Port Moresby Air Raid March 19, 1942
Japanese bombers hit Port Moresby (Raid #14)
On March 19, 1942 eight G3M Nells from the 1st Kōkūtai (1st Air Group) bomb Port Moresby. They bomb the town, pier and MV Wanaka in Fairfax Harbor. Seven of the bombers return with holes, but none are lost and no crew wounded or killed.
Defending Australian Army 3.7" Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun (H1) atop Tuaguba Hill Gun Battery (Ack Ack Hill) fires 146 rounds at the bombers as 60kg bombs impact Tuaguba Hill (Ack Ack Hill) one side of the hill, and came up over the top between the guns and down the other side without scoring any direct hits on the gun positions. At one point, the battery ran out of ammunition, as it was firing nearly every day at attacking Japanese aircraft. The first set of barrels were worn out from firing, and sent back to Australia for evaluation.
During the air raid, this battery fired 146 rounds at Japanese G3M2 Nells from the 1st Kokutai (1st Air Group) that released 60 kg bombs that impacted on one side of the hill, and came over the top between the guns and down the other side without scoring any direct hits on the gun positions. At one point, the battery ran out of ammunition, as it was firing nearly every day at attacking Japanese aircraft. The first set of barrels were worn out from firing, and sent back to Australia for evaluation.
Kodochosho, 1st Kōkūtai, March 19, 1942
New Guinea Force Diary, March 19, 1942
"Raid 14 1005 1040k/19. Eight serial 37 in formations 3 - 3 - 2 dropped bombs as follows. Run one - more than 20 bombs dropped all round wharf. Wanaka just slipped no damage either ship or wharf. Run 2 driven off by accurate A/A fire. Run 3 driven off again by by A/A. Run four dropped 18 bombs close astern Wanaka and along line of origins course. A/A claim one bomber hit in run one and later crashed vicinity Tovabara (about seven miles bearing 345 from Paga Point) Ack Ack engaged 20500 23200' firing 146 rounds. 53rd Bn patrols have left to investigate probable downshooting [shooting down] of plane. PAGA 'Paga observers definitely saw plane in vertical dive. Later cloud of black smoke.'
39 Battalion Diary, March 19, 1942
"Moresby Raid No 14 - Approx 100-1045 hrs by 8 bombers & dropped bombs Port Moresby area. 18 bombs dropped near stern of ship off Paga Point [Wanaka]. 20 near wharf in harbor & some near B____ [?] wireless station. No damage or casualties. Tuaguba 3.7' A/A Bty opened fire. Report that plane crashed - may have been struck by A.A. fire. Patrols from 53 Btn at present attempting to locate plane. Planes divided between Moresby & drome & appeared to make run at drome but A.A. turned formation of 7. D Coy preparing to mover to beyond Rouna for period of training & change."
53 Battalion Diary, March 19, 1942
"'0825. Single enemy bomber bombed 7 Mile Drome. A/A. opened fire. No damage or casualties. Morale of troops would be raised by appearance of fighter aircraft. Dengue fever outbreak in 'C' Coy. Picquets on duty in town area first to be affected."
War Diary 1942 (1984) page 39
"14th air raid today - eight heavy bombers going for the harbour and shipping. One shot down beyond Tatana by our A.A.. Bombs dropped near wharf and a stick of 17 close astern of ship in harbour which dodged. Fish for tea tonight!"