why was the island hopping strategy of the allies successful


To avoid needless bloodshed; heavily defended islands were BY-PASSED. The allied slogan was, \”Hit em where they aint! \” Heavily defended islands were assaulted O
NLY if absolutely necessary (for their airfields): Such as Iwo Jima that were not critically needed. If Iwo Jima and Okinawa had not been critically needed. they would certainly have been \”by-passed. \” Island Hopping was used because the Allies needed to invade Japan, while also saving some key islands. Island hopping, also called leapfrogging, was a strategy employed by the Allied Powers, led by the United States, in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Since the Pacific was considered a secondary theatre of operation after Europe, the two military commanders, General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz, has limited resources since most troops and supplies were being sent to Europe to fight Germany and Italy. Because of this, the idea of efficiently using limited troops and supplies came about. Island hopping involved bypassing heavily defended Japanese held islands and attacking and seizing more lightly defended islands in their rear. The Allies would use these bases to cut off supplies and communication to the bypassed islands rendering them useless to the Japanese. The Japanese would either have to abandon these islands or watch them starve for lack of food and ammunition. The Allies used this strategy whenever possible but sometimes military or political necessity caused them to stray from this course. For example, Iwo Jima was a heavily defended island but the Allies needed it as a forward air base so they were forced to launch a costly invasion of the small island fortress.


MacArthur\’s 1944 invasion of the Philippines was seen as a largely political move, even though the island chain could have been bypassed. It refers to the US war in the Pacific against the Japanese. Japan had occupied many Pacific islands as well as Malaya, Singapore, the Philippines & so on. When the US was able it recovered these islands by military action using Naval & Marine forces. By late 1942 the US was beginning to attain clear naval and air superiority in the Pacific. It occurred to planners that under these circumstance there was no need to invade every single island upon which the Japanese military was entrenched. The fight for each island was always a bloodbath because the Japanese, without hope of reinforcements or resupply, still fought to the death, to the last man, even though their position was hopeless as soon as the Allied invasion fleet appeared over the horizon.    In fact, it was possible to completely bypass Japanese strongholds and advance instead by taking lightly-held or unoccupied islands. The islands to be taken merely needed to be large enough to build airfields on them. Each step of the advance could be no farther than land-based aircraft could range, so that airplanes from the previously taken island could support the next advance. Carriers were scarce and expensive, and the navy was reluctant to commit them for extended periods in support of invasions, which would attract Japanese submarines.    Since the US was steadily gaining ever greater naval surface superiority in the Pacific, and US submarines were ravaging the Japanese naval and merchant fleets, it made sense to bypass large Japanese garrisons.

The Japanese troops on these islands could not be withdrawn and redeployed in the Americans\’ path, because the US Navy would sink ships attempting this. The Japanese garrisons on bypassed islands could not even be resupplied, and were left to starve on the vine. Among other places left to rot in the backwaters of the war were Truk Atoll, which had been the major Japanese Fleet anchorage in the Pacific outside home waters, and Rabaul, which had at least 100,000 Japanese troops slowly starving on it. New US carriers would gain combat experience by periodically raiding these bypassed strongholds.    Sometimes it was impossible, because of the scarcity of islands, to avoid having to take islands held by the Japanese, and the usual, familiar dreary bloodbath would result. Island Hopping is the phrase given to the strategy employed by the United States to gain military bases and secure the many small islands in the Pacific. The attack was lead by General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the Allied forces in the South west Pacific, and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-chief of the Pacific fleet. The US troops targeted the islands that were not as strongly defended by the Japanese. They took control of those islands, and quickly constructed landing strips and small military bases. Then they proceeded to attack other islands from the bases they had established. Slowly the US army moved closer to Japan, taking control of many of the surrounding islands.

MacArthur met with Admiral William Bull Halsey, and the two devised a plan. On April 26th, 1942, they laid out the plan; a two-pronged offensive codenamed Cartwheel. They aimed to corner Japanese troops on Rabaul Island, with MacArthur s troops advancing along the northern coast of New Guinea, and Halsey s troops driving north from Guadalcanal, and taking control of the Solomon Islands. In February 1945 US troops invaded Iwo Jima; the first American landing on Japanese territory. It was a bloody fight that last 36 days, and cost the US 6, 381 men. Nearly 20,000 Japanese soldiers perished. In April came the invasion of Okinawa, the bloodiest battle of the war in the Pacific in which the Japanese launched massive Kamikaze attacks on the US invasion fleet. The island hopping strategy was very costly. The US soldiers were not used to the guerilla style of fighting, and the Japanese had the advantage of controlling many of the islands. Further, many US soldiers succumbed to illnesses such as Malaria, dysentery and skin fungus. Ultimately, the island hopping campaign was successful. It allowed the US to gain control over sufficient islands in the Pacific to get close enough to Japan to launch a mainland invasion. However, the island hopping took a long time and was very costly; even after war was close to ending in Europe it appeared that the war might continue indefinitely in the Pacific. Fearing a drawn out war with many more casualties, the US made plans to end the war quickly and force Japan s surrender. They achieved this with the World s first Atomic bombs.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button