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    Malaguna East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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IJN February 8, 1943

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USAAF Oct 12, 1943
























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Steve Saunders 2001
Location
Lat 4° 13' 0S Long 152° 9' 0E  Malaguna is located three miles south of Rabaul. Borders Simpson Harbor to the east and Vulcan volcano to the south. There are three villages located shoreline known as Malaguna 1, Malaguna 2 and Malaguna 3. The section of road at this location was known as "Malaguna Road", now known as the "Kokopo Road". Today located in East New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Wartime History
On January 23, 1942 after midnight, the Japanese Army "South Seas Detachment" built around 144th Infantry Regiment landed and several locations including Malaguna and occupied the area.

During the Pacific War, many tunnels were dug in this area by the Japanese and the coastlien bordering Simpson Harbor used by barges and ships and a seaplane operating area known as Malaguna Seaplane Base. A section of parallel to Malaguna Road was developed into Malaguna Airfield and used as an emergency strip. Between 1942-1945 the Malaguna area was attacked by Allied bombers and fighters.

Allied missions against Malaguna
January 14, 1944–April 13, 1944

Occupied by the Japanese until the end of the Pacific War. On September 10, 1945, after the official surrender the day before, Australian 29/46 Infantry Battalion 4 Infantry Brigade landed at Malaguna, the first troops of the Allied occupational force to land in the area.

Japanese Anti-Aircraft Battery
On the caldera ridge to the west of Malaguna there is a well preserved 3" and 6" gun anti-aircraft battery that still had the sound predictor unit and range finder base in the immediate area.

Malaguna Airfield (Malaguna Emergency Strip)
Japanese emergency strip along the road, disused since the war

Malaguna Seaplane Base
Located on the beach at Malaguna 3, across from the Catholic church, north of Vulcan volcano.

Malaguna Tunnels
Japanese dug many tunnels into the hill side at Malaguna. For many years they had Nay aircraft parts mostly for the Zero as well as some other types. Some of these parts were recovered in 1985.

Brian Bennett reports:
"Near this field there were concrete lined tunnels that had new parts for A6M series aircraft as well as a number of aerial torpedo propulsion units and main bodies, no warheads! Some parts from these tunnels were retrieved in 1985 and later went into the restoration of RAAF Museum restoration of A6M2 5784, now in display at AWM in Canberra. Quite a few years ago, I recall seeing some sections of aluminum sheet that had been deriveted. Probably repair stock salvaged from somewhere."

During July 2001, a rain storm collapsed a Japanese tunnel between Malaguna 1 and Malaguna 2 near a gas station with Japanese hydrovanes stored inside.

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Last Updated
June 15, 2019

 

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