Asiatic-Pacific Theater was the theater of operations of U.S. forces during World War II in the Pacific War during 1941–1945. From mid-1942 until the end of the war in 1945, two U.S. operational commands were in the Pacific. The Pacific Ocean Areas (POA), divided into the Central Pacific Area, the North Pacific Area and the South Pacific Area, were commanded by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean Areas. The South West Pacific Area (SWPA) was commanded by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander South West Pacific Area. During 1945, the United States added the  United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, commanded by General Carl A. Spaatz.
A map of the Asiatic-Pacific Theater showing its component areas. (The China-Burma-India Theater fell under the British-led South East Asia Command)
Because of the complementary roles of the
United States Army and the United States Navy in conducting war, the Pacific Theater had no single Allied or U.S. commander (comparable to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in the European Theater of Operations). No actual command existed; rather, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater was divided into SWPA, POA, and other forces and theaters, such as the China Burma India Theater.
Major campaigns and battles
Pacific Ocean Area
Japanese naval aircraft prepare to attack Pearl Harbor Okinawa, 1945. A U.S. Marine aims a Thompson submachine gun at a Japanese sniper, as his companion takes cover
North Pacific Area
Central Pacific Area
South Pacific Area
Guadalcanal Campaign, August 1942 – February 1943
Solomon Islands Campaign, January 1942 – November 1943
New Georgia Campaign, June–August 1943
Battle of Kula Gulf, 6 July 1943
Battle of Kolombangara, 12–13 July 1943
Battle of Vella Gulf, 6–7 August 1943 Battle of Vella Lavella, August–October 1943
Bougainville campaign, November 1943 – August 1945
Landings at Cape Torokina (, 1–3 November 1943 Operation Cherryblossom)
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, 1–2 November 1943
Bombing of Rabaul (1943), 2–11 November 1943
Battle of Koromokina Lagoon, 7–8 November 1943
Battle for Piva Trail, 8–9 November 1943
Battle of the Coconut Grove, 13–14 November 1943
Battle of Piva Forks, 18–25 November 1943
Battle of Cape St. George, 25 November 1943
Raid on Koiari, 28–29 November 1943
Battle of Hellzapoppin Ridge and Hill 600A, 12–24 December 1943
Pacification of Rabaul, 17 December 1943 – 8 August 1945
Battle of the Green Islands, 15–20 February 1944
Second Battle of Torokina, 8–25 March 1944
Battle of Pearl Ridge, 30–31 December 1944
Battle of Tsimba Ridge, 17 January – 9 February 1945
Battle of Slater's Knoll, 28 March – 6 April 1945
Battle of the Hongorai River, 17 April – 22 May 1945
Battle of Porton Plantation, 8–10 June 1945 Battle of Ratsua, June–August 1945
South West Pacific Area
Philippines campaign, 1942
Dutch East Indies campaign, 1941–42
Battle of Borneo (1941–42), 16 December 1941 – March 1942
Battle of Manado, 11–13 January 1942
Battle of Tarakan (1942), January 11–12, 1942
Battle of Balikpapan (1942), 23–24 January 1942
Battle of Ambon, 30 January – 3 February 1942
Battle of Palembang, 13–15 February 1942
Battle of Makassar Strait, 4 February 1942
Battle of Badung Strait, 19–20 February 1942
Battle of the Java Sea, 27 February 1942
Battle of Sunda Strait, 28 February – 1 March 1942
Second Battle of the Java Sea, 1 March 1942
Battle of Java (1942), 28 February – 12 March 1942 Battle of Timor, 19 February 1942 – 10 February 1943
New Guinea campaign, 1942–45
Battle of Rabaul (1942), 23 January – 9 February 1942
Bombing of Rabaul (1942), February and March 1942
Invasion of Salamaua–Lae, 8-13 March 1942
Battle of the Coral Sea, 4-8 May 1942
Kokoda Track campaign, 21 July – 16 November 1942
Battle of Milne Bay, 25 August – 7 September 1942
Battle of Goodenough Island, 22-27 October 1942
Battle of Buna–Gona, 16 November 1942 – 22 January 1943
Battle of Wau, 29 January - 4 February 1943
Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2-4 March 1943
Landings at Woodlark and Kiriwina (, 30 June 1943 Operation Chronicle)
Salamaua–Lae campaign, April–September 1943
Huon Peninsula campaign, September 1943 – March 1944
