Contents - Hirohito's War
27 Jump to Hollandia: MacArthur’s Greatest Victory
[March 1944–October 1944]
[Maps: 27.1, 27.2, 27.3, 27.4, 27.5, 27.6]
Intelligence, Deception and the Jump to Hollandia (Jayapura) (p 770) General Kenney Makes Good on His Promises of Air Domination (p 774) Landings at Hollandia (p 776) The Battle of Biak Island (p 779) The Battle of Lone Tree Hill (p 782) The Battle of Driniumor River (The Battle of Aitape) (p 784) The Battle of Morotai Island (p 786) Strategies of the New Guinea Campaign (p 786) General Adachi’s Last Words of Pathos, Love, Death and Redemption (p 790)
While Chinese forces were engaged in their long drawn-out war of attrition with Japan on the Asian mainland, the main Allied strategic thrust continued through the Pacific and in New Guinea. In the opening months of 1944, while General Shunroku Hata was planning the IC HI-GO Campaign in central China, MacArthur and his staff were planning to roll up Japanese forces garrisoned along the northern coast of New Guinea.
Intelligence, Deception and the Jump to Hollandia (Jayapura): [Map: 27.1] With control of the air and sea virtually complete, MacArthur could afford to bypass the remaining Japanese strongholds on the northwest coast of New Guinea. It was a move supported by extraordinarily detailed intelligence about Lieutenant-General Hatazo Adachi’s Eighteenth Army troop dispositions. As a result of obtaining the codes captured at Sio, MacArthur informed Marshall, “. . . the enemy has concentrated the mass of his ground forces in the Madang-Wewak area, leaving relatively weak forces in the Hollandia area. He is attempting to concentrate land-based air forces in the area of western New Guinea and is developing additional fields in order to concentrate this area into a bulwark of air defense.”1 Formerly Army Codes had been impenetrable. Now MacArthur knew that the bulk of Adachi’s Eighteenth Army was waiting for him at Hansa Bay while Hollandia was lightly defended. The jump to Hollandia was a self-evident strategy.
In hindsight it is clear that Japan was already defeated on New Guinea. Although there remained 350,000 Japanese troops in the Southwest Pacific region, because of American dominance of land and air, it was almost impossible to move them or indeed supply them. US air power had forced the Japanese Combined Fleet to flee to the Philippines and ports even further to the west. As a result Japan’s expensively constructed submarine fleet became virtually the only means of transport to Lieutenant-General Hatazo Adachi’s land-locked forces. The knock-on effect of the use of submarines as little more than cargo vessels severely reduced their effectiveness in interdicting the American naval advance across the Pacific as well as fatally undermining the morale of Japanese submariners.
For MacArthur a new strategic direction now offered itself. From 1942 until the beginning of 1944 MacArthur had been a firm advocate of taking enemy strongholds, such as Rabaul, head on. In spite of the example of the Battle of Buna-Gona-Sananander,