Late-1943 in the Pacific I

Late-1943 in the Pacific Map

It was time for MacArthur to take the initiative once again in New Guinea. On 1 September 1943 the US VII Amphibious Force under the command of Rear-Admiral Daniel Barbey left Milne Bay on the extreme southeast coast with three brigades of Australian troops in a convoy of ninety-seven vessels escorted by nine destroyers. He successfully landed these 8,000 troops in two batches east of the port of Lae during the nights of 3-4 and 5-6 September respectively. Skilful use of radar by the escort’s picket destroyer Reid and the ability to call on US fighter planes to assist in breaking up incoming Japanese bombing formations, helped to keep losses of landing craft to a bare minimum.

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Kwantung Army

Type 2595 “Ha-Go” tanks of armoured unit of Kwantung Army sees during manoeuvres in September 1944.

Japan’s military presence in and domination of Manchuria in northwestern China received a major victory with the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Under the Treaty of Portsmouth, Japan was required to withdraw its troops from Manchuria proper but gained a leased territory of the Liaotung (Liaodong) Peninsula in southern Manchuria, renamed the Kwantung Leased Territory, which included the fortress and port of Port Arthur. The army unit assigned to garrison the area and the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway (SMR), as far as Changchun, was named the Kwantung Army. From this date this army became the spearhead of Japanese imperialism in China.

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