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Hirohito’s War, The Pacific War 1941-45


21 January: Great Britain: London Naval Conference convenes to renew limitations on naval warship building. 10: 10: 7 ratios agreed for US, Great Britain and Japan respectively compared to 5:5:3 eight year earlier at the Washington Conference. Settlement attacked by ultranationalists in Japan.

7 June: America: Smoot Hawley Tariff Act voted into law starts a global rush toward trade protection, which is later attributed with worsening the Global depression.

14 November: Japan: Prime Minister Hamaguchi shot by an ultranationalist as he enters Tokyo Station


18 September: Manchuria: Mukden Incident in which Japanese leaders of the Kwantung Army in North Korea plan an ‘agent provocateur’ act by exploding a bomb of the railway near Mukden. An explosion, barely noticed by the passengers on the train is used as a pretext for the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, a Chinese province.

Japan: Ultranationalist Ishikawa publishes Nihon no Kiki (Japan’s Crisis) which warns that America’s aim since the mid-19th Century had been the domination of Asia suggests that Japan needed to embark on a ‘great national march to ensure its rights and survival.’


15 May: Japan: In Tokyo 11 ultranationalist naval officers organize hit squads and murder Prime Minister Inukai as well as attacking other high profile figures considered too pro-western.

2 October: Switzerland: The League of Nations formerly release the Lytton Report which condemns Japan’s actions in annexing Manchuria.


30 January: Germany: Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.

27 February: Germany: The burning of the Reichstag in Berlin.

4 March: America: Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes US President. Cordell Hull chosen as Secretary of State.


25 July: Austria: Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss murdered by Nazis.

19 August: Germany: Hitler becomes Chancellor.

October: China: Communist Army begins the Long March from Jiangxi Province in southeast China as Chiang Kai-shek Kuomintang Army tries to encircle them.

Japan: Military Affairs Bureau holds a meeting to discuss northern China and decides that control of the region must be denied to the Kuomintang and recommends the incorporation of a Japanese company to exploit the natural resources of northern China.


January: Japan: Imperial Way Faction leader General Masaki is removed as Inspector General of Military Education.

Japan: Ultranationalist polemicist Mitsukawa publishes ‘After the Triple Intervention’ in which he expounds the view that Asians should stand up to Western Imperialists.

16 March: Germany: In violation of the Treaty of Versailles Hitler introduces conscription.

15 September: Germany: Jews stripped of civil rights by the Nuremberg Race Laws.


26 February: Japan: A group of young army officers identified with the ‘Imperial Way Faction’ attempt a coup d’état in which former prime minister Admiral Saito, Finance Minister Takahashi and General Watanabe were all gunned down. Prime Minister Okada was lucky to survive while hiding in a closet while his brother-in-law was mistaken for him and killed.

Okada resigns in embarrassment at the attempted coup and is replaced by former diplomat Hirota.

The Emperor overrules his advisors and demand that the rebels be severely dealt with. The leaders of the Imperial Way Faction, Generals Araki and Mazaki are removed from their posts leading to a purge of their army followers by the leaders of the Control Faction. Their supporters support a massive increase in military expenditure. The Army’s troop numbers expanded by 40 percent.

7 March: Germany: German troops occupy the Rhineland.

9 May: Italy: Mussuolini’s Italian Army conquers Ethiopia.

18 July: Spain: Civil war erupts in Spain. Hitler sends the Condor Division to support Franco’s nationalists.

1 August: Germany: The start of the Berlin Olympics. Undesirables rounded up by Hitler and sent to the model concentration camp at Sachsenhausen north of Berlin.

November: Germany-Japan: Anti-Commintern Pact signed.

12 December: China: In the so-called Xian Incident Chiang Kai-shek is captured by one of his own Generals, Zhang Xueliang, the former warlord of Manchuria, to force an alliance with Mao Zedong and the Communists to fight Japan. The incident occurs just as Chiang has Mao and his followers were surrounded and on the verge of annihilation.

25 December: China: The captive Chiang Kai-shek agrees to meet Zhou Enlai to agree terms of an alliance in return for the release of his son, Ching-Kuo, who is in effect being held hostage by Stalin in Russia.


11 June: Russia: Marshal Tukhachevsky, head of the Russian Army is arrested, tried and executed on Stalin’s orders which are followed up by the purge of 38,000 Red Army officers.

7 July: China: Marco Polo Bridge Incident between Japanese and Chinese soldiers outside Peking is the trigger for the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War and arguably the start of World War II.

9 September: Japan: Diet authorizes an exceptional Y2.2bn supplementary budget. During the course of 1937 Japan is forced to sell 55% of its US$250m gold reserves.

Japan: Emergency Shipping Management Act gave the Japanese government the power to requisition private vessels.

5 October: America: Roosevelt makes speech in which he calls for ‘quarantine of aggressor nations’ with explaining what he meant.

November 1937: China: Battle of Taiyuan secures control of northern China for Japan.

150,000 Chinese soldiers killed in Battle of Shangai.

November-December: The Rape of Nanking: An estimated 250,000 civilians butchered during the two month campaign to take Nanking and its environs. The massacre causes outrage around the world.

12 December: China: USS Panay sunk on the Yangtze River outside Nanking. Japan apologises and agrees compensation but film of the event causes furor in US.


January: Japan: Prime Minister Konoe resigns after failure to win the quick victory promised in China or to bring about peace negotiations with the Kuomintang.

16 January: Japan: Admiral Yonai becomes Prime Minister.

21 January: Great Britain: Churchill warns of anti-western sentiment of the new government in Japan.

12 March: Germany: Anschluss (Union) of Austria with Germany announced.

March: Japan: Prime Minister Konoe passes the draconian National Mobilization Act, which gives the government controls over trade unions, strategic industries, education, prices, dividends, rationing and media.

Konoe creates Patriotic Industrial Society. The Sanpo as it becomes known leads to the virtual abolishment of trade unions by 1941.

May: Manchuria: Under General Tojo Japan’s army in Manchuria has increased from 95,000 to 400,000.

28 May. Mongolia: Border clashes develop into the two-month Battle of Nomonhan in which the Japanese Army suffers a clear defeat against a Russian Army led by Zhukov that possesses far better tanks.

30 September: Germany: British Prime Minister Chamberlain appeases Hitler at Munich meeting.

15 October: Germany: Nazi occupation of Czech Sudetenland.

9 November: Germany: ‘Kristallnacht’ (Night of the broken glass) Nazi SA paramilitary forces begin pogrom against the Jews.


15 March: Czechoslovakia: Country annexed by the Nazis.

April: America: Roosevelt warns of the dangers to America of the ‘autarkic’ tendencies of the totalitarian states.

24 July: Great Britain: Prime Minister Chamberlain signs the Cragie-Arita Agreement whereby, in appeasement of Japan, British rights in the international settlement in Shanghai were curtailed while Japan was allowed special rights.

