VICTORY IN PAPUA. By Samuel Milner. (1957, 1989; 409 pages, 23 maps, 69 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-4.)
Soon after the shattered American Navy won its great victory at Midway, the United States launched its ground forces into their first offensives in the Pacific, at Guadalcanal as recounted above, and on the eastern tip of New Guinea. The offensive in Papua was an Allied operation in which the American ground contingent was supplied by two U.S. Army divisions, the 32d and a regiment of the 41st. Victory in Papua is a detailed account of their bitter experience in the operation to which they were committed, the objective of which was to expel the Japanese from their lodgments at Milne Bay, Buna, and Gona.
This was the first offensive under General MacArthur's command, and the American forces used were untried, neither trained nor seasoned for their difficult first assignment. For most of the Allied troops the Papua Campaign was a military nightmare. The work describes the agonies and frustrations of men living under almost intolerable conditions, plagued by disease, short of artillery, and pitted against a skilled and resolute foe.
While the narrative focuses on the painful struggles of the American ground forces to master their environment and overcome their foes, its scope is as broad as the campaign and includes the direction of joint, Allied operations; the operations of the Australians; and the sometimes highly experimental employment of air power to transport and supply the ground forces as well as support them in battle.
1. Problems of joint and Allied command (Ch. II).
2. Problems in theater strategy (Chs. I, II).
3. Japanese offensive plans and operations (Chs. I, III, IV, V, VI).
4. Air transport and supply (Chs. V, VII).
5. Improvisation of logistic support (Chs. V, VII, VIII, X, XI).
6. Effects of disease and insufficient training upon tactical efficiency (Chs. VII-XVIII).
7. Small-unit attacks against fortified areas (Chs. VIII-XVIII).
8. Special problems of command (Chs. X, XI).
Return to the Table of Contents