75 Squadron arrived to defend Port Moresby

On this day, No 75 Squadron––formed at Townsville, Queensland, only 17 days earlier––arrived at Port Moresby. Japanese aircraft had been subjecting the town and its surrounding defence installations to air attacks since early February. The squadron began fending off the Japanese by launching its P-40 Kittyhawk fighters on an attack of its own against Lae the very next day, in a highly successful operation that destroyed 12 enemy aircraft on the ground and damaged another five. No 75 Squadron continued an unequal fight against superior Japanese numbers alone until the end of April, when US units equipped with Airacobras began to arrive. Just two serviceable Kittyhawks were left to return to Australia on 9–10 May. During 75 Squadron’s epic six weeks in action, it claimed 35 enemy aircraft destroyed and 58 damaged, for the loss of 12 of its own pilots.

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