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    Mambare River Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Map
RAAF December 14, 1942

Location
The Mambare River empties into Mambare Bay on the north coast of New Guinea. To the southeast is Duvira (Maimba). The Mambare River mouth is roughly 30 miles to the south is the Kumusi River. Also known as the "Mamba River".

Prewar
During February 1897, Australian Mr. Green, Governor Resident was murdered at the mouth of the Mambare River.

Wartime History
During 1942, Australian Army Lt. Lyndon C. Noakes, NGX253 established a signal station (spotter station) and camp on a ridge roughly two miles inland from the mouth of the Mambare River.

On December 14, 1942 at 2:00am five Japanese destroyers: Arashio, Asashio, Yugumo, Inazuma and Inazuma depart Rabaul traveling via the Admiralties to avoid air attack then turned southward and arrived at the mouth of the Mambare River. They unloaded landing craft and troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Kensaku Oda (who replaced Horii who drowned in the Kumusi River). Supplies were dropped into the sea in waterproof cases lashed to drums and buoys that floated ashore with the tide. Due to bad weather, the Japanese force arrived undetected and unloaded successfully and the unloading was completed by 6:00am and the destroyers departed.

Although the landing had been successful, they were immediately detected by Lt. Noakes and reported by radio to Port Moresby. That same morning, Allied aircraft bombed the force and sank several barges. Destroyer Arashio suffered light damage including casualties due to a near miss bomb.

Afterwards, the Japanese forces landed attempted to move to a more secure location but were bombed on December 15, 1942 further delaying their advance. Traveling down the coast at night to avoid enemy aircraft, the Japanese force including the 170th Infantry, 1st Battalion reached Amboga by December 18, 1942 and reported to General Yamagata's headquarters at Danawatu.

During December 1942 to February 3, 1943, Japanese submarines I-32, I-36, I-25, I-176 and I-4 arrive at the mouth of the Mambare River and unload limited amounts of cargo and evacuate casualties. Sometimes, they are unable o locate ground forces or driven away by U. S. Navy PT Boats.

Allied missions against Mambare River
October 16, 1942 - February 6, 1943

References
The Brisbane Courier "Mambare River Massacre" March 1, 1897
U. S. Army in World War II - Victory In Papua Chapter 12 pages 218-21
2/7th Australian Cavalry Regiment page 29
Wings of Destiny: Wing Commander Charles Learmonth pages 175-176
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) Friday 6 April 1945 - page 16
"The War Department at Washington announces the award of the Legion of Merit Degree Legionnaire to six Australians for 'exceptionally meritorious conduct.' They are: LIEUTENANT LYNDON C. NOAKES, for air services from November, 1942, to March, 1943, after the enemy landed at the mouth of the Mambare River. Noakes and his party killed several enemy, and maintained a constant watch on the remainder."

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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