LIFE, Watercolors by David Fredenthal, August 21, 1944

On the night of Dec. 14-15, 1943 a fleet of landing craft carrying
a small force of U.S. troops crept stealthily across the Coral Sea
from New Guinea. Its task was to wrench a beachhead from the
enemy on the Southern tip of Japan held New Britain. Aboard
one of the ships was LIFE Artist David Fredenthal, who was then
attached to General MacArthur’s command.

Correspondent Bob Eunson (right) slips his arm around wounded man, few minutes later
Eunson saw he was dead and let the body slide beneath the water.

Thirty yards from shore rubber boats are caught in Japanese gunfire. Corporal (upper right)
empties gun into Jap. nest. A moment later he fell wounded.

by subchaser three hours after Japanese guns
were silenced, the survivors are hauled up on deck by ropes.
Men cling to rubber boats overloaded with wounded.