Western New Guinea Campaign

The War in the Pacific

Australasia 1944.0617

Western New Guinea Campaign

Australia, New Zealand and World War II in the South Pacific (17 June 1944)

Historical Map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific

From Pearl Harbor on, the Allied priority had been to defeat Germany, with minimal forces devoted to the Pacific. However American naval supremacy after Midway and Guadalcanal, along with a successful submarine campaign to cut supplies, meant that they could now isolate and bypass most of the Japanese garrisons, fighting only where they chose to as they moved along the northern coast of New Guinea towards the Philippines.

Main Events

Operations Reckless and Persecution

United States and Australian forces mount amphibious invasions of northwest New Guinea in Operations Reckless and Persecution. In Operation Reckless the US 24th and 41st Infantry Divisions land at Tanahmerah and Humboldt Bays near Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea. In Operation Persecution the 163rd Regimental Combat Team (US) and No. 62 Works Wing (RAAF) simultaneously land at Aitape, 230km to the east in the Australian Territory of New Guinea.


After extensive aerial and naval bombardment, including the landing of 24,000 airborne troops, 156,000 US, British, and other Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, German-occupied France, in the largest seaborne invasion in history. The landings began at 06:30 and met heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, along with numerous mines and obstacles. Over the day, the Allies suffered at least 10,000 casualties vs about 1,000 for the Germans, but secured their beachhead.

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