This year marks the 80th anniversary of the battle which destroyed a Japanese troop convoy, killing thousands of soldiers and reducing Japan's ability to conduct offensive operations in New Guinea.


  • Australia knew a Japanese convoy was sailing from Rabaul to reinforce Lae.
  • Reconnaissance aircraft detected the convoy, which long-range USAAF heavy bombers attacked.
  • RAAF BeaufightersBostons and Beauforts, USAAF Mitchells and Bostons attacked the convoy.
  • Eight of the Japanese troop transports and four destroyers were sunk.
  • More effective to engage enemy troops in transit rather than defeat them on land

Editor’s Note 1 Dr Alan Stephens was previously the official historian for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Note 2. RAAF Base Learmonth was named after Squadron Leader C.C Learmonth, who led the Boston aircraft to attack the Japanese convoy.


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