Les Grandes Manoeuvres Alliées | Avril - Juin 1943 | Seconde Guerre mondiale

Les Grandes Manoeuvres Alliées | Avril - Juin 1943 | Seconde Guerre mondiale

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When considering the history of the World War II as a whole, the year 1943 is of paramount importance. The strategies put in place by the Allies are starting to bear fruit. Little by little, Hitler and the Axis powers lose ground in Europe and in the Pacific. Germans and Italians were threatened with a humiliating defeat on the coasts of North Africa, because the Allied armies, under the command of American General Eisenhower, forced them to abandon this continent.

The theater of operations from North Africa had already participated to mobilize significant German military resources, far from the Eastern front, where the armies of Hitler faced the Red Army. Furthermore, the Allies put German territory put to the test by systematically bombarding the main industrial cities of the country. At sea, the British in the Atlantic and Americans in the Pacific began to resist victoriously over enemy submarines.

airplanes and submarines came out at high speed equipped production lines of the very latest technologies. The use of aircraft maritime patrol and light aircraft carriers was also increasing. The liberation of Europe was not possible before the battle of the Atlantic is won.

The genocide of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis had passed at a quasi-industrial stage. Accounts of these atrocities reached London and Washington. The Prime Minister British Winston Churchill, and US President Roosevelt judged that the only possible answer could only be total defeat of Nazi Germany and its criminal ideology.

Already focused on the next step, march on italy with Sicily as a starting point, the determination of the Allies was getting stronger day by day. At the end of 1942, American and British forces had successfully landed in North Africa. The Allies had also managed to retain many French officers previously loyal to the Vichy government, who collaborated with the Nazis. In the spring of 1943, Germany and Italy had continued to send reinforcements from Europe across the Mediterranean. allied troops, essentially composed of Americans relatively inexperienced were advancing from Algeria to Tunisia and met fierce resistance.

They had to learn quickly, in the worst conditions, but they were progressing. To the south the Eighth Army led by English General Montgomery, repelled the Germans in Libya and the desert fox, Erwin Rommel, exhausted by months of fighting, had been recalled by Hitler and replaced. In the South Pacific, Americans and Australians had undertaken operations that they hoped to transform in a winning streak in the Solomon Islands, north of Australia. Painfully and at the cost of many lives, they succeeded in resuming the first Guadalcanal Island. From this reconquest, they didn't let no respite to the Japanese.

Japan, the strongest Hitler's allies controlled a large area including part of China, much of Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and in the North Pacific, two small islands in the Aleutians. We had to keep the Japanese on the defensive to prevent them to strengthen their positions on the islands of the Pacific they held, to build their airbases there and to make these territories safe areas. In Africa, these strategic issues were on the agenda. A conference was held in the city Moroccan from Casablanca in January 1943. Churchill and Roosevelt, relying on the advice of their staff, accepted the idea of an invasion of Sicily as soon as possible, delaying the landing in France the following year. This decision went against of certain American generals who did not want that the war in the Mediterranean takes up too much resources and time.

The objective was to put Italy out of fight, allowing the Allies to gain time for the preparation of the disembarkation in the north of France. The English knew they were fighting an industrial and military power still practically intact. Hitler and the Powers of the Axis should be weakened by a second front first in Italy, before the direct attack in France could be conceivable. At the beginning of April, events in North Africa and the plans for the invasion of Sicily had become extremely important for all belligerents.

The commander of the German forces in the Mediterranean and North Africa, General Keyserling could congratulate his troops to have slowed down the progress allied to western Tunisia. Time was not in favor Germans and Italians. The Axis forces were gently, but surely postponed to the capital Tunis.

Improved panzers after the clashes against Soviet heavy tanks, played an important role in these fights. The British and the Americans quickly reinforced their position, mobilizing a number growing tanks and planes in North Africa. Many airfields now under their control, they were able to bring their troops effective air support.