24 August: Germany-Russia: Hitler and Stalin to Japan’s surprise sign the Nazi-Soviet Non-Agression Pact.

25 August: Poland: Britain and Poland sign a mutual assistance treaty.

3 September: Poland: Germany invades Poland and Britain and France declare war.

29 September: Poland: Soviets and Nazis divide up Poland.

30 November: Finland: Soviets attack neighboring Finland in the start of the Winter War.

December: America: Roosevelt agrees a US25m credit for Japan.


13 March: Finland: The ‘Winter War’ ends when the Soviet Union comes to an accommodation with Finland.

9 April: Denmark & Norway: The Nazis invade.

10 May: Holland-Belgium-France: General Guderian’s Panzers storm through Holland, Belgium and into northern France. British Expeditionary Army is rescued by a flotilla of boats at Dunkirk.

May: America: Roosevelt starts US rearmament by his request for US$1.3bn in military appropriations.

22 June: France: France surrenders to Germany.

29 June: Japan: Foreign Minister Arita announces Japan’s intention to establish a ‘bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of western powers.’

10 July: Great Britain: The Battle of Britain begins.

19 July: America: The US passes the Two Oceans Act also known as the Vinson-Walsh Act which passes by 316-0 in the House of Representatives. It authorizes a US$8.55bn naval expansion including the building of 18 new fleet carriers, 7 battleships, 33 cruisers, 115 destroyers, 43 submarines and 15,000 aircraft. Funding for navy auxiliaries and munitions etc. was also provided.

23 July: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. Soviet invasion.

July: America. National Defense Act passed giving President power to put the export of essential commodities on license to enable the US to build up essential war stockpiles. Within a year 259 items were put on license.

A ban on the export from America on fuel over 87 Octane led to a 550% increase in the purchase of 86 Octane fuel which was the quality required by Japanese aero engines.

Henry Stimson, a Republican, is appointed Secretary of State for War.

September: Holland: It is demanded of the Dutch government by Japan that they should supply them with 3m tons of oil versus 1m tons previously from their wells in the Dutch East Indies.

13 September: Egypt: Italy invades Egypt.

27 September: Germany-Japan-Italy: Tripartite Pact agreed between Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.

America: Roosevelt embargoes the sale of all types of iron and steel to Japan and agrees a US$100m loan for China.

October: Japan: Konoe, brought back as Prime Minister in June 1940 creates the Imperial Rule Assistance Association.

5 November: America: Roosevelt re-elected President for a third term.


12 November: America: Admiral Stark presents Plan Dog to Roosevelt which suggests a plan for fighting a war Japan and Germany which emphasized the importance of prioritizing Europe over Asia.

November: America: Chiang Kai-shek’s finance minister, T.V. Soong and the Kuomintang’s air force advisor, former US officer Chennault, fly to Washington to negotiate terms of a US$50m loan to buy planes and to allow recruitment of volunteers for the American Volunteer Group to fight in China. They became know as the Flying Tigers.

20-23 November: Rumania & Hungary: Join the Axis powers.

27 November: America: Admiral Nomura arrives in Washington to take up the post of Ambassador.

December: America: Roosevelt says that America must become the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ in the war in Europe.


12 March: America: Lend-Lease Act.

3 April: Iraq: Pro-Axis regime set up in Iraq.

6 April: Greece and Yugoslavia: Nazis invade.

27 May: Germany: British Navy sinks Germany’s super battleship Bismarck in the Atlantic.

22 June: America: Hitler reneges on the Nazi-Soviet Non Agression Pact and invades the Soviet Union in Operation BARBAROSSA.

14 July: America: Roosevelt refuses to ratchet up pressure on Japan in spite of pressure from the hawkish members of his cabinet particularly Treasurer Morgenthau.

July: America: Roosevelt authorizes 821,000 tons of supply for Britain and 16,000 tons for China.

Japan: Soryokusen Kenkyujo (Institute of Total War Studies) concludes that Japan cannot sustain a war with China for more than five years and that a war with America would become unsustainable after 1943 because of a shortage of cargo ships.

22 July: France: Vichy Prime Minister forced to accept Japan’s request to occupy North Vietnam.

25 July: America: Roosevelt signs an executive order effectively freezing Japan’s financial assets and denying it access to oil from California. Japanese dollar bonds fall to 20-30 per cent of their par value. The oil embargo of Japan begins.

29 July: Vietnam: Vichy government in Hanoi signs Protocol Concerning Joint Defense and Joint Military Co-operation which allows for Japanese troops to occupy South Vietnam – an essential staging post for any attack on Singapore, Borneo and the Dutch East Indies.

August: Japan: Japan’s Human experimentation units (the equivalent if Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz) in China are reorganized and put under command of General Ishii from which time they became know collectively as Unit 731.

1 August: Japan: Foreign Minister Arita calls for a Japanese controlled Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere – the first time this expression has been used.

6 August: Japan: Prime Minister Tojo puts forward Outline for Execution of National Polity that puts economic autarky at its heart.

9 August: Newfoundland: Roosevelt and Churchill meet aboard USS Augusta in Newfoundland.

14 August: Newfoundland: Atlantic Charter agreed between Roosevelt and Churchill in Newfoundland advocating the right of self determination of countries, free trade, and the renunciation of acquisition of new territories by America and Great Britain.

5 September: America: Roosevelt lunches with Secretary of State Cordell Hull. No action is taken to reverse the complete oil embargo of Japan even though that was not the original intention on 25 July. But time has passed on with opinion polls showing that a majority Americans now favored strong action to prevent Japanese expansion.

6 September: Japan: An imperial conference to get Hirohito’s approval for a war plan against the United States ends with the Emperor giving reluctant agreement.

16 October: Japan. Prince Konoe resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by General Tojo, formerly head of the Kwantung Army who is now War Minister.

October: America. Major Albert Wedemeyer produces Victory Plan, detailed study of the military resources needed to win a war in Europe for Roosevelt and the General Staff.

16-24 October: Ukraine. Nazis take cities of Kharkov and Odessa.

5 November: Japan: Emperor Hirohito formerly approves the plan of attack on Pearl Harbor at an Imperial Conference.

20 November: Japan: Japan makes final proposal to the United States while at the same time moving its troops to prepare for war.

26 November: America: Secretary of State Cordell Hull sends a trenchant 10-point note, which demands Japan’s withdrawal from Indochina and China.

November: America: Roosevelt establishes a joint Army-Navy Munitions Board with Eberstadt as Chairman.


1 December: Japan: The Emperor and Japan’s military leaders interpret the Hull note as giving them no option but to make the final decision to go to war with America.

5 December: Russia: German army halted in front of Moscow and the Soviet Army counterattacks.

7 December: Hawaii. Japanese carriers attack Pearl Harbor.

The Philippines: General Homma bombs the Philippines and destroys US Airforce on Luzon.

Malaya: General Yamashita invades Thailand and Northern Malaya.

8 December: US, Great Britain and Holland declare war on Japan.

10 December: The Philippines: General Homma invades the Philippines.

11 December: Germany: Hitler declares war on the United States.

11 December: Malaya: Battle of Jitra: General Percival first stand in northern Malaya.

Guam: Japanese forces occupy Guam.

Malaya: Naval Battle of Malaya: HMS Prince of Wales and HMS repulse are sunk off Malayan coast.

