The Bombing of Northern Australia - 1942-43
Between Feb 42 and Nov 43, the Japanese flew 64 raids on Darwin and 33 raids on other targets in Northern Australia. These attacks included large-scale raids by medium bombers, torpedo attacks on ships and strafing runs by fighters. The attacks stretched from Learmonth in WA to Townsville in QLD and down to Katherine in the NT.
The first two raids on 19 Feb 42 devastated Darwin. Despite a warning from a Catholic mission on Bathurst Island no alert was sounded and the Japanese bombers and fighters were able to inflict considerable damage on the port, the oil storage tanks, the harbour, the ships and the township itself. Three warships and six merchant vessels were sunk and a large number of ships, including the hospital ship Manunda were damaged. Civilians immediately commencing evacuation, in some cases joined by Australian military personnel.
The second raid concentrated on the RAAF airfield which resulted in destruction of the remaining aircraft and the withdrawal of all RAAF personnel who remained AWOL for several days.
Other centres to be bombed included Broome and Townsville. Darwin suffered a total of total of 64 bombings raids from 19 Feb 42 till 12 Nov 43.