January 28, 1942
IJN: Two H6K2 Mavis flyingboats from the Yokahama Kokutai fly a reconnaissance mission over Port Moresby.
February 3, 1942
(Raid 1) IJN: Six Japanese flying boats bombed Port Moresby between 3:00am to 3:30am. Although
no great damage was inflicted with one man killed on the ground. This is the first of over a hundred bombing raids against the Port Moresby area.
War Diary 1942 (1984) pages 18, 160 footnote 1
(Page 18) "3 [February 1942] Tuesday First Raid: Port Moresby's first air raid, made at night and aimed at the town. One man was killed - hit by a flying stone as he was diving into a slit trench. Six bombers - apparently 4-engined flying boats - were used and were over from 3 a.m. to 3.30 a.m. dropping several sticks of bombs. The raid is the first bar of the overture to the Battle for New Guinea. But the overture is no lullaby for the natives! They've gone bush again in a body! And a helluva lot of whites have gone with 'em! The road from Moresby to Porebada village is black with a long line of refugees heading out of town and heading with such speed that a path of dust hangs constantly over the road. One coon loaded a ramshacle truck with all his native friends, put her into gear and lurched away for safety with such a jot that the rearmost coon (they were packed so tightly you couldn't get an ant between them) was hurled out on the road. He landed on his backside and bounced, came down to earth again with his feet already in action and had overtaken the truck in Stawell Gift (footnote 1) time all three perfectly synchronized movements!"
(Page 160) Footnote 1: A professional running race held annually at Stawell in Victoria.
February 5, 1942
(Raid 2) IJN: Seven flying boats hit Port Moresby at 3am, hit an aminol
(explosives) dumb do damage to the town.
War Diary 1942 (1984) pages 18
February 24, 1942
(Raid 3) 4th Kokutai A6M2 Zeros escort G4M1 Betty and
bomb 7 Mile Drome at Port Moresby, fighters fly close escort with the bombers. Destroyed by bombing is Hudson A16-167 and Gannet monoplane parked at 7 Mile Drome.
War Diary 1942 (1984) pages 28
"First daylight raid on Moresby–9 Jap naval bombers very high 18,000 to 22,000 feet, at least 5 fighters above them came in in two waves, two attacs despite heavy A.A. fire and dropped more than 70 bombs on aerodrome nearby. Buildings hit and damaged or destroyed. Bombing remarkably accurate for so high. Almost all direct hits on one Hudson bomber which totally destroyed - also a Gannet monoplane. One man killed, four wounded. One bomb fell within six feet slit trench packed by infantry, nobody hurt. We saw the raid from 12 miles, great clouds dust and smoke rising from behind hills. No sign of panic or anything else but curiosity. Where did fighters come from? Today was supposed to be a slack day!! We had all declared a holiday. With no fighters here it seems likely that we shall see plenty of daylight raids from now on. When are the promised Kittyhawks coming? Everyone refers to them now as 'Tomorrowhawks'. All the activities here can be summed up in the one phrase– 'defensive warfare.' "
February 28, 1942
(Raid 4) G4M1 Bettys from the 4th Kōkūtai (4th Air Group) took off on a bombing mission against Port Moresby. Escorting were six A6M2 Zeros of the 4th Kōkūtai (4th Air Group) led by Harutoshi Okamoto that took off from Lakunai to escort the bombers over Port Moresby. Over the target, the Bettys bomb 7 Mile Drome and anti-aircraft gun positions releasing 130 bombs that damages houses in hown and wound ten on the ground, one seriously. Without any aerial opposition, the Zeros testing their guns on the Moresby Wreck (SS Pruth) and fly at almost sea level to strafe PBY Catalinas moored off Napa Napa sinking Catalina A24-3 and Catalina A24-6
4) Bombers and fighters hit Jacksons Drome and anti-aircraft gun pits.
Houses in town burning, 130 bombs dropped, 10 wounded, one seriously. At
about 10:00am, six A6M2 Zeros from the
Kokutai led by Harutoshi Okamoto
from Rabaul came over the heads at Port Moresby,
the Moresby Wreck (SS Pruth),
they lined up and strafed seaplanes moored at Napa Napa bordering Fairfax Harbor across from Port Moresby. During the attack, Catalina A24-3 and Catalina A24-6 were sunk at their moorings and Catalina A24-2 under repair on
the slipway was damaged. On the ground, Leading Aircraftman Roderick John Nancarrow, 27601 was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Fitter Barney Ross was creased by a bullet and wounded. The
RAAF had established a 7.7mm Lewis machine gun to cover over
the slipway area, manned by the orderly room staff from
a gun position dug in the hill behind the area. Jim Preston
and his mates fired the weapon at the strafing Zeros. A6M2
Zero pilot Nagatoma was damaged by machine gun fire from the single Lewis gun and soon afterwards the pilot bailed out before his Zero crashed into Bootless
was captured and became the first Japanese POW captured in Australian territory
during the war. He was badly burnt and
to hospital, then to Australia and detained at Corwa
War Diary 1942 (1984) page 30
"28 Saturday (February 28, 1942) Fourth raid: ...Eleven Jap bombers and five fighters [sic, six A6M2 Zeros] made a big raid on Moresby today. Fighters machine-gunned the Catalinas, destroying two and damaging a third. Bombs dropped on aerodrome and A.A. gun pits. About 10 men wounded, only one seriously. A couple of houses in town blazing furiously. More than 130 bombs were dropped but most damage done by fighters, one of which was shot down in flames on to the reef near Bootless [Inlet] by M-G fire. The pilot bailed out and was captured- 1st Jap prisoner taken on Australian territory [Territory of Papua] in the war. He was badly burnt and taken to hospital."
