Pacific Theater

Pacific Theater

8 Tales of Pearl Harbor Heroics

1. The 42-year-old lieutenant commander was having breakfast when the ship’s air more

Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway was an epic clash between the U.S. Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy that played out six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy’s decisive victory in the air-sea battle (June 3-6, 1942) and its successful defense of the major base located at more

U.S. troops recapture Philippine island of Corregidor

On February 26, an ammunition dump on the Philippine island of Corregidor is blown up by a remnant of the Japanese garrison, causing more American casualties on the eve of U.S. victory there. In May 1942, Corregidor, a small rock island at the mouth of Manila Bay, remained one of more

Japan invades Hong Kong

Japanese troops land in Hong Kong on December 18, 1941, and slaughter ensues. A week of air raids over Hong Kong, a British crown colony, was followed up on December 17 with a visit paid by Japanese envoys to Sir Mark Young, the British governor of Hong Kong. The envoys’ message more

Pearl Harbor bombed

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious more

Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbor?

When Japanese bombers appeared in the skies over Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, the U.S. military was completely unprepared for the devastating surprise attack, which dramatically altered the course of World War II, especially in the Pacific theater. But there more

Pearl Harbor, 1941: From a Sailor’s Perspective

About 7:45 a.m., through the crackle and buzz of interference, gunnery and anti-aircraft officer Benny Mott was jolted by pilots’ voices rising with alarm over the radio transmitter aboard the USSEnterprise. They were shouting to one another. “Hey, did you see that army plane more

Remembering the Battle of Okinawa

In the spring of 1945, U.S. troops in the Pacific were nearing the final stages of their “island-hopping” campaign, a strategy designed to capture smaller islands in the Pacific and set up military bases in preparation for an invasion of Japan. Though the campaign was proving more

Bodies of Japanese WWII Soldiers Found in Island Caves

One of the costliest battles of World War II began on September 15, 1944, when U.S. Marines landed on Peleliu, a volcanic island in the western Pacific ocean measuring only 6 miles long and 2 miles across. General Douglas MacArthur had pushed for the amphibious attack on the more

How US Marines Won the Battle of Iwo Jima

By the time they splashed their way onto its southeastern beach on February 19, 1945, many of the U.S. Marine invasion force wondered if there were any Japanese left alive on Iwo Jima. Allied aircraft, battleships and cruisers had spent the previous two and a half months more

5 Facts About Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona

1. Twenty-three sets of brothers died aboard USS Arizona.There were 37 confirmed pairs or trios of brothers assigned to USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. Of these 77 men, 62 were killed, and 23 sets of brothers died. Only one full set of brothers, Kenneth and Russell Warriner, more

Battle of Midway ends

On June 7, 1942, the Battle of Midway—one of the most decisive U.S. victories in its war against Japan—comes to an end. In the four-day sea and air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers with the loss of only one of its more

Japanese war crimes trial begins

In Tokyo, Japan, the International Military Tribunals for the Far East begins hearing the case against 28 Japanese military and government officials accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during World War II. On November 4, 1948, the trial ended with 25 of more

General MacArthur returns to the Philippines

After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942. The son of an American Civil War hero, MacArthur served as chief more

The Firebombing of Tokyo continues

On March 10, 1945, 300 American bombers continue to drop almost 2,000 tons of incendiaries on Tokyo, Japan, in a mission that launched the previous day. The attack destroyed large portions of the Japanese capital and killed 100,000 civilians. In the closing months of the war, the more

Battle of Okinawa ends

During World War II, the U.S. 10th Army overcomes the last major pockets of Japanese resistance on Okinawa Island, ending one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The same day, Japanese Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, the commander of Okinawa’s defense, committed more

Akihito enthroned as emperor of Japan

Crown Prince Akihito, the 125th Japanese monarch along an imperial line dating back to 660 B.C., is enthroned as emperor of Japan two years after the death of his father. Akihito, the only son of the late Emperor Hirohito, was the first Japanese monarch to reign solely as an more

U.S. flag raised on Iwo Jima

During the bloody Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment of the 5th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag. Marine photographer Louis more

Battle of Midway begins

On June 4, 1942, the Battle of Midway–one of the most decisive U.S. victories against Japan during World War II–begins. During the four-day sea-and-air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its more

Campaigns of The Pacific Theater in World War II

A few hours after the raid on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Japanese aircraft attacked the Philippines. Three days later Japanese troops landed on Luzon. America�s meager air power in the islands was soon destroyed. Unable to obtain reinforcements and supplies, MacArthur could do nothing more than fight a delaying action. Between 16 and 18 December the few bombing planes that remained were evacuated, by their crews, to Australia, where US air power in the Far East was to be concentrated. Other members of the air units took up arms and fought as infantrymen in the battle that ended, at Bataan and Corregidor, with the loss of the Philippines in May 1942.

Central Pacific 7 December 1941 - 6 December 1943

The war in the Central Pacific began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Six months later an AAF task force took part in the Battle of Midway, in which a great Japanese fleet was defeated. But another year and a half elapsed before American forces began an offensive against Japanese positions in the Central Pacific. It was then, on 20 November 1943, that landings were made in the Gilberts, on Makin and Tarawa, with the Marines at the latter place becoming engaged in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Aleutian Islands 3 June 1942 - 24 August 1943

On 3-4 June 1942, at the time of the Battle of Midway, a Japanese force attacked Dutch Harbor and inflicted considerable damage before it was driven off. The Japanese then occupied Attu and Kiska. For the rest of 1942 and into 1943, Eleventh Air Force struck enemy bases and installations whenever weather over the Aleutians permitted. The United States troops that landed on Attu on 11 May 1943 had possession of the island by the end of the month. The capture of Attu isolated Kiska, which was bombed repeatedly by American aircraft. The troops that invaded Kiska on 15 August 1943 discovered that the Japanese, under the cover of fog, had secretly evacuated their garrison.

