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MacArthur's Papua New Guinea Offensive, 1942–1943 (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Military Photographic Books WWII > Photographic Books

By Jon Diamond
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 250
ISBN: 9781526757401
Published: 5th March 2020


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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.

"... a very good book and a great first read for anyone wishing to learn about this campaign..."

The Northern Mariner

First-class documentation.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Of note, this volume offers good overview text of the offensive, complete with six black and white maps, which helps place the photographs in context with the various operations, including the three-month attack/siege of Buna. Enjoyed it.


The ‘Images of War’ series has become very popular because it provides rare selections of photographs, concise text and low pricing of military history. This new addition to the series also covers a seriously neglected key campaign of WWII. – Most Highly Recommended.

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Jon Diamond the author is a very knowledgeable and keen historian and here he has put together a fine book with hundreds of hitherto unseen images, and a record of the battle, normally unseen images such as the Japanese camouflage and fortifications, the weaponry, and the difficult terrain that claimed men and munitions; all are here.

The quality of the imagery is stunning with very few of the traditional posed photographs, these were mostly snapped quickly during the action, as can be evidenced by the smoke and the concentration on the Troops faces. Also included are images taken from the Japanese forces that show their apparent faith in overall victory.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

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.

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Another good book in the series with plenty of interesting photo references that will please historians interested in the PTO (Pacific Theatre of Operations) as well as modellers for the extra detail of uniforms, equipment and terrain.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

Another in the excellent Images of War series with its format of concise narrative backed by good maps and relevant images. The claustrophobia of jungle warfare seeps from every image.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 Jon Diamond

About Jon Diamond

Jon Diamond MD is a kidney specialist in the USA with a deep interest in the Second World War. He is a keen collector of photographs. His Stilwell and the Chindits, War in the South Pacific, Invasion of Sicily, Invasion of the Italian Mainland: Salerno to Gustav Line, 1943-1944, Onto Rome 1944; Anzio and Victory at Cassino, Beyond Rome to the Alps; Across the Arno and Gothic Line, 1944-1945, Op Plunder - The Rhine River Crossing, MacArthur’s Papua New Guinea Campaign, Hell in the Central Pacific, Liberation of the Philippines, Burma Victory, The Fall of Malaya and Singapore and The Battle of Okinawa 1945 are all published by Pen and Sword in the Images of War series.

Perfect Partner

The War in the South Pacific (Paperback)

The Japanese invaded the Solomon Islands in May 1942 with the aim of building an airfield at Guadalcanal. After an epic six month struggle they were repulsed and the island became a staging base for US Admiral Halsey and his South PacificForce. Comprising powerful naval, marine and army assets as well as land and carrier-based aircraft, Halseys Forces mission was to neutralise the Japanese presence in the South Pacific before moving on to Japan itself. As explained and depicted in this fascinating book, the campaign was eventually successful but only after some of the bitterest fighting of the…

By Jon Diamond

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