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

Click For Enlargement
Roderick Eime Dec 2014
Lat 10° 18' 0S Long 150° 25' 0E  Milne Bay is a twenty mile wide bay at the southeastern tip of New Guinea. Borders China Strait and Samarai Island to the east. Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Territory of Papua. Today located in Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Wartime History
During late August 1942, the Japanese attempted to land two groups Milne Bay which they referred to the entire Milne Bay area as "Rabi" for Rabi (Rabe). The first group departed Buna bound for Milne Bay but in transit was spotted and strafed by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-40 Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron and their barges and troops stranded on Goodenough. The second group departed New Ireland and during the night of August 25, 1942 successfully landed Japanese Naval Special Landing Forces (SNLF) Marines at at three points inside Milne Bay. This landing was the southern most point of the Japanese advance on land during the Pacific War in World War II. By the end of August. the remaining Japanese withdrew.

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
Alotau  provincial capital of Milne Bay Province borders Milne Bay.
Rabi (Rabe)  located between Turnbull Airfield (No. 3 Strip) and Koebule Mission (KB Mission).
Ladava  located at the western edge of Milne Bay near Gurney Airfield.
Gili Gili (Gill Gill)  borders Milne Bay dock area east of Ladava and Turnbull Airfield
Gamadodo  located on the southeast coast of Milne Bay.
Waigani  located inland from Milne Bay and No. 2 Strip.
Konibirrubirru  located inland from Milne Bay.

Milne Bay Area Airfields
Gurney Airfield (No. 1 Strip, Fall River)  built by the U. S. Army during 1942 still in use today as Gurney Airport.
No. 2 Strip (Unnamed, Waigani Airfield)  located near Waigani the runway suffered drainage problems not used.
Turnbull Airfield (No. 3 Strip)  located near Gil Gili under construction during the Battle of Milne Bay.
Samarai Seaplane Base  located off Samarai Island used as a seaplane operating area.

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
May 23, 2020


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