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

Rescue at Ladd Reef

By Paul Farace

As the submarine USS Cod left Apra harbor, Guam, on the afternoon of June 26, 1945, for her seventh war patrol, her crew of 97 officers and enlisted men were all but certain that their new assignment was to be junk hunting—a thankless and dangerous job that in the words of one Cod crewman saw “Uncle Sam risk a seven million dollar submarine and crew to sink a leaky sailboat not worth more than $20,000!” Read more

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

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

With their Ka-Bar fighting knives at their sides, U.S. Marines sit atop a pile of spent shells and provide cover for comrades moving inland on Iwo Jima.

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

Pacific Theater

The Tokyo War Crimes Trials

By Roy Morris Jr.

When the Tokyo War Crimes Trials opened in the former hilltop headquarters of the Japanese military at Ichigaya on May 3, 1946, American-born chief prosecutor Joseph Keenan faced a difficult task. Read more