views updated May 14 2018


BOUGAINVILLE, site of U.S. landing in Pacific during World War II. With the objective of gaining air-fields for a strike on New Britain Island, Lieutenant General A. A. Vandegrift's First U.S. Marine Amphibious Corps landed on the western coast of Bougainville, the largest of the Solomon Islands, on 1 November 1943. The marines faced a scarcity of amphibious shipping, a swampy terrain, and worthless naval gunfire support. Nevertheless, this was at the time the best-planned and best-executed amphibious operation of World War II. By 13 November 33,861 marines had been put ashore to face a Japanese contingent of approximately 58,000. By 15 December the American perimeter was defended by a well-anchored defense. The objective had been achieved at a cost to the U.S. Marines of 423 killed and 1,418 wounded; 2,500 Japanese were killed.


Dyer, George Carroll. The Amphibians Came to Conquer. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Marine Corps, 1991.

Gailey, Harry A. Bougainville, 1943–1945. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1991.

W. M.Darden/a. r.

See alsoGuadalcanal Campaign .


views updated May 11 2018

Bougainville Volcanic island in the sw Pacific Ocean, e of New Guinea; a territory of Papua New Guinea. It was discovered in 1768 by Louis de Bougainville. The island was under German control from 1884, and then under Australian administration after 1914 and again in 1945 (after the Japanese wartime occupation). It has been the scene of guerrilla warfare since the late 1980s. Kieta is the chief port. Industries: copper mining, copra, cocoa, timber. Area: 10,049sq km (3880sq mi). Pop. (2002 est.) 204,800.

About this article


All Sources -
Updated Aug 24 2016 About content Print Topic