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Allied missions against Kapingamarangi (Greenwich)
December 15, 1941 - July 6, 1944

December 15, 1941
(RAAF) Flight Lieutenant Erwin of 24 Squadron made a photographic reconnaissance flight in a Hudson over Kapingamarangi about 300 miles north of Rabaul. A merchant ship between 4,000 and 5,000 tons which put to sea as the Hudson flew over and which opened fire with light anti-aircraft guns without harming the Hudson or the crew, was the only vessel of size sighted. There were 19 barges, two lighters and a launch lying off shore and te enemy had built two slipways on the beach. The merchant ship appeared to be making its best speed on a northerly cours. An obvious target for attack, it was selected for the first combat strike in the area.

A flight of three Hudsons, one piloted by Erwin and the others by F/Lt Murphy and Paterson found it 20 miles to the north from Kapingamarangi and bombed it without obtaining a direct hit; one 'near miss' was observed. Te ship replied with light and ineffectual anti-aircraft fire. When northern area HQ received the report of this operation, the reaction was sharply critical. A letter to the whole squadron on the 17th complained that the whole operation had been wasted effort and described the bombing attack as "lamentable".

Source: The Royal Australian Air Force, 1939 - 1942 by Douglas Gillison, Australian War Memorial, page 269

March 7, 1944
(USN) Lost on a mission to Kapingamarangi is PB4Y "Whata-Honey" 32079.

March 9, 1944
(USN) Lost on a search missoin to Kapingamarangi is PB4Y "The Schooner" 32069.

July 6, 1944
(USN) PB4Y 31992 performs a lone reconnaissance over Kapingamarangi to report enemy movements. Over the target, the bomber came under anti-aircraft fire and aerial opposition. Van Voorhis made six ground attacks on the base, hitting radio station, and claimed one plane in the air shot down, and three destroyed in the water. Likely caught by its own bomb blast or accurate anti-aircraft fire, it crashed into the lagoon only 700 meters from the base, near the beach area it was atacking. Everyone aboard was killed. For his actions, Van Voorhis earned the Medal of Honor, the only navy PB4Y-1 pilot awarded one.

 

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