The War in the Pacific: From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

By Harry A. Gailey | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
Victory in New Guinea

GENERAL MACARTHUR CONTINUED to be dissatisfied with the amount of support he was receiving, as well as what appeared to him to be unwarranted enthusiasm for Nimitz's Central Pacific plans. To a certain extent his complaints were warranted. His Seventh Fleet was but a shadow compared to the powerful Fifth Fleet. The Seventh had no aircraft carriers, and most of its capital ships were from Admiral Crutchley's Australian contingent of cruisers and destroyers. Of much real concern was the shortage of landing craft with which to carry out the many planned amphibious operations.

A problem of a different kind also bothered MacArthur and his all-American staff in Brisbane: what role General Blamey should play in plans for further conquest in New Guinea and beyond to the Philippines. As ground force commander, Blamey should have been in charge of all field operations. This, however, would have put the more numerous American divisions under his command -- something MacArthur did not want. Furthermore, MacArthur, lacking an appreciation of the terrible conditions in New Guinea, had continually been critical of the Australian field commander, particularly of the action around Finschhafen. MacArthuraddressed the issue in two ways. The longer-term problem of assuring that American troops would be commanded only by American senior officers was

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