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

General Douglas MacArthur’s Navy

By Glenn Barnett

In November 1941, the U.S. Asiatic Fleet weighed anchor in Shanghai, China, for the last time. Alarmed by the growing hostility and aggressiveness of the Japanese, Admiral Thomas Hart ordered the outnumbered and outgunned American vessels moved to the relative safety of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Read more

U.S. Navy Helldiver aircraft attack the Japanese battleship Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Painting by Sam L. Massette.

Pacific Theater

Battle of Sibuyan Sea

By John Wukovits

In warfare, desperate times call for desperate measures, and in the fall of 1944 the empire of Japan found itself in precisely that predicament. Read more

Despite its tragic end, the USS Tang officially sank 31 vessels for a combined total of 227,800 tons.

Pacific Theater

Famous Navy Ships: The USS Tang

By Flint Whitlock

During World War II, the United States employed 288 submarines, the vast majority of which raided Japanese shipping in the Pacific, thus preventing the enemy’s vital supplies and reinforcements from reaching the far-flung island battlefields. Read more

Japanese pilots smile as they listen to a comrade recount his experiences of aerial combat over Wake Island.

Pacific Theater

Wake Island Survivor

By Eric Niderost

The siege of Wake Island lasted a relatively short time, from December 8 to December 23, 1941, yet it looms large in the annals of the Second World War. Read more

Covered with oil and soaking wet, these men head for shore. The Coolidge can be seen in the background (left).

Pacific Theater

The Coolidge Goes Down

By Kevin Hymel

It was supposed to be a routine delivery of soldiers to the battlefields of Guadalcanal—but nothing in war is ever routine. Read more

Pacific Theater

The USCGC Taney: Pearl Harbor and Beyond

by Paul B. Cora

Built in the mid-1930s as one of the famed Treasury class of large U.S. Coast Guard cutters, USCGC Taney had a distinguished career spanning five decades of continuous service. Read more

Under the relentless onslaught of Japanese Mitsubishi A6 Zero fighter planes, the Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers of the USS Hornet’s Torpedo Squadron 8 are massacred as they attempt to attack Japanese aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway in this dramatic painting by artist John Hamilton titled “Destruction of a Torpedo Bomber.”

Pacific Theater

Remembering Torpedo 8 of Midway

By Mark Carlson

In 1982, Captain Bert Earnest and Commander Harry Ferrier were present at an event to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. Read more

Pacific Theater

Marauding Wahoo

By Kelly Bell

On the night of September 14, 1942, the men aboard the U.S. Navy submarine Wahoo spotted smoke rising from the funnel of a vessel emerging from Truk’s north pass. Read more

U.S. Marines make their way across a low stone wall as they seek out hidden Japanese positions on bloody Okinawa.

Pacific Theater

Sugar Loaf Hill Survival: U.S. Marines in the Okinawa Campaign

By John Wukovits

The grimy, weary Marines heard with little emotion the instructions shouted by their officer. He wanted them to mount yet another charge to the top of the nondescript hill blocking their way, another collection of rock housing an enemy that tried to halt their advance. Read more