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Papua

A Douglas A-20 is struck by antiaircraft fire and crashes during a low-altitude bombing and strafing mission against enemy supply and barge construstion center in Dutch New Guinea. 5th AF A-20 and B-25 "Commerce Destroyers" with extra .50-cal. nose guns proved effective against enemy shipping and ground targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A Douglas A-20 is struck by antiaircraft fire and crashes during a low-altitude bombing and strafing mission against enemy supply and barge construstion center in Dutch New Guinea. 5th AF A-20 and B-25 "Commerce Destroyers" with extra .50-cal. nose guns proved effective against enemy shipping and ground targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Seconds after the destruction of a Douglas A-20, the 
camouflaged Japanese "Betty" bomber was destroyed by parafrag bombs during a low-level attack on the airdrome. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Seconds after the destruction of a Douglas A-20, the camouflaged Japanese "Betty" bomber was destroyed by parafrag bombs during a low-level attack on the airdrome. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In July 1942 enemy troops on the Papuan peninsula on the northeast coast of New Guinea began an advance across the Owen Stanley Mountains against Port Moresby. Exhausted Australian ground forces, reinforced by troops flown to the scene, halted the enemy less than 30 miles from Port Moresby and then took the offensive. By January 1943, the Allies had eliminated all organized enemy resistance on Papua.

During the Papuan campaign, Allied air forces played a vital role through close air support of ground troops, aerial transport of men and materiel and by attacks on enemy shipping. At the same time, the 5th Air Force was perfecting such new weapons and tactics as parachute bombs and low-altitude skip bombing against ships. It also was proving the value of mounting additional forward-firing guns in A-20s and B-25s and was pioneering the devastating low-level attack methods for which the 5th was to become famous.


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Related Fact Sheets
Douglas A-20G Havoc
North American B-25B Mitchell
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Other Resources
USAF Historical Study No. 17: Air Action in the Papuan Campaign (Provided by AFHRA)
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