By Peter Grose
Darwin was once a conflict Australia could really disregard. but the japanese assault on 19 February 1942 used to be the 1st wartime attack on Australian soil. the japanese struck with an identical carrier-borne strength that devastated Pearl Harbor in simple terms ten weeks past. there has been a distinction. extra bombs fell on Darwin, extra civilians have been killed, and extra ships have been sunk. The raid resulted in the worst demise toll from any occasion in Australia. The attackers bombed and strafed 3 hospitals, flattened retailers, places of work and the police barracks, shattered the submit place of work and communications centre, wrecked govt condo, and left the harbour and airfields burning and ruined. the folks of Darwin deserted their city, leaving it to looters, a couple of anti-aircraft batteries and a handful of dogged defenders with single-shot .303 rifles. but the tale has remained within the shadows. Drawing on long-hidden records and first-person money owed, Peter Grose tells what rather occurred and takes us into the lives of the folks who have been there. there has been a lot to be pleased with in Darwin that day: braveness, mateship, selection and improvisation. however the darkish facet of the tale comprises looting, desertion and a calamitous failure of management. Australians ran away simply because they didn't understand what else to do. soaking up, lively and fast moving, a clumsy fact is a compelling and revealing tale of the day struggle relatively got here to Australia, and the motley bunch of squaddies and civilians who have been left to protect the kingdom.
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Extra resources for An awkward truth : the bombing of Darwin, February 1942
At the prearranged height of 10,000 feet he was in clear air, and the formation assembled behind him. In all, 183 planes made up the first wave: 89 Kates, 51 Vals and 43 Zeroes. Fuchida’s own flight consisted of 49 Kates, each carrying one 800-kg armour-piercing bomb. Below and to his right flew 40 more Kates, each armed with an 800-kg torpedo. To his left and a little above him the 51 Vals took up station, each with a single 250-kg high-explosive bomb. Above them all 43 Zeroes stood ready to deal with any challenge.
A maximum of five carriages at any one time could be accommodated on the loading arm of the wharf. Once a carriage was loaded it would then be pushed, again by hand, back to the turntable. Because of the added weight, the wharf labourers could push the loaded carriages only one at a time. Once two loaded carriages had been dragged to the turntable, the donkey engine would spin them through 90 degrees to line up with the original track. A locomotive then dragged the loaded trucks back to land. 3 Given that the sea route was the only reliable yearround transport serving Darwin, the Darwin wharf was not, in the management-speak of the 21st century, ‘fit for purpose’.
A week later he specifically banned all supply of oil to Japan. The British government and the Dutch government in exile followed suit. Japan was now between a rock and a hard place. Eighty per cent of Japan’s oil came from the United States. The most promising target looked like the Dutch East Indies, particularly Java, where oil flowed in abundance. The Japanese saw the problem, and the likely solution, quickly and clearly. Not long after the embargo was imposed, American codebreakers intercepted a cable from Japanese Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda to his ambassador to the United States, Kichisaburo Nomura.
An awkward truth : the bombing of Darwin, February 1942 by Peter Grose