Book Review
MacArthur's papua New Guinea
MacArthur's papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This book covering MacArthur's papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943 is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ series. These books cover the subject matter mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a horn of plenty when it comes to visual information. It is sad to say that ground warfare against the Japanese Forces is not covered in great detail from a visual point of view and so let's see if this book tackles that situation.

The following portion of the introduction is provided from the publisher:
The Japanese seizure of Rabaul on New Britain in January 1942 directly threatened Northern Australia and, as a result, General Douglas MacArthur took command of the Southwest Pacific Area. In July 1942, the Japanese attacked south across the Owen Stanley mountain range.

Thanks to the hasty deployment of Australian militiamen and veteran Imperial Force troops the Japanese were halted at Ioribaiwa Ridge just 27 miles from Port Moresby.

MacArthur’s priority was to regain Northeast New Guinea and New Britain. The capture of airfields at Buna and re-occupation of Gona and Sanananda Point were pre-requisites. The Allied offensive opened on 16 November 1942 with Australian infantrymen and light tanks alongside the US 32nd Infantry Division.

Overcoming the Japanese and the inhospitable terrain in tropical conditions proved the toughest of challenges. It remains an achievement of the highest order that the campaign ended successfully on 22 January 1943. This account with its clear text and superb imagery is a worthy tribute to those who fought and, all too often, died there.


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering MacArthur's papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943 has been authored by Jon Diamond, Jon Diamond has authored ten of the titles in this series of books concentrating on World War 2. The contents of this title are provided over 236 pages of good quality semi gloss paper plus a couple of pages specifically for storing notes you may wish to make.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
Chapter 1 – Overview of the South-West Pacific Area in 1942 and the Strategic Importance of Papua
Map 1 - Stratigic overview of the Pacific war, 1941-1942
Map 2 - The Solomon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago 1942-1943
Map 3 - The Papuan campaign, July 1942 - January 1943
Map 4 - MacArtur's counter offensive against the Buna-Giruwa-Sanananda-Gona front, November 1943

Chapter 2 – Terrain, Weaponry and Fortifications
Map 5 - Allied combat on the Warren Force front, 18-28 Decemeeber 1942

Chapter 3 - Commanders and Combatants

Chapter 4 - The Allied attacks on the Buna, 16 Novenber 1942 - 22 January 1943
Map 6 - Combat on the Urbana force front, 18-28 December 1942

Chapter 5 - The Allied attacks on Gona, Sanananda and Giruwa

The dedicated text in this title is surprisingly long and provides a great deal of data covering all aspects of this sphere of conflict that includes possibly the biggest betrayal of Allied soldiers by a British officer to the Japanese. The text provides a lot of information from the background story through to the eventual removal of the Japanese forces covered in the epilogue. This offering covers all aspects of the war in this region from ground, air and sea and so has a little of everything for the modeller.

The photographs in this publication cover the terrain the men on the ground faced in this conflict and provides a great level of detail for the modeller who looks to get details just so in their work. The jungle is an aspect I was aware of, but I had not given thought to the mud and blood faced by the troops and that is before consideration is given the heat and the diseases that the environment threw at the troops. Death is a common scene in this area of conflict and some images do show this aspect on the part of the Japanese and American forces, but the author has kept it to a minimum and not chosen graphic depictions.

The period black and white photographs offered in this title are very well captioned and have been well chosen for the clarity of them, that despite that a great number of the images are those taken by troops in the field. I particularly like that all aspects of this conflict is covered in pictorial form including images taken by Japanese forces. The captions that are provided with each and every image are very well written and informative to an especially high degree in many cases. I suppose the biggest appeal to me as a modeller is that the images show a war that is not particularly well covered except from later in the war as the US Marines started to push the Japanese from one island at a time. The result here is a great look at a little covered aspect of World War II.


This offering from Pen and Sword should hold great appeal for the modeller with even the slightest interest of the war against Japan during World War II. The text content is well written and interesting to read, I learnt from the content in this respect. The photographs are the real jewel of this title as indeed they should be, with the author having chosen to provide images covering the war in all respects very well. The images are a great visual reference, but it is the long captions that are provided with every picture that makes them so valuable to the modeller.
Darren Baker takes a look at another release in the Images at War series published by pen and Sword, this time the title is ‘MacArthur's papua New Guinea Offensive 1942-1943’.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526757401
  Suggested Retail: £15.99
  PUBLISHED: Apr 08, 2020

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


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