Home' Air Force News : March 28th 2013 Contents 24
March 28, 2013
Phone 0421 728 764
Phone 0421 728 764
"We supply the finest quality
Replica Medals and Militaria
VISIT US ONLINE AT
PO Box 346, Mudgee NSW 2850
REPLICA MEDALS MILITARY HONOUR FRAMES
MILITARIA MEDAL MOUNTING
COLOUR PATCHES NAKED - ARMY FIGURINES
FAMILY MILITARY RESEARCH
Call 1300 76 35 75 24/7
or visit us online at
Defence Force tax specialists -
We have extensive experience across
all ranks and specialities, including:
Members who are currently deployed
or have served overseas
Members with investment properties
Members who have fallen behind on
lodging their tax returns
Phone consultations - All tax returns
are completed over the phone, so you
don't have to leave your base, ship or
One tax agent - We are not limited by
locality so you and your family don't
ever have to look for another tax agent
Now the #1 tax agent for ADF members
Maximum returns - We know all the specific deductions, so you get
a great tax return every year!
IN THE Battle of the Bismarck Sea, fought
from March 2-4, 1943, Australian and
American aircraft destroyed a Japanese
convoy of troop ships sailing for New
This year, on March 7, five Australian
veterans were joined by 200 guests at RAAF
Base Richmond to commemorate the battle.
A familiar face joined them -- the nose
section of a Bristol Beaufighter, courtesy of
Fighterworld at RAAF Base Williamtown.
Flown by 30SQN in New Guinea, the
Beaufighter was a critical part of the Allied
success in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
Former RAAF Historian Alan Stephens
said the battle was arguably the most impor-
tant victory that Australian forces won in the
Pacific Theatre during WWII.
"At the start of 1942, Australia was in a
dire situation after the fall of Singapore and
the bombing of Darwin," Dr Stephens said.
"The Japanese had swept through South-
East Asia, and it actually appeared pos-
sible that Australia might be invaded, with
Throughout 1942, the Allies waged a
bloody campaign in the South Pacific that
included hard-fought victories in New
Guinea at Milne Bay and on the Kokoda
On March 3, 1943, American and
Australian squadrons sent a 90-aircraft strike
package to destroy a Japanese troop ship
convoy attempting to reinforce their numbers
in New Guinea.
Bruce Robertson was a wireless radio
operator with 30SQN Beaufighters, and from
their base in Port Moresby he listened to
American commentary of the battle.
"It was non-stop voices of Americans
saying 'those so-and-so Australians, look at
that Beaufighter down there in among those
bombs," Mr Robertson said.
"They had all sorts of expletives and
they couldn't stop their admiration for our
Air Commander Australia AVM Mel
Hupfeld said the coordination required
between Allied squadrons in the battle was
an incredible achievement.
"It's through that coordination that the
victory in New Guinea has contributed to the
freedoms we enjoy today," AVM Hupfeld
"Notably, the greatest foe of that day, the
Japanese, now forms one of our closest part-
ners in the changing strategic circumstances.
"While we commemorate, we also con-
sider the terrible tragedy of war, and want to
ensure that it doesn't happen again."
The 70th anniversary of one of WWII's most decisive
engagements has reunited past and present Air Force
members, reports Eamon Hamilton.
JAPANESE personnel sailing in the Bismarck Sea on
March 3, 1943, had cause to be wary.
Since departing Rabaul on February 28, their
convoy of eight merchant vessels and eight destroy-
ers had been under persistent surveillance from
Fighter cover and poor weather had protected the
convoy for much of its journey, but one transport had
already been picked off by American B-17 bombers.
The convoy was less than a day's sailing from its
destination of Lae, where more than 6800 soldiers
would disembark to join New Guinea's brutal land
However, unbeknown to the Japanese, the Allies
had known of the convoy weeks before it sailed,
thanks to decrypted radio transmissions.
From Port Moresby, GPCAPT William Garing
had planned practice missions for Australian and
American strike aircraft.
On March 3, a three-tier package of 90 Allied air-
craft executed one of the most brilliantly coordinated
attacks of the war.
At 10am, Japanese lookouts spotted a formation
of B-17s at 7000 feet, escorted by P-38 Lightning
As the ships turned to evade the bombers, they
faced a withering hail from Beaufighters of RAAF's
30SQN, each aircraft carrying four 20mm cannons
and six 7.7mm machine guns.
The ship's bridges were destroyed, leaving the
convoy to face attacks from American Mitchell and
Boston aircraft flying at low level.
They used a combination of heavy machine guns
and a method of ricocheting bombs along wave
tops, slamming in to the ship's sides.
Huge geysers also appeared as bombs, dropped
from B-17s, found their targets.
In less than a minute, the 90 Allied aircraft deliv-
ered the opening salvo of the Battle of the Bismarck
Sea, and within 28 minutes, it was an unequivocal
The convoy's destination of Lae was not spared
either, with RAAF's 22SQN sending its Boston bomb-
ers to destroy the Japanese airfield there.
A controversial task remained for the Allies, to
attack the convoy survivors in the water.
The previous year, many RAAF personnel had
faced Japanese troops during the battles of Milne
Bay and Kokoda, and one RAAF Beaufighter pilot lat-
er said that every enemy who did not make it ashore
was one less for their Army colleagues to face.
Of the 6900 Japanese troops destined for Lae, only
1200 arrived, with Allied losses standing at six aircraft.
The battle was well documented. Australian war
photographer Damien Parer, who won an Oscar
the day after the battle for an earlier film about the
Kokoda campaign, filmed the attack from over the
shoulder of a 30SQN Beaufighter pilot.
GEN Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Com-
mander, South West Pacific Area, called the battle
"the decisive aerial engagement of the war in the
South West Pacific".
MEMORIES: Top, ACAUST
AVM Mel Hupfeld and NSW
Governor Prof Marie Bashir
stand with other dignitaries
during the Battle of Bismarck
Sea memorial service. Above
veterans pay their respects
after laying wreaths. Below, a
30SQN pilot in the cockpit of
his Beaufighter which was part
of a 90-aircraft strike package
sent to destroy a Japanese
troop ship during the Battle of
the Bismarck Sea. Above photos:
LAC David Said; below photo courtesy
Australian War Memorial, 127968
HONOUR: Wendy Cassidy, NSW Governor Prof Marie Bashir and Fred Cassidy in front of a
cockpit mock-up of Beaufighter 'Wendy-Joy II', flown during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
'Wendy-Joy' was named in honour of Mrs Cassidy and pilot Mostyn Morgan's wife Joy.
Photo: LAC David Said
Links Archive March 14th 2013 April 11th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page