Papua 23 July 1942 - 23 January 1943

In another effort to take Port Moresby the Japanese landed troops at Buna, Gona, and Sanananda in July 1942. At first the Allies could offer only feeble resistance to the enemy forces that pushed southward through Papua, but the Allies were building up their strength in Australia. By mid September Fifth Air Force had superiority in the air over New Guinea, and the Japanese drive had been stopped. The Allies then began to push the enemy back, with Fifth Air Force ferrying supplies and reinforcements to the troops fighting in the jungle. Buna was taken on 2 January 1943, and enemy resistance at Sanananda ended three weeks later.

Guadalcanal 7 August 1942 - 21 February 1943

On 7 August 1942 the first stage of the offensive began with landings by a Marine division on Guadalcanal and nearby islands. The Japanese reacted vigorously. They inflicted a serious defeat on Ghormley's naval forces in the Battle of Savo Island (8 August 1942), landed large numbers of reinforcements on Guadalcanal, and ultimately lost strong ground, air and naval forces in a desperate effort to hold Guadalcanal. Six major naval engagements were fought off the island. Air battles raged almost daily until the end of October 1942. On shore the issue was in doubt for almost three months. Before the island was finally secured in February 1943, the United States had committed two Marine divisions, two Army divisions, and an additional Army regiment to the fight. Late in February 1943 an Army division was unopposed in taking the Russell Islands, 35 miles northwest of Guadalcanal. The Allies thus firmly established themselves in the Solomons.

New Guinea 24 January 1943 - 31 December 1944

After the loss of Buna and Gona in New Guinea, the Japanese fell back on their stronghold at Lae. Their attempt to reinforce Lae by sea in March 1943 met with disaster when American and Australian planes sank most of the convoy in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Salamaua and Lae then became the objectives for an Allied advance along the northern coast of New Guinea. Fifth Air Force bombers attacked airfields at Wewak, 300 miles west of Lae, to neutralize them. The Allies dropped paratroops at Nadzab, just beyond Lae. Enemy resistance at Salamaua broke on 14 September 1943 Lae fell two days later. In the months that followed, MacArthur�s forces pushed westward, capturing some Japanese strongholds and bypassing others. After taking Hollandia in April 1944, the Allies attacked islands off the northern coast of New Guinea, taking Wakde and Biak in May, Owi in June, and Noemfoor in July. Sansapor on New Guinea also was gained in July. Aerial attacks on the Philippines began in August, and Morotai was seized in October to provide air bases for the invasion of the Philippines. Allied planes also bombed the oil center at Balikpapan and other targets in Borneo and Celebes.

Northern Solomons 22 February 1943 - 21 November 1944

After the conquest of Guadalcanal, Halseys forces, supported by Thirteenth Air Force, began a campaign to capture Japanese strongholds in the Northern Solomons. In February 1943 American forces landed in the Russell Islands to obtain an air strip. Air bases at Munda (New Georgia) and on Kolombangara Island were attacked as the Allies fought to gain superiority in the air. American troops landed on Rendova and on New Georgia at the end of June. The air base at Munda was taken in August, and the base on Kolombangara was neutralized. Landings were made in the Treasury Islands in October. Allied air power struck the great Japanese naval and air bases at Rabaul on New Britain to support the assault on Bougainville, which began on I November 1943. Enemy garrisons on Bougainville were contained, and other Japanese forces in the Northern Solomons were isolated. Although the enemy continued to resist, American air and naval power dominated the Solomons.

Eastern Mandates 31 January - 14 June 1944

After the operations in the Gilberts, American air and naval forces bombed and shelled Japanese bases in the Marshall Islands. In February 1944 American troops went ashore on Kwajakin, Roi, Namur, and Eniwetok. Other islands, including Jaluit and Wotje in the Marshalls and Truk in the Carolines, were bombed and shelled but were bypassed.

Bismarck Archipelago 15 December 1943 - 27 November 1944
To isolate and neutralize Rabaul on New Britain and the Japanese base at Kavieng on New Ireland, American forces landed at Arawe and Cape Gloucester in December 1943, on Green and Los Negros Islands in February 1944, and at Talasea on New Britain and on Manus Island in March. Some other enemy forces in the Bismarck Archipelago were bypassed.

Western Pacific 15 June 1944 - 2 September 1945

Attacks on Truk, where the Japanese had a major base, continued as preparations were made for the invasion of the Marianas. The American troops that landed on Saipan on 15 June 1944 met bitter opposition but, after a desperate Japanese counterattack on 7 July, organized resistance soon terminated. Tinian, invaded on 25 July, was won by I August. Guam, which had been seized by the Japanese on 10 December 1941, was invaded on 20 July and regained after 20 days of fighting. With the conquest of the Marianas, the United States gained valuable bases for an aerial offensive against Japan itself. To provide bases for operations against the Philipgines, the Palaus were invaded in mid-September. Later, aerial attacks were made on Formosa to support the invasion of the Philippines and Okinawa.

Leyte 17 October 1944 - 1 July 1945

On 17 October 1944, after preparatory bombardment, the invasion of the Philippines got under way with the seizure of islands guarding Leyte Gulf. The landing on Leyte itself on 20 October was strongly contested by Japanese forces on land and at sea. Organized resistance on the island did not end until after Christmas, and mopping up operations continued for a long time. Meanwhile, at the end of October, the neighboring island of Samar was occupied with little difficulty.