In the first week of April, the Allies bombarded not only Italian soil, but managed to intercept transport planes and loaded ships supplies for Africa. Moving cautiously, sappers were working mine detection and repairs craters on the road. The troops were happy to cross these agricultural lands and its olive groves, after months passed on rocky tracks of the Libyan desert. Even better, the Tunisian roads allowed them a conduct much softer and more comfortable.

Planting these banderillas on Kesselring, US General Eisenhower was the commander-in-chief allied forces in the Mediterranean, seconded by Marshall Harold Alexander. Alexander reorganized strategically the allied front, placing American troops advancing from the west at the opposite of the city of Bizerte, on the road that ran along the north coast towards Tunis. The British First Army arrival in North Africa with the Americans a few months earlier, received the order to advance to the Tunisian capital. One of the last commitments for the men of montgomery took place in Wadi Akarit, 25 kilometers north of Gabes.

The fight was fierce, but the British infantry, supported by a large artillery, was able to throw a general attack on the plain. On the evening of April 7, the Americans and the English of the First Army came into contact with the soldiers of the Eighth Army which, for the most part, had never met of American soldiers before. Allied troops recently arrived, discovered the soldiers of the eighth armed and very seasoned, scruffy and unruly, but animated by an esprit de corps and an extraordinary combativeness.

All units were regrouped for the final push Allies in North Africa. They had lost thousands of injured men or killed in the desert sands. Progress continued. The Allies took the Tunisian city of Sfax which was quickly followed by taking Sousse on the coast. Therefore, after leading the most decisive and the hardest fights for North Africa, the eighth army that had arrived so far, got affected in a secondary role that of holding positions as far as possible from Tunis to Bizerte and did not participate in the last battles for Tunis.

The dice were cast for the Germans and the Italians in North Africa. Among the Italians, the cracks in their alliance with Germany were more and more noticeable, aggravated by the imminence of a Allied landing on their territory. Many Italian soldiers were prisoners and support for the Axis was less and less obvious in the population.

enthusiasm for war hadn't been very big in 1940. Libya, which Mussolini wanted to make the crown jewel of the new Italian Empire, was now lost. The duchy therefore did not reap from these fights only paltry benefits.

The treatment Italian workers sent to Germany was not the best. Even their leader, Benito Mussolini, wondered on Hitler's intentions, because the supply promises coal and oil that Germany had promised never materialized. When Hitler and Mussolini met near Salzburg, in Austria, both appeared tense. Hitler's entourage was struck to see how much Mussolini looked discouraged and sick, pleading for the start of peace talks with the Allies.

The Führer did not want hear about it and managed to make it bend and to comfort Mussolini to continue the fight to hold Tunis, convincing his reluctant ally that was essential so that fascism survive in Italy. Hitler's own situation was far from brilliant. He had to face to the criticisms of his people who now came under enemy attack and who felt that the Third Reich wasn't so invincible that he had been promised. Propaganda played a role more important than ever. Events in Russia provided Hitler with new arguments to justify his policy. In a village called Katyn, in the Russian countryside near Smolensk, a Russian peasant made an amazing declaration to the German occupiers.

The bodies of thousands missing Polish officers were buried in the nearby forest. For Joseph Goebbels, Minister propaganda, loyal to Hitler, that was the best news received for months. After some investigation from the story of the Russian peasant, the Germans discovered a mass grave of more than 4200 Polish officers slaughtered by the Soviets in 1939, when Stalin was Hitler's ally. The Russian position was delicate because of their new alliance with the English and the Americans after Operation Barbarossa. The Allies considered Stalin with great suspicion.

Goebbels was quick to condemn the unpardonable brutality Russians towards the Polish officers, of course omitting to mention of the barbaric treatment that the Germans themselves subjected the Poles, especially when they were Jews. The situation became even more complicated. The Polish government, in exile in London since 1939, desired that the atrocities of Katyn lead to the end of the alliance with the Soviets. It took clever political maneuvering to maintain this delicate alliance. Responsible officials Americans and British managed to prevent what could have be a disastrous split in the Allied Pact.

