China Strait

The China Strait is a navigable strait in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea between Samarai Island and Sariba Island. The strait, 4 nautical miles (7 km) in length and .75 nautical miles (1 km) wide, connects the Solomon Sea with the Coral Sea.

China Strait
World War II-era United States Navy map of the China Strait.

References

  • "CIA World Factbook". Retrieved 2006-05-25.
  • ITouch Map of the China Strait
  • Pacific Wrecks (1997–2009). "Samarai Island". Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Pacific Wrecks.org. Retrieved April 28, 2009.
Battle of Milne Bay

The Battle of Milne Bay (25 August – 7 September 1942), also known as Operation RE or the Battle of Rabi (ラビの戦い) by the Japanese, was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II. Japanese naval infantry troops, known as Kaigun Tokubetsu Rikusentai (Special Naval Landing Forces), with two small tanks attacked the Allied airfields at Milne Bay that had been established on the eastern tip of New Guinea. Due to poor intelligence work, the Japanese miscalculated the size of the predominantly Australian garrison and, believing that the airfields were only defended by two or three companies, initially landed a force roughly equivalent in size to one battalion on 25 August 1942. The Allies, forewarned by intelligence from Ultra, had heavily reinforced the garrison.

Despite suffering a significant setback at the outset, when part of their small invasion force had its landing craft destroyed by Allied aircraft as they attempted to land on the coast behind the Australian defenders, the Japanese quickly pushed inland and began their advance towards the airfields. Heavy fighting followed as they encountered the Australian Militia troops that formed the first line of defence. These troops were steadily pushed back, but the Australians brought forward veteran Second Australian Imperial Force units that the Japanese had not expected. Allied air superiority helped tip the balance, providing close support to troops in combat and targeting Japanese logistics. Finding themselves heavily outnumbered, lacking supplies and suffering heavy casualties, the Japanese withdrew their forces, with fighting coming to an end on 7 September 1942.

The battle is often described as the first major battle of the war in the Pacific in which Allied troops decisively defeated Japanese land forces. Although Japanese land forces had experienced local setbacks elsewhere in the Pacific earlier in the war, unlike at Milne Bay, these earlier actions had not forced them to withdraw completely and abandon their strategic objective. Nor did they have such a profound impact upon the thoughts and perceptions of the Allies towards the Japanese, and their prospects for victory. Milne Bay showed the limits of Japanese capability to expand using relatively small forces in the face of increasingly larger Allied troop concentrations and command of the air. As a result of the battle, Allied morale was boosted and Milne Bay was developed into a major Allied base, which was used to mount subsequent operations in the region.

Battle of the Coral Sea

The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia, taking place in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The battle is historically significant as the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which the opposing ships neither sighted nor fired directly upon one another.

In an attempt to strengthen their defensive position in the South Pacific, the Japanese decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby (in New Guinea) and Tulagi (in the southeastern Solomon Islands). The plan to accomplish this was called Operation Mo, and involved several major units of Japan's Combined Fleet. These included two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion forces. It was under the overall command of Japanese Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue.

The U.S. learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence, and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-U.S. cruiser force to oppose the offensive. These were under the overall command of U.S. Admiral Frank J. Fletcher.

On 3–4 May, Japanese forces successfully invaded and occupied Tulagi, although several of their supporting warships were sunk or damaged in surprise attacks by aircraft from the U.S. fleet carrier Yorktown. Now aware of the presence of U.S. carriers in the area, the Japanese fleet carriers advanced towards the Coral Sea with the intention of locating and destroying the Allied naval forces. On the evening of 6 May, the direction chosen for air searches by the opposing commanders brought the two carrier forces to within 70 nmi (81 mi; 130 km) of each other, unbeknownst to both sides. Beginning on 7 May, the carrier forces from the two sides engaged in airstrikes over two consecutive days. On the first day, both forces mistakenly believed they were attacking their opponent's fleet carriers, but were actually attacking other units, with the U.S. sinking the Japanese light carrier Shōhō while the Japanese sank a U.S. destroyer and heavily damaged a fleet oiler (which was later scuttled). The next day, the fleet carriers found and engaged each other, with the Japanese fleet carrier Shōkaku heavily damaged, the U.S. fleet carrier Lexington critically damaged (and later scuttled), and Yorktown damaged. With both sides having suffered heavy losses in aircraft and carriers damaged or sunk, the two forces disengaged and retired from the battle area. Because of the loss of carrier air cover, Inoue recalled the Port Moresby invasion fleet, intending to try again later.

Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons. The battle marked the first time since the start of the war that a major Japanese advance had been checked by the Allies. More importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku—the former damaged and the latter with a depleted aircraft complement—were unable to participate in the Battle of Midway the following month, while Yorktown did participate, ensuring a rough parity in aircraft between the two adversaries and contributing significantly to the U.S. victory in that battle. The severe losses in carriers at Midway prevented the Japanese from reattempting to invade Port Moresby from the ocean and helped prompt their ill-fated land offensive over the Kokoda Track. Two months later, the Allies took advantage of Japan's resulting strategic vulnerability in the South Pacific and launched the Guadalcanal Campaign; this, along with the New Guinea Campaign, eventually broke Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and was a significant contributing factor to Japan's ultimate surrender in World War II.

Bonarua Hili Hili Island

Bonarua Hili Hili Island is a small island just north of Logea Island, in China Strait, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

Dagadaga Bonarua Island

Dagadaga Bonarua Island is an island separating East Channel and China Strait, just south of Milne Bay, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

Ebuma Island

Ebuma Island is a small island in China Strait, between Samarai and the mainland, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

Four Asian Tigers

The Four Asian Tigers, Four Asian Dragons or Four Little Dragons, (in Chinese and Korean, only the "dragon" terms are used), are the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, which underwent rapid industrialization and maintained exceptionally high growth rates (in excess of 7 percent a year) between the early 1960s (mid-1950s for Hong Kong) and 1990s. By the early 21st century, all four had developed into high-income economies (developed countries), specializing in areas of competitive advantage. Hong Kong and Singapore have become world-leading international financial centres, whereas South Korea and Taiwan are world leaders in manufacturing electronic components and devices. Their economic success stories have served as role models for many developing countries, especially the Tiger Cub Economies of southeast Asia.A controversial World Bank report (The East Asian Miracle 1993) credited neoliberal policies with the responsibility for the boom, including maintenance of export-oriented policies, low taxes, and minimal welfare states; institutional analysis also states some state intervention was involved. However, others argued that industrial policy and state intervention had a much greater influence than the World Bank report suggested.

Gesila Island

Gesila Island is a small island separating West Channel, East Channel and China Strait, just south of Milne Bay, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

HMAS Hobart (D63)

HMAS Hobart was a modified Leander-class light cruiser which served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during World War II. Originally constructed for the Royal Navy as HMS Apollo, the ship entered service in 1936, and was sold to Australia two years later. During the war, Hobart was involved in the evacuation of British Somaliland in 1940, fought at the Battle of the Coral Sea and supported the amphibious landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi in 1942. She was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1943, then returned to service in 1945 and supported the landings at Tarakan, Wewak, Brunei, and Balikpapan. Hobart was placed in reserve in 1947, but plans to modernise her and return her to service as an aircraft carrier escort, training ship, or guided missile ship were not followed through. The cruiser was sold for scrapping in 1962.

HMAS Matafele

HMAS Matafele was a small cargo and passenger vessel which was operated by Burns Philp from 1938 to 1942 and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1943 until she was lost with all of her crew as a result of an accident in June 1944.

History of spaceflight

Spaceflight began in the 20th century following theoretical and practical breakthroughs by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Robert H. Goddard. The Soviet Union took the lead in the post-war Space Race, launching the first satellite, the first man and the first woman into orbit. The United States caught up with, and then passed, their Soviet rivals during the mid-1960s, landing the first man on the Moon in 1969. In the same period, France, the United Kingdom, Japan and China were concurrently developing more limited launch capabilities.

Following the end of the Space Race, spaceflight has been characterised by greater international co-operation, cheaper access to low Earth orbit and an expansion of commercial ventures. Interplanetary probes have visited all of the planets in the Solar System, and humans have remained in orbit for long periods aboard space stations such as Mir and the ISS. Most recently, China has emerged as the third nation with the capability to launch independent manned missions, whilst operators in the commercial sector have developed re-usable booster systems and craft launched from airborne platforms.

Igwali Island

Igwali Island (also known as Paples Island) is an island north of Sariba Island, and on the eastern side of China Strait, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

Ito Island

Ito Island (also known as Wanepa Island) is an island between Sariba and Sideia, on the eastern side of China Strait, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

John Moresby

Rear Admiral John Moresby (15 March 1830 – 12 July 1922) was a British Naval Officer who explored the coast of New Guinea and was the first European to discover the site of Port Moresby.

Moresby was born in Allerford, Somerset, England, the son of Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby. He joined the navy at an early age as a Volunteer 1st Class in HMS Victor, and rose to be in charge of the 1,031 ton paddle steamer cruiser HMS Basilisk in which he made hydrological surveys around eastern New Guinea. During the survey of the southern coast he discovered the harbour which he named Fairfax after his father. The town established there, based on already existing native villages (principally Hanuabada) was named Port Moresby and is now the nation's capital.John Moresby was also searching for a shorter route between Australia and China and on the eastern tip of the island he discovered the China Strait. He continued exploring along the north west coast as far as the Huon Gulf.

On 29 September 1876, Moresby took command of HMS Endymion, remaining in this position until 6 March 1878.He was later promoted to rear admiral and died on 12 July 1922 in Fareham, Hampshire, England.

Kui Island

Mekinley Island (also known as Kui Island) is an island north of Sariba Island, and on the eastern side of China Strait, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

Kwato Island

Kwato Island an island in China Strait, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

Logea Island

Logea Island (also spelled Rogeia) is a large island separating West Channel, East Channel and China Strait, just south of Milne Bay, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

SS 's Jacob (1907)

SS 's Jacob Dutch freighter built by Maatschappij Fijenoord, Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1907, of 2,839 GRT and operated by Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij (KPM) in the Dutch East Indies trade. The ship, after seeking refuge in Australia during the Japanese invasion of the islands, became part of the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) command's permanent local fleet. 's Jacob was sunk off Papua New Guinea on 8 March 1943 during World War II by Japanese air attack.

Samarai

Samarai is an island and former administrative capital in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.

The island is historically significant as the site of a trading port and stop-over between Australia and East Asia. Samarai town was established on the island and at its height was the second largest after Port Moresby in the Territory of Papua.The town of Samarai was ordered to be destroyed by the British during World War II, fearing Japanese occupation. Although rebuilt after the war, and functioning as provincial headquarters until 1968, economic changes meant that Samarai did not fully regain its regional status and it has since largely fallen into disrepair. The island was declared a National Historical Heritage Island by the government of Papua New Guinea in 2006.

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