Luzon 15 December 1944 - 4 July 1945

After Leyte came Mindoro, which was invaded on 15 December 1944, an air strip being obtained to provide a base for operations during the invasion on Luzon. American troops landed on the shores of Lingayen Gulf on g January 1945 and pushed to Manila, which the Japanese defended vigorously until 24 February. Rather than meet the Americans in a decisive battle, the Japanese decided to fight delaying actions in numerous places. Organized resistance ended in southern Luzon in April and in central and northern Luzon in June.

Southern Philippines 27 February - 4 July 1945
After Luzon had been invaded and Manila taken, a series of landings were made in the southern Philippines, on Palawan, Mindanao, Panay, Cebu, Negros, and other islands. In some places the Japanese offered little resistance in others they held out for considerable time. The liberation of the Philippines was announced by MacArthur on 5 July 1945.

Ryukyus 26 March - 2 July 1945
The invasion of the Ryukyus was made by troops of the U.S. Tenth Army, which had been activated on 20 June 1944 with Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, Jr., as commanding general. The Ryukyus campaign began on 26 March 1945 with the capture of small islands near Okinawa, where forward naval bases were established. An amphibious assault on Okinawa took place on 1 April, and the fighting lasted until June. Here, for the first time, Americans were invading what the Japanese defenders considered their home soil, and the defense was fanatic in the extreme. American troops suffered heavy casualties, and the Navy, too, had heavy personnel losses as Japanese suicide flyers, the Kamikazes, sank some 25 American ships and damaged 165 others in a desperate attempt to save the Ryukyus. Among the nearly 35,000 American casualties were General Buckner, who was killed on 18 June. He was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, who was in turn succeeded by General Joseph W. Stilwell, who arrived to assume command of the Tenth Army on 22 June 1945.

Capture of the Ryukyus gave Allied naval and air forces excellent bases within 700 miles of Japan proper. Throughout June and July, Japan was subjected to increasingly intensive air attack and even to naval bombardment.

World War II in the Pacific Theater

The Pacific Theater was where a series of battles during World War II took place. Before the start of the war in the Pacific, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the American military base located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. After the surprise attack, the United States declared war on Japan and joined World War II. The attack came because the United States had stopped trade of oil and other materials to Japan. The attack came as a surprise because the US government didn’t think that Japan would be so foolish as to attack American territory.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, it forced the United States to join World War II. On December 8th, 1941, just one day after the attack, the United States officially declared war on Japan. This was the beginning of World War II in the Pacific Theater. Together with Allied nations like Great Britain and Australia, the United States started to fight the Imperial Japanese forces on many islands in the Pacific.

USS Lexington explodes during the Battle of the Coral Sea

For the first few months of the war, Japan was able to take over multiple islands, including Wake Island. It intended to use these islands as bases from which to fight the Allies. At first, the United States and its allies were not able to stop Japan from taking these islands, but in May of 1942, the allied navies fought the Japanese in the Coral Sea, which lies between Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands

The Battle of the Coral Sea was in some ways a victory for both the Japanese and the Allies. The Japanese caused more damage, but the battle was the first time the Allies were able to stop an enemy advance.

On June 4th, 1942, the two navies fought again, this time in the Battle of Midway. Just like Japan had done to the United States at Pearl Harbor, the American Navy surprised the Imperial Japanese Navy and sank 254 aircraft and boats.

US Marines landing on Iwo Jima

After the Battle of Midway, the Allies were able to continue fighting and beating the Japanese Navy. During the war in the Pacific, the United States and Japan fought in almost twenty different battles. The bloodiest were the battles fought on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Though the United States won the battle of Okinawa, the American government decided that to keep fighting Japan would cause too many additional deaths. To try and end the war, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The blasts killed over 129,000 people and left behind radiation that affected the cities for years after.

On August 15th, 1945, Japan surrendered and, on September 2nd, signed the formal documents to put an end to the war. The Instrument of Surrender was signed aboard the USS Missouri, which you can explore at Pearl Harbor.

Armor in the Pacific theater of World War II Part II

On 15 September 1944, the 1st Marine Division assaulted the beaches of Peleliu. During this battle, Japanese forces on the island conducted one of the largest armored counterattacks of the war in the Pacific. The Japanese had established a counterattack team using light tanks as the main force. The ultimate plan of the counterattack force was to destroy the American forces while on the beach. The Japanese waited too long to conduct the counterattack. The Marines had quickly established the beachhead and developed hasty defensive positions with tank support prior to the initiation of the Japanese attack. The inability of the Japanese to properly coordinate the attack contributed to its failure.

The Marines’ amphibious assault plan was designed to get tanks onto the beach early in the attack. They adopted the organization of one tank battalion consisting of fifty- six tanks for every Marine division. During the battle of Peleliu, the Marines placed thirty tanks in the fourth wave. One tank platoon was attached to each infantry battalion for the operation.

During the battle for Peleliu, the tank’s primary role during the assault was to provide fire support for the infantry. Initially, tanks supported from just behind the infantry and were brought forward as needed. They were used to reduce Japanese strongpoints by using their thick frontal armor to get close to fortifications and fire point blank into enemy positions. The tactic of using armor in direct support of infantry continued throughout the day until the Japanese began a counterattack at approximately 1600 hours.

The Japanese tank-infantry counterattack was well-designed but poorly timed and executed. The attack was conducted across an open beach area in which the fast-moving Japanese tanks quickly outdistanced their infantry support. The American tanks, in strong, defensive positions, had clear fields of fire at the attacking enemy. Japanese infantry riding on the tanks were easy targets for Marine infantry firing from their foxholes. By 1730 hours, the Japanese had lost thirteen tanks to American tank and antitank fires and the counterattack failed. Had the attack occurred prior to the Marines’ consolidation on the beach and the arrival of the tank forces, the result could have possibly favored the Japanese.

