Victory in Papua

Victory in Papua

Victory in Papua

Victory in Papua

Excerpt

The strategic significance of the Papuan Campaign can be briefly stated. In addition to blunting the Japanese thrust toward Australia and the transpacific line of communications, it put General MacArthur's forces in a favorable position to take the offensive. But this little known campaign is significant for still another reason. It was the battle test of a large hitherto-inexperienced U. S. Army force and its commanders under the conditions which were to attend much of the ground fighting in the Pacific. Costly in casualties and suffering, it taught lessons that the Army had to learn if it was to cope with the Japanese under conditions of tropical warfare.

Since the official records of this early campaign were quite poor, the task of portraying American ground action in it accurately required that a great deal of essential information be found elsewhere. This supplementary information was secured in large part from participants whose names are to be found in the Bibliographical Note at the end of the volume All of them have my thanks, and certain of them who went to great lengths to help me have my special thanks. The following (ranks as of February 1952 when the manuscript was completed) are in the latter category: Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Maj. Gen. Clovis E. Byers, Maj. Gen. Jens A. Doe, Maj. Gen. Edwin F. Harding, Maj. Gen. Clarence A. Martin, Maj. Gen. Albert W. Waldron, Col. Bernd G. Baetcke, Col. Charles R. Dawley, Col. John E. Grose, Col. Alexander J. MacNab, Col. Kelsie E. Miller, Col. Herbert A. Smith, Col. Clarence M. Tomlinson, Lt. Col. Peter L. Dal Ponte, Lt. Col. Herbert M. Smith, Lt. Col. Bert Zeeff, and Maj. Robert H. Odell. A true picture of conditions as they existed at the time could not have been given without their help.

To tell the Australian side of the story adequately also required more information than was to be found in the available sources. That I never lacked for such information was due principally to Gavin Long, the Official Australian War Historian and to two members of his staff, John Balfour and Dudley McCarthy. McCarthy's draft chapters on Australian action on the Sanananda front were invaluable in helping me to round out the picture of the fighting that went on on that front. Lt. Col. Peter S. Teesdale-Smith, a participant in the campaign and a member of the Australian Military Mission in Washington during the time that this book was in preparation, helped me greatly in making Australian action come alive.

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