Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul

Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul

Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul

Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul

Excerpt

The reduction of Rabaul was accomplished by a gigantic double envelopment which required closely co-ordinated land, sea, and air operations by the armed forces of the United States and her Pacific allies. This volume, like the others in the series, attempts to explain in detail the part played by the U.S. Army ground forces and to make clear, by summary, the contributions of all forces and nations.

The CARTWHEEL. battles differed from those of the two earlier campaigns, Guadalcanal and Papua, that were directed toward the reduction of Rabaul. In Guadalcanal and Papua the antagonists, more evenly matched than in later campaigns, strained themselves to bring relatively small ground forces to bear on narrow fronts, so that great issues hinged on the outcome of regimental and battalion actions. A study of those campaigns, therefore, quite properly focuses on tactics. During the period covered by this book the Allied commanders could employ superior forces over a vast area while the Japanese had no recourse but to entrench themselves in an effort to hold out and inflict as many casualties as possible. This volume attempts to analyze the techniques by which the Allies employed their strength to bypass fortified positions and seize weakly defended but strategically important areas, or, in the apt baseball parlance used by General MacArthur, to "hit 'em where they ain't." It is, therefore, a study in strategy and high command as well as in tactics.

The willing, able counsel and assistance I have received in preparing this book have greatly eased my task. Dr. Louis Morton, Chief of the Pacific Section of the Office of Military History during the period of research and writing, and my other friends and colleagues in this Office have aided unstintingly. Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian of the Army, has been a constant source of wise and kindly help. The successive Chiefs of Military History--Maj. Gens. Orlando Ward, Albert C. Smith, John H. Stokes, and Richard W. Stephens--and Cols. Thomas J. Sands, George G. O'Connor, Ridgway P. Smith, Jr., and Seneca W. Foote have appreciated the nature and worth of history and provided encouragement and powerful support.

For locating and furnishing to me, without restriction, all the necessary records I wish to make public my gratitude to the efficient records . . .

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