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    Milne Bay Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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5th AF March 7, 1943

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Roderick Eime Dec 2014

Lat 10° 18' 0S Long 150° 25' 0E  Milne Bay is a twenty mile long bay, located at the southeastern tip of New Guinea in Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea. Japanese called the Milne Bay area "Rabi" for Rabi (Rabe). Borders China Strait and Samarai Island to the east.

Wartime History
During late August 1942, the Japanese attempted to land two groups Milne Bay. The first group departed Buna before arriving, RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron strafed their barges and stranded the troops on Goodenough. The second group departed New Ireland successfully landed Japanese Naval Special Landing Forces (SNLF, Marines) at at three points inside Milne Bay during the night of August 25, 1942.  This assault was the southern most point of the Japanese advance on land in World War II. By the end of August. the remaining Japanese withdrew, to fight on Guadalcanal.

Allied and Japanese missions against Milne Bay
August 4, 1942 - August 9, 1943

After the battle, the area was then developed into a large Allied staging base. Several coastal villages were developed into military bases and naval installations after the battle. US Army base at Milne Bay was known as 'Base A'. By the middle of 1944 most naval installations were complete.  Due to the rapid advance of Allied forces.

   Milne Bay Area


 Present day town on the north coast of Milne Bay

Rabi (Rabe)

 Village between Turnbull Airfield and Koebule Mission (KB Mission)


  Located at the western end of Milne Bay near Gurney Airfield
  Dock area east of Ladava and Turnbull Airfield
  Village on the southeast coast of Milne Bay
  Located inland from Milne Bay and No 2 Strip
  Located inland from Milne Bay
   Milne Bay Area Airfields

Gurney Airfield (No. 1 Strip, Fall River)

 Wartime airfield still in use today as Milne Bay Airport

No. 2 Strip (Unnamed, Waigani Airfield)

 Built by the Allies, never put into full use due to drainage problems

Turnbull Airfield (No. 3 Strip)

 Wartime airfield, Japanese reached the edge August 31, 1942

Samarai Seaplane Base

 Still in use today as Milne Bay Airport

A-29 Hudson Mark IIIA Serial Number A16-245
Ditched offshore Milne Bay

P-40E Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-110
Ditched on reef August 29, 1942, pontoon attempt failed, sunk

B-17F Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-24354
Pilot Webb MIA August 26, 1942

B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2635
Pilot Hancock MIA November 1, 1942 discovered 1999

A6M2 Model 21 Zero Manufacture Number 646
Crashed August 1942

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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