Pacific Wrecks Pacific Wrecks - preserving the legacy of World War II and Korean War Non-profit 501c3 charity devoted to sharing Pacific history and news

501c3 non-profit charity
All donations are
100% tax deductible
  Search Forum Areas Aircraft Ships MIAs People Reviews Help  
    Salamaua (Salamoa) Morobe Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Click For Enlargement
Prewar

Click For Enlargement

February 28, 1943

Click For Enlargement
August 10, 1943

Click For Enlargement
Ian Williams 1998

Location
Lat 7° 1' 60S Long 147° 4' 0E  Salamaua is located on an isthmus on the north coast of New Guinea, south of Lae. to the south is Bayern Bay and north is Samoa Harbor both inside Huon Gulf. On the mainland of New Guinea to the south is Logui the location of Salamaua Airfield (Logui Strip No 2).

Prewar
Salamaua town was developed as a hub for coastal shipping and to supporting gold mining operations inland at Wau. Buildings and facilities were constructed on the isthmus.

Wartime History
On January 21, 1942, Japanese aircraft attacked Salamaua, including A6M2 Zeros from Shōkaku strafing the town and five Zeros flew inland to strafe Bulolo. The next day, the Australians evacuated the town, fearing further attacks. On March 8, 1942 Japanese troops from Rabaul landed at Salamaua and Lae, occupying the area.

Japanese & American missions against Salamaua
January 21, 1942 - September 12, 1943

Robert Manning adds:
"Salamaua was the target of a raid by 75 Australian commandos on June 29 , 1942 and another raid a few days later. There was intense interest by Allied intelligence in reconnaissance photos of the Salamaua peninsula from about the 28 June to about the first week in July 1942. I have yet to find any aerial photos of this period. The interest is over a house that sat high up of the seaward end of the peninsula above the tennis courts that can be seen in pre-war photos. The house belonged to Mr O'Dea a prewar pilot and it was the target for a raid by several Australians." The Salamaua area was turned over to the Japanese Army on November 15.

After the fall of Buna and Gona, the Allies began to attack Salamaua as a diversionary effort designed to divert enemy attention from the Allied attack on the Nadzab and Lae. By early September 1943, the Japanese were ordered to prepare to fall back to Lae in face of the approaching Australian Army 5 Division. 5,000 that were transported by barge to Lae, an additional 600 escaped aboard a submarine to Rabaul and 200 that trekked overland to Lae. On September 12 , 1943, Salamaua was liberated by the Australian 5 Division, 42nd Infantry.

Japanese Gun Emplacements & Tunnel
Located on a hill top inland from Salamau. A steep path leads up to four Japanese guns with commanding views of the harbor. Near the start of the path is an entrance to a Japanese tunnel.

Type 3 (1914) 76.2 mm Naval Gun (No 1)
Remains in situ

Type 3 (1914) 76.2 mm Naval Gun (No 2)
Remains in situ

Type 3 (1914) 76.2 mm Naval Gun (No 3)
Remains in situ, the barrel pointed at a horizontal angle

Type 3 (1914) 76.2 mm Naval Gun (No 3)
Salvaged by the Japanese in 1969, donated to Yasukuni Jinja

B-17 pilot 2nd Lt George Munroe recalled:
"I had an experience once, we were on a flight over Lae and Salamaua looking for a destroyer, reportedly up a creek. We knew there was no creek there, but were told to look at the area. We were flying along, fat dumb and happy and all of a sudden, all hell broke loose with anti-aircraft fire was all around us. We could see it we could hear it, I did a quick wing over and got out of there but we weren't touched."

Coastwatcher's Ridge
Location where Australian Coastwatcher was stationed to report Japanese shipping and troop movements.

Mount Tambu
A full days walk to the Mount with spectacular views of huge battlefield where Australians met the Japanese advance towards Wau. Also known as "Mt. Tambu". Local guides are available for those who want to make this trek. By August 20, Japanese abandoned their defensive positions on Mount Tambu and Komiatum Ridge and are manning last-ditch defensive position at Salamaua.

Kotoku Maru (Kotoko Maru)
Damaged by bombs and grounded off Salamaua July 30, 1942

Yokohama Maru
Sunk March 10, 1942 by USN carrier aircraft

P-40E Kittyhawk Serial Number A29-38
Pilot Brown force landed April 11, 1942 wreckage sunk during 1980s failed salvage attempt

DB-7B Mark III Boston A28-3 Tail DU-Y
Pilot Newton ditched March 18, 1943

F-4 Lightning 41-2177 Tail 77
Pilot Blackard MIA May 21, 1943

B-25D Mitchell 41-30313
Pilot Webster ditched July 9, 1943

References
The Battle For Wau page 2
Thanks to Phil Bradley and Robert Manning for additional information

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 8, 2014

 

Map
Map

Photos
Photo Archive

Pacific Wreck Database
Pacific Wrecks Incorporated is a non-profit charity 501(c)(3)  Donate Now

All rights reserved