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Battle of Port Moresby (air)
Part of the Pacific War, World War II
Port Moresby bombs in habour 1942
Bombs explode in Port Moresby's harbour during one of the first Japanese air raids on the town in 1942
Date 3 February 1942 – 17 August 1943
Location Port Moresby airspace, Territory of Papua
Coordinates: 09°28′53.57″S 147°11′24.87″E / 9.4815472°S 147.1902417°E / -9.4815472; 147.1902417
Result Allied aerial victory
Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Flag of the United States.svg United States
Flag of Japan (1870–1999).svg Empire of Japan

The Battle of Port Moresby was an aerial battle fought between aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy between 3 February 1942 and 17 August 1943 over Port Moresby, Papua. At the start, the defenders consisted only of Australian Army anti-aircraft batteries and machine-guns but by late March had been strengthed by the arrival of Kittyhawk fighters from No. 75 Squadron RAAF. However, in just nine days they lost 11 aircraft and only the arrival of replacements enabled the unit to maintain ten serviceable machines.

According to the Australian government:

"On 31 March, the Australians were joined by the American 8th Bombardment Squadron with A-24 bombers and for two weeks in May by six P-39 Airacobras of the American 36th Pursuit Squadron. Despite the American assistance, the daily air battles over and around Port Moresby by 1 May had reduced No. 75 Squadron RAAF to just three airworthy machines. The American 35th, and the full 36th, Pursuit Squadrons arrived to relieve the Australian squadron. During their time in Port Moresby 75 Squadron had lost 21 aircraft and 12 pilots.

The Battle of the Coral Sea, which was fought mostly in the waters south-east of Papua in early May, diverted a Japanese naval attack against Port Moresby and removed the immediate threat. However, by May 1942 the Japanese had established themselves in the arc of islands north and east of the island of New Guinea as well as in the region around Lae and Madang on the north coast of the mainland."[citation needed]


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