Lessons learned during the battle of Peleliu included the effectiveness of infantry and tank forces working as a combined arms team. The infantry would protect the tanks from enemy infantry and clear the route of march of mines and obstacles while the tanks provided direct fire support for the infantry during assaults. On one coastal flat plain on the island, tanks conducted armored reconnaissance patrols ahead of the infantry. On determining the enemy’s location and strength, the infantry would conduct the assault while tanks provided support. The development of the tank-infantry team concept was expanded to the level where tanks were accompanied by infantry wherever physically possible, and many places where few thought it possible. Additionally, the use of engineer bulldozer support to build roads for tanks was paramount to the success of the operations.

During the early months of 1945, Allied forces continued the push toward Japan and on 18 February 1945 assaulted the island of Iwo Jima. Within the first hour- and-a-half of the assault, the Marines began to land tanks to support the infantry. The initial employment of tanks during the assault was the same as in previous battles. A small number of tanks, normally platoon size, were attached to an infantry battalion with the primary role of providing direct fire support to the infantry. Tanks were primarily used to destroy bypassed enemy bunkers, and flame thrower tanks were used to destroy enemy entrenchments which catacombed the sides of Mount Suribachi.

The initial problem to be overcome on Iwo Jima was one of mobility for the armored vehicles. The soft sand caused difficulty for the armored forces as they reached the beachhead. Many tanks became mired and thus easy targets for enemy antitank and indirect fire weapons. Additionally, the heavily mined beaches disabled five tanks in the initial wave. Out of necessity, the infantry and engineers had to clear the mines in order to get the tanks off the beach.

A Japanese strongpoint in the vicinity of Airfield Number 2 became the next major obstacle for the Marines. The Japanese had withstood many direct infantry assaults on their strong defensive position, which was a series of bunkers that covered the open area of the airfield. The Marines massed two battalions of armor and assaulted the enemy position with the infantry close behind. Additionally, indirect fire support was provided by ships located just off shore, artillery, and naval air. During the assault, several tanks were lost to enemy mines and direct fire weapons, but the remainder forced a deep penetration into the Japanese position which was quickly exploited by the infantry. This armored assault was one of the largest in the Pacific theater, but the tank force was severely depleted by the end of the battle. For example, the 3rd Tank Battalion landed 46 tanks on Iwo Jima, and lost 14 of them during this fight. For the remainder of the fighting for Iwo Jima, tanks operated in platoon-sized elements in direct support of the infantry.

During the Iwo Jima campaign, flamethrower tanks were used extensively against enemy pillboxes. The Japanese built their bunkers in low-profile or defilade manner, making them almost impervious to direct fire in many cases. The Marines used flamethrower tanks to destroy the bunkers. This required the tanks to maneuver to almost point blank range before they could adequately engage the target. In many cases, bulldozers were used to make roads for the tanks in order to reach the objective area. This movement of heavy equipment required the close coordination of infantry, engineers, and armor in order to protect all of the assets. Due to the success of the tank-engineer flame operations, the dozers soon became the focal point of enemy counterattacks.

The battle for Iwo Jima was costly in terms of American lives and equipment lost, but many lessons were reinforced in terms of the role of armor. The use of armor in small numbers in direct support of infantry became the rule and not the exception. The most effective employment was the tank-infantry team working in close coordination. Whenever possible, the tanks would lead to achieve limited objectives. The terrain most often dictated how far and how fast tanks could advance. When they were unable to lead, engineers were brought forward to clear the route while the infantry continued the attack. Flamethrower tanks were invaluable against caves and low-profile pillboxes which were difficult to hit with direct fire. The flamethrower tanks caused the enemy to flee their strong positions, making them easy targets for the infantry.

One of the last major and most costly battles in the Pacific began on 1 April 1945 with the assault landing of Marines on the island of Okinawa. Once again, armor was employed whenever possible in the same organizational structure that worked effectively in previous island battles: a small number of tanks in direct support of infantry operations. A different Japanese technique of employing obstacles in depth caused minor changes to the scheme of maneuver. Tanks, which previously most often led, were best used to support the infantry with both direct and indirect fires. Tanks continued to use their firepower and armor protection to get close to and destroy enemy bunkers, caves, and dug-in positions as the terrain would allow. Flamethrower tanks again were very effective in these types of engagements.

The coordination between the two combat arms (infantry and tanks) became highly acute during the campaign. The Japanese developed the concept of tank- destroyer teams which consisted of Japanese infantrymen who launched suicide assaults by strapping explosives to their bodies and running into the tanks, blowing up both themselves and the tanks. This required the infantry to provide close-in protection for tanks in order to prevent the suicide teams from succeeding. Tanks were also used to eliminate bypassed enemy forces on the beach after the infantry had cleared the area, and beachhead defense once the area was developed.

The battle for Okinawa was primarily an infantry action with tanks in a minor role. The tank-infantry team was used whenever the terrain and situation permitted. The main role of armor during the battle for Okinawa was to provide direct support to the infantry in whatever way possible. At times this included moving critical supplies to isolated infantry units who were unable to be resupplied by other means. It also meant using tanks to evacuate casualties from the battlefield as they returned to the beachhead to resupply. During the battle for Okinawa, both infantry and tank forces relied on each other for protection, mutual supportive fires, and to achieve the final objective: to close with and destroy the enemy.

Why Were Infantry and Marines Both Used in the Pacific Theater?

I am confused by the tactics used in the Pacific theater. Why were there two forces, one being infantry and the other being Marines?

