The New Guinea campaign (1942–1945) was one of the major military campaigns of World War II. Approximately 216,000 Japanese, Australian, and US servicemen died. New Guinea was strategically important because it was a major landmass to the immediate north of Australia. Its large land area provided locations for large land, air and naval bases. During their occupation, between 1942 and 1945, the Japanese constructed these bases and fought to keep them. Fighting in some parts of New Guinea continued until the war ended in August 1945.
A lot of remains of the hard combats that happened in this Island during World War Two, stand here as silent witnesses to the history. Simon Heyes on his blog tells us two stories about two planes wrecks:
1) On 3rd September, 1944, an American B-25H bomber took off, with the orders to fly low and fast over the South coast of New Britain and take out any ships that may be gambling on the rain to travel from island to island.
Spotted out in the open, the B-25H unleashed heavy fire on the tug and barges, and each enemy target was blown apart and destroyed.
Whilst the fly over was a success, the B-25H had a problem. One of the radials failed, and the other engine began to splutter. Closer than Bougainville, the captain made a decision to fly to Talasea, which had an emergency airstrip.
The aircraft landed, blew out it's nose gear, and eventually skidded to a stop, with no injuries to those on board.
2) Less than one week after the B-25H landed, the Lockheed Ventura NZ4522 was sent on a mission to bomb an airstrip near Rabaul. Taking off from Bougainville Island, the Lockheed commenced a steep dive and dropped bombs on the target. Although all six bombs should have dropped, two did not, so a second attempt was needed.After the remaining two bombs were released, the starboard engine cut out. Flying on one engine, the Lockheed Ventura would never make it back to Bougainville Island, so the captain decided to head for Talasea.
With fuel running low, the Lockheed landed on the airstrip, which was 600 yards long and 45 yards wide. Again, there were no injuries.
In arguably better condition than the B-25H, you can still see the Allied star on the side of the Lockheed.
You can read more about Simon Heyes's visit to the Kimbe Bay on www.simonsjamjar.com