Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942-April 1943

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9780760345597: Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942-April 1943
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For most of World War II, the mention of Japan's island stronghold sent shudders through thousands of Allied airmen. Some called it “Fortress Rabaul,” an apt name for the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific. Author Bruce Gamble chronicles Rabaul’s crucial role in Japanese operations in the Southwest Pacific. Millions of square feet of housing and storage facilities supported a hundred thousand soldiers and naval personnel. Simpson Harbor and the airfields were the focus of hundreds of missions by American air forces.

Winner of the "Gold Medal" (Military Writers Society of America) and "Editor's Choice Award" (Stone & Stone Second World War Books), Fortress Rabaul details a critical and, until now, little understood chapter in the history of World War II.

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From the Back Cover:

“This tour de force by Bruce Gamble is an absolute must for anyone interested in the true story of one of World War II’s most interesting—and most overlooked—battles.” —Col. Walter Boyne, USAF (Ret.), author of Clash of Wings and former director of the National Air and Space Museum “Fortress Rabaul opens a broader vista on this under-studied campaign with its wide research, thoughtful analysis, and gifted story-teller’s panache.”—WW II History magazine Japan invaded the Southwest Pacific island of New Britain on January 23, 1942. Rabaul, on the northern tip of the island, was quickly developed into a major military complex, becoming the key to Japanese operations in the region. The mere mention of the island stronghold sent shudders through thousands of Allied airmen.
Bruce Gamble chronicles the island’s transformation into the ultimate twentieth-century fortification, which provided housing and storage facilities for a hundred thousand soldiers and naval personnel. By mid-1943, Rabaul’s air strength stood at six hundred planes. Some called it “Fortress Rabaul,” an apt name for the headquarters of Japan’s Seventeenth Army, Eighth Fleet, and Eleventh Air Fleet.
In the beginning, only the Royal Australian Air Force stood against the amassing Japanese forces, but an increasing presence of American squadrons in Australia soon joined in. The stronghold was the focus of Allied attacks from January 1942 until August 1945, a total of forty-four months—the longest battle of World War II.
Drawing upon an extensive array of Japanese and Allied sources, Gamble fills in the historical background of Rabaul’s crucial role during the first year and a half of the Pacific war. A compelling story of military strategy and might, it is also a critical and, until now, little-understood chapter in the history of World War II.

From the Inside Flap:

Japan invaded the Southwest Pacific island of New Britain on January 23, 1942. Rabaul, on the northern tip of the island, was quickly developed into a major military complex. It served as a springboard for several new offensives and became the key to Japanese operations in the region. The mere mention of the island stronghold sent shudders through thousands of Allied airmen. 

Author Bruce Gamble chronicles the dramatic events that contributed to Rabaul’s increasing notoriety, detailing the island’s transformation into the ultimate twentieth-century fortification. Millions of square feet of new construction provided housing and storage facilities for a hundred thousand soldiers and naval personnel, and by mid-1943 Rabaul’s air strength stood at six hundred planes. Some called it “Fortress Rabaul,” an apt name for Japan’s mightiest base in the Southwest Pacific and the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s 8th and 11th Air Fleets.

In the beginning, only the Royal Australian Air Force’s 75 Squadron stood against the amassing Japanese force on New Britain, but there was an increasing presence of American squadrons in Australia joining the escalating air war over Rabaul. The virtually impregnable stronghold was the focus of attacks by American, Australian, and New Zealand air forces from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945, a total of forty-four months, the longest battle of World War II.

Gamble fills in the historical background behind Rabaul’s crucial role in the Pacific war, from the Japanese invasion through the shooting down of Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto on April 18, 1943, a turning point in Japan’s offensive operations. A compelling story of military strategy and might, it is also a critical and, until now, little understood chapter in the history of World War II.

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