Moreover, Poland remained under the spotlight, because between April and May, the events in the capital, Warsaw, occupied by the Germans, would make headlines. Eastern Europe of 1943 kept too many secrets and concealed too many horrors. At the beginning of April, a new gas chamber was opened in the Auschwitz camp, one of the six extermination camps settled on Polish territory.

Thousands of deportees, mostly jews come from the nations occupied Europeans, as well as Poles and Gypsies, were routed aboard cattle cars. Upon arrival, most men, women and children were gassed. Only a minority was allowed to live a little longer as forced laborers.

In the Polish capital, Warsaw, all Jews had been confined in the old Jewish quarter, now guarded and isolated from the rest of the city by high walls. About 400,000 Jews and some gypsies survived there with minimum rations, because the Germans used the deprivations to facilitate the spread of typhus and tuberculosis including this weakened population. Then the rhythm of the deportations to the extermination camp of Treblinka accelerated. In April 43, only 60,000 people remained in the Warsaw ghetto, mainly young adults. These survivors, now knowing that he had nothing more to lose, had formed resistance groups who had weapons smuggled through the underground passages of the ghetto.

After a first uprising small scale of the Jewish resistance in January, Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, decided the time had come to completely raze the ghetto. On April 19, he sent the SS there with tanks, flamethrowers and demolition units. Despite desperate resistance groups however summarily armed, the Germans reduced everything to ashes, 13,000 Polish Jews were massacred during this revolt. The ghetto uprising had been a brave and desperate act of defiance. But he gave a taste of what awaited Hitler and his generals in a close future. Resistance against the Axis was getting stronger and the fighting escalated worldwide.

For the Allies, the time was planning and strategic studies. Keep sea routes open to move troops to destination was of vital importance. While the British Navy regained control in the North Atlantic on the theater of South Pacific operations, american pilots and the marines were at the forefront of the counter-attack against Japan. In New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands, north of australia, the Japanese were now cornered on the defensive under command of Admiral I Roku Yamamoto. Yamamoto had done his studies in the United States. He initially opposed to militarism who had driven Japan at war, but now he was a target for the Americans.

He was the one who imagined and planned the attack against Pearl Harbor in December 41. The Japanese saw in him a hero of the nation. The Americans were eager eliminate the person responsible thousands of deaths.

In 1943, the Americans intercepted and decoded a radio message who revealed to them that Admiral Yamamoto was going to come in the Solomons to inspect his troops. The bomber carrying the admiral was to land on an island near Bougainville, in the northern Solomons. On April 18, several American fighters took off from Guadalcanal following orders of President Roosevelt and headed for the route Yamamoto's plane was to follow.

The bomber on board where the admiral was, was attacked and brought down in flames above the Bougainville jungle. Yamamoto's body was discovered by a Japanese research expedition, but Tokyo did not announce his death only weeks later lest it affect the morale of the people. The Americans, for their part, couldn't celebrate their triumph publicly, because it would have revealed that he had broken the communications code of the Japanese Navy. They also did not announce Yamamoto's death.

On April 21, Roosevelt revealed that three airmen Americans had been executed in Japan. These three men two pilots and a gunner, were among the 80 men who had survived the raid, led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle previously. Americans had hoped strike the mind of the Japanese by bombing military targets and industries in their territory. It was the first raid against Japan, a humiliating provocation which they would seek revenge.

The news of this execution prisoners of war horrified the Americans. Roosevelt announced that those responsible would not go unpunished. A message that was also a warning to the Japanese regarding the treatment of some 17,000 Americans then detained by the Empire of the Rising Sun.

In May 1943, a confrontation between the United States and Japan unfolded at the northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean, in the Aleutian Islands. A chain of small volcanic islands, spanning from Alaska to Siberia and Japan. In 1942, Japanese forces had seized of two islands of the archipelago close to Japan, Attu and Kiska. Thanks to their intelligence services, the Americans did not take into account this invasion, because they knew it was just a diversion and what about the Japanese were going to attack Midway Island in the central Pacific, a strategically more important island. Japanese propaganda had largely exploited this invasion of the Aleutians, and now the Americans wanted to chase them away. They had begun to build an airfield on Attack Island, near Alaska.

