naval Intelligence, The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway (Washington, 1947). Midway through Japanese eyes.
Hanson W. Baldwin, “Doughboy’s March a High Point in the War,” The New York Times, 7 May 1944. The march of the 2nd Battalion, 126th Infantry, to Jaure based on an eyewitness account.
Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, “The MacArthur I Knew,” True, October 1947. General Brett’s relations with General MacArthur.
F. Tillman Durdin, “The Grim Hide and Seek of Jungle Warfare,” The New York Times Magazine, 7 March 1943. A thoughtful, well-presented analysis.
E. J. Kahn, Jr., “The Terrible Days of Company E,” The Saturday Evening Post, Part I, 8 January 1944; Part II, 15 January 1944. A vivid account of the march across the Owen Stanleys developed from diaries and the recollection of participants.
Walton L. Robinson, “AKAGI, Famous Japanese Carrier,” in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, May 1948. The AKAGI in action.