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    Aitape West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
90th BG April 22, 1944

US Army April 22, 1944
US Army April 1944
AWM April 11, 1945

Lat 3° 7' 60S Long 142° 20' 60E  Aitape is a small coastal town located on the north coast of New Guinea in Aitape-Lumi District in West Sepik Province (Sandaun Province) in Papua New Guinea (PNG). To the west is Vanimo and Hollandia (Jayapura). To the east is Tadji and Wewak. Borders Aitape Harbor to the north.

Prewar History
Before the start of the Pacific War, Aitape was developed into a small town with an assistant district office, sub district office, native jail, administration store, patrol officer office and native hospital.

Wartime History
During early 1943, occupied by the Japanese Army.

American missions against Aitape
January 19 - August 10, 1944

Aitape was the objective of "Operation Persecution" the U. S. Army operation commanded by Brigadier General Jens A. Doe to occupy the area simultaneous to the landing at Hollandia. The objective of this operation was to secure and hold Tadji Airfield, and hold the eastern flank to protect Hollandia from a counter attack from the Japanese at Wewak. Also, to establish light naval facilities at Aitape to support further operations.

On April 22, 1944 the U. S. Army 32nd Division landed without opposition at Aitape in conjunction with the main landing at Hollandia. During July 3-6, 1944 the 124th Regimental Combat Team (124th RCT) landed at Aitape. During July 9-10, 1944 the Japanese Army counter attacked at Driniumor River to the east.

During late October 1944, the Australian Army 6th Division, commanded by Maj-General J E S Stevens began relieved the Americans and continued to defend Tadji Airfield, Aitape Harbor and patrolling the area. The advance units arrived late in October 1944 including the 2/6th Cavalry Commando Regiment comprising the 2/7th, 2/9th and 2/10th Commando Squadron guarded Babiang and occupied outpost positions at Aiterap, Kanti and Palauru.

P-38J Lightning Serial Number 42-103987
Pilot Lynch crashed March 8, 1944 one mile SSW of Aitape

P-40N Warhawk Serial Number 42-105738
Pilot Cash crashed March 22, 1944

Aitape High School
Since the 1974 recoveries at Tadji, one wreck this B-25 was selected for display at the school as a WWII Memorial for the town, and represents one of the last complete American wrecks in the Aitape area. It is a well known 'landmark' of the school and town. Over the decades, outsiders have asked the school to purchase the wreck and remove it, to which they have declined.

B-25C "Feather Merchant" 41-12442
Recovered from Tadji for a memorial at Aitape High School in 1974

Australian Army Campaign Aitape-Wewak

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018


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