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    Lae Morobe Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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22nd BG Jan 8, 1943

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8th PRS c1943

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Australian Army
September 1943

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Justin Taylan 2003
Lat 6° 43' 60S Long 147° 0' 0E  Lae is located at the southwest corner of the Huon Peninsula on the north coast of New Guinea bordering the western edge of the Huon Gulf. Also known as "Lae Town" or "Lae City".

Today located in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea.

Wartime History
On January 22, 1942 Australian forces evacuated Lae. On March 8, 1942 the Japanese landed at Malahang and occupied Lae, developing it into a base. As the war progressed, Lae was the target of numerous Allied bombing missions to neutralize the area. Efforts to resupply and reinforce the garrison at Lae were thwarted during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

Japanese and Allied missions against Lae
February 5, 1942 - September 28, 1943

On September 4, 1943 "Operation "Postern" Task Force 76 (TF-76) under the command of Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey landed the Australian 9th Division at Red Beach and Yellow Beach to the east of Lae. On September 16, 1943 the Australian 7th and 9th Divisions advanced towards Lae and found the Japanese defenders weakened from lack of food and short of ammunition, and abandoned many positions. The 9th Division lost 77 killed and the 7th Division 38 killed in the advancing towards Lae. After liberation, Lae was developed into an Allied base area, and used until the end of the war.

Post War
After the war, Americans maintained a small presence in Lae until at least 1948. There was an American 'holdout' in the Lae area until 1946 or 1947 named "Sticklefield" who was charged with desertion. Anyone with additional information about this, email me.

Lae Airfield (Lae Drome)
Prewar airfield built by the Australians. Occupied by the Japanese in early 1942 and used until liberation by the Allies in September 1943.

Igam Barracks
PNGDF Barracks in Lae.

C-47B Dakota Serial Number A65-122 (DC-3)
Displayed at the Lae Botanical Gardens

Lae War Cemetery
Cemetery and botanical gardens with Australian and Commonwealth graves.

Mount Lunaman
A hill in the center of town. Used as a lookout point by Germans and Japanese. Japanese riddled it with caves and tunnels. The Australian Army closed the entrances with explosives soon after they liberated Lae during late September 1943.

Richard Leahy adds:
"I have heard that some brave souls have penetrated some of the tunnels and found very little. Mt. Lunamin consists of gravel, not rock and is unstable. Thus nobody has been game enough to go in too far."

Scrap Yard
A scrap yard in Lae. Some wartime scrap has been melted unnoticed. Other relics, like the cockpit area of a Ki-61 Tony fighter was discovered and exported by Classic Jet Museum in the early 1990's.

Lae Yacht Club
Located on the Huon Gulf north of Lae Airfield, the club is built onto the site of the major dock area during the war. The bell of the s'Jacob is displayed near the bar.

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019



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