World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF THE PACIFIC: At the Feet of the Mother

As MacArthur's unexpected swoop into the Admiralty Islands last week tightened a noose around the Bismarck Archipelago (see map), attention was fixed on a Jap-held prize on the northern tip of New Britain. Rabaul, a great naval and air base, only 830 miles from Truk, may be MacArthur's next target.

In the years before the war, Rabaul (pop. 8,000) dozed comfortably in the Pacific sun, its chief activities coconut culture and administration of the Australian-mandated Territory of New Guinea. Planters' bungalows stood among green lawns and lush gardens. Tree-shaded avenues curved past government buildings,...

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