Part 4 – On to Japan – The Central Pacific
With the war going well in the Southwest and South Pacific Theatres, the U.S. Navy began its assault against the Japanese Empire in the Central Pacific in accordance with the long-standing War Plan Orange for a maritime war in the Pacific with Japan. The plan called for attacking outlying islands and island chains using the increasingly dominant U.S. Navy carrier aviation to isolate and attrite the Japanese garrisons by conducting air attack and amphibious landings on enemy-held islands. The plan called for bypassing certain islands, thus isolating and causing their garrisons to “wither on the vine” due to Japan’s inability to reinforce or re-supply them. The first target was the islands of Makin and Tawara in the Gilberts Island chain. Many lessons were learned in the Gilberts and were then applied to the capture of the Marshall Islands, Marianas, and eventually, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa as the U.S. crept inexorably towards the Japanese Home Islands. The final lecture in the World War II in the Pacific lecture series addresses the U.S Navy/U.S. Marine Corps/U.S. Army Central Pacific Campaign of 1943-45 and also the Navy’s submarine campaign against Japan’s maritime shipping. Each session consists of a 60-minute lecture with PowerPoint visuals followed by a Question and Answer period.