A few months ago I met a 90-plus year-old American Army veteran of WW2 who recounted that he served the entire war in what I now believe to have been New Britain Island. Unfortunately, he passed away soon after, and I never got any detail from him about his experiences.
While history mentions a great deal about the events of WW2 before and after the Battle of New Britain Island, I have not been able to find a detailed, comprehensive book or even article about this hellish, grinding battle in which so many Allied servicemen lost life and limb while neutralizing 100,000 Japanese soldiers who would otherwise have killed far many more of us than they did.
Perhaps you could direct me to some resources?
retired USAF Tsgt
Dear Mr. Arvay,
The New Britain campaign was a rare case of Marines operating under Army command, as an offshoot of the New Guinea, rather than Solomons, campaign, with the aim of seizing, if not neutralizing Japanese air bases at places like Cape Gloucester and Rabaul. The oldest, but arguably still the best book on the subject would be Marines in World War II: The Campaign on New Britain, by Frank O.Hough, History Branch Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, which came out in 1952 and has been reprinted since. A more recent addition would be Marines on New Britain, Cape Gloucester and Rabaul, A Pictorial Record, by Eric Hammel, Pacifica Military History, Pacifica, Calif., 2012.
More Questions at Ask Mr. History
Don’t miss the next Ask Mr. History question! To receive notification whenever any new item is published on HistoryNet, just scroll down the column on the right and sign up for our RSS feed.