Once secured, the Japanese began constructing a number of airfields across th… The Bougainville campaign (Operation Cherry Blossom) was fought by the Allies in the South Pacific during World War II to regain control of the island of Bougainville from the Japanese forces who had occupied it in 1942. This would be the main thrust, as Savige expected the Japanese to defend that line in some strength. II Australian Corps (3rd Division and the 11th and 23rd Brigades) was to garrison the island. The Australians planned to cross that river of 3 July, but heavy rain meant that the offensive was postponed for a week. On the following day 292 bodies were counted around Slater's Knoll and the Japanese offensive had been broken. There were other airfields in the south, including Kahili, Kieta, and Kara. Opening combat as early as 29 November and the offensive on 30 December, three separate drives developed: in the north, it was planned that Japanese forces would be forced into the narrow Bonis Peninsula and contained; in the centre the seizure of Pearl Ridge would give the Australians control of the east–west thoroughfares and protection against further counterattacks, while also opening the way for a drive to the east coast; and the main campaign in the south, where the bulk of the Japanese forces were concentrated at Buin. In November of 1944 it was a different story, as Bougainville became the site of one of Australia’s largest, yet least understood, campaigns of World War Two. On 23 December General Savige issued a new set of instructions for his corps that called for a three-pronged offensive. [27], So began the second phase of the Allied campaign. 23,500 Japanese surrendered to the Australians in September 1945. See more ideas about war, ww2, wwii. He was replaced as commander of the 17th Army by General Kanda, who was in turn replaced as commander of the 6th Division by General Akinaga. [7], Following the American success at Guadalcanal in February 1943, Allied forces advanced up the Solomon Island chain and in late 1943 commenced the Bougainville campaign as part of the larger Operation Cartwheel. Shortly after the Japanese arrived, the bulk of the Australian force was evacuated by the Allies, although some of the coastwatchers remained behind to provide intelligence. Negotiations with General Kanda, and with Vice-Admiral Baron Samejima, the local naval commander, made little progress until after the surrender of Rabaul. The island of Bougainville in the South Pacific was the site of one of the largest and most gruelling campaigns fought by Australian forces during the … [15] Among those killed was Lieutenant Stanley P. Wright, whose poem "A Marine to His Girl" appeared in Eleanor Roosevelt's column My Day in January 1944. The counterattack was defeated with heavy losses for the Japanese army, which then withdrew the majority of its force into the deep interior and to the north and south ends of Bougainville. Savige now thought that they would stop at the Hari River, further along the coast and nearer to their key garden areas. [17] The 3rd Marine Division extended its lines to include the hills in a series of operations that lasted from 9–27 December. [19] Finally, co-ordinated air, artillery, and infantry attacks resulted in the capture of Hellzapoppin Ridge on 18 December. [29] The Australians determined that Japanese forces on Bougainville, now numbering approximately 40,000, still had approximately 20 percent of their personnel in forward positions and that although understrength, were organized in combat-capable formations, including the 38th Independent Mixed Brigade and the 6th Division. A 1983 book by Peter Charlton argued that these were unnecessary and it is this position, particularly in relation to the Bougainville campaign, that James is chiefly challenging. This made it harder for the Japanese to concentrate a strong force, but did mean that the Australians were faced with constant skirmishes. The controversial nature of this and the other later Australian campaigns in the islands stems from the complicated situation Australia found itself in in 1944. The village of Pora Pora, at the south-western edge of the peninsula, fell on 30 April and in May the Australians began to advance north. The Japanese suffered much heavier losses during this period, later estimated as 8,500 dead in combat and 9,800 of illness. Except for patrol skirmishes, all of the major combat to expand the beachhead occurred in the Marine sector, with the following battles taking place during this time: Koiari Raid, Piva Trail, Coconut Grove and Piva Forks. 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