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The Pacific Ocean theater was one of four major naval theatres of war of World War II, that pitted forces of Japan against those of the United States, the British Empire, the Netherlands and France.

The theater included most of the Pacific Ocean and its islands, excluding the Philippines, Australia, the Netherlands East Indies, the Territory of New Guinea (including the Bismarck Archipelago) and the Solomon Islands (which were part of the Southwest Pacific area.) The Pacific Ocean theater also excluded China and mainland Southeast Asia. It takes its name from 30 March 1942[1] when it became the major Allied command in the theater, known simply as "Pacific Ocean Areas".[2]



Japanese naval aircraft prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier.
Okinawa, 1945. A U.S. Marine aims a Thompson submachine gun at a Japanese sniper, as his companion takes cover.
Allied Pacific theater command structure.

The Japanese Combined Fleet was led by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, until he was killed in an attack by U.S. fighter planes in April 1943.[3] Yamamoto was succeeded by Admiral Mineichi Koga (1943–44)[3] and Admiral Soemu Toyoda (1944–45).[4]

Admiral, later Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz commanded the vast majority of Allied naval forces in the Pacific Ocean during the period 1941–45. The Allied Pacific Ocean Areas (POA) command was formed in March 1942. The POA was further divided into the North, Central, and South Pacific Areas, with subordinate commanders.[5] Nimitz retained direct control of the Central Pacific Area (CENPAC).

Major campaigns and battles


  1. ^ Cressman(2000)p.84
  2. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.653
  3. ^ a b Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.717
  4. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)pp.759-760
  5. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)pp.652-653
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Silverstone(1968)pp.9-11
  7. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)pp.651-652
  8. ^ Kafka&Pepperburg(1946)p.185
  9. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.751
  10. ^ Ofstie(1946)p.194
  11. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.761
  12. ^ Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.765
  13. ^ a b Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.770
  14. ^ a b Ofstie(1946)p.275


  • Cressman, Robert J. (2000). The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-149-1.  
  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0.  
  • Kafka, Roger; & Pepperburg, Roy L. (1946). Warships of the World. New York: Cornell Maritime Press.  
  • Miller, Edward S. (2007). War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1591145007.  
  • Ofstie, Ralph A. (1946). The Campaigns of the Pacific War. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.  
  • Potter, E.B.; & Chester W. Nimitz (1960). Sea Power. Prentice-Hall.  
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company.  
  • Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509514-6.  


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