Attacks on Australia

Did you know that during the period February 1942 to November 1943 that Australia came under attack on nearly 100 occasions by the Japanese?

Crashed fighter plane
Attacks on Australia
Attacks on Australia

Whilst the 70th anniversary commemorations that were held in Darwin in February 2012 has bought some attention to this fact, a number of other sites also felt the wrath of the Japanese. Broome was attacked on 3 March 1942, where a number of aircraft and the Broome airfield was destroyed. Reports estimate that between 70 – 88 people were killed with an additional 30 people injured. Due to the transient nature of workers and refugees being moved through Broome at the time it is difficult to calculate exact losses. In total Broome was attacked four times – 3rd and 20th March, and 16th and 27th August 1942. 

The Japanese also attacked Wyndam (twice on 3rd and 23rd March 1942), Horn Island (seven times on 14th and 18th March, 11th April , 11th May, 7th June, 30th July and 1st August 1942), Derby (20th March 1942), Katherine (22nd March 1942), Townsville (three times between 26th and 29th July 1942) and Mossman (31st July 1942). In total the Japanese attacked Darwin 64 times during the period. 

The main effort of the Japanese appears to have been to disrupt and destroy civil shipping routes and infrastructure in addition to the military aircraft. An interesting fact is that the Japanese force that attacked Darwin was the same group that attacked Pearl Harbour. 

Want to know more: Google First Lieutenant Gus Winckel (Dutch Air Force) and see what part he played in attempting to save the township of Broome. 

Source: Great Battles in Australian History – Jonathan King pages 278 – 286