Marines in World War II Commemorative Series
Two Secondary Landings
MacArthur's Marines
The Japanese in Western New Britain
Establishing the Beachhead
The Capture of the Cape Gloucester Airfields
Clearing the Shores of Borgen Bay
The Mopping-up Begins in the West
The Landings at Volupai
Final Combat and Relief
Maj. Gen. William H. Rupertus
Special Subjects
The Fortress of Rabaul
The Jungle Battlefield
Rain and Biting Insects
An Improvised Air Force
New Weapons in the Division's Arsenal

Cape Gloucester: The Green Inferno
by Bernard C. Nalty


Three books have proved essential to this account of the fighting on New Britain. Lieutenant Colonel Frank O., Hough, USMCR, dealt at length with the campaign in The Island War: The United States Marine Corps in the Pacific (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1947). With Major John Crown, USMCR, he wrote the official Marine Corps historical monograph: The New Britain Campaign (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1952). The third of these essential volumes is Henry I. Shaw, Jr., and Major Douglas T. Kane, USMC, Isolation of Rabaul—History of U. S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II, vol 2 (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1963.)

Other valuable sources include: Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942-July 1944—The Army Air Forces in World War II, vol 4 (Washington: Office of Air Force History, reprint 1983); George McMillan, The Old Breed: A History of the First Marine Division in World War II (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949); John Miller, Jr., The United States Army in World War II; The War in the Pacific: CARTWHEEL, The Reduction of Rabaul (Washington: Office of Chief of Military History, 1959); Samuel Eliot Morison, Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, 22 July 1942-1 May 1944—A History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, vol 6 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1950).

The Marine Corps Gazette printed four articles analyzing aspects of the New Britain campaign: Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Luckey, USMC, "Cannon, Mud, and Japs," vol 28, no 10 (October 1944); George McMillan, "Scouting at Cape Gloucester," vol 30, no 5 (May 1946); and Fletcher Pratt, "Marines Under MacArthur: Cape Gloucester," vol 31, no 12 (December 1947); and "Marines Under MacArthur: Willaumez," vol 32, no 1 (January 1947).

Of the Marine Corps oral history interviews of participants in the New Britain fighting, the most valuable were with Generals Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., and Edwin A. Pollock and Lieutenant Generals Henry W. Buse, Lewis J. Fields, Robert B. Luckey, and John N. McLaughlin.

Almost three dozen collections of personal papers deal in one way or another with the campaign, some of them providing narratives of varying length and others photographs or maps. The most enlightening commentary came from the papers of Major Sherwood Moran, USMCR, before the war a missionary in Japan and during the fighting an intelligence specialist with the 1st Marine Division, who discussed everything from coping with the weather to understanding the motivation of the Japanese soldier.

About the Author

Bernard C. Nalty served as a civilian member of the Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, from October 1956 to September 1961. In collaboration with Henry I. Shaw, Jr., and Edwin T. Turnbladh, he wrote Central Pacific Drive, volume 3 of the History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II, and he also completed a number of short historical studies, some of which appeared as articles in Leatherneck or Marine Corps Gazette. He joined the history office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1961, transferring in 1964 to the Air Force history program, from which he retired in January 1994.

Bernard C. Nalty

insignias from 50th Anniversary

THIS PAMPHLET HISTORY, one in a series devoted to U.S. Marines in the World War II era, is published for the education and training of Marines by the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., as a part of the U.S. Department of Defense observance of the 50th anniversary of victory in that war.

Editorial costs of preparing this pamphlet have been defrayed in part by a bequest from the estate of Emilie H. Watts, in memory of her late husband, Thomas M. Watts, who served as a Marine and was the recipient of a Purple Heart.


Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret)


Benis M. Frank

George C. MacGillivray

Robert E. Struder, Senior Editor; W. Stephen Hill, Visual Information Specialist;
Catherine A. Kerns, Composition Services Technician, R.D. Payne, Volunteer—Web Edition

Marine Corps Historical Center
Building 58, Washington Navy Yard
Washington, D.C. 20374-5040


PCN 190 003128 00

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