Wake Island: Japanese forces occupy Wake Island (a US Pacific territory)

16 December: Borneo: Japanese invade Borneo.

17 December: Malaya: British residents abandon Penang Island (northeast Malaya).

18 December: China: Japanese invade Hong Kong.

21 December: The Philippines: Homma’s main landing on Luzon at Lingayen Gulf to the North West of Manila.

22 December: America: ARCADIA Conference (First Washington Conference) begins with Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt and their respective military staffs.

23 December: The Philippines: General MacArthur withdraws his army to the Bataan Peninsula and himself to Corregidor Island at the entrance of Manila Bay.

24 December: The Philippines: Japanese forces land on Luzon 30 miles to the southeast of Manila.

25 December: China: British surrender in Hong Kong.

Burma: The Flying Tigers (American Volunteer Group: AVG) shoot down 10 Japanese aircraft over Burma.

27 December: The Philippines: Manila is bombed.


1 January: Borneo: Japanese invasion of Labuan Island (British) in north Borneo.

2 January: The Philippines: Manila and Cavite, US Naval base occupied by Japan.

5 January: The Philippines: US and Philippine troops on Bataan put on half rations.

6-8 January: Malaya: Battle of Slim River: British Army defeated as Yamashita’s force rush south towards Singapore.

7 January: The Philippines: Attack begins on Bataan Peninsula.

9 January: The Philippines: Heavy bombardment of Corregidor begins.

11 January: Dutch East Indies: Oil rich Dutch East Indies invaded.

Malaya: The British Army abandons Kuala Lumpur in northern Malaya.

13 January: Japan: Hirohito presses for the speeding up of the capture of Bataan.

13 January: Germany: Hitler begins U-boat offensive off the coast of the United States.

16 January: Burma: General Iida invades Burma

Malaya: The Battle of Muar River. British Army defeated again by Yamashita

19 January: Borneo: Japanese forces complete conquest of Northern Borneo

20 January: Germany: SS leader Heydrich holds ‘Final Solution’ conference on Lake Wannsee near Potsdam.

21 January: North Africa: Rommel counter-offensive in North Africa.

22 January: The Philippines: General Wainwright withdraws from the Abucay Line on Bataan.

23 January: New Britain: Australian forces at Rabaul (New Britain Island) attacked and port town taken.

Borneo: Naval Battle of Balikpapan. Minor allied victory when ABDA destroyer force of US destroyers sink four Japanese convoy ships off the west coast of Borneo.

Celebes: Japanese forces of the eastern thrust toward Java captures Kendari on the east coast of the Celebes.

25 January: Borneo: The Battle of Balikpapan. Japanese forces of the central thrust toward Java capture Balikpapan City.

26 January: Great Britain: First US forces arrive.

27 January: India: General Wavell appointed commander of American, British, Dutch and American Forces (ABDA).

30 January: Singapore: British forces retreat across causeway to Singapore and Japanese siege begins.

31 January: Malaya: Yamashita’s forces arrive at Johor Bahru on the southern tip of Johor facing across the channel to Singapore.

Singapore: British Army blows up the causeway linking Singapore and Johor.


1 February: Marshall Islands: Admiral Halsey with carriers USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise raid Japanese garrisons in Gilbert and Marshall Islands.

4 February: Ambon: Japanese forces led by General Ito invade Ambon in the Moluccas.

8 February: Singapore: General Yamashita begins assault on Singapore Island.

13 February: Singapore: General Percival surrenders to General Yamashita in Singapore.

Gunboat HMS Li Wo sunk in suicidal attack on Japanese transports.

14 February: Sumatra: Japanese forces invade Sumatra in Dutch East Indies.

15 February: Singapore: Singapore surrenders.

16 February: Dutch East Indies: The Battle of Palembang: Japanese forces take Palembang and its oilfields on Sumatra.

18 February: Japan: Hirohito publicly celebrates victories over Allies riding a pure white horse at Nijubashi Bridge in front of the Imperial Palace.

Dutch East Indies: Naval Battle of Bali: HNLMS Piet Hein sunk by a long lance torpedo strike by Japanese destroyer Asashio.

19 February: Australia: Japanese forces bomb Darwin in Northwest Australia.

20 February: Dutch East Indies: Japanese invade Bali.

Dutch East Indies: General Wavell and US General George Brett conclude that ABDA command should be would up and that the fall of Java is inevitable.

22 February: The Philippines: MacArthur ordered to leave the Philippines.

23 February: Burma: General Smyth orders the blowing up of the Sittang Bridge leaving British forces stranded on the east bank of the Sittang River.

America: Japanese submarine shells a US oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.

24 February: Wake Island: Admiral Halsey bombs Japanese garrison on Wake Island.

26 February: Pacific Ocean: USS Langley (first US carrier, converted from oiler) sunk by Japanese bombers.

27-29 February: Dutch East Indies: Dutch/US Fleet defeated at Battle of Java Sea. Admiral Doorman goes down with his light cruiser HNLM De Ruyter. Dutch fleet destroyed in first major surface battle of the Pacific War and the first since the Battle of Jutland in World War I.

MARCH 1942

1 March: The Battle of Sunda Strait: Cruisers HMAS Perth and USS Houston sunk.

4 March: America: Two Japanese seaplanes bomb Pearl Harbor.

4 March: Pacific Ocean: USS Enterprise attacks Japanese garrison on Marcus Islands.

7 March: Burma: General Slim with the British Army retreats northwest from Rangoon (Burma).

New Guinea: Japanese Army seizes towns of Salamaua and Lae in southeast New Guinea.

8 March: Dutch East Indies: Dutch Army surrenders at Jogjarkarta.

12 March: The Philippines: General MacArthur leaves by PT boat from Corregidor to Mindanao and then on to Australia.

The Philippines: Wainwright becomes new commander of Allied forces in the Philippines.

18 March: Australia: MacArthur appointed head of Southwest Pacific Theater.

America: War Relocation Authority established to intern Japanese Americans (120,000).

21 March: Burma: The Battle of Magwe: Japan Army Air Force (JAAF) begins heavy bombardment of Magwe Airfied in southwest Burma adjacent to the oil fields of Yenangyaung.

23 March: Bay of Bengal: Japan invades the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

24 March: Hawaii: Admiral Nimitz appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific Theater.

25 March: Burma: The Battle of Toungoo. General Iida launches an attack on Chinese Army.

26 March: Australia: General MacArthur meets Prime Minister Curtin of Australia and assures him ‘I will see you through’.

29 March: Burma: Much to Stilwell’s fury Chiang Kai-shek orders a withdrawal of Chinese forces in Burma.

APRIL 1942

6 April: Australia: American troops start to arrive in Australia.

Burma: Chiang Kai-shek meets General Stilwell in Mandalay (Burma).

9 April: The Philippines: US forces on Bataan surrender.

British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes sunk by Aichi dive-bombers off Ceylon.

10 April: The Philippines: Bataan Death March begins with 76,000 POWs including 12,000 American troops.

12 April: The Philippines: Artillery duel with the US batteries on Corregidor begins.

Burma: The Battle of Kokkogawa. General Slim wins minor victory at Kokkogawa – the only one achieved in the British retreat from Burma to India.

