Marsh Is.#299 Japan Takes Rabaul - 1992 Imperforate Mint Issue

January 23, 1942 The Japanese juggernaut appeared unstoppable in their conquest of Allied territory in Southeast Asia. Rabaul, capital of the island of New Britain, was considered vital to the Japanese because it would secure their southeastern flank from attack and would serve as a strategic staging area for an invasion of Australia situated 850 miles to the south. A 5,700-man invasion force landed early in the morning on January 23. The 1,400 Australians defending the city fought fiercely throughout the day, taking heavy casualties. By evening, all resistance had ended. On February 19, the importance of Rabaul was evident as Japanese aircraft left the island to bomb Australia's port city of Darwin. Rabaul had been transformed into a military stronghold which would plague the Allies throughout the remainder of the war.

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