At the end of April, an American expeditionary force was sent by sea from San Francisco to Attu Island, a desolate island where the wind was blowing so strong that practically no trees were growing. After two days, the warships were in position and began to bombard the Japanese defenses. At the beginning of May, a dense fog drowned the island. Infantry, using barges landing, surprised the Japanese garrison.

During fierce fighting which took place throughout the month of May, American soldiers arrived to reach the valley driving towards Chicago Harbor. The Japanese did not surrender. The last of they left their position and charged the American lines in a suicidal attack. She had no results. These fights were coming to an end and more than 2000 Japanese had already been killed.

Americans themselves had lost 500 men and more than 2000 were evacuated, victims of cold or disease. Attu again in American hands was now between Japanese territory and the island of Kiska, where were they still stationed Japanese troops. This one wasn't going to stay on the island for a long time. The Americans were just coming to set foot on Attu in August 43, that the five men of the Kiska garrison were evacuated, leaving the Aleutians and their climates inhospitable to Americans. In North Africa, German and Italian troops around Tunis were trapped. They no longer had possible way of retreat.

Despite Rommel's request addressed to Hitler and Mussolini to evacuate these men from North Africa and prepare them prevented an Allied landing in Europe, the Germans continued to transport troops and equipment to Tunis, and this, practically until the last minute. In May, Bizerte fell to the hands American units and further south, General Alexander launched a new offensive supported by important artillery barrages against Tunis. Very quickly, the first english armored vehicles entered the city. Thousands of people came out in the streets to welcome them, throwing flowers to the soldiers.

Outside the city, enemy troops, although surrounded, kept on fighting, rejecting all surrender offers. Kesselring had already left the African continent, when finally, at the end of the second week of May, the Germans accepted their fate and surrendered. prisoners of war crowded into the camps 125,000 Germans and 115,000 Italians. It was the biggest concentration prisoners at this stage of the war, with the consequence serious logistical problems. Eisenhower was not particularly disturbed by this minor complication and jubilant announcing to the world that the armies of the Axis now retreated. Adolf Hitler had an army which was called the Afrikakorps, commissioned by General Erwin Rommel, also known by the nickname of Desert Fox.

[German spoken audio] The troops du Renard were destroyed. All the men of this army sent to Africa to fight under Rommel were killed or captured. Three hours after the surrender, Winston Churchill, in meeting with Roosevelt in Washington, received a message of General Alexander informing him: "The campaign in Tunisia is over. All enemy resistance ceased. We are the masters off the coasts of North Africa. After three years of fighting, successes and reverses in the deserts and in the mountains, the Allies finally rewarded, could celebrate the end of the stranglehold of the Axis over this part of Africa.

In Washington, President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill discussed with the most senior decision-makers British and American military during a conference codenamed Trident. May 19, Churchill addressed to both houses of Congress, as he had done in December 1941, following of the Japanese bombardment against Pearl Harbor. He was welcomed with warm applause even before until he gives his speech. But Churchill was impatient to get back to serious business. All plans, he said, must be dominated by the ultimate goal to attack the enemy. Germany's defeat must occur first.

It will inevitably lead the defeat of Japan. There were disagreements between Allied commanders on the way forward regarding future operations. Churchill demanded that a landing takes place directly in Italy, which, he thought, would be used to attract German soldiers away from the Russian front where Stalin was still fighting for the survival of his country.

Americans, on the other hand, wanted a landing on a large scale in France, launched as soon as possible, and that no transaction likely to delay this project from being undertaken. After a long debate, an agreement was reached within the Allied Command to disembark in France in 1944 with a deadline scheduled for May. Churchill obtained satisfaction as for the Italian campaign, lower priority, in order to oblige that country to cease hostilities. fierce fighting took place in the Atlantic.

