Tag Archives: General MacArthur

Go Around Your Obstacles Like General MacArthur

By Mark Bowser

In September 1943, General Douglas MacArthur executed one of the most successful military campaigns in history. It was called Operation Cartwheel. Operation Cartwheel was a brilliant strategy that won the war in the Pacific during World War II.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was only part of the Japanese strategy. It was step one in a two-step process to conquer the Pacific and the Japanese were well on their way to accomplishing that goal.

However, the Americans threw a wrench into the Japanese goal with the battle of Midway in June 1942. By winning at Midway, the Americans halted the Japanese advance in the Central Pacific, but the South Pacific was a different story. In the South, the Japanese controlled the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. If they could not be untrenched there then it would be near to impossible for the Allies to win in the Pacific. MacArthur was given orders to stop the Japanese advance and to drive them out of the Solomons and New Guinea and place an Allied foothold in that area of the world.

In order to accomplish that objective, MacArthur would have to deal with the Japanese base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain. The problem was that the Japanese had one hundred thousand troops on the ground at Rabaul. On top of that, the small island was supplied by hundreds of Japanese aircraft. Oh, there was one more problem.  The South Pacific also had one of the largest groups of Japanese Warships. The area appeared to be invulnerable .

From this foothold, the Japanese were in perfect position to launch an invasion of Australia. This was utterly unacceptable to the Allied Forces. The Philippines had already fallen and Australia falling was unthinkable.

MacArthur Became convinced that a head on Allied invasion of Rabaul would be suicidal. So, what did he do? He went around it. That’s right. He went around it.

Step One of Operation Cartwheel was to use the Allied air forces to attack the Japanese landing fields on Rabaul with the goal of destroying the Japanese aircraft and making the air fields unusable.  Accomplishing this gave MacArthur the unimpeded Allied air cover he needed in order to move northward.

He then landed troops on two small islands north of Rabaul. This eliminated the possibility of the Japanese being able to replenish supplies or troops to Rabaul. MacArthur was then able to push northward until the Americans controlled the region. So, what happened to Rabaul? By June 1944, the Japanese troops on the stranded Rabaul were literally starving to death.

So, what do you do with an obstacle that’s in your way? Yes, you can choose to try to bust right through it …or, you can take that insurmountable obstacle and handle it the MacArthur way. Go around it and choke it off. By doing this, your obstacle has no power over you. Thanks for reading today.

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