WW2 Nominal Roll - Roderick John Nancarrow, 27601
- Roderick John Nancarrow, 27601 memorialized at Bomana War Cemetery on the Port Moresby Memorial, panel 10
March 2, 1942
(Raid 5) Japanese reconnaissance bomber driven off.
War Diary 1942
March 5, 1942
(Raid 6, Raid 7) Midnight
heavy bombers came over, 3am flying boat raided moresby. 30 bombs falling
on foreshore and drome without damage or casualties.
War Diary 1942
March 7, 1942
(Raid 8) Ten bombers barracks and drome 80 bombs dripped, destroyed
2 tens and hurt. Lockheed (Hudson) landed during raid, but survived.
AA drive them away after 17 minutes.
War Diary 1942
March 9, 1942
(Raid 9) 10 bombers, no damage, one stick on AA battery. Two
SBDs from USN land after raid.
War Diary 1942 (1984)
March 11, 1942
(Raid 11) 3 consecutive raids, 6 raids in a week. 12 heavy
bomber aerodrome, 3 engined ford hit & destroyed. No other
damage or casualties.
War Diary 1942
March 13, 1942
(Raid 12) Five A6M2 Zeros from the 4th Kokutai took off from Lae Airfield and at 8:36am at low level strafe 7-Mile Drome and destroy parked Ford Trimotor A45-2. On finals were B-17E 41-2435 and a Lockheed Hudson and were both attacked, but escaped without any apparent damage. The B-17 claimed one of the Zeros shot down about 15 miles north of Port Moresby. At 9.26am, four of the Zeros attacked Kairuku (Yule Island) northwest of Port Moresby on their return to Lae.
War Diary 1942 Raid 12 Fighters attack Flying fortress landed during
raid, but were not seen. A Hudson chased, but escaped.
A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service by W. J. Gibbs Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour
More Air Raids but No 75 Squadron Kittykawks Arrive: "Friday 13 March 1942 saw an attack by six Zeros on airport installations. I believe the scene in Figure 16 shows efforts to quell flames on the Seven-mile airstrip caused by that raid. This may well have been the occasion I clearly remember when two Zeros, having expended their ammunition, staged a mock dogfight at low level over the harbour. This was the 12th raid on Port Moresby."
March 14, 1942
(Raid 13) Nine bombers hit moresby, no damage. During the air combat, P-39 Airacobra piloted by Brown collided with A6M2 Zero pilot Oshima damaging the tail and causing the Zero to crash and the Airacobra returned with tail damage.
War Diary 1942
March 15, 1942
Zeros strafe liner MV Canberra attacked from Horn Island,
but avoided casualties, although deck hit.
March 19, 1942 (Raid 14)
March 20, 1942
(Raid 15, Raid 16) The Japs seem to know that the fighters are expected. There's been a spy loose, but he was nearly caught and escaped by opening fire on our men. Now being chased along the coast. The Japs made two raids this morning, the first with four fighters who machine gunned the aerodrome and were driven off by A. A. MG fire, the second with a single bomber that dropped its load and dashed off. Reconnaissance planes are over all the time, apparently looking for the fighters which, alas did not arrive. The raids today resulted in no damage and no casualties but Tokyo Rose claimed that Moresby had been 'devastated'!
War Diary 1942
March 21, 1942
A lone G4M1 Betty pilot Kawai flies a reconnaissance mission from Rabaul to
Port Moresby and fails to return. It was intercepted at 10,000' by the newly arrived RAAF 75 Squadron P-40E Kittyhawks piloted by Wackett and Cox, from astern and quarter attacks causing the Betty to explode and crash into the sea. No damage was caused to the P-40s.
War Diary 1942
March 23, 1942
Nineteen G3M1 Nells of the 1st Kokutai took off from Rabaul on a bombing mission against Port Moresby. Over Lae, three A6M2 Zeros from the 4th Kokutai escort them to Port Moresby. The 1st Chutai (12 Nells) bomb anti-aircraft emplacements. The 2nd Chutai (7 Nells) bomb 7 Mile Drone. Three bombers return with holes from anti-aircraft fire. Lost is A6M2 Zero piloted by Yoshi'i (KIA).