Before a landing in France can take place, the allies knew than the Battle of the Atlantic had to be won. However, the heavy losses experienced in early spring had seriously affected supplies to the British Isles. The fear was great that the Germans win the war at sea.

Fortunately, in May, the spell began to turn, slowly but surely. At the end of the month, a quarter of the entire task force submarines Germans had been sunk. Admiral Donitz's son, commander in chief of the navy, perishes with his crew on May 19. A few days later, the command decided that it was time to withdraw from the South Atlantic.

The handle of U-Boats who was still marauding no longer represented only a symbolic threat. The battle led by the Axis for two years to break the roads supply, was lost. Allied Factories increased arms production, but the war effort was beginning to be felt not only at sea, but also in the skies of Germany. Throughout the spring of 1943, waves of British bombers attacked the main cities of the Third Reich, following orders of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. Haunted by the memory of the trenches of the First World War, the British saw in aerial bombardment a way to avoid a front on the ground and hasten the end of the conflict.

The heavy bombings did not aim only the most important industries. They were also used as a psychological weapon to undermine civilian morale. During the war, hundreds of thousands of Germans found themselves homeless following these attacks. Living conditions were deteriorating in the cities. At the same time, support for Adolf Hitler, inevitably weakened.

In May 1943, the R.A.F worked out the final details of a particularly daring raid to blow up the Ruhr dams in Germany. The goal was to break three dams in this region where were they located the main production sites German heavy industry: steelworks, chemical plants and coal mines. In the greatest secrecy, an aeronautical engineer named Barns Wallis, developed a barrel-shaped bomb which he hoped would bounce back on the surface of the water towards the dam, thus avoiding anti-torpedo nets who protected him. The bomb then had to flow along of the dam wall before exploding.

On May 16, the air raid successfully destroyed the first two dams, but the third remained intact. Millions of liters of water sprang from the breaches of the two dams flooding mines, coupons, roads, railways, canals and water supply. At least 1650 people drowned.

Unfortunately, only nine of the 19 R.A.F aircraft managed to return to their base and 53 crew were killed in action in this operation. Despite these losses, this event was a breath of fresh air for the morale of the British, still subject to Luftwaffe raids. As for the people of occupied Europe, the vision of these allied bombers on the way to Germany, gave them hope. A landing on the French coast of the Channel was preparing. This hope was therefore not unfounded.

To better prepare this operation programmed in 1944, i.e. the following year, Roosevelt wanted to tie contacts with the French resistance fighters. The French had been deeply divided by the Second World War. There were divisions between those who supported General de Gaulle based in London and those who supported the collaborationist government of Marshal Pétain in Vichy.

There was also deep divisions at the heart of the Resistance, especially due to the communists who did not support de Gaulle. During the conference from Casablanca in January, there was a rather tense meeting and difficult between de Gaulle and his rival, General Giraud, who continued maintain the Vichy regime in North Africa. However, together at the head of the Free French Forces, they called all the French to join their cause. Later, the National Council of the Resistance was set up to organize the various resistance groups who carried out operations of sabotage against the occupier. Part of the French population did what she could to help the Allies. Meanwhile, the american secret service began to build their own relationship with the French resistance from contacts established in Switzerland to improve funding actions of resistance and thus gain access to military and strategic information on the troops Germans in France.

But fight for freedom was not without risk. Shortly after the first meeting of the new National Resistance Council, lots of bosses networks were shut down. During the war, many men and women who fought occupying troops in France were incarcerated, tortured and killed by the Gestapo. But despite its dangers, the fight had never stopped. In Europe, the process of genocide was accelerating.

In the summer of 1943, more than half of the Jews of Europe had been massacred. quite proud of their program of extermination, the Nazis never mentioned the details of these operations in their propaganda, using euphemisms such as actions specific or special measures. In Auschwitz, an average of 33,000 people were gassed each month.

After elimination of the Warsaw ghetto, on June 11, the leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, gave the order to dismantle and empty all other remaining ghettos in some cities of Poland. Poland had largest Jewish population of all the states of Europe, about 3 million people. Most of them will be killed, as well as three million others from elsewhere before the Allies do not achieve victory.

