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    Arawe Harbor (Merkus Harbor) West New Britain Province Papua New Guinea
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USAAF December 1943

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US Army Dec 15, 1943

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US Army Jan 10, 1944

Lat 6° 7' 60S Long 149° 7' 60E  Arawe Harbor borders Arawe on the western tip of New Britain on the Vitiaz Strait and Dampier Strait. Borders Arawe Harbor and Pinip Island. Japanese refereed to this location as Merkus Harbor. Also spelled Arawee Harbor. Pronounced "Ara-wee".

Wartime History
During early 1943, Merkus was occupied by the Japanese and developed into a base area. The Japanese 1st and 8th Shipping Regiments used motorized barges to shuttle troops and cargo along the coast from Rabaul to Cape Merkus then onward to Rooke Island. The defense of the area was left to Major Shinjiro Komori. 

American Battle at Arawe
US Navy Task Force 76 and TG 74.1 departed Goodenough Island on December 13, 1943 and arrived at Arawe on the next day. On December 15, 1943, after a naval and aerial bombardment, 1,600 men of the US Army 112th Cavalry commanded by Brigadier General Julian W Cunningham made a landing at 7:00am on the west coast of Arawe.  The landing was a diversionary attack for the landing planned at Cape Gloucester.

American and Japanese missions against Arawe
November 1942 - January 16, 1944

Takasaki Maru
Sunk December 25, 1943 by air attack

D3A2 Model 22 Val
Shot down December 17-27, 1943 attacking Arawe

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


Map 1944


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