Japs Imperiled By Operation On New Britain
Marines using leap-frog tactics have advanced to within 170 miles of the Jap stronghold at Rabaul with a new landing near Talasea on mountainous Willaumez peninsula where light opposition was quickly overpowered. The new landing represented an advance of 110 miles and tightened the Allied squeeze on Rabaul.
Japanese on the peninsula were reported Thursday to be resisting bitterly. Marine shock troops were fighting to hold their beachhead against fanatical Jap counter assaults.
NEW ATOLL FALLS IN MARSHALL ISLES
Adm. Chester W. Nimitz reported Tuesday that American forces have occupied Majuro atoll in the Marshall Islands without opposition. The newly won island of Majuro, a German supply base before World War I, will provide a good anchorage and advance position in the mid-Pacific, Nimitz announced. No Japanese were found on the island. While Marines moved closer to Rabaul, South Pacific headquarters announced, the reinforced dismounted Ist Cavalry smashed a Jap counter-attack to establish firm control over Los Negros island in the Admiralty group, about 300 miles northwest.
On northeast New Guinea, troops which made an amphibious landing Tuesday within 20 miles of Japan’s Bogadjim fortress, advanced both east and west to capture the villages of Bibi and Ganglau.
10,000 ENEMY TROOPS ISOLATED IN MARSHALLS
The 10,000 enemy troops still in the Marshalls were cut off by fleet units, submarines and planes from possible reinforcement or supplies. Japanese in the Southwest Pacific are in the same fix, Tokyo radio admitted. And in the Solomons, Japanese troops once estimated at 30,000 wait for little ships that never come. The Marine landing on Willaumez peninsula, New Britain, was five miles northwest of Talasea.
Hitting the beach without benefit of naval bombardment, but well covered by fighter planes, the Leathernecks pushed forward toward Talasea, where there is an airfield. Aerial attacks on Cape Hoskins, where 32 tons of bombs were dropped on an enemy airdrome, and on Japanese targets on Riebeck of Willaumez peninsula, aided the Marine thrust.
In Washington, where he has returned for a series of conferences, Adm. Nimitz said, “Our submarines are taking such a heavy toll of Jap shipping that lack of shipping may soon be the controlling factor in what Japan is able to do. “Our submarines are increasing in number and not decreasing in efficiency, even though the number of targets is slowly decreasing.”
From the 11March1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron
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