Further east, in the Baltic countries and in the part of the Soviet Union occupied by the Nazis, SS special units the Einsatzgruppen acted freely behind the front line troops. Entire communities were massacred ruthlessly in mass executions. While the Nazis pursued their war of terror, the allies were closing in. Following the agreements of the Trident conference in Washington, preparations for the landing in Italy were beginning. North Africa, now rid Axis troops Eisenhower concentrated his focus on Mussolini in order to to push him to end the war. American bombers intensified their attacks on ports, airfields and industrial areas.

In Sicily, the towns of Palermo, Catania and Syracuse were targeted. Sardinia, where was an important garrison German soldiers, was also affected. Messina and Naples, Italy, came under heavy bombardment. Allied aircraft based in Malta had begun to bombard the port of Naples since 1940. The city knew what an air attack was, but with the acceleration of alerts, life in that summer of 1943 became unbearable.

Explosions echoed regularly in the city. Water shortages and food were frequent. Despite significant reinforcements, German air power in Italy marked time against Allied aircraft.

The Neapolitans suffered one major bombings that they never have known hitherto. The Germans were unable to send the planes and D.C.A batteries which Mussolini had urgently demanded. Fearing that the Allies don't land any moment now, thousands of Italians left their home in the south of the country. Convinced that it was only a matter of time before the allies do not launch the attack, the Germans moved troops from France to Italy. The Allies had, however, lost a little time discussing the best way to follow for their campaign before deciding that Sicily would be the ideal bridgehead for the conquest of Italy. The tiny Italian island from Pantelleria, located on the way to Sicily, not far from the Tunisian coast, was a stage on the main island road.

With its steep cliffs, Pantelleria had been used as an airbase and submarine by the axis forces. Attacks had been launched against British ships in Mediterranean from this island. According to Winston Churchill, Pantelleria, was a thorn in the side and now posed a problem for the invasion of Sicily. To make sure that nothing could prevent the success of these men in their mission in Italy, Eisenhower designed a project quite unpleasant for the small island. He and his staff wanted to check if it were possible to weaken such a target from the air so that you can then invade it with a reduced force. Pantelleria became a testing ground to observe the effects from a saturation bombardment on a well defended coast.

Allied aircraft began to bombard the small island from May and during the next five weeks. Over 500 bomber raids were made and 6300 tons of bombs dropped on Italian and German troops. Barracks, depots and planes were hit at the Pantelleria airfield, while the ships british fighters opened fire on the port and on the gun emplacement along the coast.

June 10, the offensive reaches its climax. Whole waves of bombers take off from Tunisia, bombarding the island day and night, only stopping to give time the Allies to invite the island to surrender. Simultaneously from Washington, Roosevelt urged the Italians to overthrow Mussolini. Those who wanted to get rid of the dictator were many, but they would stay in power for a while longer. In Pantelleria, no surrender having taken place, a British infantry division left the Tunisian coast aboard landing craft.

Around 11 a.m., June 11, an allied aircraft spotted a white cross on the airfield just before the infantry does not arrive on the beach. It was the first time in history than enemy territory only capitulated following a bombardment, even before the troops have not set foot on the ground. The operation proved that the Allies were serious.

Eisenhower could now focus on preparations of the invasion of Sicily. On the other side of the globe, in the Pacific theater of operations, events were accelerating. The Allies resumed supremacy over the seas. As an island nation, Japan depended on maritime relations with the rest of the world, and that's the same which had led him to war. When the United States imposed sanctions in Japan regarding the supply in raw materials, the empire of the rising sun had no other choice than to fight for its survival. In 1943, the Japanese having to defend and administer new territories were facing with considerable difficulties.

It was vital for them that maritime links are maintained, allowing the sending of troops and ammunition to most isolated southern garrisons. The Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, during which many American ships had been destroyed or put out of action, had been an entry in a resounding war for Japan. These troops encountered little of opposition in the conquest of the islands around the Pacific. Their enemies still in shock, the Japanese did everything possible to take advantage of their success at Pearl Harbor. Japanese submarine crews were particularly well trained.

