Pacific Theater Timeline By Tyler Mcwherter

  • Battle of Java Sea

    Battle of Java Sea
    On December 8, 1941, an Allied naval officer might reasonably have thought to himself “It’s not that bad.Really, could be worse.” The United States Navy (USN) could still pack a punch, and it could rely on assistance from the Royal Navy, the Royal Dutch Navy, and the Commonwealth navies.
    Over the next three months the Japanese would take advantage of Allied confusion at every level to win a series of devastating victories over Allied naval forces.
  • Battle of Java Sea

    Battle of Java Sea
    The Battle of Java Sea, fought on February 27, 1942, marked the high tide of Japanese naval power in the Pacific. Poor organization, strategic confusion, inter-service competition, and national infighting doomed an Allied task force to destruction at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Navy, opening the door to the conquest of Java and the rest of Southeast Asia. Indeed, the Battle of Java Sea is the nightmare that American naval planners have when they hear terms like “offshore balancing.”
  • The Battle of Java Sea

    The Battle of Java Sea
    The Battle of Java Sea, fought on February 27, 1942, marked the high tide of Japanese naval power in the Pacific. Poor organization, strategic confusion, inter-service competition, and national infighting doomed an Allied task force to destruction at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Navy, opening the door to the conquest of Java and the rest of Southeast Asia. Indeed, the Battle of Java Sea is the nightmare that American naval planners have when they hear terms like “offshore balancing.”
  • _Pearl Harbor

    _Pearl Harbor
    Just before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The barrage lasted just two hours, but it was devastating: The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan; Congress approved his declaration with just one dissenting vote. Three days later, Japanese allies Germany and Italy also declared war on the United States, and again Congress reciprocated. More than two years into the conflict, America had finally joined World War II
  • doolittle raids

    On this day in 1942, 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, attack the Japanese mainland. The now-famous Tokyo Raid did little real damage to Japan (wartime Premier Hideki Tojo was inspecting military bases during the raid; one B-25 came so close, Tojo could see the pilot, though the American bomber never fired a shot)–but it did hurt the Japanese government’s prestige.
  • Doolittle Raids

    Doolittle Raids
    Believing the air raid had been launched from Midway Island, approval was given to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s plans for an attack on Midway–which would also damage Japanese “prestige.” Doolittle was eventually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • Battle of Coral Sea

    Battle of Coral Sea
    This four-day World War II skirmish in May 1942 marked the first air-sea battle in history. The Japanese were seeking to control the Coral Sea with an invasion of Port Moresby in southeast New Guinea, but their plans were intercepted by Allied forces. When the Japanese landed in the area, they came under attack from the aircraft carrier planes of the American task force commanded by Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher.
  • Battle of Coral Sea

    Battle of Coral Sea
    Although both sides suffered damages to their carriers, the battle left the Japanese without enough planes to cover the ground attack of Port Moresby, resulting in a strategic Allied victory.
  • Battle of Midway

    Battle of Midway
    This fleet engagement between U.S. and Japanese navies in the north-central Pacific Ocean resulted from Japan’s desire to sink the American aircraft carriers that had escaped destruction at Pearl Harbor. Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, Japanese fleet commander, chose to invade a target relatively close to Pearl Harbor to draw out the American fleet, calculating that when the United States began its counterattack, the Japanese would be prepared to crush them.
  • island hopping

    island hopping
    June 1942, the US emerged from the Battle of Midway with naval superiority in the Pacific. General MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz seized the initiative, launching an ‘Island Hopping’ campaign. Their strategy was to capture the Pacific islands one by one, advancing towards Japan and bypassing and isolating centres of resistance. Macarthur and Nimitz planned a two pronged attack
  • Battle of Guadalcanal

    Battle of Guadalcanal
    The World War II Battle of Guadalcanal was the first major offensive and a decisive victory for the Allies in the Pacific theater. With Japanese troops stationed in this section of the Solomon Islands, U.S. marines launched a surprise attack in August 1942 and took control of an air base under construction. Reinforcements were funneled to the island as a series of land and sea clashes unfolded, and both sides endured heavy losses to their warship contingents. However, the Japanese suffered a far
  • Leyte Gulf

    Leyte Gulf
    This World War II clash followed the Allied landing at the Philippine island of Leyte in October 1944. The Japanese sought to converge three naval forces on Leyte Gulf, and successfully diverted the U.S. Third Fleet with a decoy. At the Suriago Strait, the U.S. Seventh Fleet destroyed one of the Japanese forces and forced a second one to withdraw. The third successfully traversed the San Bernadino Straight but also withdrew before attacking the Allied forces at Leyte. much of its surface fl
  • Iwo Jima

    Iwo Jima
    The American amphibious invasion of Iwo Jima during World War II stemmed from the need for a base near the Japanese coast. Following elaborate preparatory air and naval bombardment, three U.S. marine divisions landed on the island in February 1945. Iwo Jima was defended by roughly 23,000 Japanese army and navy troops, who fought from an elaborate network of caves, dugouts, tunnels and underground installations. Despite the difficulty of the conditions, the marines wiped out the defending forces
  • Okinawa

    Okinawa
    Having "island-hopped" across the Pacific, Allied forces sought to capture an island near Japan to serve as a base for air operations in support of the proposed invasion of the Home Islands. Assessing their options, the Allies decided to land on Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands. Dubbed Operation Iceberg, planning began with Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner's Tenth Army tasked with taking the island. The operation was scheduled to move forward following the conclusion of fighting on Iwo Jima.
  • Batlle of Okinawa

    Batlle of Okinawa
    To support the invasion at sea, Admiral Chester Nimitz assigned Admiral Raymond Spruance's US Fifth Fleet.
  • Bataan Death March

    Bataan Death March
    After the April 9, 1942, U.S. surrender of the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese during World War II (1939-45), the approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. The marchers made the trek in intense heat and were subjected to harsh treatment by Japanese guards. Thousands perished in what became known as the Bataan Death March.
  • Bombing of Hiroshima

    Bombing of Hiroshima
    At approximately 8.15am on 6 August 1945 a US B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly killing around 80,000 people. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, causing the deaths of 40,000 more. The dropping of the bombs, which occurred by executive order of US President Harry Truman, remains the only nuclear attack in history. In the months following the attack, roughly 100,000 more people died slow, horrendous deaths as a result of radiation
  • Bombing of Nagasaki

    Bombing of Nagasaki
    The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender. The United States had already planned to drop their second atom bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” on August 11 in the event of such recalcitrance, but bad weather expected for that day pushed the date up to August 9th. So at 1:56 a.m., a specially adapted B-29 bomber, called “Bock’s Car,” after its usual commander, Frederick Bock,
  • Bombing of Nagasaki

    Bombing of  Nagasaki
    took off from Tinian Island under the command of Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT. The hills that surrounded the city did a better job of containing the destructive force, but the number killed is estimated at anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000.
  • V-J Day

    V-J Day
    On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as “Victoryover Japan Day,” or simply “V-J Day.” The term has also been used for September 2, 1945, when Japan’s formal surrender took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. Coming several months after the surrender of Nazi Germany, Japan’s capitulation in the Pacific brought six years of
  • V-J Day

    V-J Day
    hostilities to a final and highly anticipated close.