US Navy fleet train of WW2

At the end of World War I, US naval planners assessed the naval operations of that conflict and came to the conclusion that a fleet lost 10% of its combat capability for every 1,000 miles (1600 km) it operated away from its base. The implications of this assessment were then compounded by the fortifications clause …

The Japanese conquest of Timor (I)

The Battle of Timor resulted in the Japanese seizure of the island of Timor, on which the colonial powers were the Netherlands and Portugal, to the north-west of Darwin in the Australian Northern Territory. The Japanese invaded the island on 20 February 1942 and were resisted by a small Allied force. This Sparrow Force comprised …

The Japanese conquest of Hong Kong

At the beginning of World War II, Hong Kong was a British possession on the south-west coast of China to the south-east of Canton in the Pearl River estuary. The Chinese had ceded Victoria island to the UK at the end of the 1st Opium War (1839/42), and the New Territories on the mainland were …

Japan’s greatest Pacific base – Truk atoll

The US geographical (rather than operational) codename for Truk atoll in the Caroline islands group of the central Pacific between 1941 and 1945 was originally ‘Anaconda’ and then ‘Panhandle’. A group of hilly islands, the tips of drowned mountain peaks, surrounded by a large barrier reef with five passes, Truk is a large atoll lying …

‘Longsuit’ and the Bloody Battle for Tarawa

A detailed account of the battle by American forces to reclaim the Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands from Japanese control during World War II – as part of a bigger plan to reclaim Japanese-seized areas of the South-West Pacific and the Central Pacific.