They were equipped long lance torpedoes. They showed up much more efficient than that of American submarines, often victims of failure. These did not explode on impact or exploded before reaching their target, or followed aberrant trajectories. The American military were more and more focused on technology and tactics that could assure them of superiority on the Japanese in the Pacific.

Pearl Harbor events showed them that they were not at the end of their pains before reaching this result. In the beginning of the Pacific War, the commanders American submarines knew they were ill-prepared to the battles that awaited them. US military decision makers finally heard their voices and in 1943, designed new torpedoes, developing a model with of a more powerful payload. Americans would benefit the effect of surprise on their enemies and tilt the fate battles in their favour. Applying bold tactics, the Americans launched surprise attacks against ships Japanese merchants.

This strategy was quickly extended. It turned out to be very effective. because US Navy submarines, have become more bolder, attacked closer to the surface rather than from the depths. A year ago, the code breakers had succeeded to decipher the codes of the Japanese Navy. Now they provide more precise information to the submarine commander regarding positions possible surface targets.

As a result, submarines Americans were equipped with radar to detect ships in their vicinity, while the patrols, spotted submarines Japanese in diving. The pace of attacks on ships Japanese increased significantly throughout 1943, Americans attacking as many military ships than merchant ships and even fishing fleets. Slowly, but inexorably, the allies regained control in the choppy waters of the Pacific.

General Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the forces allies in the Southwest Pacific, represented for the Japanese an implacable enemy at sea, in the air and on the ground. Securing Air Superiority was a constant concern in the South Pacific, where American troops and Australians were now progressing growing inside from the limit of the southern perimeter Japanese possessions. At the beginning of June, Admiral William Halsey ordered the attack on new Georgia, largest island west of the islands Solomon, who was immediately north of Guadalcanal.

The Americans had been warned that the Japanese were building an airfield in Munda, the largest colony of New Georgia. Air attacks against American troops would have represented a significant hazard. The Japanese, they feared that if the Americans managed to hold Guadalcanal, it would give them a starting point for operations to reconquer the islands one after the other north of the Solomons. This would put the strategic base of Rabaul on the island of New England, crucial for the Japanese under the threat direct from the Americans. Everything Japan could try to stop the American forces in their advance was considered a priority.

Although the Japanese attacks against Guadalcanal has little chance of moving the Americans from their position, they disturbed them, but the American advance towards Rabaul does not slow down. The Marines landed at the southern tip of New Georgia, left defenseless and started to advance towards the port of Viry. Without waiting to have eliminated the Japanese garrison strong of more than 10,000 men who occupied the rest of the island, they started to build an airfield where they landed. Allied planes based on this new airfield provided them with air support invaluable in their fight to conquer all of New Georgia. When Munda Air Base fell into the hands of the allies, few weeks later, the troops of Guadalcanal, who always fought the last Japanese resistance strongholds, were somewhat relieved. Japanese bombing attempts American positions at Guadalcanal from their base in New Georgia allowed to imagine the problems to which went to face the troops if we gave the Japanese time to consolidate their positions in newly conquered territories.

Japanese culture to never lay down your arms meant that every square kilometer of territory in the Pacific, on land or sea, would be defended until death. The Allies had a goal terribly hard to reach. The cost in terms of life lost would become impressive, but it was the price to pay to end expansionism Japanese in the Pacific.

A heavy price also had to be paid to defeat Hitler in Europe. The war also took its due on the civilian population everywhere in proportions which would become unbearable. England continued to suffer the raids of the Luftwaffe. In every country under the Führer's boot, the terror was permanent. The reports of the atrocities committed were terrible. On the military level, the immediate concern of the Allies was the landing in Sicily.

Several questions remained in abeyance, especially those which concerned the political reaction when they landed in Italy. The conquest of Italy would make it possible to appreciate to what extent those who had embraced Hitler's utopia would be able to turn against it.

2023-02-24 18:48

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