Chapter III

1 GHQ, SWPA. Opn Instr No. 2, 25 April 42, G-3 Admin, 370 (S) and CINCSWPA Radio No. 719 to WARCOS, 13 May 42, C/S GHQ, WD No. 68 (S).

2 The Japanese landings were carried out under orders of the Commander in Chief of the Fourth Fleet, Vice Adm. Shigeyoshi Inouye, who wanted an advanced seaplane base established at Tulagi to cover the forthcoming operations against Port Moresby. Japanese Second Demobilization Bureau, Southeast Area Naval Operations, Part I, p. 1, G-2 Historical Section. GHQ, FEC.

3 The exact composition of the Japanese Fleet Units participating in this operation may be found in Document No. 18865 F (WDI 56), ATIS, GHQ, SCAP, Full Translation of the Port Moresby Operation, Vol 5, 22 May 46.

4 United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), Naval Analysis Division, The Campaigns of the Pacific War, p. 52.

5 GHQ, SWPA, G-2 Information Bulletin, Special Bulletin, 5 May 42.

6 Gilbert Cant, America's Navy in World War II (Rev. ed., New York, 1944), p. 200.

7 Adm. Ernest J. King, USN, Our Navy at War, A Report to the Secretary of the Navy, 27 Mar 44, p. 30.

8 CINCSWPA Radio No. 719 to WARCOS, 13 May 42, C/S, GHQ, WD No. 68 (S). AAF DOI, Brief Appreciation of Coral Sea Battle, 5 to 8 May 42, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

9 "The loss of the Battle of the Coral Sea affected our strategy in New Guinea to a great extent," said Lt. Col. Shiro Hara, Eighth Area Army Staff Officer, Operations Section. "After the loss, we realized that our offensive assault against Port Moresby by sea was blocked. This made it obvious that if we were to attack our objective it would have to be made overland via the Owen Stanleys." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

10 The Japanese assault troops en route to Port Moresby were not affected by the action in the Coral Sea but returned to Rabaul. Japanese strategists by no means abandoned the plan to seize Port Moresby but only decided to postpone the next attempt until additional preparations could be completed.

11 New Guinea Force, Opn Instr No. 7, 23 Apr 42, G-3, GHQ Admin NGF (S).

12 CINCSWPA Ltr to General Blamey, 1 May 42, 385 (Plan 3) G-3, GHQ Admin (S).

13 GHQ, SWPA, Memo to Comdrs. ALF, AAF, ANF and CG USAFIA, 12 Jun 42, 385 (4) (Fall River), G-3, GHQ Admin (S). Also New Guinea Force, Opn Instr No. 17, 15 Jun 42, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal (S).

14 GHQ, SWPA, Memo to Commanders AAF, ALF, ANF and CG USAFIA, 22 Jun 42, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal (S).

15 CINCSWPA Ltr to Comdr. ALF, 9 Jun 42, AG, GHQ, 384, No. 1 (S).

16 To carry on their offensive in the Southwest Pacific after the Battle of the Coral Sea, Imperial General Headquarters rushed plans for the organization of the Seventeenth Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Harukichi Hyakutake. In spite of the Japanese losses at Midway, which postponed other operations in the Southwest Pacific, the Seventeenth Army renewed preparations to seize Port Moresby. On 1 July the Commander of the Seventeenth Army ordered the 15th Independent Engineer Regiment and an infantry battalion of the South Seas Detachment to land at Buna and conduct reconnaissance to determine the feasibility of an overland assault on Port Moresby. On 11 July the Seventeenth Army was given final orders to attack and occupy Port Moresby. General Hyakutake intended to carry out this order by having the South Seas Detachment infiltrate over the Owen Stanleys to Port Moresby while the Aoba Detachment carried out simultaneous amphibious operations. Japanese First Demobilization Bureau, Southeast Area Operations Record, Part II, "Seventeenth Army Operations," Vol. I pp. 1-20, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC. This detailed study of Japanese strategy after the Coral Sea and Midway battles reveals the emphasis placed by the Japanese on isolating and defeating the Allies in the Southwest Pacific.

