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    Battle of Cape Waios West Papua Province Indonesia
Location
The Battle of Cape Waios occurred roughly 50 miles north of Cape Waios (False Cape) on the Vogelkop Peninsula of western New Guinea at approximately Lat 0° 45' S Long 132° 45' E. Prewar and during the Pacific War, located in Dutch New Guinea (DNG) in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Today located in West Papua Province in Indonesia. This action was dubbed the "Battle of Cape Waios" by the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (17th TRS).

Wartime History
On June 8, 1944 the same a Japanese destroyer force including Harusame and Shigure departed Sorong on a mission to land troops on Biak and conduct a shore bombardment against U. S. forces on southern Biak. Days earlier, they attempted the same mission but were spotted by American aircraft and aborted.

Proceeding eastward, the destroyers were spotted north of Cape Waios (False Cape) on the on the Vogelkop Peninsula of western New Guinea. Attacked by ten B-25 Mitchells from 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (17th TRS) on (Mission #160 B-310) an action that became known as the Battle of Cape Waios.

Attacking at low level, Harusame sustained two direct bomb hits and suffered 74 killed, 11 injured, including Captain Shirahama Masashichi and sank at approximately Lat 0° 05' S Long 132° 45' E.

The B-25s experienced intense anti-aircraft fire that shot down three bombers: B-25D pilot Major Tennille (MIA), B-25D pilot 2nd Lt. Wood (MIA) and B-25D pilot Captain Lind (MIA). The bombers claimed hits on claimed hits on four destroyers, but only Harusame was hit and sunk.

References
"Narrative Report on Mission 160 B-310 performed by the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bomb) 8 June 1944" pages 1-3
Letter "Congratulations 17ht TRS" Major General Ennis C. Whitehead June 8, 1944
Letter "Commendation from General Macarthur" via Major General Ennis C. Whitehead June 10, 1944
Call Bulletin "How Jap Flotillas Sank" by Spencer Davis, AP Staff Writer June 13, 1944 pages 1-2
17th Special Operations Squadron History - 17th SOS History
"During the Battle of Cape Waios, ten Mitchells from the 17th RS(B) intercepted a Japanese task force intended on retaking the island of Biak. The squadron commander, Maj. William G. Tennille, lead two sections of B-25s in a low level attack scoring direct hits on four destroyers loaded with Japanese troops. The squadron paid a heavy price during the battle. The 17th lost three crews to include the squadron commander to Japanese anti-aircraft fire. Their actions were noted by Gen. Douglas MacArthur when he said, “The job was magnificently done,” and by Gen. Ennis Clement Whitehead who said, “This squadron has this date performed one of the finest military feats of the war.” Maj. William Tennille and Lt. Howard Wood were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously for their actions."

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Last Updated
June 8, 2019

 

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