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David Paulley 1982
Lat 2° 0' 0S Long 147° 25' 0E Los Negros is located in the Admiralty Island Group (Admiralty Islands). Also known as Los Negros Island. Borders Hyane Harbor to the east. Borders Papitalai Harbor and Seeadler Harbor and beyond Manus Island to the west. Known to the Japanese as "Hyane Island". Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in Manus Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
During April 1942 a relatively small Japanese base was established on Los Negros with minimal contact with the people of Manus, but did hire some Rossum villagers as guides and scouts. The locals were told by the Japanese that "the war was a fight amongst outside nations and the local people were best advised to stay in the safely of the hinterland." The German residents who remained on the island when then Japanese arrived were either killed or imprisoned. The Japanese called the island Hyane.
American mission against Los Negros
January 22, 1944–March 7, 1944
On February 29, 1944 at 8:17am the first wave of the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Brigade commanded by Brigadier General William C. Chase landed on the southern shore of Hyane Harbor at Jamandilai Point near Momote Airfield. The landing was proceeded by a naval bombardment and aerial support from only three B-24s and nine B-25s that managed to locate the target area due to bad weather. By 10:00am the Americans captured Momote Airfield. After dark, the Japanese counterattacked and encircled the Americans forcing them to fall back to the beachhead.
On March 1, 1944, four B-17 armed transports from the 54th Troop Carrier Wing, 375th Troop Carrier Squadron took off from Finschafen Airfield including B-17E "Spawn of Hell" 41-2662, B-17F "Super Snooper" 41-24420, B-17F "War Horse" 41-24548 and another B-17 made supply runs dropping weapons, ammunition, barbed wire and blood plasma to the troops, and strafing enemy positions.
On March 2, 1944 three armed transport B-17s made more air drops and supply runs including B-17E "Yankee Didd'ler" 41-2458, another B-17 and B-17F "Cap'n & The Kids" 41-24353 piloted by Captain A. J. Beck. Over the target, Beck was intercepted by four fighters, including a Ki-61 Tony.
On March 4, 1944 the remaining Japanese launched series of suicide charges against the Americans and are defeated.
Since Seeadler Harbor was an excellent anchorage, a huge US Naval base was established at Lombrum. This base was a staging area for future operations in New Guinea, and a portion of the Philippines Invasion fleet assembled in Adler Harbor, and staged through the Manus area. Thousands of buildings, shops and sheds were erected. Wharves were constructed in the harbor.
Momote Airfield (Hyane)
Built by the Japanese, expanded by American forces, still in use today as the island's airport.
Built by the Japanese, expanded by the Americans, disused today.
Map "Bismarck Archipelago - Plans in the Admiralty and Hermit Islands, (F) Admiralty Islands Papitalai and Hyane Harbors" 1944
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