The Battle of Leyte Gulf, arguably the largest naval battle in history, was the largest naval battle of World War II. On 27 September Japan signed a military alliance with Germany and Italy, becoming one of the three main Axis Powers. American casualties were 6,821 killed and 19,207 wounded. On 9–10 March 1945 alone, about 100,000 people were killed in a conflagration caused by an incendiary attack on Tokyo.  The Second Operational Phase was planned to expand Japan's strategic depth by adding eastern New Guinea, New Britain, the Aleutians, Midway, the Fiji Islands, Samoa, and strategic points in the Australian area. On the morning of 19 February 1945, 30,000 men of 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions under the command of Maj. General Harry Schmidt landed on the southeast coast of the island near Mt. Off Okinawa it was planned to beach the battleship and use her 18.1 inches (46 cm) guns to support the fighting on the island. , Towards the end of the war as the role of strategic bombing became more important, a new command for the United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific was created to oversee all US strategic bombing in the hemisphere, under United States Army Air Forces General Curtis LeMay. French Indochina: 7,900, 4,500, (12,400) On 16 April, 7,000 British soldiers were encircled by the Japanese 33rd Division during the Battle of Yenangyaung and rescued by the Chinese 38th Division, led by Sun Li-jen. British Royal Navy bases in Ceylon were hit and the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and other Allied ships were sunk. This stopped Japanese expansion to the north, and Soviet aid to China ended as a result of the signing of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact at the beginning of its war against Germany. The two Allied attacks met on 22 June, breaking the Japanese siege of Imphal. The US reinforced the Sixth Army successfully, but the US Fifth Air Force devastated Japanese attempts to resupply. The Japanese had only enough pilots left to form the air group for one of their light carriers. Most were small cargo carriers, but 124 were tankers bringing desperately needed oil from the East Indies. Although the defeat at the Philippine Sea was severe in terms of the loss of the three fleet carriers Taihō, Shōkaku and the Hiyō, the real disaster was the annihilation of the carrier air groups. , The US protectorate in the Philippines suffered considerable losses. Beehive. After these victories, Chinese nationalist forces launched a large-scale counter-offensive in early 1940; however, due to its low military-industrial capacity, it was repulsed by the Imperial Japanese Army in late March 1940. This gave Wavell nominal control of a huge force, albeit thinly spread over an area from Burma to the Philippines to northern Australia. On 12 March 1944, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed the occupation of the Northern Marianas, specifically the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. iUniverse, Inc. (13 July 2005). The Imperial Japanese Army, which had already created the Kwantung Army to oversee its occupation of Manchukuo and the China Expeditionary Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, created the Southern Expeditionary Army Group at the outset of its conquests of South East Asia. The 69 aircraft from the two Japanese carriers succeeded in sinking the carrier Lexington and damaging Yorktown. , However, after Center Force departed from Brunei Bay on 23 October, two American submarines attacked it, resulting in the loss of two heavy cruisers with another crippled. Saratoga was out of action, undergoing repair after a torpedo attack, while Yorktown had been damaged at Coral Sea and was believed by Japanese naval intelligence to have been sunk. Having accomplished their objectives during the First Operation Phase with ease, the Japanese now turned to the second. Once captured, the islands of Saipan and Tinian were used extensively by the United States military as they finally put mainland Japan within round-trip range of American B-29 bombers. They caught most of the planes on the ground, destroying 103 aircraft, more than half of the US air strength. It also provoked the Japanese to mount major offensives themselves the following year. If the Americans attacked the Marianas, they would be attacked by land-based planes in the vicinity. By 1937, Japan controlled Manchuria and it was also ready to move deeper into China. Pacific War - Pacific War - From Pearl Harbor to Midway: In accordance with the decisions of November, Japan’s war against the Western Powers opened on December 7, 1941, with the surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by about 360 aircraft from the carriers of Vice Adm. Nagumo Chuichi’s strike force. By 13 December, Japanese attacks had wrecked every major airfield and virtually annihilated American air power. Contrarily, the Americans, most notably, U.S. Navy admiral John S. McCain Sr., hoped to use their numerical advantage at Guadalcanal to defeat large numbers of Japanese forces there and progressively drain Japanese man-power. The hidden guns and defenses survived the constant bombardment virtually unscathed. Although they managed to gain a foothold on the beaches, the defenders made them pay a high price for every advance inland.  