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    Battle of the Bismarck Sea  Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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43rd BG March 3, 1943

Location
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea occurred during March 2-4, 1943 in the Bismarck Sea in between the northern coast of New Guinea and the western end of New Britain. The battle area is located in present day Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Wartime History
On February 28, 1942 a Japanese convoy of eight transports escorted by eight destroyers departed departed Rabaul bound for Lae. The convoy included eight transports loaded with Japanese troops and supplies including Kyokusei Maru, Aiyo Maru, Oikawa Maru, Teiyo Maru, Taimei Maru, Sin-ai Maru, Kembu Maru and Nojima Maru. Escorted by eight destroyers: Tokitsukaze (aboard was Lt. General Hatazō Adachi, C. O. 18th Army) Yukikaze (aboard was Lt. General Hidemitsu Nakano, C. O. 51st Division), Shirayuki (aboard Rear Admiral Masatomi Kimura), Arashio, Asashio, Asagumo, Shikinami and Uranami.

On March 1, 1943, the convoy was spotted and every available Allied aircraft was readied to intercept over the next three days. Between March 2-4, 1943 Allied aircraft from the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft sank all eight transports and four destroyers between Cape Gloucester and Finschafen. Nearly 3,000 Japanese were killed.

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea was an Allied victory as they sank all eight transports and four destroyers. Only 850 Japanese troops managed to reach Lae. The battle was the conducted by only Allied aircraft that employed new tactics including skip bombing.

Losses
The Japanese lost all eight transports were sunk. On March 2, 1943 Kyokusei Maru. On March 3, 1943 Aiyo Maru, Oikawa Maru, Teiyo Maru, Taimei Maru, Sin-ai Maru, Kembu Maru and Nojima Maru were sunk. Also lost were four escorting destroyers Arashio, Asashio, Shirayuki and Tokitsukaze. In total, nearly 3,000 Japanese were killed.

P-38G Lightning 42-12715
Pilot Shifflet MIA March 3, 1943

P-38F Lightning 42-12623 Nose 16
Pilot Faurot MIA March 3, 1943

B-17F "Ka-Puhio-Wela" 41-24356
Pilot Moore MIA March 3, 1943

Kyokusei Maru
Sunk by Allied aircraft March 2, 1943 first ship sunk during the Battle of Bismarck Sea

Aiyo Maru
Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943 during Battle of Bismarck Sea

Oikawa Maru
Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943 during Battle of Bismarck Sea 30 miles southeast of Finschafen

Teiyo Maru
Cargo 6,801 tons. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Taimei Maru
Cargo 2,883 tons. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Sin-ai Maru
Cargo 3,793 tons. Also known as Shin-ai Maru or Sinai Maru. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Kembu Maru
Cargo 954 tons carrying gasoline. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Nojima Maru
Transport 8,750 Tons. Also known as Noshima Maru or Nozima Maru. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Asashio
Destroyer 2,370 tons. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Shirayuki
Destroyer 2,090 Tons. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Tokitsukaze
Destroyer 2,490 Tons. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 3, 1943

Arashio
Destroyer 2,370 tons. Sunk by Allied aircraft March 4, 1943

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Last Updated
January 11, 2018

 

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