Battle of the Green Islands

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The Battle of the Green Islands or Operation Squarepeg was fought from 29 January to 27 February 1944, between Imperial Japan and Allied forces from the New Zealand 3rd Division and the United States. The Green Islands—located between Bougainville and New Ireland, about 150 miles (240 km) from the main Japanese base at Rabaul—were part of the Australian Territory of New Guinea.

The Allied forces invaded several islands and recaptured them from heavily outnumbered Japanese forces. The main New Zealand combat elements came from the 14th Brigade,[6] and American LSTs landed the brigades' M3 Stuart tanks on 15 February.[7] The fighting was brief, but sharp on land with heavier resistance in the air.[8]

Once secured, the Green Islands became a forward base for the U.S. South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command (SCAT), which supplied material and mail to combat soldiers and evacuated the wounded. It also became home to United States Marine Corps fighters and bombers which participated in the allied effort to isolate the Japanese bases on Rabaul and Kavieng.[9] Lieutenant Richard M. Nixon, later President of the United States, served as the officer-in-charge of the SCAT detachment on the Green Islands in early 1944.[10]


  1. ^ Gillespie, Official History, p. 173. Troops included 4,242 New Zealanders and 1,564 U.S.
  2. ^ Gillespie, Official History, p. 178.
  3. ^ Gillespie, Official History, p. 188. Breakdown of deaths: New Zealand- 10, U.S.- 3.
  4. ^ Gillespie, Official History, p. 188. Breakdown of wounded: New Zealand - 21, U.S.- 3, and two native guides.
  5. ^ Gillespie, Official History, p. 188. A few members of the Japanese garrison may have escaped to Rabaul.
  6. ^ Crawford, Kia Kaha, p. 156.
  7. ^ Plowman, Armoured Fighting Vehicles of New Zealand, pp. 33–40.
  8. ^ Keogh, The South West Pacific 1941–45, p. 362.
  9. ^ Tillman, Corsair, p. 67.
  10. ^ Strock, The Presidential Book of Lists, p. 132.


  • Crawford, John (2000). "A Campaign on Two Fronts: Barrowclough in the Pacific". In Crawford, John. Kia Kaha: New Zealand in the Second World War. Auckland: Oxford University Press. pp. 140–162. 
  • Keogh, Eustace (1965). South West Pacific 1941–45. Melbourne: Grayflower Publications. OCLC 7185705. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, vol. 6 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Castle Books. ISBN 0-7858-1307-1. 
  • Plowman, Jeffrey (1985). Armoured Fighting Vehicles of New Zealand 1939–59. Christchurch: JEP Publications. 
  • Strock, Ian Randal (2008). The Presidential Book of Lists: From Most to Least, Elected to Rejected, Worst to Cursed – Fascinating Facts About Our Chief Executives. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 9780345510426. 
  • Tillman, Barrett (2001). Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-994-8. 

External links

  • Chapin, John C. (1997). "TOP OF THE LADDER: Marine Operations in the Northern Solomons". World War II Commemorative series. Marine Corps History and Museums Division. p. 1. Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2006.  Also available at: [1]
  • Gillespie, Oliver A. (1952). "The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, 1939–1945: IV: The Capture of the Green Islands". Retrieved 2006-10-18. 
  • Hughes, Warwick; Ray Munro. "3rd NZ Division in the Pacific". Archived from the original on 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2006-10-18. 
  • Miller, John, Jr. (1959). "CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul". United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific. Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Department of the Army. p. 418. Retrieved October 20, 2006. 
  • Rentz, John M. (1946). "Bougainville and the Northern Solomons". USMC Historical Monograph. Historical Branch, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Retrieved October 18, 2006. 

Coordinates: 4°30′S 154°10′E / 4.500°S 154.167°E / -4.500; 154.167

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