HomeVisitMuseum ExhibitsFact SheetsDisplay

New Guinea Blockade

Crewmen onboard a Japanese destroyer run for cover while under attack by Allied aircraft flying at almost deck level during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Crewmen onboard a Japanese destroyer run for cover while under attack by Allied aircraft flying at almost deck level during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lae, New Guinea, on Jan. 18, 1943, after Allied planes delivered eight tons of bombs and almost 13,000 rounds of ammunition in a bombing and strafing attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lae, New Guinea, on Jan. 18, 1943, after Allied planes delivered eight tons of bombs and almost 13,000 rounds of ammunition in a bombing and strafing attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

L-5 aircraft of the 25th Liaison Squadron in New Guinea. In addition to their liaison duties, sergeant pilots of the "Guinea Short Line" performed such varied missions as rescuing downed fliers and guiding fighters to concealed jungle targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

L-5 aircraft of the 25th Liaison Squadron in New Guinea. In addition to their liaison duties, sergeant pilots of the "Guinea Short Line" performed such varied missions as rescuing downed fliers and guiding fighters to concealed jungle targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Natives tramp down a runway in New Guinea in 1943. The finished surface was suitable for use by light aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Natives tramp down a runway in New Guinea in 1943. The finished surface was suitable for use by light aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

C-47s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing disgorge U.S. and Australian paratroopers behind a smoke screen at Nadzab. (U.S. Air Force photo)

C-47s of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing disgorge U.S. and Australian paratroopers behind a smoke screen at Nadzab. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Crewmembers of a 25th Bomb Squadron B-17 following an armed reconnaissance flight over New Britain Island, during which they shot down three enemy fighters. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Crewmembers of a 25th Bomb Squadron B-17 following an armed reconnaissance flight over New Britain Island, during which they shot down three enemy fighters. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Following their loss of Buna and Gona during the Papuan campaign, the enemy in New Guinea attempted to reinforce Lae on the Huon Gulf, but failed. On March 1, 1943, a B-24 spotted an enemy naval convoy and in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea that followed, planes of the 5th Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force sunk 12 of the 16 ships in the convoy. An effective Allied aerial blockade had been established, blocking any Japanese attempt to reinforce Lae by using large ships.

In August 1943 U.S. flyers neutralized Japanese strength at Wewak, 300 miles west of Lae, destroying some 175 planes on the ground and about 75 more in the air against only 11 U.S. aircraft lost in combat. Allied forces then moved against Lae and Salamaua by sea and air, dropping paratroops on the plains of Nadzab in the first major use of paratroops in the Pacific war. Both towns fell in mid-September and Finschhafen on Oct. 2, insuring Allied control of the Huon Gulf area.

Click here to return to the Combat Pacific Overview.

 

Find Out More
Line
Related Fact Sheets
Papua
Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Line
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.

Featured Links


Plan Your Visit
E-newsletter Sign-up
Explore Museum Exhibits
Browse Photos
Visit Press Room
Become a Volunteer
Air Force Museum Foundation