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New Georgia


As the fighting on Guadalcanal drew to a close in early 1943, American commanders intensified their planning for the eventual seizure of Rabaul, the primary Japanese stronghold in the Southwest Pacific. This major air and naval base on the eastern end of New Britain was centrally located between New Guinea and the northwestern terminus of the Solomons. That allowed the Japanese to shift their air and naval support from one front to the other on short notice. Conversely, simultaneous American advances through New Guinea and the Solomons would threaten Rabaul from two directions. With that in mind, Admiral William F. Halsey’s South Pacific command prepared to drive farther up the Solomons chain, while MacArthur continued his operations along the New Guinea coast.