However, it is more widely accepted[g] that the Pacific War itself began on 7/8 December 1941, when the Japanese invaded Thailand and attacked the British colonies of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong as well as the United States military and naval bases in Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, and the Philippines. "Forgotten Captives in Japanese-Occupied Asia". Both sides were surprised, but the outcome looked certain since the Japanese had four battleships, six heavy cruisers, and two light cruisers leading two destroyer squadrons. In all, Allied submarines destroyed 1,200 merchant ships – about five million tons of shipping. In the middle of these uncoordinated attacks, a Japanese scout aircraft reported the presence of an American task force, but it was not until later that the presence of an American carrier was confirmed. After the war, Japan lost all rights and titles to its former possessions in Asia and the Pacific, and its sovereignty was limited to the four main home islands and other minor islands as determined by the Allies. In Allied countries during the war, the "Pacific War" was not usually distinguished from World War II in general, or was known simply as the War against Japan.  By 1945, sinkings of Japanese vessels had decreased because so few targets dared to venture out on the high seas. During April, the Japanese attacks against Imphal failed, while fresh Allied formations drove the Japanese from the positions they had captured at Kohima. On 8 June 1942, two Japanese submarines briefly shelled Sydney's eastern suburbs and the city of Newcastle.. In an effort to discourage Japanese militarism, Western powers including Australia, the United States, Britain, and the Dutch government in exile, which controlled the petroleum-rich Dutch East Indies, stopped selling oil, iron ore, and steel to Japan, denying it the raw materials needed to continue its activities in China and French Indochina. ", "Battle of Milne Bay from 25 August 1942 to 07 September 1942", "Chinese Victory: Changteh is Lost and Won in Battle Called Most Decisive in Three Years", United States Submarine Operations in World War II, Japanese submarine operations against Australia 1942–1944, "Japanese Naval and Merchant Vessels Sunk During World War II By All U.S. Submarines", http://www.hoplite.cn/Templates/hpjh0106.htm, "Potsdam Declaration: Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender Issued, at Potsdam, July 26, 1945", "Nuclear Power: The End of the War Against Japan", "The Voice of the Crane: The Imperial Rescript of 15Aug45", University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "United States Dept. The forces assigned to his command consisted of 535 warships and auxiliaries together with a ground force of three and a half Marine divisions and one reinforced Army division, a total of more than 127,500 troops. 1947 pp. Facing them was the US Fifth Fleet under the command of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, which contained 15 fleet carriers and 956 aircraft. The Japanese forces which had been bypassed by the Allied advances attempted to break out across the Sittaung River during June and July to rejoin the Burma Area Army which had regrouped in Tenasserim in southern Burma.  The pace of conquest was rapid: Bali and Timor also fell in February.  Faced with the loss of most of their experienced pilots, the Japanese increased their use of kamikaze tactics in an attempt to create unacceptably high casualties for the Allies. Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000.  The Japanese had gambled that the United States, when faced with such a sudden and massive blow and loss of life, would agree to a negotiated settlement and allow Japan free rein in Asia. Australia was ill-prepared for an attack, lacking armaments, modern fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, and aircraft carriers. This was done in contrast to the British stance towards Thailand, who had faced them in combat as they invaded British territory, and the United States had to block British efforts to impose a punitive peace. This name was released to the public on 12 December, with an explanation that it involved Asian nations achieving their independence from the Western powers through armed forces of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.  However, other scholars have argued that the atomic bombings shocked the Japanese government into surrender, with the Emperor finally indicating his wish to stop the war. Around 1,536 U.S. civilians were killed or otherwise died of abuse and mistreatment in Japanese internment camps in the Far East; in comparison, 883 U.S. civilians died in German internment camps in Europe. Toward Peace: War Responsibility, Postwar Compensation, and Peace Movements and Education in Japan. 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