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World War I
World War II
On January 21, 1942 the first Japanese air raid hit Madang, cratering Madang Airfield and destroying a cargo shed on the wharf there and two big stores full of copra that burned for two weeks and caused many locals to flee. Afterwards, the NGVR set up a wireless station at Usino and were instructed to comandeer small ships and fuel. During an operation commanded by Assistant District Officer (ADO) Keith McCarthy with Patrol Officer G. C. "Blue" Harris, a vessel from the Divine Word Mission plus two Lutheran ships Bavaria and Umboi were used to evacuate other civilians from the Sepik District. Meanwhile, Edith arrived with Australian Army soldiers from the 2/1 Independent Company that had evacuated Manus with District Officer (DO) Don Vertigan.
The remaining civilians and those rescued made an organized withdrawal from Madang, walking inland to Amele, crossed the Gogol River to Usino then down the Ramu Valley to Kainantu. By early 1942, only a small NGVR force defended Madang that was unable to prevent the town from being vandalized and pillaged as law and order broke down.
The Japanese plans to occupy Madang were delayed due to the changing war situation on Guadalcanal. Finally, the Japanese Army 21st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion and 42nd Infantry Regiment, 3nd Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Hanawa embarked on several vessels that departed Rabaul on December 16, 1942.
During the night of December 18, 1942 the Japanese force entered Madang Harbor and made an unopposed amphibious landing at Madang, then advanced to the north to Alexishafen and south to Bogadjim. Only Allied aerial attacks harrased the occpation.
Immediately, the Japanese Army developed Madang into an important base area and attempted to build a road to Bogadjim. On April 19, 1943 Japanese Army's 18th Army under the command of Lt. General Hatazo Adachi moved his headquarters to Madang. Also, Japanese Army 20th Division and 41st Division troops were stationed at Madang.
Allied aircraft bombed and strafed Japanese occupied Madang during late 1942 until the middle of April 1944. After the recapture of Lae and battle at Shaggy Ridge Australian Army 5th Division troops advanced along the north coast towards Madang, which had been bypassed by American landing at Hollandia on April 22, 1944.
Japanese and Allied missions against Madang
On April 24, 1944 Australian troops entered Madang, encountering only a Japanese horse drawn artillery piece and liberated the town then continued to advance northward along the North Coast Road towards Alexishafen.
Madang Town was heavily damaged during the war by Allied bombing and strafing and most buildings including the Hotel Madang were in ruins. Madang was repaired and developed into an Australian Army headquarters and base area for the remainder of the war.
On September 24, 2014 a World War II era bomb exploded in Madang Town's business district near Brian Bell outlet and an Asian supermarket opposite the police station, between 9:30-9:45am. Madang’s Acting Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector Benae Neneo stated the explosion was triggered by what is believed to be a war time bomb. Reference: Post Courier "WWII bomb explosion rocks Madang Town" September 26, 2014 page 8.
German Missionary Cemetery
Type 88 75mm Anti-Aircraft Gun
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