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    Muschu Island (Mushu) East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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USAAF c1944

Location
Lat 3° 25' 0S Long 143° 34' 60E  Muschu Island is a flat island roughly 10 miles across and 8 miles wide. Cape Som (Cape Saum) and Sup and Cape Barabar are located on the eastern tip. Cape Warbu is located on the southern tip. On the western side are Cape Musokzlang to the northwest, Muschu Bay to the west and Cape Pausum to the southwest. Muschu Island is roughly two miles north of the north coast of New Guinea and roughly eight miles north of Wewak. To the south is the Muschu Passage. To the north is the Kairiru Strait and Kairiru Island.

Wartime History
During December 1942 occupied by the Japanese. Used by the Japanese Navy for the duration of the Pacific War. During February 1944, the Japanese Naval Land Unit "Tomii Unit" commanded by Lt. Tomii was assigned to Muschu Island.

In the middle of 1943 until late in the war, Muschu Island was bombed and strafed by Allied aircraft and vessels. Although the Japanese expected an Allied amphibious landing, Muschu Island was bypassed.

American missions against Muschu
July 10, 1943 - August 23, 1944

On April 11, 1945 eight Australian Army Z Force commandos disembarked from HMAS HDML 1321 and paddled ashore in four folboats on the southern side of Muschu Island as part of "Operation Copper" (originally code named "Operation Ash"). Their objective was to land on the southern coast of the island, capture a Japanese soldier for interrogation, and to make a beach reconnaissance for a perspective landing area. Also, reconnoiter the island's deferences and locate two concealed naval guns, then rendezvous again with their launch.

The Z Force consisted of eight individuals: Lt. Alan R. Gubbay, Lt. Thomas J. Barnes, Sgt Malcolm F. M. Weber, L/Cpl Spencer H. Walklate, Sig Michael S. Hagger, Sig John R. Chandler, Pte Ronald E. Eagleton and Spr E. T. Dennis. Seven were killed and only Dennis escaped by swimming to coast.

On August 1, 1945 ML 805 and ML 809 approached Muschu broadcasting surrender messages, without result. On August 17 (two days after Japan's surrender) two Japanese boats with white flags approached ML 805, and a meeting occurred on the beach of Muschu to arrange the surrender of Navy personal. On September 10, 1945 Rear-Admiral Sato boarded ML 805 in the Kairiru Strait and surrendered the remaining Japanese Navy forces under his command on Muschu and Kairuru by handed over his sword to Australian Army Major-General Robertson, commander of the 6th Division. Three days later, the Army garrison surrendered at Cape Wom.

Postwar
Starting in the middle of September 1945, the Australian Army used Muschu Island to detain Japanese Prisoners of War (POW) from the area, including Japanese from Muschu, Kairiru and the Wewak area. Many Japanese POWs who were already sick and weak died during captivity. During 1946, the remaining 10,000 Japanese prisoners were repatriated to Japan.

Sup (Som Point, Cape Saum)
Located on the eastern coast of Muschu Island.

Muschu Bay
Located off the west coast of Muschu Island

A-20G Havoc Serial Number 42-86621
Pilot McGaughey ditched June 10, 1944 near Muschu

A-20G "Shag On" Serial Number 43-9134
Pilot Sleeth crashed February 9, 1945 off the eastern end of Muschu near the beach

Bristol Beaufighter Serial Number A9-120
Pilot Hall crashed June 16, 1944

References
The Naval Land Unit That Vanished in the Jungle pages 75, 77-79

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016

 

Map
Map 1956

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