Two flights of ten and nine Japanese bombers were sighted near Port Moresby at 1325K. Bombs dropped, though little damage caused. Four A6M2 Zeros straffed 7-Mile at 1415K. Two Kittyhawks destroyed on ground, another damaged. One crashed on Morris Hill after being shot down by fire from machine gun post. Another A6M2 seen trailing white smoke at low level.
War Diary 1942 page 40, 43
"Seventeeth Raid - This afternoon there was half and hour of great excitement when the Japs sent over their biggest air armada yet - 19 heavy bombers in two waves (9 + 10) and four Zero fighters - 23 planes. The bombers, tightly packed at 20,000' dropped sticks on the aerodrome and near the AA batteries without any success. Then the fighters came in low for a machine-gun and cannon attack and destroyed two of our fighters on the ground [P-40E A29-10 and P-40E A29-25] and damaged a third. The Japs, however ran into a hail of MG fire from many infantry posts. The pilot of one was shot through the groin. His machine swerved and crashed into hillside, ricocheted 40 yards then blew to smithereens. Fragments scattered over about 6 acres. Body of the pilot was hurled 500' through the air and the planes engine 100' beyond that. [A6M2 Zero pilot Yoshi'i (KIA)] One other Jap fighter was seen diving into hills in flames and a third was hit and possibly didn't get home. Although given 35 minutes warning of the raid the fighters were on the ground or preparing to land and never joined action."
March 24, 1942
(Raid 18) This morning Japs sent over 18 heavy bombers and three fighters. About 20 tons of bombs were dropped on the military hospital, the town and the drome. At the hospital one bomb made a direct hit right in the middle off the red cross on the roof. A couple of wards and other buildings were destroyed but all patients had been moved to slit trenches and were unharmed, although showered with dirt, debris and bomb fragments. As usual the hospital was built right in the middle of a group of military objects - RAAF wireless station, store dumps, barracks and craters, but not a single casualty was reported. Our AA fire was very accurate and one bomber peeled off and headed for home with smoke pouring from its tail. The fighter organization slipped again. Only two got into the air the rest sticking in the camouflaged bays, where one was hit by a bomb. The best part of the squadron which arrived only 3 days ago is now out of action and only two have been lost in combat!
At 0710 hours, RAAF 75 Squadron P-40E flown by Piper shoots down G4M1 Betty piloted by Aida who jettisoned bombs before crashing into sea 4-5 miles south of Hood Point.
F/Lt Jackson and Sgt Bailey take off at 1030K to intercept 18 Japanese aircraft. F/Lt Jackson delivered head-on attack on three escorting A6M2 Zeros – probably destroying one. F/Lt Jackson’s aircraft suffered bullet damage to mainplate.
War Diary 1942
March 25, 1942
(Raid 19) Heavy cloud but small Japanese force of 3 bombers, 4 fighters came over at 9:30am at extreme height. Our fighters were in the air but could not find the Japs in the clouds. The bombers dropped their bombs hurriedly when the AA opened up and all bombs fell harmlessly in the harbor. Since the first raid on Feb 3, the Japs have dropped 1,650 bombs in this area and have used a total of 185 planes in all raids: 151 bombers and 34 fighters. Britain shot down exactly the same number of planes (185) in one day in the Battle of Britain! The 1,650 bombs have caused almost negligible damage and casualties have been two killed and about 22 wounded. Reference: War Diary 1942
Four Kittyhawks departed 7-Mile at approximately 0900K to intercept three Japanese bombers, escorted by Zeros reported to be approaching. No sightings made.
War Diary 1942
Seek & Strike page 19
"bombers came in 0915 on 25 March, and ground observers thought one was hit by anti-aircraft fire, as it left formation and bombed the old wrecked ship, the SS Pruth, but missed,"
March 26, 1942
Spies active in Moresby? Still looking for pro-Jap agents. The immediate problem is to find the chap who sends up coloured meteorological balloons as a guide every time the japs come over. The come up from different positions and are usually not seen until they are will up in the air. All quite today, raining like hell.
RAAF 75 Squadron P-40s patrol over Port Moresby and Woods, Piper, Bailey and O'Conner intercept a formation of fighters and bombers at 1:30. Woods and O'Connor attacked the fighters. Lost is P-40E A29-19 (O'Conner, MIA). Woods' P-40 sustained some damage. Piper and Bailey attacked G4M1 Betty piloted by Fujii and claimed hits on the engines of one. Bailey was also hit by friendly AA fire.
Seek & Strike, page 19
March 27, 1942
(Raid 20) Two Japanese bombers and three zeros attack
Port Moresby. One P-40 shot down [P-40E A29-19], one Japanese bomber [G4M1 Betty piloted Fujii] is seen to crash in flames approximately 30 miles east of Port Moresby [near Abau]. Later, parts were recovered from this wreck including its 20mm cannon and ammunition is later recovered, and were brought to Port Moresby aboard the MV Matoma.
