Japanese Onslaught

WWII: The Greater East Asia War

East Asia 1942.0123

Japanese Onslaught

World War II, Pacific War, Second Sino-Japanese War (23 January 1942)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

The Japanese quickly overran Allied possessions in China, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific as they moved to seize resources and secure a strategic island perimeter. The Americans, British, Dutch and Australians responded by forming a joint command (ABDA) in an attempt to coordinate a defense.

Main Events

Battle of Borneo

A Japanese invasion convoy sent from Cam Ranh Bay, French Indochina, lands troops at Miri, Sarawak, and Seria, Brunei, in an attack on British Borneo, after traveling for three days undetected. The two towns fall with minimal British resistance and a few hours later, the Japanese also capture Lutong, Sarawak.

Battle of Wake Island

At the same time as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked the American air refueling station at Wake Island, capturing the Island after 15 days and holding it for the duration of the War.

Battle of Hong Kong

Concurrent with the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces invaded Hong Kong through China. The British, Indian, and Canadian forces stationed there held out for 17 days, but were outnumbered, and surrendered on 25 December.

ABDACOM

The United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Commonwealth of Australia form ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) Command in an attempt to halt the Japanese advance.

Dutch East Indies Campaign

The fall of the Netherlands had made the Dutch East Indies a key prize to the Japanese for its rubber and oil resources. The Japanese first invaded through Manado on the island of Celebes, opening a corridor through which to attack Australia and prevent that country from defending the neighboring islands.

Battle of Rabaul

In Operation R, the South Seas Force of the Imperial Japanese Navy lands 3,000-4,000 troops on New Ireland, an island of the Australian Territory of New Guinea, seizing the main town of Kavieng without opposition. The next day, before dawn, the invasion fleet enters Simpson Harbour by Rabaul, the most important port on New Britain and the former capital of the Territory, landing around 5,000 troops. The Australians mount a desperate defense but are forced south, where they surrender a few weeks later.

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