1. Plastikmodellbauclug Nürnberg e.V.



 Modelling-ABC by Wilfried Eck


back to "Colors US Navy 1941-1945"

back to Modelling ABC

Milestones of the Pacific war

- Supplement to "Colors of the US Navy 1941-1945 -


Green US Army and Allies

Map - two ways one target

Blue: US Navy and US Marine Corps




  US Army and Allies


Lae is taken on New Guinea; jungle fights in the further


Amphibious landing in Hollandia (first "island hopping")



Capture of Biak (11.000 Japanese defenders)


Morotai and Halmahera (airfield)



General MacArthur enters the Philippines on 20.10.1944 in Palo Beach on Leyte, fights on Luzon until end of war



After occupation of the Mariana Islands, B-29 air strikes on Japanese cities and dropping of two atomic bombs on Aug. 6th and 9th 1945



Japan surrenders


By the decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of 24.03.1942 the originally competing plans of General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz were combined and parallel actions were decided.

The US Army (supported by Australian and New Zealand contingents) was given the Southwest Pacific as an area of operation. This included the Philippines, Dutch East India, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The US Navy and the affiliated US Marine Corps (Marines) got the middle Pacific, as a result the western Pacific north of the equator up to the height of Hokkaido.

Of course, the separation did not exclude occasional mutual assistance. The US Army helped on Guadalcanal and bombed Rabaul on New Britain, the US Navy sent PBY Catalina flying boats for sea surveillance north of New Guinea and covered the landing on Hollandia with shipbased aircraft.

However, when the Navy turned its attention to its tasks in the Central Pacific at the end of 1943, the two units were, as can be seen from the map, increasingly further apart. A Navy aircraft was never seen at an army airfield in New Guinea, not even by emergency landing, because the fuel would not have been enough to get there. Conversely, conquests of Japanese bases in the middle Pacific were the sole responsibility of the Navy and Marine Corps, not the US Army. The original plan to advance north together from the capture of the Philippines was prevented by the Japanese resistance there, which continued until the surrender.






US Navy, US Marine Corps:



Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, USA declares war on Japan.
Pearl H. later main transhipment point between USA and the advanced anchorages (Majuro, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Ulithi).



In the Coral Sea first battle between aircraft carriers;
Both sides lose one carrier, second one damaged.


Battle of Midway.
Japan loses four aircraft carriers and many experienced pre-war pilots, the USA lose CV-5 Yorktown.



Battle of the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal to Bougainville) on land, sea and air. Japan loses many ships and many of the experienced pre-war pilots.

The Jap. stronghold Rabaul in New Britain is left to its own.




First amphibious (costly) landing operation on the Gilbert Islands (Tarawa), creation of three supply bases on the Marshall Islands.
Largest supply base on Ulithi Atoll
, Caroline Islands .





Capture of the Mariana Islands of Guam, Saipan and Tinian to establish airfields for B-29 attacks on Japan.
"Marianas Turkey Shoot", air battle in the Philippine Sea; Japan loses more than 300 aircraft and the rest of its carrier qualified pilots.



Battle of the Palau Islands (Peleliu);
High losses, but in the result strategically meaningless, because the Philippines are reached faster than planned.


ca. April 1945

Reconquest of the Philippines, beginning with the Battle of the Leyte Gulf.
First Kamikaze mission on Oct. 25; remnants of Japanese army troops hold out on Luzon until the end of the war.



Conquest of Iwo Jima, heavy losses for both sides (Japan unevenly more).
Fighter protection for B-29s to Japan, emergency landing place for damaged returnees;



Conquest of Okinawa,
Intense fighting, mass Kamikaze attacks.




First atomic bomb on Hiroshima, US carrier units off southern Japan.
Second nuclear bomb, Nagasaki
Japanese Surrender


"Island hopping"

Often quoted, rarely properly understood. It goes without saying that one cannot walk from one island to another. "Island hopping", coined by a GI of the US Army in New Guinea and spread by the media, was not a new tactic to "hop" from one island to the next, but in practice rather the opposite. Japanese positions without an airfield or any other value could be ignored and, cut off from supplies, left to themselves. The only thing that was important for the new location was that it met the requirements and was out of reach of Japanese aircraft.

The battles for the Solomon Islands, beginning with Guadalcanal, west of New Guinea, spring 1942 until autumn 1943, showed very clearly that island by island only made things more difficult. Unfortunately, in this case, there was no other way, as most islands located north of Guadalcanal contained airfields from which one could attack Guadalcanal.

Towards the end of 1943, the US Navy was able to turn to its actual target: The creation of anchor and supply bases for the aircraft carriers. The atolls Majuro, Kwajalein and Eniwetok on the Marshall Islands were the first on the way west. Ulithi on the Caroline Islands, also just an atoll with only a few usable islands but a huge lagoon, was the last and central base for all subsequent operations from October 1944 onwards. The war in the middle Pacific was dominated by aircraft carriers from 1944 to 1945. As usual, the Marine Corps not only took care of the conquest but also of the later securing.

Midway Islands from above

Marcus Island seen from above Ulithi lagoon CV-9 TBMs bomb Hokodate Jpn.1945
Midway Islands Nov. 1941 Marcus Island under attack, Aug./Sep. 1943 Ulithi lagoon, late 1944 Bombing of Hokodate, CV-9 Essex, Jpn. 1945