Were any British ground units involved in the fighting in the Pacific?

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Kellard, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Kellard

    Kellard Active Member

    I'm familiar with the Burma and Malaya campaigns but wish to know about the fighting in New Guinea, Philippines and the Pacific Islands campaign. Particularly amphibious or ground units of the Royal Marines and British Army. I'm already familiar with the RN Pacific Fleet and Fleet Air Arm actions
     
  2. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I don't think I have seen any reference to British units being involved. However, I am pretty certain that individuals were attached to Aussie & US units - sometimes to hand over their knowledge and sometimes to learn lessons for reporting back home (amphibious tactics in use in the Pacific and how they might apply to similar landings in Europe).
     
  3. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I'd agree no British ground troops participation, in the form of units or formations, in the 'island hopping' campaigns or the Philippines.

    Elsewhere 3rd New Zealand Division fought in New Caledonia and the Solomons. Australian troops were heavily committed in New Guinea, New Britain and Bougainville, plus no doubt other locations I can't bring to mind.

    Canadians fought in the Hong Kong garrison, so not strictly speaking Pacific, and were scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan. If they had they would have been uniformed, equipped and organised exactly like a US Infantry Division.

    Gary
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    Weren't British units also scheduled* to take part in Downfall?



    *Pronounced "SHED-ULED".
     
  5. Kellard

    Kellard Active Member

    Thanks all. There are references to a Royal Marine Detachment taking part in one of the Island battles, but it didn't mention which detachment or island. There were Royal Marine Engineers in the MOAB's one of which was on one of the pacific islands but I don't know if any combat was involved. Apparently there are a number of British War Graves in New Guinea but I don't know from which units. There were a large number of units scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan including 116 and 117 Infantry Brigades Royal Marines and a number of infantry Bn's which had not been committed to battle since 1940 like 2/6th Bn East Surrey's.
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    This is the only Brit I know of involved in ground operations in the Pacific.
    ;)

    [​IMG]
     
    canuck, Dave55 and Guy Hudson like this.
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    Is the guy on the right about to throw a Magic 8 Ball?
     
  8. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    A Commonwealth Corps, consisting of the 3rd British Infantry Division, the 6th Canadian Infantry Division and the Australian 10th Division, was slated to take part in Downfall.

    The corps would have been part of Operation Coronet, the invasion of the main Japanese island of Honshu, aimed at capturing Tokyo. Coronet was provisionally scheduled for March 1946, following up the initial American-led invasion in November 1945.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    Those men would have gone in without knowing that Marshall had six atomic bombs to expend on that phase of Downfall, at minimum. If the Japanese had held out to the last they would have had at least 12 Hiroshimas, instead of two.
     
  10. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I had a look on cwgc site and although buried or remembered in Port Moresby, it is possible they died in New Guinea? and I know its only 15 people and one cemetery, but if you look at info for unit quite a few say Alias.... and when you click to read the entry it says they have other names hence Alias, so question... the civilian entry is Z force attached are the other the same? And why the name change as ones I checked were British names. http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx?cpage=1
     
  11. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Does this count? It was a British Colonial unit, but the officers were British.

    The British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force
    Raised
    March 1942

    The unit was raised in March 1942 by the Resident Commissioner. It had an initial strength of 3 officers, 2 NCOs and 112 other ranks. It recruited from government officers and members of the Solomon Islands Armed Constabulary. It was used in reconnaissance operations and coast watching in the Solomon Islands. A detachment was used in a reconnaissance operation on Rendova Island, New Georgia from 30 June to 4 July 1943. It was in operations on Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Vella Lavella, Florida, Tulagi, Santa, Isabel, Malaita, Russell, New Georgia, as well as other islands in the chain. Sergeant-Major Jacob Vouza received the George Medal and U.S. Silver Star for his wartime exploits on Guadalcanal.
     
    Kellard likes this.
  12. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member Patron

    There was to be the inclusion of an Indian division as well, but MacArthur did not want them in the line-up.

    All the units of the Commonwealth Corps were to be trained on US equipment, weapons, vehicles, etc, and were to be issued US uniforms, rations and such. In addition to this, the Commonwealth Corps was to be re-organized on the US army division model as well. This was to ease the logistical problems of shipping supplies for units from different armies.

    I never read it, but I'm not sure how exactly how the British regimental system would have been tailored to fit the US regimental system. Lots of history and lineage to contend with. Amalgamation or creating new regiments? That could be an entire thread in itself. Also, I'm not sure if the armies of Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or India were organized similarly or not, or how difficult a project like this would be to implement. The Germans did it when Spain sent the Blue Division to the Eastern front with little difficulty, but that was an ad hoc unit organized specifically for that mission.
     
  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    After VE-Day, Major General Bert Hoffmeister was made general officer commanding the 6th Canadian Division (Canadian Army Pacific Force) which was obviously disbanded after the Japanese surrender. He traveled to the U.S. after VE day to coordinate logistics with U.S. counterparts. He was one of a very few non-regular officers to command a Cdn division.
     
  14. Kellard

    Kellard Active Member

    Just found out that they were. One of the Naval Mobile Air Bases in the Pacific Islands was established, built and defended by Royal Marine Engineers as was the fleet base for the British pacific Fleet. RM Landing Craft operated in the Soloman Islands with the US Forces and in Borneo and New Guinea with the Australians.

    Out of interest the RM contingent for the proposed invasion of Japan included 116 and 117 RM infantry Brigades, 4 RM Commando groups, 7 RM Engineer Battalions and several thousand LC crew
     
    Gary Kennedy likes this.

Share This Page