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    Lindenhafen (Linderhaven) West New Britain Province Papua New Guinea
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
c1943

Click For Enlargement
February 1944

Location
Lindenhafen is located on the southern coast of New Britain, roughly ten miles east of Gasmata. To the west is the Amulus River and to the northeast is the Amgen River. To the south is Linden Harbor (Linderhafen Harbor) and several small offshore islands including Gurim Island, Lue Island, and Boronga Island. Also known as "Linderhaven".

Prewar
The Germans built Lindenhafen Plantation growing coconut palms for copra. Prior to the war, the plantation spanned 1,800 acres with a jetty on the beach, manager's house 100 yards east of the jetty, bungalows, hospital, factory and labor huts. The plantation had a tram line with 2' 6" gauge rail road line that ran roughly north to south for five miles with a capacity of 1 ton. A road connected westward to Gasmata.

Wartime History
Occupied by the Japanese and used as a forward naval and seaplane base with limited facilities until early 1943. Abandoned March 1943.

Father Benson recalls in Prisoner's Base and Home Again in January 1943:
"Lindenhafen was beautiful, and apart from a single damaged ship in the harbor, there was little trace of the war." and on returning from Gona "Early that afternoon we arrived back at Lindenhafen. Dispersed around the harbor perimeter were eight warships: out escort dash for Lae. There were two cruisers and six destroyers." and on returned from their failed sortie to Lae "Fire and smoke were from one of the cruisers which was being towed in by five or six vessels, it took her over an hour to drag herself the half-dozen miles into Lindenhafen. She was an old four funneled cruiser. As she passed abreast of us, I could see that her two central funnels had been skittled and in between was a vast yard of jagged masses of twisted steel. Behind her limped a destroyer, with decks awash, but just sufficient way on her to stagger on to a sandbank. Later that morning, Ishii discovered that this cruiser and destroyer together with ours were the only survivor from the squadron that had left Lindenhafen the night before. And our vessel was the only warship not hit by a bomb, although we had suffered a good few casualties from machine-gunning and from near misses. No wonder the destroyer's crew called their ship the 'Lucky Lady'".

Author Lex McAulay adds:
"On 6 Jan 43 air recon sighted four transports, a cruiser and four destroyers heading from Rabaul to Lae; attacks were made and hits scored on one transport by a night-raid PBY and Nichiryu Maru was sunk. The ships reached Lae and attacks were made on them as they unloaded and one was beached [Myoko Maru].

As the ships were returning from Lae, a night torpedo attack was made and the RAAF Beaufort crew of Flight Lieutenant C.S. Hamblin saw a heavy explosion on the 'cruiser' (their impression of the ship) that was their target. No sign of the ship could be found next morning, and quite possibly this is the ship Benson refers to. The damaged destroyer with decks awash as he described it probably was hit in the attacks also.

At this stage I do not have any positive identification of the ships, but for January 10 the US Strategic Bombing Survey volume 'The Campaigns of the Pacific War' lists destroyer Hatsukaze damaged by a torpedo hit under the wardroom on port side and was 'seriously damaged' . Given that some destroyers were quite large by Western standards, at night one could be identified as a cruiser. The book also lists on January 14 destroyer Noshiro damaged near Kavieng with one direct hit and five near misses. Two other destroyers were listed with damage at the same place and date. So Benson could have seen these ships at Lindenhafen."

American missions against Linderhafen
March 18 - October 13, 1943

Linden Harbor (Linderhafen Harbor)
Harbor to the south of Linderhafen. The anchorage area included a seaplane operating area to the west and a ship anchorage large enough for warships including cruisers, warships, destroyers, transports or any smaller sized vessel.

Lindenhafen Seaplane Base
Japanese seaplane operating area

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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