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    Oro Bay Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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AWM March 28, 1943

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USAAF c1943

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Justin Taylan 2003

Location
Lat 5° 16' 0S Long 145° 46' 0E  Oro Bay is located on the north coast of New Guinea to the south of Buna. To the southeast is Cape Sinclair and Harvey Bay.

Wartime History
During November 1942, Australian and American troops used Oro Bay as a staging area to support the campaign against the Japanese defenders at Buna, Gona and Sanananda.  This bay area was developed into a staging area for Allied ships, with a wharf at the southern end of the bay, and many installations along the shore, and gun batteries in the surrounding hills. Oro Bay was the target of several Japanese air raids.

Operation Lilliput was a convoy effort to move supplies from Milne Bay to Oro Bay during December 1942 and June 1943. Within six months, the convoys had delivered 60,000 tons of supplies and 3,802 troops from Milne Bay to Oro Bay. Corvettes provided the majority of the escort force

Japanese missions against Oro Bay
January 23 - October 17, 1943

US Army Base B (Oro Bay)
After the battle, it was further developed by the US Army into a major base area. Designated "Base B" by the US Army Letter Base designation.

During 1943, the facilities were expanded to include Liberty Ship Wharves on the south side of Oro Bay, plus an engineering depot at the center of the bay. On the northern side was a headquarters, fuel jetty and bulk petroleum storage. Further inland was a hospital and radio transmitter. Later, the area was developed further, including a detention center at Oro Bay to rehabilitating soldiers back into combat.

During May 1944, a gallows was constructed at Oro Bay and hanged six Negro (African-American) US Army soldiers who were found guilty at their court martial for the crime of rape allegedly committed in Milne Bay.

Units based at Oro Bay
USMC 7th Marines from Melbourne September 1943 - Cape Gloucester December 26, 1943
31st Infantry Division (amphibious training) April 24 - June 25, 1944 to Aitape
491st Port Battalion - July 17, 1943 - HQ company and A, B & D until 1945, C to Lae in 1944.

Today
A new wharf is built atop the location of the wartime wharf. Oro Bay bay is used by a passenger ferry providing service from Oro Bay to Lae and other locations in PNG. There are many smaller bits of wreckage from the war in the vicinity.  Unused bomb casings litter the area, used as foundations for huts, guard rails or abandoned in the bush.

Kaeve
Located inland from Oro Bay, near the mission school.

Oro Bay Airfield
Wartime emergency airfield

SS Masaya (Formerly USS Dale DD-290)
Sunk March 28, 1943 by D3A Vals

SS Bantam
Sunk March 28, 1943 by D3A Vals. Later, raised and towed to Sydney

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Last Updated
August 27, 2014

 

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