Two Japanese bombers sighted 0833K – Twelve bombs dropped on dispersal bays with no damage.
RAAF: Intercepting, four P-40s take off and split into two flights. P-40E piloted by Piper and P-40E piloted by Bailey attack the G4M1 Betty bombers, damaging G4M1 Betty commanded by Fujii that later crashed. P-40E Kittyhawk A29-15 piloted by F/O Woods and P-40E A29-19 piloted by P/O O’Conner intercepte the three escorting A6M2 Zeros at 20,000'. Lost is P-40E A29-19 (MIA) pilot P/O O’Connor. F/O Woods at 10,000' saw at 3,000 to 4,000 ft below what he considered to be descending parachute of P/O O’Connor, and later saw what he believed to be P/O O’Connor’s aircraft burning.
IJN: Four G4M1 Betty bombers from the 4th Kokutai commanded by WO Kameichi Hasegawa,
took off on a bombing mission from Lae Airfield to bomb Port Moresby, but one bomber with engine trouble bombs Kokoda Airfield instead. The other three bombers bomb Port Moresby at 9:20am. Escorting Zeros claim two fighters shot down.
War Diary 1942 (1984) pages 44-45
"Two [sic] Jap heavy bombers and three Zeros came over for a small-scale hit-run raid. Did no damage but dropped one bomb within 3 feet [of a] huge bomb dump of 250 pounders! Two of our fighters engaged them and shot down one bomber in flames [G4M1 Betty commanded by Fujii]. One of our fighters [P-40E A29-19] was shot down but the pilot parachuted to safety [sic, pilot P/O O’Connor missing]. Later a force of Japanese bombers raided Kokoda, up in the mountains, without causing much damage."
March 28, 1942
(Raid 21) At 2:30pm three G3M2 Nells commanded by PO1/c Takeo Harada from the 1st Kokutai escorted by seven A6M2 Zeros from Lae. Over the target, one Zero makes a vertical suicide dive [jibaku] against 17 Mile Drome. Lost is a bomber, a Zero and one probable.
Lost is P-40E A29-5 (MIA).
All available Kittyhawks took off to intercept Japanese bombers escorted by A6M2 Zeros. Sgt Bailey was observed by F/O Piper to be diving steeply followed by a Zero well astern over an area 20-30 miles north of Kekeni Rocks. Sgt Baily listed as Missing. One Zero was probably shot down; some damage caused to Kittyhawks.
War Diary 1942
March 29, 1942
No raids but Japanese recon is over in force. Wreckage of a Jap heavy bomber found in the hills near Rigo [G4M1 Betty commanded by Fujii].
War Diary 1942
March 30, 1942
22) Wrecked Japanese bomber found near Rigo [G4M1 Betty commanded by Fujii], identified as one shot
down by AA weeks ago
and not claimed. One bomber made two runs across AA positions but was
driven off by gunfire and unable to drop bombs. Three Zero fighters attempted
to intercept a US Flying Fortress that was about to land, but they were
driven off by RAAF Kittyhawks and the guns of the Fortress.
1st Kokutai G3M2 Nell piloted by Harada makes a solo recon over Port Moresby at low altitude, taking photographs and returns to Lae Airfield without a scratch.
War Diary 1942
March 31, 1942
A single G3M2 Nell piloted by Harada from the 1st Kokutai flew a
suicide mission from Lae to Port Moresby, not returning. The attack-bomber
made a vertical dive at Waigani Airfield, Port Moresby, and crashed.
Seven of the crewmen were discovered and recovered. It was a real suicide
dive and crash. The bomber crew's plane was hit on a bombing mission
to Clark Field, Luzon in the Philippines, and made a forced landing on
the way back on December 12, 1941. They were captured but rescued later
when the Japanese occupied the islands, but they were not allowed by
the command and were forced to fly suicide missions during the succeeding
operations. Ironically, they survived every time they flew. On this date,
they determined to kill themselves on a single-plane mission.
War Diary 1942 page 46:
Bomber falls to pieces! An extraordinary incident this afternoon. A big Japanese
bomber was overhead on reconnaissance in cloudy weather - the same plane
that tried unsuccessfully to drop bombs yesterday. None of our fighters
went up and the AA never fired a shot, but suddenly the bomber was seen
to be falling after losing part of a wing or tail plane. It crashed into
the hills in a big cloud of smoke.The bodies of the crew were found in
the wreckage - including the body of a high ranking Japanese officer in
full uniform and wearing his sword!"
Decisive Factor mentions this incident:
"RAAF pilot Turnbull pointed a stick at the plane, did a mumbo jumbo dance
and was dumb founded when the plane crashed."
