Battle of the Green Islands

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Battle of the Green Islands
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
New Zealand troops land on Green Island 1944 (AWM image 304260).jpg
Troops from New Zealand disembark from U.S. Landing Craft Infantry ship LCI-444 to occupy Green Island on 16 February 1944.
Date 29 January – 27 February 1944
Location Green Islands in the South Pacific
Result Allied victory
 New Zealand
 United States
Commanders and leaders
New Zealand H.E. Barrowclough Empire of Japan Hitoshi Imamura
5,806[1] 120–150[2]
Casualties and losses
13 killed[3]
26 wounded[4]
120 killed,
12 aircraft destroyed[5]

The Battle of the Green Islands or Operation Squarepeg was fought from 29 January–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—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's M3 Stuart tanks on 15 February.[7]

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.[8] The base's first commander was Lt. Richard M. Nixon, later President of the United States.[9]


  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, Jeffrey (1985). Armoured Fighting Vehicles of New Zealand 1939-59. Christchurch: JEP Publications. pp. 33–40. 
  8. ^ Tillman, Corsair, p. 67.
  9. ^


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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