17 New Guinea Force, Opn Instr No. 18, 21 Jun 42, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal (S).

18 CINCSWPA Ltr to Comdrs. AAF, ALF, ANF and CG USAFIA, 15 Jul 42, G-4, GHQ, Admin (S).

19 The formation and administration of these agencies were the responsibility of the G-2 Section which had begun their organization, in Melbourne, in May. The principal agencies and their fields of coverage were: (1) Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) which trained, organized, and sent into the field linguist detachments to interrogate prisoners of war and translate captured documents; (2) Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) which conducted clandestine operations, sabotage, and espionage behind the enemy lines and in enemy-held territories; its European counterpart was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which was never employed in the SWPA; (3) Allied Geographical Section (AGS) which gathered and published geographical information on areas within the SWPA; its Washington counterpart was Joint Army Navy Intelligence Service (JANIS); (4) Central Bureau (CB) which was an inter-Allied cryptanalytical service, co-ordinated with British and United States establishments.

20 By the end of the war, AGS had published 110 Terrain Studies, 62 Terrain Handbooks and 101 Special Reports on virtually every phase of the geographic features of New Guinea, the Philippines, and adjacent areas. Indicative of the wide variety of topics covered by AGS are such typical publications as "The Native Carrier," "Getting About in New Guinea," "Vegetation Study, Eastern New Guinea," and "Sailing Directions, New Guinea Areas." These studies were designed especially for use in Allied operations and every effort was made to insure widest dissemination. The demand was so great that by 15 September 1945 almost 200,000 copies had been distributed to the different services of the Allied Command as shown in the following table:

Ground Forces
Naval Forces
Air Forces
GHQ, etc.
Terrain Studies
Terrain Handbooks
Special Reports

AGS, GHQ, SWPA, Final Progress Report, 15 Sep 45.

21 Part of the success of Allied operations was directly attributable to the fact that the Australian and American soldiers were well informed while their Japanese adversary was not. AIB and the other intelligence agencies provided information which the Japanese commanders chronically complained was never furnished to them in important combat areas. Maj. Gen. Kazuo Tanikawa, Staff Officer of the Japanese Eighth Area Army, stated, "We did not have information about the terrain in New Guinea.... Allied intelligence was far above what we could attain." Colonel Hara, Eighth Army Staff Officer, Operations Section said, "Allied intelligence activities were responsible in great part for our losses in New Guinea. They were very effective and the Allies seemed to know our strength and dispositions beforehand for it always seemed to me that they continually attacked our weak points and by avoiding our concentrated strong points managed to obtain their objectives with minimum losses. I always felt that Allied intelligence gained its great effectiveness through the failure of our own intelligence to combat it." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

22 During the war ATIS issued thousands of printed documents, falling into 13 different main classes or categories. They included ATIS "Publications," "Bulletins," "Inventories," "Interrogation Spot Reports," "Current Translations," "Enemy Publications," "Interrogation Reports," "Research Reports," "Philippine Series Bulletins," and "Philippine Series Translations."

ATIS average monthly production was as follows:

Nov 1942
Sept 1945
Documents received, examined, and listed
Documents translated
Documents printed and published

23 CINCSWPA Radio No. 913 to WARCOS, 8 Jun 42, C/S GHQ, WD No. 101 (S).

24 CINCSWPA Radio No. 248 to WARCOS, 24 Jun 42, C/S GHQ, WD No. 118 (S).

25 JCS Radio to CINCPAC, CINCSWPA and COMSOPAC, 2 Jul 42, C/S SOPAC No. 33 (S).

26 CINCSWPA Radio to WARCOS, 27 Jun 42, C/S GHQ, WD No. 121 (S). Morison, Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions May 1942-August 1942, p. 256.

27 General MacArthur pointed out that Japanese policy was to maintain front-line air elements at peak efficiency by constantly bringing in their ablest pilots developed in 2nd and 3rd line echelons. This was one of the reasons why the Japanese air force had consistently made such a good showing since the beginning of the war. General MacArthur, therefore, firmly opposed any exchange plan which would replace his experienced pilots with partially trained personnel, thus using the Southwest Pacific Area as an indoctrination school and training ground. Such a plan, he insisted, would only result in pitting inexperienced personnel against the best that Japan had to offer. The only outcome would be heavy losses in personnel and equipment by the American air forces. CINCSWPA Radio to WARCOS, 27 Jun 42, 321 AC Personnel, AG, GHQ, (S).

