(nbigpigeon.us webpage WW II - Japan > South & SW Pacific, updated by RAC 6 Feb 2020. Not quite complete.
Links to the WW II - South/Southwest Pacific subpages
The Japanese Invasion of Melanesia - Early 1942
Japanese forces first occupied key points in the Bismarck Archipelago, in the center of the accompanying map. The only substantial resistance was at Rabaul in the Bismarcks. The Japanese then began developing Rabaul into the main Japanese base in the South/Southwest Pacific.
Note the initial Japanese landings in Northeast New Guinea.
I view WW II US ground operations in the South and Southwest Pacific as consisting of two phases.
Phase 1 - The Eastern New Guinea and Solomons Areas - through March 1944
Until April 1944, ground combat in the South and Southwest Pacific Theaters was confined to the areas shown on the accompanying map, namely:
Phase 2 - Western New Guinea - April to September 1944
In early 1944, Marine Corps forces in the South Pacific were withdrawn for use in the Central Pacific campaign, which had begun in November 1943 at Tarawa.
General Douglas MacArthur's Army forces on New Guinea and his supporting navy fleet were now sufficiently resourced to allow a rapid advance across the north coast of western New Guinea and on to the East Indies island of Morotai in preparation for the pending liberation of the Philippines.
Sources for the WW II - South/Southwest Pacific webpage
- The 1942 - 1944 US Path Across the Southwest Pacific map is taken from google.com.
- The Japanese Advances in Melanesia - Early 1942 map is courtesy of emersonkent.com and was found at http://www.emersonkent.com/map_archive/micronesia_melanesia_new_guinea_1942.htm.
- The The New Guinea Area - WW II map is courtesy of pinterest.com