April 5, 1942
(Raid 23) Nine G4M1 Bettys from the 4th Kokutai armed with 60kg bombs took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul on a bombing mission via Gasmata an Lae before bombing 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. Over Lae, they rendezvoused with four A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai led by Lt Shirō Kawai. Over Bulolo, two Bettys abort the mission and returned to base, leaving seven bombers to proceed to the target and bombed 7-Mile Drome causing only slight damage, including a fire among fuel drums and destroyed a tent and a 160 gallon fuel dump a mile north in a valley. One AIF 39th Battalion Sergeant was slightly injured in the leg by shrapnel.
Over Port Moresby, the Japanese formation was intercepted by RAAF No. 75 Squadron P-40E Kittyhawks led by P-40E Kittyhawk A29-9 piloted by F/Lt Leslie "Les" D. Jackson who shot down A6M2 Zero pilot Yoshi. Two Zeros returned with combat damage. Damaged is P-40E Kittyhawk A29-8, but repaired two days later.
War Diary 1942 (1984) page 49
"5 Sunday Twenty-third raid After a week the Japs bombed Moresby at noon with seven bombers escorted by four Zeros. In a spectacular dogfight one Zero [A6M2 Zero pilot Yoshi] was shot down in flames and another badly damaged. We have now got Kittyhawks, Douglas [A-24] dive bombers, [P-39/P-400] Airacobras and [B-26] Marauders in action. The tide is turning with a vengeance!"
Snake Road (1992) page 97
""On Easter Day, 1942, while on his way from the Papuan Infantry Battalion to the 8th Military District, the Bishop of New Guinea, witnessed a spectacular battle in the sky. Pressing on to his appointed service he found that the whole congregation was absorbed in watching the same show. "Had to wait for about 15 minutes to begin the service" noted Philip Strong in his diary. A week later, dogfights above Sapphire Creek rained down explosive bullets on the road, narrowly missing the bishop and his party."
Seek and Strike (2002) page 27
Eagles of the Southern Sky (2012) pages 13-16 (Chapter Three - First Moves)
April 7, 1942
(Raid 24) Moresby raided today by Jap bombers and fighters. Several were damaged, but one of our fighters was shot down and another missing. One pilot was saved. Parties looking for Jap pilot who parachuted during Sunday's raid into heavy jungle country.
War Diary 1942
April 10, 1942
(Raid 25) Seven 4th Kokutai G4M1 Bettys and six Zeros are intercepted by nine 75 Squadron P-40E’s. Lost is G4M1 Betty piloted by Kobayashi (MIA).
War Diary 1942 page 51
"Apparently as a reprisal for yesterday's raid on Rabaul, seven Jap bombers and six Zero fighters raided Moresby this morning. They dropped their bombs ineffectively when our Kittyhawks tackled them and made off for home at high speed. Our fighters chased them right out of Papua into New Guinea, fighting a series of running dogfights for over half an hour. One Jap bomber was caught in the guns over the terrible jungles of the Owen Stanley Range an went down in a flat spin with smoke streaming from the tail. All our planes got back safely."
April 17, 1942
six P-40s destroyed in raid. On the way to the target, A6M2 Zero piloted Sakai is lost in the Owen Stanley Mountains. Damaged is P-40E Kittyhawk A29-28.
April 24, 1942
In the morning, twelve A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai attack Port Moresby, six dog fighting with RAAF 75 Squadron P-40 Kittyhawks and six attacking other aircraft and bombers. They claimed nine shot down (five P-40s, one P-39, two B-26s) and damaged a PBY. In fact, they destroyed two B-26s [one is B-26 "Hell's Angel" 40-1448]. Also, PBY A24-5 moored in Fairfax Harbor, and three P-40E Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron were shot down: P-40 A29-43 (Channon, KIA) and P-40E A29-9 (Les Jackson, survived) and P-40E A29-76 (Crawford, survived).
April 25, 1942
Fifteen A6M2 Zeros fly a fighter sweep over Port Moresby. Four strafe 7-Mile Drome. Destroyed on the ground is B-17E 41-2641.
Fortress on Mt. Obree by Bruce Hoy:
"Just after 8.00 am, with 41-2641 still stuck, fifteen Japanese Zero fighter aircrafts arrived over Port Moresby and four descended on 7-Mile drome, quickly setting a Martin B-26 Marauder on fire and seriously damaging another Marauder. 41-2641 appeared to have survived the attack until 10 minutes later, the aircraft suddenly burst into flames and was destroyed. The RAAF's No. 75 Squadron had a flight of four P-40s in the air on combat patrol and they immediately attacked the formation of Zeros, causing damage to three aircraft, and one of the P-40s receiving superficial damage in return."
April 26, 1942
(Raid 32) 2350-0015GMT/26 Port Moresby area is attacked by nine Type 96 (Nell) heavy bomber with escorting A6M2 Zero fighters approached from north made one run over 3 Mile Drome (Kila) at 22,000'. Approximately 90 bombs mostly H. E. exploding near dispersal area. Two 3rd BG A-24s are destroyed one other completely unserviceable. No other damage no casualties. P-40s did not intercept. The partly completed 30 Mile Drome (Rarona) near Galley Reach is also bombed.
