Joint Operational Fires in the Offense: The Southwest Pacific Campaign to Isolate Rabaul
Monograph rept. Jul 2013-May 2014
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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After a decade of irregular warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has limited experience in employing fires to achieve operational objectives against a peer opponent. General MacArthur and Admiral Halseys offensive operations in the Southwest Pacific during World War II provide examples of how operational commanders used joint fires to support offensive operations. MacArthur advanced up the New Guinea coast and Halsey moved through the Solomon Islands in converging joint campaigns to isolate the Japanese base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain. This monograph examines how MacArthur and Halsey used fires in the course of the campaign. It examines four case studies within the broader campaign Buna, MacArthurs first offensive The Battle of the Bismarck Sea, a critical air operation against Japanese lines of communication Operation Toenails, the invasion of New Georgia and finally the isolation of Rabaul by MacArthur and Halsey. Both MacArthur and Halsey faced well-trained and equipped Japanese air, naval, and ground forces who contested Allied control of the air and seas. Examining how both of these commanders used fires to support their operations during this campaign provides an example of the crucial relationship between joint fires and maneuver for an operational commander.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics