J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff 1

Enclosure to C.C.S. 301

Specific Operations in the Pacific and Far East, 1943–44


1. Prepare an outline plan for specific operations in the Pacific and Far East in 1943–44 to be in consonance with the Strategic Plan for the Defeat of Japan.


2. It is assumed that Italy is eliminated from the war in 1943; Germany will be defeated in the fall of 1944; Japan and Russia remain at peace.

estimate of the enemy situation, 1943–44, pacific–far east area

3. An estimate of the enemy situation is contained in C.C.S. 300.2 This concludes that:

General. Japan will probably remain on the strategic defensive except in one or more of the following circumstances: (1) if convinced that Russia had decided to attack her or to grant to the other United Nations the use of Siberian air bases, Japan would strike first; (2) if convinced that there was real danger of serious United Nations operations against her from China, Japan would strike first; (3) if [Page 427] Japan had inflicted a severe defeat upon United Nations forces operating against her in the Pacific, she might follow up offensively; (4) if Russia met with serious reverses on the Western Front, Japan might take the opportunity to attack the Soviet.
North Pacific. We believe that Japan will continue to strengthen her defenses in the Kuriles as means become available, but is not likely to depart from the defensive except in case of war with Russia, in which case she would probably try to seize Kamchatka.
Manchuria. We believe that Japan will continue to seek to avoid war with Russia in all circumstances except those indicated in a(1) above. She will continue to match Russian strength in Siberia, reducing her forces in Manchuria only in case of extreme necessity.
China (including Yunnan). We believe that Japan will continue to seek a satisfactory solution in China by political means, but will probably engage in no decisive military operations there except in the circumstances indicated in a(2) above. In that case, her most likely objective would be Kunming and probably the determining factor would be relative air strength there.
Burma. We believe that Japan will remain on the strategic defensive.
Southwest and Central Pacific. We believe that Japan will remain on the strategic defensive, continuing to build up her local defensive forces and facilities and her naval striking force.

concept of operations

4. The Strategic Plan for the Defeat of Japan (220)3 envisages the actual invasion of Japan following an overwhelming air offensive from bases in China. This requires the opening of lines of communication to China which, in turn, involves the early recapture of Burma and the seizure of a port in China. This requires a westward advance by the United States through the Central and South–South-west Pacific. Operations during this period must have as their objectives those stated in C.C.S. 242/6:4 “to maintain and extend unremitting pressure against Japan with the purpose of continually reducing her military power and attaining positions from which her ultimate surrender can be forced.” An analysis of our capabilities prior to 1945 indicates that we can conduct operations in the Pacific and Asiatic Theaters which will be in consonance with the above objective.

5. A phase in the North Pacific, now drawing to a close, deals with the ejection of the Japanese from the Aleutians. Consideration is [Page 428] being given to plans for an operation against Paramushiru in 1944 considering means available and feasibility in connection with our other operations in the Pacific.

6. In the Central and South–Southwest Pacific during 1943–44, we can continue our objective of reaching positions for an all out effort against Japan by attaining a line that runs roughly through the Palaus and the Vogelkop in western New Guinea. At the same time we will constantly be restricting Japanese communications. It may be found desirable or necessary to seize Guam and the Japanese Marianas, possibly the Bonins, in conjunction with the seizure of the western Carolines, and in particular with the attack on the Palaus. The Mariana–Bonin attack would have profound effects on the Japanese because of its serious threat to the homeland.

7. In the Asiatic Theater, during this period, the British will begin the ejection of the Japanese from Burma. This will constitute a further pressure against the Japanese and will increase the attrition of their military power. The early increase in assistance to China is of the utmost importance in keeping her in the war. In addition to assisting China materially, our air efforts in China will be furthered. The British forces are scheduled to complete the conquest of Burma with operations beginning in late 1944.

8. The various operations required in the several theaters, during 1943–44, together with a brief statement of the concept of each operation, are listed below. These operations further the objectives stated in C.C.S. 242/6 and, as will be shown later, are within our capabilities during the period under consideration. Outline plans for these operations are available.

a. Gilberts

This is a plan for the seizure and consolidation of the Gilberts preparatory to a further advance into the Marshalls. Nauru, Tarawa, and Makin are to be captured by simultaneous assault followed by the rapid development of airfields in the forward (Tarawa–Makin) area and staging fields along the Gilbert line.

b. Marshalls

This is a plan for the seizure of the Marshall Islands (including Wake and Kusaie) preparatory to a westward advance through the Central Pacific. Initial operations envisage either the seizure of the center nucleus by simultaneous assault or a step-by-step advance up from the Gilberts through Jaluit and Mill.

c. Ponape

This is a plan for the capture of Ponape preparatory to operations against the Truk area. The main effort is to be against the northern [Page 429] (Ponape Town) area. Subsequent operations provide for the elimination of enemy forces by successive seizure of their positions.

d. Carolines (Truk area)

This is a plan for the seizure of the eastern Carolines as far west at [as] Woleai and the establishment of a fleet base at Truk. Atolls to the southeastward of Truk are to be captured first, followed by the rapid development of airfields in the area. These will provide bases for a sustained fighter-supported bombing offensive against Truk. Subsequent operations provide for capture of Truk and the reduction as necessary of the remaining enemy positions as far west as Woleai.

e. Palau Islands

This is a plan for the capture of the Palaus including Yap. The plan calls for the initial capture of Yap and other suitable islands in the neighboring atolls from which to conduct a more intensified air attack against the Palaus. The initial phases of the final assault against the Palaus center largely on the Malakal–Koror Harbor area, with the objective of seizing airfields. Subsequent operations provide for the capture or neutralization of all the islands.

f. Operations against Guam and the Japanese Marianas (In preparation)

This is a plan for the seizure of Guam and the Japanese Marianas.

g. Operations in the New Guinea–Bismarcks–Admiralty Islands subsequent to Cartwheel

This is a plan for the seizure or neutralization of eastern New Guinea as far west as Wewak and including the Admiralty Islands and Bismarck Archipelago. Rabaul is to be neutralized rather than captured. Airfields are to be developed throughout the area and advanced naval anchorages are to be established at Kavieng and Manus Island. The plan envisages: (1) an advance to Wewak, (2) the seizure of New Ireland and the outlying islands of New Hanover and St. Matthias, and (3) the seizure of the Admiralty Islands in the order listed. Concurrently with these operations, Rabaul is to be neutralized by an air offensive of increasing intensity.

h. Operations in New Guinea subsequent to the Wewak–Kavieng Operation

This is a plan for an advance along the north coast of New Guinea as far west as Vogelkop. It provides for step-by-step airborne-waterborne advances. Each successive offensive is predicated on the consolidation of earlier seizures, including the activation of airfields from which to provide close land-based aircraft support for subsequent operations.

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i. Operations in Burma at end of 1943 monsoon (to be presented by British)

These are plans for advances, with limited objectives, in both north and southwest (Arakan coast) Burma in November 1943. The northern advance will be made by Chinese troops from Yunnan and Ledo and by British forces from Imphal. The objective of this operation is to clear the Japanese from northern Burma and allow the completion of the Ledo Road to a junction with the Burma Road. The operation in the southwest is to be an overland advance and an amphibious assault against Akyab. The capture of Akyab will be followed by operations for the seizure of Ramree Island. The objective of these operations is to place our forces in a position to interdict Rangoon, and Japanese lines of communication into Burma.

j. Operations in Burma at end of 1944 monsoon (to be presented by British)

These are plans for an overseas operation to drive the Japanese from Burma, with the objective of opening additional routes to China and increasing the flow of supplies at the earliest practicable date.

k. Operations in China

These operations are of a continuing nature, being increased as our resources permit. They envisage the maximum possible flow of supplies to China and the maintaining of increased American Air Forces in China.

l. Operations against Paramushiru

A plan for operations against Paramushiru is under consideration.

9. Increased bombing of the Kuriles from the Aleutians and possibly an amphibious movement against Paramushiru would have a measurable effect on other operations against the Japanese. The Kuriles are a part of the Japanese Archipelago and a threat against them also threatens the Empire and will tend to pin down forces at home.

10. The two areas where operations come nearest to being mutually supporting are the Central Pacific and South–Southwest Pacific. An advance in either of these two Theaters will either increase the threat to the other or increase the difficulties of its logistic support. Our seizure of the Bismarcks would place Truk under threat. Our seizure of Truk would tend to flank western New Guinea, thereby increasing the difficulties of its supply. The fleet can operate to support operations in both Theaters simultaneously. Diversions can frequently be made from one Theater to the other without adversely affecting planned operations.

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target dates

11. The target dates shown below are for the most part tentative and are listed only for planning purposes.

Target Dates Central Pacific Southwest Pacific China–Burma–India
15 Aug. 1943 Kiska
1 Sep. 1943 Lae–Madang
15 Oct. 1943 Buin–Faisi
1 Nov. 1943 (1) Upper Burma
(2) Akyab–Ramree
15 Nov. 1943 Gilberts
1 Dec. 1943 (1) W. New Britain
(2) Kieta
(3) Buka (Neutralize)
1 Jan. 1944 Marshalls
1 Feb. 1944 (1) Rabaul (Neutralize)
(2) Wewak
1 May 1944 Kavieng
1 June 1944 Ponape Manus
1 Aug. 1944 Hollandia
1 Sep. 1944 Truk
15 Sep. 1944 Wadke
15 Oct. 1944 Japen
1 Nov. 1944 Complete Burma
30 Nov. 1944 Manokwari
31 Dec. 1944 Palau

availability of means

12. An analysis indicates that, provided the shipping needs of the Pacific will continue to be fulfilled, the requirements for the above operations can be met by presently planned deployments.


13. Specific operations in the Pacific and Far East for 1943–44 should include the recapture of Burma and the opening of a land route to China through Northern Burma, meanwhile furnishing all possible logistic and air support to China in order to insure the availability of Chinese areas suitable for operations of United Nations forces against Japan, and a westward advance in the Pacific to the Palau–Vogelkop line. An analysis of the separate operations indicated [Page 432] in paragraph 11 above shows that sufficient means can be made available for their accomplishment in 1943–44. The completion of these operations will place the United Nations in a position to use most advantageously the great air, ground, and naval resources which will be at our disposal after Germany is defeated.

  1. Circulated under cover of the following memorandum by the United States Chiefs of Staff (301), August 9, 1943: “The enclosure, an outline plan for specific operations in the Pacific and Far East in 1943–44, which represents the views of the United States Chiefs of Staff, is presented to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.”

    For the discussion of this paper at the 110th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, August 17, 1943, see post, p. 876.

  2. Ante, p. 417.
  3. Ante, p. 289.
  4. Ante, p. 365.