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Pacific Ocean theater of World War II: Map


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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 Japanmarker against those of the United Statesmarker, the British Commonwealth, the Netherlandsmarker and France.

The theater included most of the Pacific Oceanmarker and its islands, excluding the Philippinesmarker, Australia, the Netherlands East Indiesmarker, the Territory of New Guineamarker (including the Bismarck Archipelagomarker) and the Solomon Islandsmarker (which were part of the Southwest Pacific area.) The Pacific Ocean theater also excluded Chinamarker and mainland Southeast Asia. It takes its name from 30 March 1942 when it became the major Allied command in the theater, known simply as "Pacific Ocean Areas".


Japanese naval aircraft prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier.
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. Yamamoto was succeeded by Admiral Mineichi Koga (1943–44) and Admiral Soemu Toyoda (1944–45).

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. 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. Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.717
  4. Potter&Nimitz(1960)pp.759-760
  5. Potter&Nimitz(1960)pp.652-653
  6. 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. Potter&Nimitz(1960)p.770
  14. Ofstie(1946)p.275


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