No. 75 Squadron’s Defence of Port Moresby

Courtesy of Chuck Owl‘s YT channel

Published on Feb 20, 2015

Video from the Past [13] – No. 75 Squadron’s Defence of Port Moresby

The Battle of Port Moresby was an aerial battle fought between aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy between 3 February 1942 and 17 August 1943 over Port Moresby, Papua. At the start, the defenders consisted only of Australian Army anti-aircraft batteries and machine-guns but by late March had been strengthed by the arrival of Kittyhawk fighters from No. 75 Squadron RAAF, lead by John Jackson. However, in just nine days they lost 11 aircraft and only the arrival of replacements enabled the unit to maintain ten serviceable machines.

On 31 March, the Australians were joined by the American 8th Bombardment Squadron with A-24 bombers and for two weeks in May by six P-39 Airacobras of the American 36th Pursuit Squadron. Despite the American assistance, the daily air battles over and around Port Moresby by 1 May had reduced 75 Squadron to just three airworthy machines. The American 35th, and the full 36th, Pursuit Squadrons arrived to relieve the Australian squadron. During their time in Port Moresby 75 Squadron had lost 21 aircraft and 12 pilots. However , they had shot down four times as many enemy aircraft and delayed the japanese invasion for just long enough for the american fleet to turn the tide in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.

It is interesting to know that Saburo Sakai, the most famous japanese ace in history, participated in the battle and spoke highly of the defence put up by the Australians.

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