New Guinea Force Diary "Combined Operational Intelligence Centre Log for 26 April 1942 New Guinea Force - HQ & Air"
April 28, 1942
(Raid 33) Six Kittyhawks took off at 1036K to intercept eight Japanese bombers escorted by A6M2 Zeros over Port Moresby. P-40E A29-8 piloted by S/L John F. Jackson (KIA) and P-40E A29-47 piloted by F/Lt B M Cox (MIA). Also wounded is F/O Brereton and and his aircraft severely damaged but is able to land. Lost is A6M2 Zero 1575 piloted by Yoshimitsu Maeda (POW).
One of the Japanese bombers drop four bundles of letters from Australian POWs at Rabaul. The bundles landed near 7 Mile Drome. Three bundles of letters were located and the last bundle was found later. Inside were 395 letters (325 military, 70 from civilians) wrapped in khaki cloth with a 4' streamer attached to each with a message in English "Any person found return to Army Headquarters Port Moresby".
May 9, 1942
A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai strafe 3-Mile Drome and 7-Mile Drome, damaging several A-24 Dive Bombers.
May 12, 1942
(Raid 46) At 7:43am, eleven A6M2 Zeros strafe 12 Mile Drome (Bomana) and M. G. positions in area. No damage No casualties. Intercepted by 13 P-39s. Claims of two Zeros shot down. Investigating possible crashes. One P-39 temporarily unserviceable. Two P39's missing. Lost is P-39D 41-6802 pilot 2nd Lt. Robert M. Wilde (KIA).
New Guinea Force Diary
"0850 Gun on hill behind Bde. H.Q. reports large column Black Smoke 7 to 8 miles on bearing 320 [degrees] and 321 [degrees]
1350 Reported Crash of Aircraft
Paga - Bearing 46 [degrees] - distance 10 miles
Tuaguba - Bearing 44 [degrees] distance 10 miles
1800 1 P39 missing in Raid 46 found at VARI VARI 1 mile inland. Pilot safe."
May 13, 1942
(Raid 48) Small force of 6 Zeros attack Port Moresby, but Airacobras waiting for them and a series of fierce dogfights raged up and down the valleys for 45 minutes. Two Zeros were shot down in jungle and a third was so badly hit that it probably never got home. One of our planes had to make a force landing.
War Diary 1942
May 14, 1942
(Raid 49, Raid 50) Moresby had its 49th and 50th raids one straight after the other. heaviest yet. 48 Japanese planes being used altogether. 13 Zeros came over in first wave but three were shot down by Airacobras without loss to us. Our fighters were refueling, however, when main attack came and couldn't intercept force of 26 heavy bombers and nine fighters, which bombed harbour and shipping from 21,000' unsuccessfully. It is expected that this will be the beginning of the real air-blitz against Moresby.
War Diary 1942
May 17, 1942
Eighteen A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai strafe targets at Port Moresby. Two Zeros lost returning from the mission.
May 18, 1942
(Raid 52) Japanese bombers escorted by fighters intercepted by Airacobras.
May 26, 1942
At night, two flying boats bomb
May 27, 1942
Fifteen A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai attack Port Moresby. Intercepted by fourteen Airacobras two are lost.
May 28, 1942
Airacobras from the 36th FS and fourteen Airacobras of the 35th Fighter Squadron took off from 7-Mile Drome at 7:50am to intercept 20 A6M Zeros over Port Moresby. Three aircraft were lost, but all pilots returned to duty: P-39D 41-6970 (pilot survived), P-39F 41-7190 (pilot survived), P-39 piloted by Andres (pilot survived). The 36th FS claims three Zeros (Connell, Egan, Erickson). In fact, the Japanese reported no losses.
June 1, 1942
Nineteen G3M2 Nells of the Genzan Kokutai led by Lt Ishihara took off from Vunakanau Airfield on a bombing mission against Port Moresby, rendezvoused with 24 A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai over Buna area. Near the target, one Nell aborted. Over Port Moresby, the A6M2 Zeros engaged P-39 Airacobras. The Nells bombed 7-Mile Drome, but caused little damage.
June 16, 1942
(Raid 60) Intense air activity - Fierce dogfights over Moresby when a strong force of Zeros attempted to strafe the 'dromes. Two were damaged. We lost five fighters and two were damaged and the pilots wounded. In attacks on Lae and Salamaua ....... In actual fighter combat the Zeros appear to be definitely superior to the Airacobra and the American record is not anywhere near as good as that of the RAAF Kittyhawk Squadron which was in action here earlier." Lost is P-39F 41-7204 (pilot survived), P-39F 41-7136 (MIA), P-39F 41-7222 (pilot survived) and P-39 piloted by Lynch (WIA, survived).