16 April: Burma: The Battle of Yenangyaung: General Iida’s forces surround retreating British who are saved by Chinese General Sun in an action that allowed them to escape.

18 April: Pacific Ocean: USS Hornet under Captain Mitscher (later Admiral) launches Mitchel B-25 bombers against Tokyo and other Japanese cities. The raid is called the Doolittle Raid after its commander who led the raid.

MAY 1942

1 May: Burma: Japanese seize Mandalay.

3 May: Solomons: Japan seizes Tulagi Island in the southern Solomons.

6 May: The Philippines: Japan seizes Corregidor and Wainwright surrenders all US forces in the Philippines.

7-8 May: Coral Sea: The Battle of the Coral Sea. Japanese wins pyrrhic naval victory but is forced to abandon the invasion of Port Moresby on the south New Guinea coast.

Burma: In Burma General Stilwell begins his long walk out of Burma with 114 civilians including 24 US officers and troops.

20 May: India-Burma: British Army escapes from Burma across the Indian frontier. Chinese Army units under General Sun also flee to India while other Chinese Units are chased back to China.

30 May: India-Burma: Stilwell crosses the Chindwin River to safety.

JUNE 1942

4-5 June: Pacific Ocean: The Battle of Midway. US Navy under Admiral Spruance win crushing victory sinking four Japanese carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, Soryu) for the loss of the USS Yorktown.

7 June: Alaska: Japanese seize the Aleutian Islands.

June: Poland: Mass murder of Jews begins in Auschwitz.

JULY 1942

21 July: New Guinea: Japanese troops seize Buna, Gona and Sanananda.

23 July: New Guinea: The Battle of Kokoda. Battle for the airfield at Kokoda on the northern side of the Owen Stanley Mountains.


5 August: New Guinea: The Second Battle of Kokoda. Australian attempt to retake Kokoda is turned back.

7-8 August: Guadalcanal. Ist Marine Division led by General Vandegrift seizes Tulagi and half built Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal later to become known as Henderson Field.

8 August: Guadalcanal. US submarine S-38 sinks Meiyo Maru Japan troop transport bound for Guadalcanal. 342 Japanese soldiers drown.

New Guinea: Japan’s 25th Air Flotilla begins air raids on Milne Bay.

Guadalcanal: Saburai Sako’s Zero versus Wildcat dogfight with James ‘Pug’ Sutherland over Guadalcanal.

8-9 August: Guadalcanal: The Battle of Savo Island. Surface naval battle delivers a crushing victory for Japan with 3 US heavy cruisers and one Australian cruiser sunk.

20 August: Guadalcanal: Henderson Field airstrip completed and flight operations of the Cactus Air Force starts.

21 August: Guadalcanal: The Battle of Tenaru. Ist Marines repulse Japan’s first assault on Henderson Field.

24 August: Guadalcanal: The Battle of the East Solomons. US carriers Saratoga and Enterprise led by Admiral Jack Fletcher win carrier battle, sinking the light carrier Ryujo and shooting down 75 Japanese aircraft.

25 August: New Guinea: The Battle of Milne Bay. First significant land battle defeat of Japanese forces under the command of Australian General Wootten.

Guadalcanal: Captain Tanaka fails to bring food, munitions and reinforcements convoy to Guadalcanal.

26 August: New Guinea: The Battle of Isurava. Australians pushed back again on the Kokoda Trail.

31 August: Guadalcanal: Admiral Slew McCain, a naval aviator appointed Commander of Air South Pacific makes first visit to Guadalcanal.

Pacific Ocean: USS Saratoga torpedoed by I-26 but manages to reach port for repair.


5 September: New Guinea: The Battle of Brigade Hill (Efogi/Mission Hill): MacArthur, unaware of conditions and enemy strength demands that Brigadier Potts advances.

9 September: America: Japanese seaplane drops incendiary bombs on forests of Oregon.

12-14 September: Guadalcanal: Battle of Edson’s Ridge (Bloody Ridge). Marine repel Japanese attack on Henderson Field’s southern perimeter.

13 September: Russia. Battle of Stalingrad begins.

15 September: Guadalcanal: USS Wasp, a fleet carrier is sunk off Guadalcanal by Japanese submarine I-19.

23 -27 September: Guadalcanal: Battle of Manatikau River. Over ambitious flanking attack on Japanese lines repelled and US Marine survivors rescued by destroyer USS Monssen.

27 September: Burma: First Battle of Arakan. British Army defeated on the southwest border of Burma adjacent to the Bay of Bengal.


10-23 October: Guadalcanal: Wildcat pilot Joe Foss scores 11 kills in fourteen days.

11-12 October: Guadalcanal: The Battle of Cape Esperance. US surface naval victory but Japanese reinforcements get through to Guadalcanal.

13 October: Guadalcanal: 164th Infantry Regiment reinforces Marines on Guadalcanal.

14-17 October: Guadalcanal: Henderson Field bombarded by Japanese warships.

18 October: Noumea: Admiral Nimitz replaces Admiral Ghormley with Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey.

24 October: Guadalcanal: The Battle of Henderson Field. General Maruyama makes a flanking movement through dense mountainous jungle to make attack Henderson Field from the south.

26 October: Guadalcanal: The Battle of Santa Cruz Island. Admiral Kinkaid loses USS Hornet in carrier battle to the east of the Solomon Islands but Japan loses 99 aircraft to 81 US aircraft lost.

31 October: Guadalcanal: Shattered remnants of Maruyama’s force get back to the coast.


1 November: Guadalcanal: General Vandegrift orders Lt. Col Carlson’s 2nd Raiders to pursue Shoji’s fleeing Japanese troops from Koli Point.

8 November: North Africa: Operation Torch begins US invasion of North Africa.

10-11 November: New Guinea: The Battle of Oivi and Gorari. Heavy defeat for General Horii on retreat over the Kokoda Trail.

13-15 November: Guadalcanal: The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. After the most brutal surface engagement of the Pacific War, the US have lost two light cruisers, four destroyers as well as two heavy cruisers severely damaged. Japan have lost the Hiei, the first battleship ever lost by the Japanese Navy. The battle is a tactical victory for Japan but a strategic victory for the US because supplies failed to reach Japan’s troops on Guadalcanal.

Guadalcanal: Second Naval Battles of Guadalcanal. Another bruising surface encounter with both sides suffering heavy losses. Most reinforcements and supplies fail to reach the now starving Japanese troops on Guadalcanal. Overall the two battles are a strategic victory for the US. In a war of attrition Japan needed tactical and strategic victories. Nimitz and Halsey were confident that Guadalcanal was one of these two naval engagements.

20 November: New Guinea: General Harding leading the US 32nd Division is thwarted in his first attack on the heavily defend garrison at Buna. Faulty US intelligence on strength of Japanese forces and sophistication of bunker systems.

27 November: America: Soong Meiling arrives in New York for a 6-month propaganda tour during which she becomes the first private citizen and woman to speak to a joint session of the US Congress. She later speaks to a packed out Hollywood Bowl and treated as royalty by the Hollywood elite including Henry Fonda, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland and Spencer Tracey.

