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.

Manning a Bren gun position along the forward line of C Troop, 2/4 Commando Squadron covering an area known as Snags Track, troopers McGowan, Sherring, and McDonald cast a wary eye toward Japanese positions. These Australian commandos were ashore near Tarakan, Borneo, on May 13, 1945.

Pacific Theater

Ralph Coyne: The Dark Blue Double Diamond

By Ken Wright

“We shall not be content with a defensive war,” stated British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during his speech to the House of Commons immediately after the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces from Dunkirk on June 4, 1940. 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

Garand’s Wonder Weapon

By Michael D. Hull

A variety of outstanding weapons and pieces of equipment affected the course of World War II for both the Allies and the Axis powers. Read more

Dressed in traditional garb, a lone Chinese man seeks the protection of a sandbag barricade in the International Settlement of Shanghai on August 12, 1937. Adjacent to the civilian are a British soldier and two American Marines who have donned their helmets. (© Bettmann/CORBIS)

Pacific Theater

A Memorable Marine Mascot

By Eric Niderost

Soochow was a mongrel dog with a remarkable gift for self-preservation. A homeless stray, he attached himself to some U.S. Read more

Pacific Theater

The OSS and the Fourth Dimension of Warfare

By Bob Bergin

Major General John K. Singlaub was a young airborne lieutenant when he took up an offer from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to become engaged in “hazardous duty behind enemy lines.” Read more

In this bleak painting by American combat artist Mitchell Jamieson, members of a Naval Armed Guard contingent load and fire the forward deck gun aboard a merchant ship in pitching seas. (Naval Historical Center)

Pacific Theater

Hazardous Duty with the Naval Armed Guard

By Russell Corder

They have been called “the other Navy,” the “Navy’s stepchildren,” and perhaps most fittingly, “the forgotten Navy.” Officially, however, they were the Naval Armed Guard or more simply the Armed Guard (AG). Read more

American Marines armed with a Browning .30-caliber water-cooled machine gun and other light weapons pose during efforts to evacuate former Japanese Army personnel after their surrender in China following World War II.

Pacific Theater

Caught in the Chinese Conflict

By Eric Niderost

On September 2, 1945, Japanese representatives boarded the battleship USS Missouri, riding at anchor in Tokyo Bay, to sign an instrument of unconditional surrender. 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

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

Kwajalein Atoll, January 1944.

Pacific Theater

Faces of War

A Photo Essay By Eric Hammel

Noted chronicler of the Pacific Theater Eric Hammel recently spent three years sorting, scanning, cleaning, selecting, and captioning United States Marine Corps World War II photos for six pictorial books. Read more