New Georgia: The Second Battle for the Solomons

New Georgia: The Second Battle for the Solomons

New Georgia: The Second Battle for the Solomons

New Georgia: The Second Battle for the Solomons

Synopsis

In 1942, the Solomon Islands formed the stepping stones toward Rabaul, the main base of Japanese operations in the South Pacific, and the Allies primary objective. The stunning defeat of Japanese forces at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November marked the turning point in the war against Japan and the start of an offensive in the Central Solomons aimed at New Georgia. New Georgia: The Second Battle for the Solomons tells the story of the land, sea, and air battles fought there from March through October 1943. Making careful and copious use of both Japanese and Allied sources, Ronnie Day masterfully weaves the intricate threads of these battles into a well-crafted narrative of this pivotal period in the war. As Day makes clear, combat in the Solomons exemplified the war in the Pacific, especially the importance of air power, something the Japanese failed to understand until it was too late, and the strategy of island hopping, bypassing Japanese strongholds (including Rabaul) in favor of weaker or more strategically advantageous targets. This multifaceted account gives the fighting for New Georgia its proper place in the history of the drive to break the Japanese defensive perimeter and bring the homeland within range of Allied bombers.

Excerpt

In January 1989 I flew up to munda from guadalcanal, spent a few hours, and then caught the plane back to Henderson Field. the picture-postcard beauty of the view from Munda left an indelible impression on me, and so in 1992 I went back, this time with a veteran of the battle there, and got a much better look at the islands. Evidence of the war can be found everywhere, ranging from the Munda elementary school bell, which is stamped usn, to the marine light tank sitting where it was knocked out in September 1943. But the most impressive legacy is the airfields, and I like to think that it was walking the 8,000-foot strip at Munda that aroused my curiosity about what had happened there and that eventually led to this book.

Not much has been written about the battle for New Georgia. the official historians of the belligerent powers gave it coverage in volumes devoted to the larger campaign of which it was a part. While these histories are the indispensable starting point for any study of the Pacific War, most were written a few years after the end of the war, the Japanese account being the exception, and are dated. To my knowledge, only two monographs dealing exclusively with New Georgia have since been published. Both focus mainly on the ground battle for Munda Field, which is only part of the story. But as the bibliography will show, there are a number of works that touch on New Georgia in one way or another – histories of the South Pacific theaters, biographies and personal accounts, unit histories, and specialists’ studies of aircraft and naval architecture. Some of these are extremely good; others less so. (Recently, too late for . . .

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