Finisterre Range campaign, September 1943 – April 1944
Bougainville campaign, November 1943 – August 1945 (referred to as part of both the New Guinea and the Solomon Islands campaigns)
New Britain campaign, December 1943 – August 1945
Admiralty Islands campaign, 29 February – 18 May 1944
Landing on Emirau, 20 - 27 March 1944 Western New Guinea campaign, April 1944 – August 1945
Philippines campaign, 1944-45
Battle of Leyte, October–December 1944
Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944
Battle of Mindoro, December 1944
Battle of Lingayen Gulf, January 1945
Battle of Luzon, January–August 1945
Battle of Manila, February–March 1945
Battle of Corregidor, February 1945
Invasion of Palawan, February–April 1945
Battle of the Visayas, March–July 1945
Battle of Mindanao, March–August 1945 Battle of Maguindanao, January–September 1945 Borneo campaign, 1945
Burma, December 1942 – May 1942
India-Burma, April 1942 – January 1945
China Defensive, July 1942 – May 1945
Central Burma, January 1945 – July 1945
China Offensive, May 1945 – September 1945
1944 Strategy Conference in Honolulu. Left to right: MacArthur, Roosevelt, Leahy, Nimitz. The discussion weighs the options of Formosa or the Philippine Islands as the next operational target in the Pacific theater.
^ The Battle of Leyte Gulf is listed in both the Central Pacific Area (under Nimitz) and in the South West Pacific Area (under MacArthur). Leyte Gulf is where Nimitz's western thrust across the central Pacific Ocean intersected MacArthur's northern thrust across the western Pacific Ocean. While the Pacific Ocean command structure was convoluted, operations were "designed to sequence the SWPA's operations with POA's forces across the central Pacific. The main purpose of sequencing is to arrange objectives/tasks in such a progression that collectively they lead to the accomplishment of the assigned ultimate objective in the shortest time possible and with the least loss of personnel and materiel." Nimitz provided, but maintained control over, Admiral
Halsey's Third Fleet to cover and support Admiral Kinkaid's Seventh Fleet operating under General MacArthur. The result of this imprecise arrangement was the crisis precipitating the Battle off Samar. Halsey was operating under Commander in Chief, Pacific Operating Area's (Nimitz') Operations Plan 8–44.
^ By US Navy's Third Fleet under Admirals Halsey and Nimitz.
^ By US Navy's Task Force 38 under Admirals
Mitscher and Nimitz.
^ Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander SWPA
"World War II – Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaigns". U.S. Army Center of Military History . Retrieved . 21 October 2015 References
Dull, Paul S. (1978). . Annapolis, Maryland: A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941–1945 Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1.
Kafka, Roger; Pepperburg, Roy L. (1946). Warships of the World. New York: Cornell Maritime Press.
Ofstie, Ralph A. (1946). The Campaigns of the Pacific War. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.
Potter, E. B.; Nimitz, Chester W. (1960). Sea Power: A Naval History (First ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Silverstone, Paul H. (1968). U.S. Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company.
Sulzberger, C. L. (1966). The American Heritage Picture History of World War II. Crown Publishers.
Vego, Milan N. (2007). Joint Operational Warfare: Theory and Practice. Newport, Rhode Island: United States Naval War College. ——— (2006). The Battle for Leyte, 1944: Allied and Japanese Plans, Preparations, and Execution. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Further reading
Cressman, Robert J. (2000). . Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II 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.
Miller, Edward S. (2007). War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-500-4.
Toll, Ian W. (2011). . New York: W. W. Norton. Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941–1942
——— (2015). . New York: W. W. Norton. The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942–1944 ——— (2020). . New York: W. W. Norton. Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944–1945