8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War
8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

Maria - June 20, 2016

6. Battle of Midway

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

The Battle of Midway was a decisive naval encounter between the US and Japanese Marines in the Pacific. The Japanese Imperial Combined Fleet had intended to divert the attention of the United States forces from the Midway Atoll. So, they launched an attack on the Aleutian Islands on June 3, 1942. However, the plan didn’t work as intended because the Americans had broken the Japanese naval code and knew exactly the reason behind Aleutian Islands attack.

On June 4, Americans clashed with the Imperial Combined Fleet resulting in a battle that lasted three days, forcing the Japanese navy to abort their planned invasion of Midway. By the end, the Japanese naval and air power had suffered a major blow in the hands of the American forces. They lost all four of their carriers used in the battle as well as approximately 250 aircraft.

5. Battle of Leyte Gulf

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

Formerly known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf is recognized as the largest naval battle of World War II and by some criteria, historians rate it as the greatest naval battle in history. The battle which commenced from 23-26 October 1944 was fought between combined American and Australian forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy in the waters of the Leyte Gulf, near the Philippine islands of Leyte, Samar, and Luzon. It involved over 270 warships (64 Japanese, 216 American and 2 Australian).

The battle was a retaliatory attempt by the Imperial Japanese Navy to defeat the Allied Forces following United States troops’ invasion on the Island of Leyte Gulf, whose intention was to isolate Japan from the Southeast Asian countries it had conquered, as well as deprive its forces and industry of vital oil supplies.

The Imperial Japanese Navy’s objective failed and was defeated by the Allied Forces even though it had called to arms nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels including four carriers, ten cruisers, eleven destroyers and three battleships along with 12,000 men. The Allies, however, lost only three destroyers, two escort carriers, and one light carrier, and suffered about 2,500 human casualties.

4. Battle of the Coral Sea

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first combat that brought together the American and the Japanese aircraft carriers during World War II. It was exclusively an aircraft fight as none of the ships involved in the battle shot at the enemy ship. While this was the case, several enemy carriers were spotted by the Japanese aircraft, and on May 8, the Allied Forces fleet (U.S. and Australian) were forced to withdraw.

However, the Japenese were more vigilant and expected more U.S. carriers in the area. Considering their options, they decided to cancel Operation MO, which was their objective of capturing both Port Moresby (New Guinea) and Tulagi (the Solomon Islands). By the end of the war, the combined U.S. and Australian forces emerged victorious.

3. Battle of Singapore

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

On February 8, 1942, when the Japanese invaded Singapore, the city-state was a British stronghold, protected by about 90,000 Commonwealth forces. The then commander Arthur Percival expected the attack but still left the landward side of Singapore virtually unguarded. His argument was that the invaders would approach the island from the sea, and was convinced that the mangrove swamp on the Malay Peninsula and thick jungle were impassable. Well, that was a major blunder. The Japanese troops chose the very same jungle and mangrove swamp that was supposedly impenetrable.

The British forces were ambushed and in just seven days of fighting, they surrendered, and about 60,000 troops including their commander were captured and became prisoners of war.
Also known as the Fall of Singapore, the capture of Singapore by the Japanese and the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history was termed by Winston Churchill as the “worst disaster” and “largest capitulation” in British military history

2. Battle of the Philippine Sea

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

After just four days of the United States’ amphibious invasion of the Mariana Islands during the Pacific War, the Battle of the Philippine Sea broke out. It was a decisive naval battle of the Second World War as it was American forces’ aim to eliminate the Imperial Japanese Navy’s ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions.
The Japanese troops first launched an attack on the American Navy on June 19, 1944, hoping to impose a decisive defeat to the U.S. fleet. But by the following day, late in the afternoon, the Japanese marines were retreating, as they were sustaining a major defeat themselves. The Imperial fleet was seriously weakened after three of their carriers had been sunk and nearly 400 aircraft were destroyed.
The aerial theater of the Battle of the Philippine Sea was termed as the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot by American aviators as they had severely inflicted a disproportional loss upon the Japanese aircraft.

1. Battle of Iwo Jima

8 Of The Greatest Battles Of Asia-Pacific War

The Battle of Iwo Jima is one of the most iconic of all the Pacific wars. Also known as Operation Detachment, as it was designated by the Americans, the Battle of Iwo Jima was a five-week battle that commenced from February 19 to March 26, 1945.

The objective of this American invasion was to capture the tiny island measuring just 5 x 2.5 miles, including the three Japanese-controlled airfields (including the South Field and the Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. Even though the US troops had numerical superiority (both men and artilleries), the Japanese units chose to fight fiercely in defense of their positions to the very last of their men.

About 21,000 of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers were killed. The US also gained its victory at the cost of 6,800 killed soldiers and about 20,000 wounded.