War Diary 1942
USAAF Combat Chronology - June 16, 1942
June 17, 1942
(Raid 61) MV Macdhui is damaged, but docks again at night and continues unloading. Charles Sullivan claims a Japanese bomber over Port Moresby.
June 18, 1942
(Raid 62) 27 G4M1 Betty bombers of the 4th Kokutai led by Lt. Renpei Egawa sink MV Macdhui into Fairfax Harbor.
June 26, 1942
About noon 18 bombers and 12 Zeros attempted to bomb Port Moresby
July 3, 1942
July 4, 1942
(Raid 67) Japanese aircraft attack Port Moresby. Lost are P-39F 41-7148 and P-400 AP 378.
July 5, 1942
(Raid 68) "7-Mile Drome bombed by 18 Jap bombers at extreme altitude. One soldier killed, three wounded. Half an hour later seven of the bombers attacked again." (War Diary 1942 page 66) Damaged on the ground is B-26 40-1510.
July 6, 1942
July 10, 1942
(Raid 70) Twenty-one 4th Kokutai G4M1 Betty bombers escorted by eight A6M2 Zeros bomb Port Moresby. Lost to anti-aircraft fire is G4M1 Betty piloted by Tsusaki.
War Diary 1942 page 66
"70th Raid - Twenty-one heavy bombers escorted by eight Zeros over the same old target, this time against shipping. AA claimed two definite hits and one probable hit on bombers which were forced to break formation because of the accuracy of the fire."
July 11, 1942
(Raid 71) Nineteen 4th Kokutai G4M1 Betty bombers escorted by eight A6M2 Zeros attack shipping in Fairfax Harbor. G4M1 Betty piloted by Nizo is hit by anti-aircraft fire and returning ditches off Lae.
War Diary 1942 page 66-67
"71st Raid - Nineteen Jap bombers and eight Zeros
attacking shipping today and fierce dogfights developed when our fighters intercepted, several of the bombers being attacked as they were releasing their bombs. Three bombers and one Zero were shot down for certain and three bombers damaged. Two of our fighters were lost and one damaged."
Intelligence Resume 58
"One enemy two engine bomber found burning in Waigani swamp [map ref 06512]. radio set found near A/C No trace of crew seen"
July 20, 1942
(Raid 72) Japanese bombers hit 3 Mile Drome (Kila Kila) and destroy Hudson A16-179 parked in a revetment.
July 24, 1942
(Raid 73) Japanese bombers bomb Bomana Airfield (12 Mile Drome).
July 29, 1942
(Raid 74, Raid 75) Day and night raids by Japanese bombers
July 30, 1942
(Raid 76) Night raid by six Japanese bombers
August 1, 1942
August 17, 1942
(Raid 78) G4M1 Betty bombers from the 4th Kokutai and Misawa Kokutai escorted by Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai
September 7, 1942
(IJN) 27 G4M1 Bettys from the Kisarazu Kokutai took off from Rabaul to attack Port Moresby covered by 24 Zeros (Tainan Kokutai, 2nd Kokutai and 6th Kokutai). Over the target they meet Allied fighters. Returning from the mission, one G4M1 piloted by PO/1 Kinnosuke Ogawa crash lalnded on a friendly beach and the crew was rescued.
September 8, 1942
September 17, 1942
September 19, 1942
September 21, 1942
September 23, 1942
October 22, 1942
October 25, 1942
October 29, 1942
October 31, 1942
November 24, 1942
(Raid 88, Raid 89) With the full moon we had two raids during the night. At about 8pm ten bombs and incendiaries were dropped in the general hospital, and at about midnight eight bombs were dropped in the 7-Mile area. There was no damage or casualties in either raid.
War Diary 1942
November 27, 1942
Three Jap bombers over from 2:45 to 4:15 by moonlight. Picked up by searchlights and terrific AA barrage with shell splinters whizzing down only a couple feet from me. The Japs dropped 20 bombs in 7-Mile Valley but apparently no damage or casualties. AA claimed two probably hits.
War Diary 1942
Fight For Survival page 15 by James McMurria:
"Got there before dark Thanksgiving Day [sic, November 27, 1942]. Hottest damn place I've ever been. Tried to sleep under a blanket to keep off the mosquitoes, no luck. Finally dropped off about 12 but was awakened by an air raid. Your first air raid is something you'll always remember! Three ships were focused directly in the [search] lights but couldn't get into a foxhole so I stood there in my underwear watching them and was literally eaten up by mosquitoes. There were about seven or eight planes in the raid. Got back to bed about three thirty. The all clear sounded and we piled back out of bed not knowing what signal it was. In the midst of the bombing I had some enlisted man over on another hilltop calling for Dr. Kildare. If those boys didn't have a sense of humor they would have less than nothing. The bombers look like they're heading directly for you and you alone. They never hit anything of importance. Friday I left Moresby [piloting a B-24] for Iron Range after being towed ou of the mud holes."
