Original U.S. WWII Navy Education Services Map Posters of North Pacific and Southwest Pacific - NavWarMap Series - 2 Items

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Lot of 2 Available. This is an incredible pair of massive educational posters. The “NavWarMap” series is a series of six maps created by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, part of the Navy Department, and distributed by the Educational Services Section of the Bureau of Naval Personnel. It is unclear exactly what the duties of the Educational Services Section entailed, but by the appearance of these maps, they were created to educate and train Naval and Marine personnel. Knowledge is power, military personnel equipped with knowledge would become an unstoppable force. These maps were printed in both single and double-sided versions.
The single-sided maps featured in this lot are:

NavWarMap No. 4 The North Pacific Area: NavWarMap No. 4 presents in startling color and clarity the events of World War II in the Northern Pacific through the beginning of 1944. Japan's organized offensives across the Pacific spread out like arms and with victories at Pearl Harbor and Wake Island. Pearl Harbor is illustrated in flames, and Wake, which held out against an overwhelming assault as long as they could and is marked by a radio tower stating, 'Send More Japs!' The Japanese were not always successful, however, since their forces were turned back at Dutch Harbor, evicted from Attu, and abandoned their gains on Kiska. Doolittle's famous raid on Japan in B-25s launched from the U.S.S. Hornet is illustrated, as are American raids on Wake Island and Marcus Island and their continual submarine attacks on Japanese shipping. A chronology detailing Japanese aggression, from their annexation of Formosa (Taiwan) following an 'unprovoked' war with China in 1895 through the Russo-Japanese War and the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War to the multi-pronged assault on December 7/8, 1941, is included on the right.

The Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is remembered as one of the turning points in the Pacific. The battle, which took place on June 4 – 7, 1942, is summarized graphically in an inset situated in the lower left corner. The battle was planned by the Japanese as a trap for the American aircraft carriers, which would hopefully destroy all of them, and leave Japan free to dominate the Pacific. Unfortunately for the Japanese, American cryptographers had broken their code (which was not public knowledge when this map was published) and the U.S. Navy laid a trap of their own. In one of the world's most decisive naval battles, U.S. Navy aircraft launched from three aircraft carriers successfully sank four Japanese aircraft carriers and destroyed over 300 enemy planes. These losses, combined with those suffered by the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign, were irreplaceable. Unlike the U.S., the Japanese did not have the capacity to train the highly skilled pilots and mechanics lost during these campaigns, or to build enough new carriers. Midway, in the opinion of military historian John Keegan, is 'the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare'.

The Battle of Attu
One of the many aspects of World War II that has been lost in popular memory is that the Japanese did occupy American soil during the war. While the U.S. Navy was winning a decisive victory at Midway, a Japanese landing force landed on and occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands on June 6-7, 1942. The operation was hoped to distract the Americans from defending Midway (obviously not what happened), but the Japanese construction of fortifications and air bases on the two islands immediately worried American officials. It would not be until May 1943 that American forces were capable of landing on Attu, the furthest of the two islands, which is the operation detailed in the inset on the lower right. 15,000 Americans landed at Attu and fought an occupying force of 2,900 determined Japanese soldiers from May 11 until May 30, when Attu was declared secure. As is noted here, the occupation force on Kiska abandoned the island before American troops landed there.

- NavWarMap No. 5 Southwest Pacific: NavWarMap No. 5 is a pictorial wall map of the Southwest Pacific. A critical theater in the Pacific War, the map depicts the region from Celebes in Indonesia to the Marshall and Gilbert Islands and from the Philippines and the Marianas Islands to New Zealand.

The central map follows events in the Pacific War that take place over a period of more than two years. The orange arrows follow the Imperial Japanese offensive south that began in December 1941 – January 1942 through the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Guinea to the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal, where the United States undertakes their first offensive of the war. While the invasion of Guadalcanal is not marked by a specific date and text box, a large blue arrow marks the American landing and the crooked yellow line marks the staunch Allied defense of the island that lasted for months. Other blue arrows indicate areas of successive Allied raids and landings. Some of these, such as raids against Truk and Guam and the landings on Tarawa and in the Marshalls, are supplemented with small text boxes. An area of light orange illustrates the furthest reach of the Japanese advance in the South Pacific, while a white dotted line helps viewers visualize the progress the Allies had made from the beginning of the war until the end of April 1944. An inset in the lower left corner provides some context as well, informing viewers that 'approximately five United States could be contained' in the area depicted on the map.

Aside from the central map that focuses on the geography of the events of the Pacific War in the Southwest Pacific, the map's creators included amazing supplementary educational content about the area. Short descriptions of twelve different islands and atolls are situated below the title and provide the viewer with short summaries of each one's 'history of discovery', climate, and appearance, including New Guinea, the Gilbert Islands, and the Marshall Islands, which had already been taken, or were actively being fought over, when this map was published. Others, such as the Marianas and the Philippines, would become battlegrounds before 1944 was over. Below these summaries sits a chronological history of the Solomons Campaign, which everyone looking at this piece in 1944 would have been at least slightly familiar with due to the campaign's importance. Thirteen different actions, both naval battles and land assaults, are recounted, with each one numerically identified on the corresponding map. Then, in the lower right quadrant, pseudo-ethnographic sketches of the 'peoples of the Pacific' are included. These are present likely to prepare service members for their inevitable encounters with them, and perhaps even to help them understand that not all the peoples of the region are the same.

These maps were created by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, most likely by the training division, and distributed by the Educational Services Section. The maps of the NavWarMap series were created both to inform, but also to motivate, Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

Both measure individually at 58 ½” x 40”! Clear some wall space because you are going to need it. Comes ready to display!

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