29 November: New Guinea: Frustrated and out of touch MacArthur sacks Harding and replaces him with General Eichelberger at Buna.

30 November: Solomons: Battle of Tassafaronga. 3 cruisers heavily damaged and 1 sunk in crushing defeat by Japanese destroyer torpedo attacks.


1 December: India: Generals Wavell (British) and Stilwell American agree to build the Ledo Road from Ledo in northeast India to Bhamo in central Burma to link up with the Burma Road to Kunming. The building would require 35,000 local workers and 15,000 American soldiers (60% of them Black).

2 December: America: Enrico Fermi, Italian Nobel prize-winning scientist achieves first nuclear chain reaction in test in a squash court at Chicago University.

9 December: New Guinea: Japanese garrison at Gona taken by Australian forces led by Lt. Colonel Honner.

17 December: India-Burma: Operation NIBBLE AND CANDY. General Irwin starts the First Arakan Campaign in southwest Burma.

30 December: America: First test flight of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.

31 December: Japan: Emperor Hirohito agrees to withdrawal of troops from Guadalcanal.

The Battle of the Barents Sea between British and German ships.


2 January: New Guinea: Australian and US forces take Buna after 6-week campaign.

14 January: Morocco: SYMBOL Conference. Churchill and Roosevelt meet in Casablanca. Agreed that 30 per cent of war material should go to the Pacific Theater.

16-31 January: New Georgia: The Battle of Wau. General Okabe launches attack on Wau but is repulsed.

22 January: New Guinea: The Battle of Buna, Gona and Sananda. Australian forces defeat Japanese and occupy the garrison Sanananda thus ending one of the hardest fought land battles of the Pacific War.

23 January: North Africa: Montgomery’s Eighth Army takes Tripoli.

24 January: Morocco: At Casablanca President Roosevelt demands unconditional surrender by Japan and calls for their barbaric leaders to be punished.


2 February: Burma: General Wingate and 3,000 Chindits cross into Burma to conduct guerilla operations behind Japanese lines in an known as Long Range Penetration 1.

Russia: General Paulus surrenders to General Zhukov at Stalingrad.

8 February: Guadalcanal: Japanese forces secretly withdraw from Guadalcanal. 32,000 out of the 43,000 Japanese troops deployed died during the campaign – a death toll 20 times higher than the 1,592 American troops killed.

Russia: Soviet troops retake Kursk.

MARCH 1943

2-4 March: New Guinea: The Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Japanese troop transports bound for Lae in southeast New Guinea destroyed.

APRIL 1943

14 April: New Guinea: Major bombing attacks launched by Yamamoto against US bases at Milne Bay and Port Moresby. Japanese pilots report great victories but little damage is done.

Burma: General Slim replaces General Irwin as commander of the Fourteenth Army on the India-Burma frontier.

18 April: Bougainville: Admiral Yamamoto assassinated by 18 P-38 fighters, which intercept his flight to the south of Bougainville Island.

19 April: Poland: Jewish Warsaw ghetto uprising.

22 April: Japan: Japan announces that captured Allied pilots will be executed.

MAY 1943

12 May: America: TRIDENT Conference. Churchill and Roosevelt meet in Washington. Admiral King, Commander in Chief United States Fleet, wins go ahead for thrust through the central Pacific in spite of MacArthur’s objections.

General Chennault and Chiang Kai-shek win Roosevelt’s support for the build up of the 14th Army Airforce in China to 500 planes by the end of November 1943.

Operation CARTWHEEL for the two pronged attack on Rabaul is approved at Trident: MacArthur up the east coast of New Guinea and Halsey advancing north through the Solomon Islands.

19 May: America: Strategic Plan for the Defeat of Japan presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Economic blockade, bombing of Japanese industrial infrastructure and finally invasion.

31 May: America: US forces complete recapture of the Aleutian Islands.

JUNE 1943

30 June: New Georgia: US troops invade New Georgia Island at its southern tip Segi Point and neighboring Rendova Island.

New Georgia: Win/loss ratio in air battles rises to 13:1 from 3:1 in April.

Poland: The liquidation of all Jewish ghettos in Poland is ordered by Himmler.

JULY 1943

2 July: New Georgia: General Hester leads amphibious landing of US 43rd Division at Zannana and launches assault toward Munda Airfield.

5-6 July: Kolombangra: The Battle of Kulu Gulf. Supply convoy by 10 destroyers bound for New Georgia intercepted by Admiral Ainsworth with three cruisers and four destroyers in Kulu Gulf.

9-10 July: Italy: Allies land in Sicily.

15 July: New Georgia: Halsey replaces General Hester with General Griswold after the advance on Munda Airfield becomes stuck.

24 July: Germany: British bombing raids on Hamburg kill 60,000.


1-2 August: Kolombangra Island: J.F. Kennedy’s PT boat sunk in collision with Japanese destroyer off Kolombangra Island (Solomons). Leading his crew, he swims to safety on Plum Pudding Island.

5 August: New Georgia: Munda Point on New Georgia (Solomons) finally taken by General Griswold.

6-7 August: Solomons: Battle of Vella Gulf.

14 August: New Georgia: Seabees make Munda serviceable for flights. Within two months it becomes the busiest airfield in the Solomon Islands.

12 August: Southeast New Guinea: Mount Tambu taken on the advance from Wau to Salamaua.

16-21 August: North Coast New Guinea: Bombing and destruction of the airfields at the Japanese garrison of Wewak on the north New Guinea coast.

17 August: Canada: QUADRANT Conference. Churchill and Roosevelt meet in Quebec. It is agreed that Rabaul should now be bypassed.


11 September: New Guinea: Australian and US forces recapture Salamaua.

16 September: New Guinea: Australians occupy Lae on the Gulf of Huon.

22 September: New Guinea: Battle of Finschhafen. Australian and US troops land at Finschhafen on the easternmost tip of the Huon Peninsula.


1 October: Italy: Allies enter Naples.

7 October: Wake Island: 100 American POWs murdered by Japanese commander on Wake Island.

25 October: New Guinea: Finschhafen taken by MacArthur’s forces after General Katagiri orders his forces to retreat to Sattelberg, a monastery situated high on the eatern tip of the Huon Peninsula.

28 October: Solomons: Admiral Halsey launches diversionary raids on Choiseul Island to the southeast of Bougainville.

31 October: India: Rag-tag group of soldiers, the 5307th Composite Unit, later known as Merrill’s Marauders after Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Merrill, arrive in India.


1 November: Bougainville: US Marines land at Cape Torokina at the northern head of Empress Augusta Bay on the east coast half way up Bougainville.

2 November: Bougainville: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay: (off Bougainville Island) Admiral Merrill scores a minor victory in a surface engagement. It is the last major sea battle of the Solomons campaign.

5 November: New Britain: Led by Admiral Sherman carriers USS Saratoga and USS Princeton successfully raid Rabaul to help relieve pressure on Halsey at Empress Augusta Bay. As a result of this successful attack Admiral Koga withdraws his naval forces back to Truk Atoll. Koga’s air fleet crews ‘loaned’ to Rabaul destroyed. It would take 6 month to replace them.