28 GHQ, SWPA, Opn Instr No. 14, 26 Jul 42, G-3 Admin 370 (S).

29 "This was the type of strategy we hated most," said Lt. Col. Matsuichi Iino, Senior Intelligence Officer, Eighth Area Army Staff. "The Americans, with minimum losses, attacked and seized a relatively weak area, constructed airfields and then proceeded to cut the supply lines to troops in that area. Without engaging in a large scale operation, our strong points were gradually starved out. The Japanese Army preferred direct assault, after the German fashion, but the Americans flowed into our weaker points and submerged us, just as water seeks the weakest entry to sink a ship.... We respected this type of strategy for its brilliance because it gained the most while losing the least." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

30 CINCSWPA Radio No. C-7 to WARCOS, 2 Jul 42, AG, GHQ 332 No. 2.

31 CINCSWPA Radio No. Q-147 to WARCOS, 2 Aug 42, C/S GHQ, WD No. 173 (S).

32 General Hyakutake, Commander of the Seventeenth Army, was notified of the cancellation of this offensive on 14 June while in Manila. At the same time, he was informed that Imperial General Headquarters desired a land offensive against Port Moresby. Accordingly, he ordered Lt. Gen. Tomitaro Horii, Commander of the South Seas (Nankai) Detachment, at Rabaul to make the required preparations for such an assault. Initial units left Rabaul on 20 July bound for Basabua, 6 miles northwest of Buna, to make a reconnaissance in force. The detailed composition of the Japanese task force may be found in ATIS, GHQ, SWPA, Current Translations No. 5, 3 Dec 42, pp. 58-59.

33 GHQ, SWPA, Opn Instr No. 14, 26 Jul 42, G-3 Admin 370 (S).

34 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Daily Summary of Enemy Intelligence No. 112, 13 Jul 42.

35 CINCSWPA Radio No. C-382 to WARCOS, 30 Aug 42, C/S GHQ, WD No. 215 (S).

36 Captured Japanese documents reveal that the Japanese on these barges had intended to land at Taupota, cross the Stirling Range, and attack Milne Bay from the rear in conjunction with the amphibious assault. The barges landed at Goodenough Island at 1130 on 25 August, intending to set sail for Taupota. At about 1230, ten fighters (RAAF) made a slashing attack which sunk all the barges and left over fifty casualties among the helpless Japanese. Their mission had resulted in complete failure. ATIS, GHQ, SWPA, Current Translations No. 14, 18 Jan 43, pp. 3-4.

37 The difference between Allied and Japanese staff work was clearly demonstrated by the fighting at Milne Bay, as related by Comdr. Minoru Yano, IJN, Commanding Officer of the Kure 3rd Special Landing Party (SLP) and the senior Japanese officer at Milne Bay when the original task force commander, Comdr. Masajiro Hayashi, was killed. A substantial part of the Japanese troops used at Milne Bay was at Kavieng when the first Japanese landing took place. These troops were the 3rd Kure SLP, which had been formed at Kure in January 1942 for the purpose of invading Port Moresby. After the Battle of the Coral Sea these troops were sent back to Kavieng, where they stayed until sent to Milne Bay. When the Japanese troops who landed at Milne Bay on 25 August ran into totally unexpected opposition, the 3rd Kure SLP was sent to Milne Bay without the slightest intelligence about either the opposition, terrain, or climate. The Commanding Officer of the 3rd Kure SLP declared that when his unit was sent, it was supposed to get information which should have been known beforehand for a successful invasion. When the 3rd Kure SLP landed, the men were to attack immediately but they were too tired so the attack was postponed until 30 August. There was need for reconnaissance but no one was able to carry it out. The Japanese nevertheless proceeded with their operation, completely unaware of Allied ground strength at Milne Bay. Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC. This account is in keeping with General MacArthur's early analysis of the victory at Milne Bay in which he pointed out that "the decisive factor was the complete surprise obtained over him [the enemy] by our preliminary concentration of superior forces." CINCSWPA Radio to C/S WD, 6 Sep 42, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal (S).

38 GHQ, SWPA, Communique No. 140, 31 Aug 42.

39 GHQ, SWPA, Communique No. 151, 10 Sep 42.

40 ATIS, GHQ, SWPA, Current Translations No. 2, "Message of Instruction to South Seas Detachment," 20 Sep 42.

41 CINCSWPA Radio No. C-381 to WARCOS, 30 Aug 42, C/S WD No. 216 (S).


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