Operation Towpath

This was a US unrealised plan by General Douglas MacArthur’s South-West Pacific Area command to seize the western end of New Britain using Major General Julian C. Smith’s 2nd Marine Division and Major General Harold E. Barrowclough’s New Zealand 3rd Division (December 1943).

The strategic and operational rationale for the undertaking, as planned, was the capture of the area on which airfields could be constructed to allow the shorter-range bombing of the Japanese base areas in and around Rabaul at the north-eastern end of New Britain and Kavieng at the north-western end of New Ireland.