By Peter Grose
Darwin used to be a conflict Australia may quite omit. but the japanese assault on 19 February 1942 was once the 1st wartime attack on Australian soil. the japanese struck with a similar carrier-borne strength that devastated Pearl Harbor in simple terms ten weeks prior. there has been a distinction. extra bombs fell on Darwin, extra civilians have been killed, and extra ships have been sunk. The raid ended in the worst loss of life toll from any occasion in Australia. The attackers bombed and strafed 3 hospitals, flattened outlets, places of work and the police barracks, shattered the submit place of work and communications centre, wrecked govt residence, and left the harbour and airfields burning and ruined. the folk of Darwin deserted their city, leaving it to looters, a couple of anti-aircraft batteries and a handful of dogged defenders with single-shot .303 rifles. but the tale has remained within the shadows. Drawing on long-hidden files and first-person bills, Peter Grose tells what relatively occurred and takes us into the lives of the folk who have been there. there has been a lot to be happy with in Darwin that day: braveness, mateship, selection and improvisation. however the darkish part of the tale consists of looting, desertion and a calamitous failure of management. Australians ran away simply because they didn't be aware of what else to do. soaking up, lively and fast paced, an ungainly fact is a compelling and revealing tale of the day warfare relatively got here to Australia, and the motley bunch of squaddies and civilians who have been left to shield the state.
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Additional resources for An awkward truth : the bombing of Darwin, February 1942
Fuchida noted the time. He had been airborne one hour and 40 minutes. They were still flying over thick cloud, but they must be getting close to the target. Now the cloud broke a little. Fuchida peered down. Suddenly one of the most famous lines of surf in the world appeared beneath his wings. The formation crossed the shoreline not far from Waimea Bay. Fuchida could now see that the air above Pearl Harbor itself was clear of cloud. He swung his formation right, away from the target towards the western end of Oahu, while he studied Pearl Harbor through his binoculars.
The Americans wanted them to cease all hostile operations, withdraw from their conquered territories and generally behave themselves. The two sides were miles apart, and the chances of a deal were slim. As soon as he heard of the 30 November deadline,Yamamoto ordered the Combined Fleet to prepare. * On 22 November the Japanese Task Force assembled in Tankan Bay, in the Kurile Islands, an obscure port well to the north of Japanese population centres and out of sight of prying eyes. m. on 26 November the fleet sailed for Pearl Harbor.
The three-man crew consisted of a pilot, a navigator/bombardier and a radio operator/gunner. 7-mm machine guns to discourage any pursuing fighters. The Aichi D3A ‘Val’ dive-bomber was lighter but faster. It had a top speed of 232 knots and a ceiling of 35,000 feet. The two-man crew consisted of a pilot and a gunner. 7-mm heavy machine gun. The forward-facing guns could be used for strafing, while the rear-facing heavy machine gun defended the Val against pursuers. Yamamoto decreed that the Pearl Harbor attack had to meet three essential conditions: Japan’s entire large carrier force should take part, with no large carriers kept in reserve; only the best crews and commanders should be selected; and total secrecy should be preserved.