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American missions against Hollandia
By early 1944, the Japanese garrison at Hollandia consisted of the remnants of the Japanese Army 41st, 20th and 51st Divisions with many support and air personnel.
During March 1944, a reconnaissances party was landed by submarine USS Dace SS-247. Two groups were landed which included US Army CIC, Australian, Indonesian and four New Guinea natives: Mariba, Yali, McNicol and Buka. Only 7 of the 12 landed were recovered, but revealed a weak Japanese presence in the area.
General MacArthur planned a daring leapfrog operation to bypass stronger Japanese garrisons along the north coast of New Guinea for a landing further to the west at Hollandia which was weakly defended in an operation aimed at capturing the airfields in the area and development of Hollandia into a base for future operations including the liberation of the Philippines.
On April 22, 1944 an American amphibious task force Code named "Operation Reckless" landed troops at Humbolt Bay and Tanahmerah Bay near Hollandia, plus a flanking landing further to the east at Aitape. Japanese resistance was light, but muddy conditions, swamp and jungle made the drive inland difficult. The US Army 41st Infantry Division landed , M4 Sherman tanks from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) 1st Marine Division, 1st Tank Battalion, Company A were landed, but a swamp beyond the beachhead prevented their dive inland.
The landing caught the defending Japanese largely by surprise and many willingly surrendered, compared to earlier battles when Japanese never surrendered unless incapacitated. Most of the Japanese forces attempted to retreat inland to try to escape.
Immediately, the Hollandia area was developed into a major US Army base area and staging base used for future operations including the landings at Biak, Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. Hollandia was designated "Base G" by U. S. Army letter base designation. Hollandia remained an important American base until the end of the war.
Humbolt Bay (White Beach)
Hollandia Airfield (Hollandia Drome)
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