The reason the Marines did not win World War II in the Pacific by themselves is (1.) there were not enough of them and (2.) their tactics were not always right for the objective. Although Marine battalions had fought on the Western Front during World War I as an attached component of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division, that was the exception that proves the rule. The Marines evolved from “sea soldiers” firing from the topgallants and providing boarding parties to shock troops trained to strike at objectives of limited size—a rapier to the Army’s broadsword. In World War II, that usually meant small islands such as the many the stormed throughout the Central Pacific. But New Guinea was a joint operation for the U.S. and Australian armies, not the Marines, and the Philippines was also primarily an Army affair. On Guadalcanal the Marines’ primary objective was to seize the airfield, not expecting it to be followed by a grueling six-month campaign, for the second half of which the Americal Division stepped in to take over from the exhausted 1st Marine Division. Saipan, Peleliu and Okinawa were other examples of relatively large islands on which Marines and Army fought side by side, if not always harmoniously. The Northern Pacific was entirely handled by the U.S. and Canadian armies.

As of November 30, 1941, the Marine Corps had multiplied its numbers to 65,881, of which 29,532 were in the Fleet Marine Force—a massive expansion, but hardly enough to deal with the Japanese onslaught to come. What they accomplished speaks for itself, but less spoken of is the fact that, in spite of the higher priorities that Franklin Roosevelt placed on the European Theater, 37 percent of Army personnel were involved in or contributing to operations throughout the Pacific, in Burma and in China.

Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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Pacific 1-2-3

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Warner Brothers Hollywood Theatre, Warner Cinerama Theatre, Pacific Hollywood Theatre

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News About This Theater

  • Jul 7, 2014 &mdash Is Warner Bros. Hollywood at risk?
  • Apr 1, 2013 &mdash "2001: A Space Odyssey" 45th Anniversary – The Cinerama Engagements
  • Oct 10, 2008 &mdash Remembering Cinerama (Part VI)
  • Feb 2, 2007 &mdash The Sleeping Giant of Hollywood
  • Apr 26, 2004 &mdash Pacific 1-2-3 Rolls On As Digital Cinema Lab

The Warner Bros. Hollywood Theatre opened April 26, 1928, with Conrad Nagel and Dolores Costello in &ldquoGlorious Betsy&rdquo. The theatre was built within an office building and the auditorium is located on a diagonal axis facing north-east at the rear There was a second entrance to the west of the theatre on Wilcox Street. Other movie palaces built in Los Angeles designed by G. Albert Lansburgh included the current downtown Orpheum Theatre (1926) and the Wiltern Theatre.

This opulent movie palace was as close to an Atmospheric style theatre as Los Angeles ever had. It was built in a semi-Atmospheric style without the twinkling stars and clouds. A colonnade of wide Italianite style arches on the auditorium side walls contained painted scenes of exotic landscapes on the walls between the arches, giving a sense of being in an open garden. The original painted asbestos safety curtain by famous artist John B. Smeraldi had &lsquoa fanciful scene of birds of paradise performing a mating dance in a forest of delicate trees and blossoms, painted over gold leaf&rsquo. Design styles included Renaissance Revival, Rococo, and Moorish. The theatre had a seating capacity of 2,756 in orchestra and balcony. A 4 manual, 28 rank Marr & Colton organ was relocated here from the Piccadilly Theatre in New York, where Warner Bros. premiered &ldquoThe Jazz Singer&rdquo. The two &lsquodirigible&rsquo radio masts on top of the theatres office building were added soon after the Warner Hollywood Theatre opened. The office space on the upper left of the building had become the radio studios for KFWB and these were illuminated with letters pronouncing the theatre&rsquos name and the radio station code name letters.

In the 1940&rsquos, Carol Burnett worked as a Warner usher and she now has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right outside the theatre.

From 1953 to 1961 and 1962 to 1964, three-strip Cinerama was shown and it was renamed the Warner Cinerama Theatre. The auditorium walls were covered up with drapes and chunks of plaster were taken off parts of the proscenium arch to accommodate the huge screen. A lower suspended ceiling was installed at this time. On April 29, 1953, the West Coast premiere of &ldquoThis Is Cinerama&rdquo played for 133 weeks to 1955. &ldquoCinerama Holiday&rdquo played for 81 weeks from 1955 to 1957. &ldquoSeven Wonders of the World&rdquo played for 69 weeks from 1957 to 1958. &ldquoSouth Seas Adventure&rdquo played for 71 weeks from 1958 to 1960. &ldquoHow the West Was Won&rdquo (1963) played for 93 weeks.

During the 80 week run of &ldquo2001, A Space Odyssey&rdquo in 70mm, which had its West Coast premiere here on April 4, 1968, the theatre changed hands from Stanley Warner to Pacific Theatres and was renamed the Hollywood Pacific Theatre.

&ldquoA Clockwork Orange&rdquo (1972) also was among movies that had a very successful run. On 31st January 1978, after a run of Clint Eastwood in &ldquoThe Gauntlet&rdquo, the Pacific Theatre closed. It was converted into a triple-screen theatre with 1,250 seats in the former orchestra level and two 550 seat screens in the former balcony. The main screen and screen 3 in the balcony were both equipped to play 70mm film. It re-opened later on May 26, 1978. The awesome original decorations in the semi-circular lobby was not disturbed.

There are two main reasons for the Pacific Theatre&rsquos eventual closure, the disruption due to the Metro subway construction along Hollywood Boulevard and on January 17, 1994 when the theatre suffered damage due to the Northridge Earthquake. This caused the two balcony screens to be closed due to concern over public safety. The Pacific Theatre closed on August 15, 1994. It remained shuttered and unused until 2002 when the main floor auditorium was used by the Entertainment Technology Center as a testing facility for the new digital projection revolution. They had departed from the building by 2006 and in early-2008, it was being used by a church on Sundays. The balcony areas are still inaccessible to the attendees. The church vacated the building in June 2013.

