Pacific Theater WWII

Pacific Theater

The Pacific Theater during World War II is generally regarded as the area of military confrontation between the Allied powers and Imperial Japan. The Pacific Theater consists of the entire operational expanse of the war from the Aleutian Islands in the north to Australia in the south, including island chains such as the Solomons, Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas. The China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater is also considered a major component of the Pacific Theater.

Pacific Theater

Combat Photographers: Shooting the War

By Susan Zimmerman

Much of what we know today about World War II are the visual images—both still and moving—that combat photographers took to document all phases of this costly human tragedy. Read more

Pacific Theater

The Heroic Voyages of the USS Gwin

By Michael Fellows

Lieutenant Commander John Benjamin Fellows, the skipper of the American Gleaves-class destroyer USS Gwin (DD-433), stood on the bridge trying to see into the predawn blackness. Read more

In this detailed painting by artist Rick Reeves titled Avengers of Bataan, soldiers of the U.S. 38th Infantry Division advance toward Japanese positions while under heavy fire during the bloody battle for Zig Zag Pass.

Pacific Theater

Back to Bataan

By Nathan N. Prefer

Troops of the Imperial Japanese Army soon followed. Hong Kong fell on Christmas Day. In China, Shanghai fell the first day. Read more

Pacific Theater

The Battle of Iwo Jima: Red Sun, Black Sand

By John Walker

No foreign army in the 5,000-year history of Japan had ever successfully conquered Japanese territory. In late 1944, American war planners were about to challenge that statistic on the tiny Pacific island of Iwo Jima. Read more

Three crews were lost during tests of the Horace L. Hunley, shown in a painting by Conrad Wise Chapman.

Pacific Theater

Evolution of the Submarine

By John Protasio

The concept of a ship that could submerge beneath the water and then resurface dates back as far as the late 1400s, when Italian Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci claimed to have found a method for a ship to remain submerged for a protracted period of time. Read more

In this painting by artist John Hamilton, the Japanese cruisers Mogami and Mikuma writhe under heavy American air attack on the last day of the Battle of Midway. Mikuma was sunk, but the seriously damaged Mogami managed to limp away to safety.

Pacific Theater

Mogami: Japan’s Luckless Cruiser

By David H. Lippman

She was the lead ship of her class, built under the 1930 London Naval Treaty, which imposed limits on cruiser, destroyer, and submarine tonnage for the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. Read more

Pacific Theater

Turning Point In The Pacific

By Michael E. Haskew

Despite more than a decade of triumphs in Asia and the Pacific, by the spring of 1942 the Japanese military establishment was in a somber mood. Read more

A Korean pressed into working as a slave laborer for the Japanese on the island of New Guinea receives medical treatment after his liberation. Thousands of Koreans were forced to construct installations and fortifications across the Pacific for their Japanese captors.

Pacific Theater

Korea Under the Rising Sun

By Allyn Vannoy

The first recorded encounter between American forces and Koreans in the Central Pacific during World War II came at Tarawa Atoll in November 1943. Read more

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Alex Vraciu holds up six fingers signifying the number of Japanese aircraft that fell to his guns during an eight-minute span on a single mission.

Pacific Theater

The Setting Sun

By David H. Lippmann

Once again, the Japanese regarded an upcoming naval engagement as the “decisive battle,” but it had been two years since her aircraft carriers and battleships had emerged from their Inland Sea lairs to menace the United States Navy. Read more

U.S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Amphibious Corps consolidate their positions along the shoreline during the Second Battle of Guam, July 21 to August 10, 1944. Whenever there was an enemy-held island in the Pacific that needed to be taken it was usually the U.S. Marine Corps that was called upon to take it.

Pacific Theater

U.S. Marine’s Legacy of Valor

By Dick Camp (Colonel, USMC, Retired)

The war in the Pacific was a bloody, protracted struggle between the Empire of Japan and the United States and her allies. Read more

Pacific Theater

Banzai

By Colonel Dick Camp (USMC, Ret.)

In the summer of 1944, the 5th Amphibious Corps under Marine Lt. Gen. Holland M. Read more

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the cruiser USS Pensacola was caught up in the confusion of the early days of American involvement in World War II while escorting troops and materiel to the Philippines. In this photo a convoy of ships assembles for a hazardous wartime voyage.

Pacific Theater

Alone at Sea

By Glenn Barnett

The American military presence in China, which stretched back to the 1850s, came to an abrupt end in November 1941. Read more