11 November: New Britain: Admiral Montgomery with Task Force 38 (including carriers USS Bunker Hill, USS Essex and USS Independence) joins Admiral Sherman for another attack on Rabaul.

20 November: Tarawa Atoll: Battle of Tarawa: 2nd Marines lead assault on the heavily defended Tarawa Atoll. More marines killed in four days than in six months on Guadalcanal.

Bougainville: Battle of Piva Forks: (at Empress Augusta Bay) is won as Thanksgiving Day ends.

25 November: Battle of Cape St. George: In the final engagement of the Solomons campaign Captain Burke’s 45th Destroyer Division (five destroyers) ambush a supply convoy to Bougainville and sink 3 Japanese destroyers.

27 November: New Guinea: Battle of Sattelberg: Month-long battle ends with General Katagiri retreating westwards along the north coast of New Guinea toward Madang.

23 November: Egypt: SEXTANT Conference: Meeting in Cairo between Churchill, Roosevelt and Chiang Kai-shek.

28 November: Iran: EUREKA Conference: Meeting in Tehran between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.


1 December: Egypt: Cairo Declaration announces that Manchuria, the Pescadores Islands and Formosa would be returned to China while Korea would become independent.

China: Chiang Kai-shek returns home in triumph.

4-6 December: Egypt: SEXTANT Conference continued in Cairo with Churchill and Roosevelt.

15 December: New Britain: Battle of Arawe (south western tip of New Britain Island).

18 December: Bougainville: Battle of Hellzapoppin Ridge. At Empress Augusta Bay General Geiger takes Hellzappopin Ridge after 10-day battle. Clearance of Japanese artillery enables the completion of airfields at Piva Uncle and Piva Yoke.

26 December: New Britain: Battle of Cape Gloucester. 1st Marine Division led by General Rupertus makes an amphibious landing at Cape Gloucester on the western tip of New Britain Island.

27 December: Burma: The Ledo Road being built by General Stilwell reaches Shimbwiyang in northwest Burma.

30 December: Burma: General Slim’s 14th Army advances into the Arakan. (2nd Arakan Campaign).

India: 32,000 Chinese troops under General Sun, Stiwell’s X-Force, being trained at Ramgarh, Bihar State (now Jharkhand).


1 January: China: Chiang Kai-shek warns that the Europe first policy would leave China open to a new Japanese offensive.

6 January: Poland: Soviet advance takes them into Poland.

7 January: Burma: Battle of the Admin Box. A Japanese flanking attack on the British advance into the Arakan tests out Slim’s new tactics of ordering his troops to defend stockades that would then be supplied by air. The ‘Admin Box’ was the most famous of these stockade actions.

15 January: America: John Patton Davies Jr. suggests that Mao Zedong’s Communists are just agricultural reformers and should be supported by the US. Gives the idea for the Dixie Mission.

22 January: Italy: Allies land at Anzio in south west Italy.

31 January: Marshall Islands: US troops invade Kwajalein Atoll.

New Guinea: Battle of Shaggy Ridge. After a two-month battle General Adaachi’s forces retreat    toward the coast and Madang.


1-7 February: Marshall Islands: Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls seized.

8 February: Burma: General Wingate starts LRP 2 (Long Range Penetration 2) his second guerilla campaign behind Japanese lines.

16-17 February: Truk Atoll: In Operation Hailstone Admiral Mitscher’s fast carrier group destroys Japan’s main Pacific garrison at Truk Atoll.

17 February: Marshall Islands: Admiral Spruance launches an amphibious landing on Eniwetok.

17-18 February: Caroline Islands: Admiral Mitscher’s fast carrier fleet destroys the main Japanese naval garrison at Truk Atol in the Carolines.

New Guinea: First engagement by Australian troops with Japanese forces at Saidor.

20 February: New Britain: Carrier and land based planes attack Japanese naval and aviation garrison at Rabaul.

22 February: Mariana Islands: Admiral Mitscher raids the Marianas in Operation Cherrytree.

23 February: Mariana Islands: Mitscher’s fast carrier group bombards the Marianas.

Burma: The siege of the Admin Box in the Arakan is finally relieved after six weeks.

24 February: Burma: Merril’s Marauders begin their march into northern Burma.

New Britain: General Matsuda orders all his forces to withdraw eastwards from Cape Gloucester toward Rabaul at the eastern tip of New Britain.

29 February: Admiralty Islands: MacArthur brings forward the invasion date by two weeks and makes risky amphibious attack on Los Negros Island on the northern lip of the Bismarck Archipelago.

MARCH 1944

5 March: Burma: General Wingate’s Long Range Penetration 2 starts operations behind Japanese lines in Burma.

6 March: Burma-India: General Mutaguchi launches Operation U-Go with the invasion of India’s eastern border.

9 March: Bismarck Archipelago: MacArthur secures spectacular and unexpectedly rapid victory at the Battle of Los Negros.

15 March: Burma: The Battle of Imphal and Kohima. General Slim’s 14th Army engages with Japanese forces invading India which ends with the annihilation of General Mutaguchi’s army three months later.

23 March: Bougainville: General Kanda’s suicidal counterattack at Empress Augusta Bay is destroyed with 3,000 soldiers killed in one night.

30 March: Bougainville: General Hyakutake requests permission from Tokyo to retreat from Empress Augusta Bay with his battere forces.

New Guinea: Devastating attack by 75 Liberator B-24s on Hollandia’s air fields, their main garrison on New Guinea.

31 March: The Philippines: Admiral Koga, Commander of the Combine Fleet after the death of Yamamoto, is killed when his plane crashes in a typhoon.

APRIL 1944

9 April: India: Battle of Kohima. 1,200 British troops pushed back to Garrison Ridge in the hill top village of Kohima located on the main road north from Imphal to the train junction and logistic center at Dimapur.

15 April: New Guinea: Australians complete the clearance of Japanese forces from the Huon Peninsula.

19 April: China: Operation ICHIGO starts as Japanese Army sweeps through Central China.

22 April: New Guinea: Battle of Hollandia. MacArthur’s flanking amphibious attack on main Japanese garrison in northern New Guinea.

29 April: India: Battle of the Tennis Court (Kohima). Five day battle ends after British tanks manage to crash down on the court.

MAY 1944

12 May: Crimea: Germans surrender in the Crimea.

16 May: Burma: Battle of Myitkyina. Stilwell’s Marauders and General Sun’s X-Force win a surprise battle when they emerge from the jungles to take the airfield at Myitkyina, the strategically located city on the main routes and railway lines and rivers in northern Burma.

20 May: India: Mutaguchi attacks Bishenpur, the gateway to the Imphal Plain in Manipur Province. The Battle of Imphal starts.

27 May: New Guinea: Battle of Biak. Hard fought battle on an island off the northwest coast of New Guinea as Colonel Nayuki uses a withdrawn defence for the first time. Copied thereafter by Japanese commanders in future island battles.

China: Battle of Changsha. Operation Togo-I (second part of Operation ICHIGO) is launched by Field Marshal Hata who orders Japan’s 13th Army to advance on Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province.

