Japanese attack on
May 31 - June 1 1942
||On May 31 1942 three Japanese midget
submarines entered Sydney Harbour in an attempt to destroy allied
shipping berthed in the Harbour.
The midget submarines were 24 meters
long and weighted 46 tonnes. They had a crew of two men and carried two
torpedoes. They were transported from Truk clamped to the back of larger
<< The remains of a
Japanese midget submarine being lifted from the Harbour
On the 23rd May a float plane was
launched from I-29 and made a successful reconnaissance flight down the
Harbour which confirmed large number of Allied shipping in the Harbour.
A second float plane was launched at
3.45am on 30 May and was detected but thought to have been from an
American cruiser. This float plane actually crashed on landing but the
crew was rescued and able to confirm that sufficient targets remained to
allow the mission to continue.
Between 5.20 and 5.40pm the three
midget subs were released eleven kilometres east of Sydney and proceeded
towards the Heads.
Midget 14 became entangled in the
submarine netting and was detected at 9.30pm. Before any attack could be
made the crew detonated demolition charges and destroyed themselves and
Midget A was the second submarine to
enter the harbour. She avoided the boom nets and slowly made her way up
the harbour. She was spotted at Potts Point and fired upon by the USS
Chicago and HMAS Geelong. From these attacks she received no damage.
Midget 21 entered the harbour at 11pm
and was spotted by harbour defence craft and attacked by HMAS Yandra
with depth charges.
While Midget 21 was diverting
attention, Midget A prepared to make an attack on the fully illuminated
USS Chicago. The floodlights were finally turned of at Garden Island at
12.25am, just minutes before Midget A fired. Both torpedoes missed the
Chicago, one running aground on Garden Island and failing to explode,
while the other passed under the Dutch Submarine K-9 and exploded beside
the Depot Ship Kuttabul when it hit the sea wall. The Kuttabul sank with
the loss of 19 Australian and 2 British naval ratings. 10 others were
wounded in the attack.
Midget A then proceeded up the harbour
to escape but failed to meet up with the mother ship. It is presumed to
have sunk somewhere either in the harbour or just outside.
Meanwhile Midget 21, having survived
HMAS Yandra's attack proceeded up the harbour. She was spotted several
times before HMAS Sea Mist located her and attacked with a depth charge
attack which continued until 8.27am when she was spotted on the bottom
in a stationary position with her engines running.
Divers later that morning discovered
the crew had shot themselves rather than surrendering.
Japanese attack on
8th June 1942
On the 8th June 1942, the Japanese
submarine I-21 bombarded Newcastle for almost 20 minutes.
The attack commenced at 2.15am and a
total of 34 shells were fired from a position at sea of 9,000 meters.
Most of these shells landed near the power station and customs house and
although all but one shell failed to explode, some damage was caused to
buildings and houses.
The attack finished a few minutes
after the guns at Fort Scratchley fired four rounds in reply.
There were no recorded casualties.
Japanese air raid on
25-26 July 1942
In July 1942, three raids were made
against Townsville by Japanese flying boats stationed at Rabaul. At this
time Townsville was the most important air base in Australia.
On the night of 25-26 July 1942, three
Japanese flying boats dropped bombs into the harbour but caused no
They returned on the nights of 27-28
and 28-29 July again dropping bombs without causing any damage.
Both times American Airocobras
attempted to intercept the invading planes without success.
A final raid was undertaken on the
30th when a single bomb was dropped near Cairns.
||During period 3 March 1942 -
16 August 1943
||During period 19 February
1942 - 12 November 1943
||20 March 1942
||27 September 1943
|Exmouth Gulf (WA)
||During period 21 May 1943 -
16 September 1943
||22 March 1942
||During period 9 May 1943 - 28
||31 July 1942
||15 September 1943
|Port Hedland (WA)
||During period 30 July 1942 -
17 August 1943
|Port Patterson (NT)
||28 August 1942
||During period 25 July 1942 -
28 July 1942
||During period 3 March 1942 -
23 March 1942
||During period 14 March 1942 -
18 June 1943
Two weeks after the attack on Darwin,
Broome suffered Australia's second worst air raid on 3 March when 70
people were killed and 24 aircraft including 16 flying boats were
destroyed. Simultaneous to the raid on Broome, eight Japanese fighters
hit Wyndham. Broome was again hit on 20 March, the same day that Derby
suffered its only raid. Horn Island was hit on 14 March and additional
raids against Horn Island met no air resistance but ceased in August
In late July 1942, three raids were
made against Townsville which was by then the most important air base in
Australia. Three Kawanishi flying boats dropped bombs on the harbour on
the night of 25–26 July and lone flying boats returned on the nights
of 27–28 and 28–29 July. A final raid took place on the Australian
east coast on the night of 30 July when a single bomb was dropped near a
house at Cairns.
Air Raids on Australian
Mainland - from AWM 54 Item 812/3/12