Operation Ro-Go 1943

Japanese air power tackles the Bougainville landings

Operation Ro-Go 1943 cover


A compelling account of the failure of Imperial Japan's Operation Ro-Go, intended to take the offensive in the Solomons theater of the Pacific War, but which became Japan's first line of defense against the Allies' Rabaul raids and Bougainville landings.

By the midpoint of World War II in the Pacific, Japan was on the defensive. At the end of 1943, after a year of tumultuous air combat around Rabaul and the Solomons, 173 Japanese aircraft were sent to Rabaul. The plan was for them to participate in Ro-Go Sakusen (known as Operation Ro, Ro-Go, or B) to strike Allied air power and shipping in the Solomons and to slow the American advance by severing Allied supply chains. However, instead of challenging Allied air and sea power on their own terms, the operation became unexpectedly embroiled in defensive combat and counterattacks, first to defend Rabaul from Allied air raids, and then to challenge the Allied landings at Bougainville. In one fell swoop, Operation Ro-Go was turned on its head, and transformed into a defensive battle for the Japanese.

In this book, the first in English to focus on Operation Ro-Go, Michael John Claringbould uses rare Japanese primary source material to explain how the Japanese planned and fought the campaign, and corrects enduring myths often found in books that rely only on Western sources. He traces the unexpected and tremendous pressures placed on the operation's units at Rabaul as the Japanese dealt with massive, surprise raids from Fifth Air Force bombers, and later US Navy carrier aircraft, concluding with the strategic upset of the Bougainville landings.

Packed with previously unpublished photos, spectacular original illustrations, 3D recreations of specific missions, maps and explanatory diagrams, this study tells the previously untold but significant story of Japan's air war in the Solomons.

Table of Contents

(subject to confirmation)
- Airfields
- ­Radar
- ­Torpedoes
­- Floatplanes
­- Zero-Sen
- ­Judy
­- Val
- Logistics and materiel
­- Strategy
- ­Radar
­- Airpower
­- Defending Torokina
- ­The carrier forces strike – 2 November
­- The Fifth Air Force strikes – 2 November
- ­First Rabaul attack - 5 November
- ­Japanese resistance
­- RAAF night attack – 5 November
­- Notomi lost – 8 November
­- The Beaufort Push – 8–9 November
­- The 11 November Rabaul strike
­- Target Rabaul – again
­- The Bettys' attack

Product details

Published Nov 21 2023
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472855572
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Illustrated throughout with around 60 photos and at least 14 pages of colour illustrations
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Air Campaign
Short code ACM 41
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Michael John Claringbould

Michael John Claringbould was raised in Papua New…


Jim Laurier

Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives i…


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