JUNE 1944

2 June: India: Battle of Imphal. Mutaguchi’s final attempt to break through to Imphal fails.

China: General Hata, Commander of Japan’s China Expeditionary Army is promoted to Field Marshall.

4 June: Pacific Ocean: USS Shark and USS Pintado sink 7 vessels in convoy on the way to Saipan. Loss of an aggregate 24,000 tons of shipping and 4,000 out of 10,000 drowned.

5 June: Thailand: 77 B-29 Superfortress make first raid on rail facilities in Bangkok, Thailand.

Italy: Allies enter Rome.

6 June: France: D-Day landings in Normandy by the Allies starts the attempt to retake mainland Europe from the Nazis.

8-10 June: Bougainville: Battle of Porton Plantation. Japanese forces destroy Australian amphibious landing at Porton Plantation on Bougainville.

13 June: Great Britain: Germany launches first V-1 rocket attacks on Britain.

14 June: New Guinea: Battle of Lone Tree Hill. Amphibious landing by US troops at Maffin Bay.

15 June: Saipan: 682 vessel armada assembled for the invasion of Saipan.

15-16 June: Japan: 47 B-29s based in Bengal attack steel works at Iwata – the first B-29 attack on Japan.

18 June: China: US B-29 Superfortress bomber base at Hengyang Airfield is under siege by General Hata’s 13th Army.

Emperor Hirohito warns General Tojo that Saipan has to be held. Saipan considered a home island.

19 June: Philippine Sea: The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot (The Battle of the Philippine Sea). Three Japanese fleet carriers sunk including their newest carrier Taiho and almost the entirety of their air fleet destroyed.

Iwo Jima: General Kuribayashi arrives on Iwo Jima to coordinate the defense of the island.

22 June: Burma: Battles of Imphal and Kohima ends. Pursuit of Mutaguchi’s fleeing army begins. Mutaguchi’s army suffers 65,000 killed out of 90,000 troops.

23 June: Burma: Battle of Mogaung. In northern Burma, Lieutenant-Colonel Calvert with remants of Wingate LRP 2 captures the strategically important town of Mogaung on the road to Myitkyina from Mandalay.

27 June: New Guinea: Battle of Biak: US troops overrun Biak but only after General Krueger replaces General Fuller with General Eichelberger.

JULY 1944

1 July: America: BRETTON WOODS Conference: Bureaucrats and economists meet to discuss post-war fiscal and monetary arrangements. Arrangements and accords led to the setting up of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which became an important part of the World Bank.

Saipan: Emperor Hirohito sends an imperial rescript that encourages Saipan’s civilians to commit suicide. Up to 20,000 civilians may have perished on Saipan.

9 July: Mariana Islands: Saipan falls to US forces and construction begins for facilities for a B-29 Superfortress base from which to bomb Japan.

18 July: Japan: General Tojo resigns as prime minister.

24 July: Mariana Islands: US troops land on Tinian and Guam.


3 August: Burma: The Battle of Myitkyina. The two-month siege of the town comes to an end.

4 August: New Guinea: Battle of Driniumor River. General Adachi forced to retreat back to Wewak after their advance to Aitape is thrown back at the Driniumor River.

Holland: Anne Frank and family arrested by the Gestapo in Amsterdam.

10 August: China: Battle of Henyang. The battle ends with the surrender of the Chinese 10th Corps and the loss of Hengyang and Lingling Airfields after 51-day siege.


12 September: Canada: OCTOGON Conference in Quebec between Churchill and Roosevelt.

13 September: Germany: US troops reach the Siegfried Line in western Germany.

15 September: Molucca Islands: MacArthur invades Morotai Island (Dutch East Indies) with 50,000 troops and easily overcomes the weak Japanese defense. Turned into a military and air base for the invasion of the Philippines.

Palau: Battle of Peleliu. Nimitz invades Palau Island in the western Pacific adjacent to the Philippines.

23 September: Ulithi Atoll: Admiral Nimitz takes Ulithi Atoll unopposed in order to build the major logistics base for the US Pacific Fleet. Ulithi Atoll’s lagoon can take over 700 ships.


4 October: China: Stilwell realizes that Washington has no intention of sending more troops to China. An embittered Stilwell loses any hope that China will be the launchpad for an invasion of Japan.

9 October: Russia: TOLSTOY Conference: Meeting in Moscow between Churchill, Stalin, Molotov and Eden.

The Philippines: General Yamashita is brought out the retirement forced on him by a jealous Tojo and arrives in Manila to take the place of General Kuroda.

11 October: Japan: US Air raids against Okinawa.

20 October: The Philippines: General Krueger commands the amphibious landings at Leyte Gulf. MacArthur lands in the Philippines at Leyte Gulf: he famously declares ‘I have returned’.

23-25 October: The Philippines: Battle of Leyte Gulf. In spite of Admiral Halsey’s mistake in falling for a decoy fleet, the US effectively wipes of the Imperial Japanese Navy as an offensive entity. Consists of four battles including the Battle of Sibuyan Sea in which the superbattleship Musashi is sunk. Admiral Kinkaid’s 7th Fleet engages in the last battleship engagement in history and annihilates the Japanese southern force. Admiral Halsey 3rd Fleet follows the decoy ‘ghost’ carrier fleet, which it destroys at the Battle of Cape Engano. Admiral Sprague is fortunate to survive when his escort carriers are left undefended by Halsey. Admiral Kurita calls off the pursuit of Sprague’s escort carriers just as they seemed doomed.

25 October: The Philippines: The first planned Kamikaze operations against the US fleet.


2 November: The Philippines: US 24th Infantry take Cariga on Leyte Island.

Battle of Dagami. General Hodge battles to take Dagami heights in an 8-day battle.

10 November: China: Wang Jingwei, Japan’s puppet ruler made head of the Chinese government in Nanking dies of pneumonia.

11 November: Iwo Jima: Iwo Jima bombarded by US Navy.

13 November: Leyte Island: The Battle of Breakneck Ridge: The Battle of Kilay Ridge: A protracted engagement begins which is relieved when General Krueger persuades MacArthur to let him do an amphibious flanking movement at Ormoc.

27 November: Leyte Island: Suicide mission by Japanese paratroopers to take the American airfields at Leyte Gulf. Repelled by General Swing’s 11th Airborne Division after an action lasting two weeks.


10 December: Leyte Island: The town of Ormoc taken and Leyte Island secured apart from Japanese guerilla action that continues for several months.

15 December: The Philippines: US troops invade Mindoro in the Philippines.

16-27 December: Belgium: German counterattack in the Ardennes is defeated at the Battle of the Bulge.

18 December: Pacific Ocean: Admiral Halsey’s mistakes in seamanship take the 3rd Fleet into the eye of Typhoon Cobra causing the most damage to the US Navy since Pearl Harbor. At the subsequent inquiry Halsey is reprimanded but escapes punishment.

24 December: The Philipinnes. MacArthur for the second time announces the end of the campaign on Leyte Island in spite of there being 61,800 Japanese soldiers still active on the island. General Tomochika later estimated that some 49,790 had been killed by the time he left the island on 17 March 1945.


