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Order of Battle

An order of battle is a listing of the units that participated in a particular battle, campaign, or war, giving their organization, commanders, and other information useful to evaluate the combat capabilities of the units. This Encyclopedia gives orders of battle for many individual battles and campaigns as well as master orders of battle for the various major powers that fought in the Pacific War.

The orders of battle for individual battles and campaigns emphasize the organization of the forces involved and may be found in the relevant individual articles. These tables are organized for human readability.

The master orders of battle for major powers come in two parts. For each power, the first part gives the order of battle on the morning of 7 December 1941 (Hawaii time), with emphasis on the organization of the forces involved. The second part gives a chronological listing of each new unit that was activated in or deployed to the Pacific. The format of the master orders of battle is a compromise between machine and human readability with the needs of war game designers foremost. We have generally restricted the tables to units of battalion size or larger, with no individual listings for smaller units that were deployed as part of larger units (such as battalions in a regiment). We have also tried to be complete to the level of individual named ships and air squadrons.

We do not guarantee that the master orders of battle are complete, correct, or consistent. It is likely that no exact orders of battle for a war taking place seventy years ago, whose devastation included significant destruction of records, will ever be assembled. We have simply done our best, focusing on combat units and significant engineering units and omitting most rear area service units. The orders of battle are most complete for United States units, for which excellent references are available, and are reasonably complete for Japanese and British Commonwealth units. They are least reliable for Chinese units, for which information is often scarce.

Tabulated information

Unit. This is the name of the unit.

Commander. This is the commander of the unit at the time of its activation. For units already active when war broke out, it is the commander of the unit on 7 December 1941. In general, we do not display commanders below flag or general rank. Ships showing a commander are the flagship of that commander.

Start. This gives the date and location of the unit's activation. For units already active when war broke out, only the location is given (at 8:00 AM on 7 December 1941, Hawaii time). If no location is given, a unit should be assumed to be at the same location as its operational headquarters (or administrative headquarters if no operational assignment is given.) Naval headquarters are located on the flagship of their commander unless otherwise specified.

Administrative Assignment. The administrative assignments in this table represent the formal organizational structure. The initial order of battle is sorted by administrative assignment, such that every unit appears after the unit to which it is administratively assigned.

Operational Assignment. The operational assignment, if one is given, represents temporary attachment to another unit for a single operation. For example, an aircraft carrier might be administratively assigned to a carrier division, but be operationally assigned to a task force for a particular mission.

Notes. Miscellaneous information about a unit, such as its manpower and equipment, its composition, where it was raised, what its initial orders were, and how well it performed in battle.

Organization of the tables

The order of battle tables are laid out for maximum readability by software tools while retaining some semblance of human readability. Because the complete orders of battle for the major powers are many megabytes in length, we have broken the tables up into individual sections of less than 400K to avoid difficulties with older Web browsers.

In addition to the displayed text and associated links, each unit has an HTML anchor with a unique identifier based on the unit name. For example, the entry for Pacific Fleet includes the anchor Pacific_Fleet, which appears immediately before the unit name in the table. These anchors are used to cross-reference the tables but may also be of use to software tools scanning the tables.

We are considering offering the complete orders of battle as SQL files or as C++ code. Users of the Encyclopedia who desire these or other formats may write to trollingshallows@msn.com and make their preferences know.

Master orders of battle

Australia

Britain (including India)

Canada

Chinese Communists

Japan

Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist)

Netherlands

New Zealand

United States



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