The theatre has been designated a Historic-Cultural Monument. With the redevelopment of Hollywood Boulevard underway, the theatre has now been highlighted in the evenings by new illumination on the radio masts on top of the building. Perhaps soon, this grand old theatre&rsquos time has come to rise again.

Sgt. Ramsey, Leo Paul (20129203) was born 31 Aug 1917 in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. He was the son of Aurelia P (Tellier) and Archielas James Ramsey. The family lived at 157 Furnace Ave. in Stafford during the 1940s. Archielas and Continue Reading

S/Sgt. Gutzmer, Walter Frederick “Walt” (20129133). Born 8 Mar 1920 in Willimantic, CT. Son of Richard and Aldea (Pimpare) Gutzmer. He grew up in Manchester, CT, prior to the outbreak of WWII. Gutzmer was a member of the Connecticut Army Continue Reading

Who Did the most Fighting in Pacific Theater?

The role of Marine Corps in the Pacific is legendary, but the Army also contributed greatly to the theater as well. So my questions is: Between the Army and the Marine Corps who did most of the heavy lifting in the Pacific?

Although the Marines earned well deserved renown for intense island battles such as Wake, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Guam, Tinian and Iwo Jima, the U.S. Army was active in New Guinea, the Solomons (including the second phase of the Guadalcanal campaign), the Aleutians and the Philippines, with contingents in the China-Burma-India Theater—to say nothing of the Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Twentieth Army Air forces. While the Marines were taking Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, the Army was taking Makin. While the Marines fought on Peleliu, the Army was seizing Angaur. Marines and Army troops were both involved in taking Saipan and Okinawa. Technically, then, the Army was doing “heavier lifting,” even though there are grimmer terms for it when the sacrifice is being measured in blood.

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The U.S. General Douglas MacArthur had been in command of the American forces in the Philippines in what was to become the South West Pacific theatre, but was then part of a larger theatre that encompassed the South West Pacific, the Southeast Asian mainland (including Indochina and Malaya) and the North of Australia, under the short lived American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM). Shortly after the collapse of ABDACOM, supreme command of the South West Pacific theatre passed to MacArthur who was appointed Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area on 30 March 1942. [1] [2] [a] However, MacArthur preferred to use the title "Commander-in-Chief." The other major theatre in the Pacific, Pacific Ocean Areas, was commanded by U.S. Admiral Chester Nimitz, who was also Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet. Both MacArthur and Nimitz were overseen by the US Joint Chiefs and the Western Allies Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Most Japanese forces in the theatre were part of the Southern Expeditionary Army ( 南方軍 , Nanpo gun) , which was formed on November 6, 1941, under General Hisaichi Terauchi (also known as Count Terauchi). The Nanpo gun was responsible for Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) ground and air units in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. The Combined Fleet ( 聯合艦隊 , Rengō Kantai ) of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was responsible for all Japanese warships, naval aviation units and marine infantry units. As the Japanese military did not formally utilize joint/combined staff at the operational level, the command structures/geographical areas of operations of the Nanpo gun and Rengō Kantai overlapped each other and those of the Allies.

The Pacific Theater in pictures, 1942-1945

Four Japanese transports, hit by both U.S. surface vessels and aircraft, beached and burning at Tassafaronga, west of positions on Guadalcanal, on November 16, 1942. They were part of the huge force of auxiliary and combat vessels the enemy attempted to bring down from the north on November 13th and 14th. Only these four reached Guadalcanal. They were completely destroyed by aircraft, artillery and surface vessel guns.

The turning point in the Pacific theatre came in mid-1942 with history’s first great carrier battles. In June 1942, Japan hoped to capture Midway Island, an American held base about 1000 miles from Hawaii. Midway could have been used as a staging point for future attacks on Pearl Harbor. The United States was still benefiting from being able to decipher Japanese radio messages. American naval commanders led by Chester Nimitz therefore knew the assault was coming.

Following in the cover of a tank, American infantrymen secure an area on Bougainville, Solomon Islands, in March 1944, after Japanese forces infiltrated their lines during the night.

Airplane combat decided the Battle at Midway. After the smoke had cleared, four Japanese aircraft carriers had been destroyed. The plot to capture Midway collapsed, and Japan lost much of its offensive capability in the process. After the Battle of Midway, the Japanese were forced to fall back and defend their holdings.

After the Battle of Midway, the Allies were able to launch a counter-offensive. The first stage of the offensive began with the Navy under Admiral Nimitz and Marine landings on Guadalcanal and nearby islands in the Solomons. At the same time, the Army under General MacArthur with Australian allies set out to take New Guinea’s Papuan peninsula. After long, bloody struggles, both campaigns succeeded.

From this point on, Nimitz and MacArthur engaged in island-hopping campaigns that bypassed strongly-held islands to strike at the enemy’s weak points. Campaigns against the Aleutians and Rabaul succeeded in stopping the Japanese advances and secured bases for Allied advances on Japan.

Torpedoed Japanese destroyer Yamakaze, photographed through periscope of USS Nautilus, 25 June 1942. The Yamakaze sank within five minutes of being struck, there were no survivors.

While MacArthur pushed along the New Guinea coast, preparing for his return to the Philippines, Nimitz crossed the central Pacific, via the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Carolines, and Palaus. Once the Marianas were taken, it would be possible to use them as bases from which the new long-range B-29 bombers could strike at the heart of Japan.

The advance through the Central Pacific got under way in November 1943 with the seizure of two islands, Tarawa and Makin in the Gilberts. Marines landed on Tarawa on November 21 and took the island in a four-day fight at a cost to the Marines of some 3,000 casualties. Army troops overwhelmed the small Japanese garrison on Makin between November 20 and 24, 1943.

