|Operation Smoke Stack|
|Part of Pacific War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Marc A. Mitscher||Hatazō Adachi|
|Casualties and losses|
|negligible||2 transports sunk
2 cruisers sunk
Rabaul was a base on the former Australian territory of New Britain, the Japanese equivalent of Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had a 5,000-man garrison led by Hatazō Adachi, plus a large naval force docked there. By 1945, most of the vessels in the harbor had left to take part in the war. The United States Navy aimed at stopping attacks on troop transports that came from the western United States, so Admiral Marc A. Mitscher ordered several carrier-based aircraft to raid the island.
The USAF bombers flew two sorties: the first one sunk two Japanese cruisers, the IJN Sugiyana and the IJN Puyi. The Japanese AA guns were also wrecked, so US casualties were negligible. The second sortie sunk Japanese transpors IJN Ishida and IJN Kawagoe, and also destroyed several Japanese storehouses on the island. The Imperial Army lost 45 killed in the explosions, as well as some machine-gun fire from the fighters, but the latter was rarer due to the risk it would take to fly low over a large Japanese base. The operation was a success, but it did not change much, as the fleet docked in the harbor was going to be stationed there for the rest of the war had it not been for the raid.