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Australia 1943
The Liberation of New Guinea

$74.95 (G)

Peter Dean, David Horner, Hiroyuki Shindo, Kevin C. Holzimmer, Mark Johnston, Ian Pfenningwerth, Ross Mallett, Karl James, Lachlan Grant, Garth Pratten
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  • Date Published: December 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107037991
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About the Authors
  • By January 1943, Australia had emerged from the shadow of war in a strong position. The victories in 1942 at Kokoda, Guadalcanal, Buna, Gona and Sanananda had secured the northern coastlines of Papua and Australia. Australian forces were now poised for a full scale offensive to liberate New Guinea from the Japanese, the largest and most complicated operations in their history. Australia 1943 explores the high point of Australia's influence on operations and strategy in the South West Pacific, a campaign that has been traditionally overshadowed by the drama of Kokoda. It investigates critical operations from January 1943 to April 1944, including Salamaua, Lae/Nadzab, Finschhafen, Shaggy Ridge, the Markham Valley and the Huon Peninsula. Australia 1943 is the first detailed single-volume study of Australia's military operations in the Pacific during 1943 – Australia's 'finest hour' in the Second World War.

    • The first book to take a collection of experts to explore the critical campaigns of 1943 in both an accessible and scholarly manner
    • Includes Japanese perspectives
    • Features detailed maps, charts and illustrations
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    Customer reviews

    12th Apr 2014 by Robbo

    Lying in the deep shadows of battles given an iconic status in the public’s eye, the 1943 campaigns to evict the Japanese from New Guinea are largely forgotten. Yet they deserves greater recognition. With a concentration of Australian military power unparalleled in the history of our country, they altered the balance of the war in the South West Pacific, removing forever any threat of invasion hovering over Australia, and setting the foundation for the 1944 offensives that culminated in the liberation of the Philippines. Australia 1943 goes a long way to addressing this gap in Australian historiography, and does it admirably. Dr Peter Dean has spread a wide canvas, assembling a fine cast of historians who present the story in eleven tightly written chapters, organised into four parts: Strategy in 1943 US Operations From Sea and Sky and The Australian Role in Cartwheel. With the exception of the chapter on the RAAF, they all hit the mark providing an erudite overview and analysis of each of the subjects they deal with, in an easily digestible style. While they flow from the political and strategic to the individual campaigns in chronological order, each chapter stands alone, deftly linked to others by Dean’s light editing, allowing readers to dip into subjects that initially take their fancy. Being the junior partner in coalition wars, Australian interests have always played second fiddle to those of her more powerful Allies. In the opening chapters, Professor David Horner and Dr Dean address these issues, the relationships among the key players, and the inefficient command structures that emanated from service rivalries Yet although MacArthur and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff clearly drove the strategy in New Guinea, Horner and Dean demonstrate that Australia’s interests, voiced by Curtin, were largely aligned with the Americans, and MacArthur needed Curtin to get his way, as much as Curtin needed the “American Caesar.” On “the other side of the hill” Hiroyuki Shindo presents an equally fine discussion on the conflicting Japanese Navy and Army aims, the difficulties of overstretch they faced, and the compromise strategy they settled on. The US operations through the Solomon Islands are briefly addressed, completing the context in which the Australian field operations were played out, and which make up the remainder of the book. Of these the RAAF chapter is the weakest, tending to focus on individual sorties, including a couple of takes on Newton’s VC, and sits oddly apart from the style of the other contributions. While the internecine squabbles among the RAAF’s hierarchy, and the difficulties faced by a clearly smaller air force peep through, it lacks the finely drawn synopsis and analysis of the RAN effort by Ian Pfennigwerth, and Ross Mallett’s instructive picture of the logistic problems and the solutions that overcome them. Rounding out the story, are four finely woven chapters on the Australian Army’s tough campaigns of Wau-Salamaua, the capture of Lae, the thrust up the Markham and Ramu valleys, and clearing the Huon Peninsula, presented by a younger generation of Australian military historians. What transpires is a year of victories, General Blamey’s clever strategy, and an Australian Army that had mastered not only the difficulties of fighting in appalling jungle conditions, but also their Japanese opponents, playing the major role in rolling back the Japanese. However, the enormous contribution of the US Army Airforce, the US Navy and the logistic efforts that made such success possible is not forgotten, as each author draws out a clear narrative of the main events, and the impact each successive campaign made on future operations. Nor are the tensions and friction arising from differing military cultures and doctrines, and competing national priorities, glossed over. Yet in the end Australian and American senior officers worked through their issues to use scarce resources effectively to deliver a series of victories in a relatively short period. It is a story of human endeavour and achievement that ought to be brighter on our national radar. Australia 1943: The Liberation of New Guinea is a fine tribute to all who participated, and is an excellent introduction to this remarkable campaign.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107037991
    • length: 337 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Peter Dean
    1. MacArthur and Curtin: deciding Australian war strategy in 1943 David Horner
    2. MacArthur's war: strategy, command and plans for the 1943 offensive Peter Dean
    3. The Japanese Army's search for a new South Pacific strategy, 1943 Hiroyuki Shindo
    4. On the offensive: US operations in the Southwest Pacific Area and the South Pacific Ocean Area in 1943 Kevin C. Holzimmer
    5. Perspiration, inspiration, frustration: the RAAF in New Guinea in 1943 Mark Johnston
    6. The naval perspective: the RAN in 1943 Ian Pfenningwerth
    7. Logistics and the Cartwheel operations Ross Mallett
    8. The 'Salamaua magnet' Karl James
    9. From the air, sea and land: the capture of Lae Peter Dean
    10. The Markham-Ramu Valley operation Lachlan Grant
    11. Applying the principles of war: securing the Huon Peninsula Garth Pratten.

  • Editor

    Peter J. Dean, Australian National University, Canberra
    Peter J. Dean is the Director of Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, the Australian National University and a Senior Lecturer at the Australian Command and Staff College. He is the editor of Australia 1942: The Shadow of War (2012), the author of The Architect of Victory: The Military Career of Lieutenant-General Sir Frank Horton Berryman (2011), a contributing editor to the Second World War journal Global War Studies and a managing editor for the journal Security Challenges.


    Peter Dean, David Horner, Hiroyuki Shindo, Kevin C. Holzimmer, Mark Johnston, Ian Pfenningwerth, Ross Mallett, Karl James, Lachlan Grant, Garth Pratten

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