American reconnaissance patrol into the dense jungles of New Guinea, on December 18, 1942. Lt. Philip Winson had lost one of his boots while building a raft and he made a make-shift boot out of part of a ground sheet and straps from a pack.

A helmeted Australian soldier, rifle in hand, looks out over a typical New Guinea landscape in the vicinity of Milne Bay on October 31, 1942, where an earlier Japanese attempt at invasion was defeated by the Australian defenders.

During January and February 1944, Admiral Nimitz proceeded to positions in the central and western Marshalls. The principal islands taken were Kwajalein, which was invaded by an Army force on February 1, and the islands of Roi and Namur, which were invaded by Marines on February 3 and 6.

From Kwajalein a naval task force, moving west 340 miles with a regiment each of Marines and infantry, captured a Japanese air base on Engebi in the Eniwetok Atoll on February 17-19, 1944.

Meanwhile, on February 16, Nimitz had launched a massive carrier raid on Truk in the central Carolines, long considered Japan’s key bastion in the central Pacific. This raid revealed that the Japanese had virtually abandoned Truk as a naval base, and a plan to assault that atoll in June was abandoned. Instead, Nimitz drew up plans for an invasion of the Marianas in June, to be followed in September by an advance into the western Carolines.

Japanese bomber planes sweep in very low for an attack on U.S. warships and transporters, on September 25, 1942, at an unknown location in the Pacific Ocean.

Admiral Nimitz invaded the Marianas in June 1944. Amphibious assaults were made on Saipan on June 15, on Guam on July 20, and on Tinian on July 23, 1944. All three islands were strongly garrisoned by Japanese troops who contested every yard of ground.

Loss of Saipan precipitated a political crisis in Tokyo and brought about the fall of the Tojo Cabinet. The Japanese sallied forth to offer battle to the U.S. Pacific Fleet. They hastily reassembled their fleet from Biak and the Philippines and sailed north to defend the Marianas area, but lack of land-based air support made it impossible to surprise the U.S. naval contingents under Admiral Spruance.

In a massive air battle that took place on June 19, 4 days after landings on Saipan, the Japanese lost more than 400 planes to an American loss of less than 30. Stripped of carrier planes, the Japanese fleet fled westward, but American planes in pursuit were able to sink several vessels, including three carriers.

On August 24, 1942, while operating off the coast of the Solomon Islands, the USS Enterprise suffered heavy attacks by Japanese bombers. Several direct hits on the flight deck killed 74 men the photographer of this picture was reportedly among the dead.

During this engagement, known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea, only three American ships were damaged. This victory paved the way for eventual success in the Marianas, and provided a demonstration of the interdependence of operations in the Southwest and Central Pacific Areas.

Capture of the Marianas brought Japan within reach of the Army Air Forces’ huge new bomber, the B-29, which was able to make a nonstop flight of the 1,400 miles to Tokyo and back. Construction of airfields to accommodate B-29’s began in the Marianas before the shooting had stopped, and in late November 1944 the strategic bombing of Japan began.

The last two major campaigns of the Pacific war – Luzon and Okinawa -were still to come. But Japan was essentially beaten. It was defenseless on the seas its air force was gone and its cities were being burned out by incendiary bombs. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 and the Soviet declaration of war on 8 August forced the leaders of Japan to recognize the inevitable.

On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender and ordered Japanese forces to lay down their arms. Since the war in Europe had already been won, V-J Day, September 2, 1945, marked the end of the greatest war in human history.

A breeches buoy is put into service to transfer from a U.S. destroyer to a cruiser survivors of a ship, November 14, 1942 which had been sunk in naval action against the Japanese off the Santa Cruz Islands in the South pacific on October 26. The American Navy turned back the Japanese in the battle but lost an aircraft carrier and a destroyer.

These Japanese prisoners were among those captured by U.S. forces on Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Islands, shown November 5, 1942.

Japanese-held Wake Island under attack by U.S. carrier-based planes in November 1943

Crouching low, U.S. Marines sprint across a beach on Tarawa Island to take the Japanese airport on December 2, 1943.

Secondary batteries of an American cruiser formed this pattern of smoke rings as guns from the warship blasted at the Japanese on Makin Island in the Gilberts before U.S. forces invaded the atoll on November 20, 1943.

Troops of the 165th infantry, New York’s former “Fighting 69th” advance on Butaritari Beach, Makin Atoll, which already was blazing from naval bombardment which preceded on November 20, 1943. The American forces seized the Gilbert Island Atoll from the Japanese.

Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo.

U.S. Marines are seen as they advance against Japanese positions during the invasion at Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Islands, in this late November 1943 photo. Of the nearly 5,000 Japanese soldiers and workers on the island, only 146 were captured, the rest were killed.

Infantrymen of Company “I” await the word to advance in pursuit of retreating Japanese forces on the Vella Lavella Island Front, in the Solomon Islands, on September 13, 1943.

Two of twelve U.S. A-20 Havoc light bombers on a mission against Kokas, Indonesia in July of 1943. The lower bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire after dropping its bombs, and plunged into the sea, killing both crew members.

Small Japanese craft flee from larger vessels during an American aerial attack on Tonolei Harbor, Japanese base on Bougainville Island, in the Central Solomon Islands on October 9, 1943.

Two U.S. Marines direct flame throwers at Japanese defenses that block the way to Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi on March 4, 1945. On the left is Pvt. Richard Klatt, of North Fond Dulac, Wisconsin, and on the right is PFC Wilfred Voegeli.

