Under the Southern Cross: The South Pacific Air Campaign Against Rabaul

Under the Southern Cross: The South Pacific Air Campaign Against Rabaul

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If the Battle of Midway, fought in June 1942, stopped further Japanese expansion in the Pacific, it was the Battle of Guadalcanal and the following Solomons Campaign that broke the back of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Between August 7, 1942 and February 24, 1944 when the Imperial Japanese Navy withdrew its surviving surface and air units from Rabaul, the main Japanese base in the South Pacific, the US Navy fought the most difficult campaign in its history, suffering such high personnel losses during the campaign that for years it refused to publicly release total casualty figures.

Unlike the Central Pacific Campaign, which was fought by 'the new Navy,' the Solomons campaign saw the US Navy at its lowest point, using those ships that had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other units of the pre-war navy hastily transferred to the Pacific. After the Battle of Santa Cruz in late October, USS Enterprise was the only pre-war carrier left in the South Pacific and the Navy would not have been able to resist the Imperial Japanese Navy had they sought a third major fleet action in the region. For most of the campaign, the issue of which side would ultimately prevail was in doubt until toward the end when the surge of American industrial production began to make itself felt.

Under the Southern Cross examines the Solomons campaign from land, sea and air, offering a new account of the military offensive that laid the groundwork for Allied success throughout the rest of the Pacific War.

ISBN: 9781472838223

Published Date: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Osprey Publishing

Language: English

Page Count: 352

Size: 9.50" l x 6.30" w x 1.52" h