3 January: Australia: MacArthur given command of the invasion of Japan.

4 January: Burma: British Army occupies Akyab in southwest Burma.

9 January: The Philippines: US 6th Army invades Luzon (northern Philippines) at Lingayen Bay, 80 miles north west of Manila.

Saipan: General Hansell relieved of command of XXI Bomber Command and replaced by General LeMay.

10 January: Burma: Battle of the Irrawaddy River. General Frank Messervy advances on Pakkoku with IV Corps.

25 January: Burma: The Burma Road is reopened with the completion of the Ledo Road. The Burma-Ledo Road manages to bring a maximum of 6,000 tons per month to China versus 90,000 tons via the Hump.

29 January: The Philippines: US Rangers rescue 7,000 troops who had been locked up at Cabanatum Prison.


3 February: The Philippines: US 6th Army attacks Japanese in Manila.

Lt. Colonel ‘Hack’ Conner races to Santo Tomas University with his 1st Rangers to rescue civilian inmates of the prison camp.

7 February: The Philippines: MacArthur visits the outskirts of Manila where he announces the fall of Manila even though the fighting had barely begun.

14 February: Burma: General Messervy crosses the Irrawaddy River south of Mandalay and races toward the strategically important town of Meiktila whose capture will cut off the army in north Burma from its suppy routes from Rangoon.

Germany: Dresden is destroyed by firebombing in Allied raids.

15 February: Iwo Jima: Naval barrage of Iwo Jima begins.

16 February: The Philippines: US troops recapture Bataan.

19 February: Iwo Jima: US troops make amphibious landing on Iwo Jima.

24 February: Iwo Jima: US flag raised on Mount Suribachi and Joe Rosenthal takes his iconic photograph.

MARCH 1945

2 March: The Philippines: Corregidor recaptured.

3 March: The Philippines. US troops finally take Manila.

Burma: Strategically important town of Meiktila captured by Slim’s 14th Army.

9-10 March: Japan: Great Tokyo Air Raid organized by General LeMay. 346 B-29 Superfortresses kill 100,000 inhabitants by setting the city alight with incendiaries.

10 March: The Philippines. US army invades Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines.

15 March: The Philippines: Without authorization MacArthur embarks on Operation Victor to wipe out Japanese resistance in non-strategic areas including Mindanao on 15 March and Borneo on 1 May.

20 March: Burma: Mandalay in central Burma falls to General Slim’s 14th Army. Lord Mountbatten and General Leese rebuke General Slim for holding a victory march into Mandalay without them.

24 March: Iwo Jima: Japanese defense of Iwo Jima finally brought to an end. General Kuribayashi’s body never found.

27 March: Japan: Start of mine-laying campaign by B-29s in the Shimoneseki Strait.

APRIL 1945

1 April: Okinawa: US Army led by General Buckner invades Okinawa.

Germany: US troops encircle German Army on the Rhine.

5 April: Okinawa: Admiral Spruance has to move his flag from the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis to the battleship USS New Mexico after the Indianapolis is hit by a Kamikaze.

7 April: Okinawa: Japanese superbattleship sunk by Mitscher’s fast carrier group aircraft as it head towards Okinawa.

12 April: America: President Franklin Roosevelt dies. Vice-President Truman sworn into office.

Iwo Jima: 22nd Marines reach the northern tip of Okinawa.

26 April: Okinawa: Mount Shuri falls.

30 April: Burma: Amphibious landing by Lord Mountbatten takes Rangoon as General Slim’s 14th Army is hammering south 40 miles north of the city.

Berlin: Hitler commits suicide in his bunker in Berlin.

MAY 1945

2 May: Italy: German troops in Italy surrender.

7 May: Europe: Unconditional surrender of all German Armies.

17 May: Burma: General Leese attempts to sack General Slim with Mountbatten connivance but Leese himself is sent packing back to England and is replaced by Slim.

20 May: Japan: starts withdrawal of troops from China.

25 May: America: Operation Olympic approved in Washington for the invasion of Kyushu Island, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

31 May: America: Nuclear facility at Hanford (Washington) produces enough plutonium to enable critical mass experiments to start.

JUNE 1945

22 June: Okinawa: Formal Japanese resistance on Okinawa ends. Commanders General Ushijima and General Cho commit seppuku.

JULY 1945

1 July: German: Allied troops, US, British and French move into Berlin.

4 July: America: Combined Policy Committee (including British representatives) given formal approval for use of atom bomb against Japan.

5 July: Philippines: Liberation of the Philippines declared by MacArthur though heavy fighting continues until the surrender of Japan on 15 August.

10 July: Japan: 1,000 bomber raid against the Japanese mainland. By the end of General Curtis LeMay’s incendiary bombing campaign almost 1 in 3 Japanese houses have been burnt to the ground. Some cities had over 80 per cent of their housing stock burnt out.

16 July: America: atom bomb successfully tested in the Jornada de Muerto desert in New Mexico.

17 July: Potsdam: News of the successful testing of the atom bomb is delivered to Truman.

POTSDAM Conference begins with Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin in attendance.

25 July: Potsdam: Truman tells Stalin that they have a destructive new weapon to use against Japan. Stalin encourages its use but immediately berates his military subordinates to get their own nuclear efforts up to speed.

26 July: Tinian: USS Indianapolis docks at Tinian with atom bomb on board.

Potsdam Declaration calls for the unconditional surrender of Japan otherwise utter destruction is threatened. The declaration is made in the knowledge that the US has the power to do this now the atom bomb has been successfully trialed in New Mexico.

Labour leader Attlee, after winning the British election, replaces Churchill at Potsdam.

27 July: America: Using intercepted Japanese diplomatic traffic a US Naval Intelligence Unit report suggests that the Japanese leaders were still unwilling to surrender.

29 July: Pacific Ocean: USS Indianapolis sunk by submarine resulting in 881 American crewmen los.


6 August: Japan: Enola Gay drops atom bomb on Hiroshima killing 60,000 inhabitants.

8 August: Russia: The Soviet Union declares war on Japan.

9 August: Japan: Atom bomb is dropped on Nagasaki but war cabinet led by General Anami, War Minister, believe that better peace terms can be negotiated with the United States.

10 August: Japan: Emperor Hirohito announces to his senior ministers that Japan must surrender. Cable is sent to neutral embassies in Bern (Switzerland) and Stockholm (Sweden).

12 August: America: Tokyo receives message from US Secretary of State Byrnes that the terms of the Japanese surrender, vague on the subject of conditionality regarding the position of the Emperor, are accepted.

13 August: Japan: War Council in Tokyo still remains deadlocked on issue of surrender. Generals Anami and Umezu, joined by Prime Minister Suzuki recommend rejection.

14 August: Japan: Emperor Hirohito announces Japan’s unconditional surrender.


2 September: The Philippines: General Yamashita ‘the Tiger of Malaya’ captured.


24 October: United Nations comes into being.

FRANCIS PIKE: Hirohito’s War, The Pacific War 1941-45, [Bloomsbury 2015]

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