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|New Guinea • Bismarck • Samoa • Caroline • 2nd Bismarck • 2nd Samoa|
The Guinean War was a conflict in the South Pacific between the German and Japanese Empires. The war lasted from May 1919 to September 1920. ' After Germany's late entry onto the colonial stage, it got most of what was left following Britain's and France's expansion. Some of these territories included islands in the South Pacific and part of the island of Papua New Guinea. Japan, always looking to expand their power, especially eyed these German possessions.
Not wanting to take on the traditional naval superpower of Britain, Japan decided to attack the German colonies, knowing the recently-established German Far East Squadron was greatly outnumbered by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Meanwhile, Germany, or any other European power, had never considered Japan a threat. They were seen as an empire pretender, making audacious claims, but didn't seem willing to back them up. As such, Germany only allotted three dreadnought battleships and three pre-dreadnoughts to the Far East Squadron. The combination of minimal resources to their colonies, and their underestimating of Japan's power and resolve, lead to their surprise when hostilities broke.
Invasion of New Guinea
After months of preparation, a Japanese task force left Kure Naval Base in late April. A German destroyer spotted them on May 3, when asked for an explanation, the Japanese responded the ships are on a training exercise. Satisfied with the answer, the German forces brushed it off.
On May 10, the Japanese fleet appeared off the coast of German New Guinea. They radioed the German colony demanding its surrender. Instead, the German garrison hurried to set up defenses. The German ships in Rabaul were ordered to make steam, a process that can take hours.
With no surrender from New Guinea, the Japanese assailed it. Due to the relative unpreparedness of the German defenders, a beachhead was quickly established.
Fighting was ferocious at times, hand to hand combat was common. With the battleships bombarding the defenses continually, the Japanese started to push the Germans off the beach. Despite their advances, every foot of land was fought for viciously, and the Japanese casualties began to mount.
Eventually, the warships supporting the invasion had to move off to meet the Kaiserliche Marine ships rushing to the invasion site from Rabaul. Following their withdrawal, the advancing mostly halted, and the lines stabilized. The Japanese were determined to hold what gains they made, and constructed trenches the defend them.
Late on May 11, a transmission was sent to Germany, asking for reinforcements. A relief force under Reinhard Speer was thrown together, made to equal the strength of the Japanese navy. It was made clear of the 5-6 week travel time from Germany to the war zone.
The Japanese troops captured and secured Madang on May 20, and began bringing in supplies. German artillery kept firing on the port city, but ammunition eventually ran low. After weeks of fighting, the German defenders couldn't afford to keep assailing the Japanese invaders, and relegated to containing them to what they have.
The German Far East squadron, vastly outnumbered by the Japanese, left their base at Rabaul undeterred after the start of the attack on New Guinea.
They were intercepted almost immediately by the main body of the Japanese fleet. The dreadnought Thuringen, pre-dreadnought Wittelsbach and two cruisers were sunk, forcing the Germans to retreat.
Following the victory, Japanese forces attacked German Samoa. The outnumbered defenders took massive casualties, but were able to hold off a land invasion. But even with that small success, the island suffered from heavy naval bombardment.
Call for Peace
Aftermath and Effects