America almost had everything planned for Japan. Over in Washington, they chose to leave General MacArthur in control of the southwest, and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was left in charge of the rest of the pacific. Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell was in charge of the Asian battles, which included Burma, India, and China.
America's plan was to "island hop" to important islands in the pacific. Other islands would be skipped, but conquering the important islands would cut the umbilical cord to the smaller islands and cause them to fight for noone. Other islands would only be bombed.
By 1944, America's Naval power had increased dramatically since the Pearl Harbor bombing of 1941. The U.S. jumped from 1,000 ships to 4,000. They also jumped from 385 ships to 613. Over 1,745 planes jumped to a tremendous 18,269 planes. There were also three million men to operate the ships and planes. Along with the ride of hundreds of American warships were American repair ships. These were sent along with the ships so that damaged ships would not have to return to America to be repaired.
The Americans also assembled a tremendous amount of amphibious landing craft. Many of these landing crafts were designed to land in shallow waters, so the Japanese-occupied islands would be easier to take over. With these new boats, invasions were made possible. After a successful invasion, navy "Seabees" would build airfields, bridges, roads, etc...
The Japanese had very good defense, however. Infamous pillboxes were built to protect the Japanese soldiers while shooting at the enemy. Several men had to die before a pillbox would be destroyed. The Japanese also hid atop the trees in jungles, and in caves that were cleverly hidden. Americans thought there wasn't a good chance for us and Japan, but we caught a huge break.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was America's biggest enemy. He planned the attack on Pearl Harbor and Midway. The American forces wanted to destroy this man, but how would they? Then it came.
On April 17, 1943, Frank Knox issued a top-secret message to Henderson field on Guadalcanal that Yamamoto was leaving Rabaul and to land at Kahili at about 10 a.m. Just as the message was past, Americans were getting ready to intercept the heavily escorted plane. Eighteen "Lightnings" were ordered to intercept the plane close to Kahili. They were to take the escorts, the fighters coming from Kahili, and most of all, destroy the plane Yamamoto was in.
Now for the attack. The American planes flew below radar range, and a few minutes before they acquired the target, the planes rose to intercept the planes. Yamamoto's planes were just in time for the action. Twenty four aircraft fought ferociously, but Yamamoto's plane ducked for cover below the fighting, but they were hit and went crashing down into the Kahili jungle. Yamamoto was found dead later.
With America's new strategy and Yamamoto's death, there was a very good chance America could take Japan. The question was how and when America would try out this new advantage.