A member of a U.S. Marine patrol discovers this Japanese family hiding in a hillside cave, June 21, 1944, on Saipan. The mother, four children and a dog took shelter in the cave from the fierce fighting in the area during the U.S. invasion of the Mariana Islands.

Columns of troop-packed LCIs (Landing Craft, Infantry) trail in the wake of a Coast Guard-manned LST (Landing Ship, Tank) en route to the invasion of Cape Sansapor, New Guinea in 1944.

With its gunner visible in the back cockpit, this Japanese dive bomber, smoke streaming from the cowling, is headed for destruction in the water below after being shot down near Truk, Japanese stronghold in the Carolines, by a Navy PB4Y on July 2, 1944. Lieutenant Commander William Janeshek, pilot of the American plane, said the gunner acted as though he was about to bail out and then suddenly sat down and was still in the plane when it hit the water and exploded.

As a rocket-firing LCI lays down a barrage on the already obscured beach on Peleliu, a wave of Alligators (LVTs, or Landing Vehicle Tracked) churn toward the defenses of the strategic island September 15, 1944. The amphibious tanks with turret-housed cannons went in in after heavy air and sea bombardment. Army and Marine assault units stormed ashore on Peleliu on September 15, and it was announced that organized resistance was almost entirely ended on September 27.

Para-frag bombs fall toward a camouflaged Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-21, “Sally”, during an attack by the US Army Fifth Air Force against Old Namlea airport on Buru Island, Dutch East Indies, on October 15, 1944. A few seconds after this picture was taken the aircraft was engulfed in flames. The design of the para-frag bomb enabled low flying bombing attacks to be carried out with higher accuracy.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, center, is accompanied by his officers and Sergio Osmena, president of the Philippines in exile, extreme left, as he wades ashore during landing operations at Leyte, Philippines, on October 20, 1944, after U.S. forces recaptured the beach of the Japanese-occupied island.

Smoke billows up from the Kowloon Docks and railroad yards after a surprise bombing attack on Hong Kong harbor by the U.S. Army 14th Air Force October 16, 1944. A Japanese fighter plane (left center) turns in a climb to attack the bombers. Between the Royal Navy yard, left, enemy vessels spout flames, and just outside the boat basin, foreground, another ship has been hit.

A Japanese torpedo bomber goes down in flames after a direct hit by 5-inch shells from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, on October 25, 1944.

Landing barges loaded with U.S. troops bound for the beaches of Leyte island, in October 1944, as American and Japanese fighter planes duel to the death overhead. The men aboard the crafts watch the dramatic battle in the sky as they approach the shore.

This photo provided by former Kamikaze pilot Toshio Yoshitake, shows Yoshitake, right, and his fellow pilots, from left, Tetsuya Ueno, Koshiro Hayashi, Naoki Okagami and Takao Oi, as they pose together in front of a Zero fighter plane before taking off from the Imperial Army airstrip in Choshi, just east of Tokyo, on November 8, 1944. None of the 17 other pilots and flight instructors who flew with Yoshitake on that day survived. Yoshitake only survived because an American warplane shot him out of the air, he crash-landed and was rescued by Japanese soldiers.

A Japanese kamikaze pilot in a damaged single-engine bomber, moments before striking the U.S. Aircraft Carrier USS Essex, off the Philippine Islands, on November 25, 1944.

A closer view of the Japanese kamikaze aircraft, smoking from antiaircraft hits and veering slightly to left moments before slamming into the USS Essex on November 25, 1944.

Aftermath of the November 25, 1943 kamikaze attack against the USS Essex. Fire-fighters and scattered fragments of the Japanese aircraft cover the flight deck. The plane struck the port edge of the flight deck, landing among planes fueled for takeoff, causing extensive damage, killing 15, and wounding 44.

The battleship USS Pennsylvania, followed by three cruisers, moves in line into Lingayen Gulf preceding the landing on Luzon, in the Philippines, in January of 1945.

U.S. Marines going ashore at Iwo Jima, a Japanese Island which was invaded on February 19, 1945. Photo made by a Naval Photographer, who flew over the armada of Navy and coast guard vessels in a Navy search plane.

A U.S. Marine, killed by Japanese sniper fire, still holds his weapon as he lies in the black volcanic sand of Iwo Jima, on February 19, 1945, during the initial invasion on the island. In the background are the battleships of the U.S. fleet that made up the invasion task force.

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on February 23, 1945. The Battle of Iwo Jima was the costliest in Marine Corps history, with almost 7,000 Americans killed in 36 days of fighting.

A U.S. cruiser fires her main batteries at Japanese positions on the southern tip of Okinawa, Japan in 1945.

U.S. invasion forces establish a beachhead on Okinawa island, about 350 miles from the Japanese mainland, on April 13. 1945. Pouring out war supplies and military equipment, the landing crafts fill the sea to the horizon, in the distance, battleships of the U.S. fleet.

An attack on one of the caves connected to a three-tier blockhouse destroys the structure on the edge of Turkey Nob, giving a clear view of the beachhead toward the southwest on Iwo Jima, as U.S. Marines storm the island on April 2, 1945.

The USS Santa Fe lies alongside the heavily listing USS Franklin to provide assistance after the aircraft carrier had been hit and set afire by a single Japanese dive bomber, during the Okinawa invasion, on March 19, 1945, off the coast of Honshu, Japan. More than 800 aboard were killed, with survivors frantically fighting fires and making enough repairs to save the ship.

During a Japanese air raid on Yonton Airfield, Okinawa, Japan on April 28, 1945, the corsairs of the “Hell’s Belles,” Marine Corps Fighter Squadron are silhouetted against the sky by a lacework of anti-aircraft shells.

Watch the video: The Bloody History Of The Pacific Theatre. Battles Won And Lost. Timeline