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.

USS Boise’s near destruction at Cape Esperance by an underwater shell hit had not been a fluke.

Pacific Theater

Japan’s “Diving Shells” in the Battle of Cape Esperance

By David Alan Johnson

The eight-inch shell that penetrated the cruiser’s hull and threatened to blow up her forward magazines was a Type 91 armor-piercing shell, which had been designed to continue through the water when it fell short of its target and penetrate the ship’s hull below the waterline. Read more

Japanese sealift capabilities were greatly depleted during the course of World War II in the Pacific.

Pacific Theater

Lifting the Japanese Military

By John W. Whitman

Japanese military successes in 1941 and 1942 shocked the West. Behind those successes lay a logistics effort not often appreciated, that of shipping. Read more

The destroyer escort ran the gauntlet against Axis forces around the world.

Pacific Theater

Holding the Line on the High Seas

By Paul B. Cora

Also Through the first half of World War II, Allied shipping losses to German U-boats climbed steadily from over 400,000 tons in the last four months of 1939 to more than two million tons each in 1940 and 1941, before reaching a staggering 6,266,215 tons in 1942 following the entry of the United States into the war. Read more

Pacific Theater

Boyd Wagner: Early American Ace

By Sam McGowan

Common wisdom has long held that Japanese pilots and aircraft, particularly their fighters, were superior to the American, Australian, and British counterparts they faced in combat in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the opening months of U.S. Read more

Pacific Theater

Island-Hopping at Tarawa

By John Walker

Rear Admiral Keiji Shibasaki, commander of the elite Japanese garrison entrenched on tiny Betio Island in the central Pacific Ocean, boasted in mid-1943 that his heavily fortified island redoubt could hold out “against a million Americans for a thousand years.” Read more

General Douglas MacArthur, leader of the allied campaign in the Southwest Pacific, commanded an amphibious drive to the Philippines and beyond.

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

Pacific Theater

Fateful Decision: The Dropping of the Atomic Bomb

By Flint Whitlock

On August 7, 1945, the day after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, President Harry S. Truman announced, “The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East. Read more

Pacific Theater

Hell’s Own Cesspool: Okinawa in WWII

By John Walker

On Easter morning, April 1, 1945, the Pacific island of Okinawa trembled beneath an earthshaking bombardment from American combat aircraft overhead and ships steaming offshore in preparation for an amphibious landing of unprecedented magnitude. Read more

Pacific Theater

Ernie Pyle: Fated at Ie Shima

By Roy Morris Jr.

Ernie Pyle did not want to go to Okinawa. He was too old, too tired, and—some said—too jaded for yet another American invasion of ferocious enemy territory. Read more

Pacific Theater

The Marine Corps’ Ka-Bar Fighting Knife

by Mike Haskew

When Private Clarence Garrett of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, United States Marine Corps, clung to the loose black volcanic sand on the sloping beach of Iwo Jima on Feburary 19, 1945, he probably had no idea that his photograph was being taken. Read more