November 30, 1942
(Raid 91) Two planes at 17,000' raided Moresby before dawn, blowing up a dump of the 808th American Engineers.
War Diary 1942
December 13, 1942
(Raid 92) One bomber raided Wards Drome before midnight. No casualties or damage.
War Diary 1942
December 14, 1942
(Raid 93) Moresby raided soon after midnight
but bombs again did no damage.
War Diary 1942
December 15, 1942
(Raid 94) Two Jap bombers raided tonight with a half moon and heavy cloud. The amount of AA thrown up was incredible, particularly from a new US battery right next to our camp. After two bombing runs the planes were caught in the searchlights but got out of range before the guns could get on to them. Eight wounded, some seriously at Wards.
War Diary 1942
January 23, 1943
(Raid 100) Night raid by unidentified aircraft.
Reference: New Guinea Force Diary.
January 26 1943
Night raid by unidentified aircraft, no damage, no casualties.
New Guinea Force Diary
April 12, 1943
Japanese Operation I-Go. Last major daylight raid
against Port Moresby by G4M1 Betty Bombers and over a hundred escorting Zeros.
May 13, 1943
Night raid on Port Moresby. Red alert 8:25pm, all clear 9:00pm. A second red
alert at 10:26 and all clear at 10:42.
May 15, 1943
(US Radar Notes) Two raids this night. The first at 7:30pm against an inland airfield (possibly
17-Mile Durand), and a second raid at that same area at 7:40-5pm, with
all clear sounded 8:03pm. A third raid at 8:29pm to Port Moresby area
(possibly 3-Mile Drome). Lost is G4M1 Betty piloted by Shinshichi Sumita (Sumida) (KIA).
Richard Dunn adds: "Type 1 bombers of the 702nd Kokutai attack Port Moresby. According to Allied reports the Japanese mounted two separate attacks each with two Sally bombers. In the first attack one Sally was shot down by a night fighter and in the second one bomber was probably destroyed by AA fire. According to the Japanese one bomber failed to return. Exact time of loss is uncertain but presumed to be about 1849 (JST). 6th NFS P-70 piloted by 2Lt Burrell W. Adams (with F/O Paul DiLabbio R/O) claimed a Sally at about 2000 hours (1849 JST = 1949 K or local Port Moresby time). The AA claim for a probable came later. Thus it appears Lt. Shinshichi Sumita (Sumida) a Buntai C. O. of Air Group 702 was shot down by Adams about 35 miles NW of Jackson Field."
June 13, 1943
Japanese bombers hit Wau and
Port Moresby. During the Port Moresby raid, no damage, no casualties reported.
Alert sounded at 7:19pm and red alert at 8:06pm. Bombers tracked on radar. Port Moresby radar trace June 13, 1943.
June 17, 1943
(IJN) Six G4M1 Betty bombers from the 702 Kokutai took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul at 7:00pm on a night bombing mission against Port Moresby and Dobodura. Two Betty bombers attack Port Moresby making two bomb runs. At 9:50pm they bomb anti-aircraft gun positions at 9:50pm and search lights at 10:00pm then bomb Port Moresby town at 10:15. Damaged is G4M1 Betty piloted by Yokokawa and later ditches into the sea off the north coast of New Guinea with three of the crew taken prisoner. The other five return safely to Vunakanau Airfield and Kavieng Airfield.
This was the last Japanese Navy bombing mission against Port Moresby and the second to last air raid against Port Moresby.
Kodochosho 702 Kokutai June 16, 1943 translation by Minoru Kamada with analysis by Richard Dunn
Come What Will page 204: "On Thursday June 17, 1943 I [Richard W. Titus, 101st AAA] recorded my 82nd air raid in my diary. At the same time the Moresby Army News Sheet stated that the Thursday raid was the 112th since official count started."
Richard Dunn adds: "Seven bombers of 702 Kokutai sortied against Port Moresby and Dobodura. Four bombers were reported over Moresby but apparently it was two bombers making 2 runs. AA engaged firing 1,262 rounds and claimed one bomber was seen on fire and losing altitude. Aircraft No. 302 of the group was hit by AA and lost an engine. The pilot PO 1/C Shigeo Yokokawa got the bomber over the mountains and out over the sea trying to make Lae but after running into a severe storm the crippled bomber crashed. One crew member was injured and soon died. The other tried to swim for shore. Three were eventually captured. The rest of the crew presumably perished."
September 20, 1943
(JAAF) Two Ki-49 Helen from the 7th Sentai bomb Port Moresby in the early morning hours.
Donryu page 45
Diary 1942 by George Johnston
Losses of the Imperial Navy Land-based Bombers
from March 1942 to February 1943 by
Tatsuo Kamino, translated by Koji Takaki
Port Moresby Radar Traces April 12, May 13, May 15, 1943
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII by
Additional research by Justin Taylan, John Douglas, Robert Piper, Edward Rogers, Osamu Tagaya, Bruce Hoy and Richard Dunn