A PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD OF ALL THEATERS OF ACTION CHRONOLOGICALLY ARRANGED VOL. In Europe the fifth year of the war had hardly opened when American and British forces invaded the Italian peninsula. There was the gradual re-conquest of New Guinea, the hop to Bougainville in the Solomons, and the bloody seizure of the Gilbert Islands. The great Japanese naval base at Truk was so surrounded as to be practically useless, both from a defensive and offensive standpoint.
In devoting an entire volume to the fifth year—instead of one volume for two years--the publishers have sought to give complete coverage of the greater number of battle fronts and avail themselves of the larger amount of picture material available.
Because of the climactic nature of the events during the last six months of the year, it seemed editorially sound to devote more space to this period, a decision which accounts for the unequal distribution of space between the first and second halves of the year.
While this struggle went on the British made rapid strides along both the west and east coasts.
Taranto, the great Italian naval base, was taken September 10, and Brindisi, on the Adriatic Sea, fell two days later.
The result was the incredible score of 177 Japanese planes destroyed, 123 ships and harbor craft sunk, at the cost of only 5 American planes.
A naval task force, with considerable carrier strength, attacked Rabaul on November 5 with equally favorable results.
A few days later the Nazis braked their retreat along the swollen banks of the Volturno River, some 30 miles north of Naples.
In the Fall of 1943, American and Australian strength began to register in the South Pacific.
By September, 1944, Stalin's armies were in Poland, Rumania and threatening the East Prussia frontier.
Then in June came the establishment of a long awaited western front and the eventual liberation of France.
When it steamed homeward, the American fleet left behind it two heavy Japanese cruisers on the ocean bottom, 5 badly damaged, and several other warships of a lighter caliber in doubtful condition.