23 April 1942

Moresby air raid No 29 around noon, with at least 10 fighters strafing the aerodrome area and harbour. No casualties and only superficial damage.

In Burma, Japanese plan to cut Allied supply line from India to China along the Burma Road, hoping to knock China out of the war and free up their troops there protecting recently-won territories in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.


22 April 1942

Despite the growing threats of Japanese invasion of New Guinea, 39th Battalion troops continue to be used for labouring tasks, with 11 Platoon assigned work to dig latrines in the battalion’s new position near Lookout Ridge.

Young Diggers are becoming increasingly concerned at their lack of infantry training preparation.

21 April 1942

In Burma, Japanese advance captures Kyidaunggan on the road to Mandalay. British General Alexander decides to withdraw toward India rather than China.

Troops of 39th Battalion move positions to near Lookout Ridge overlooking Moresby’s 7-Mile aerodrome.

20 April 1942

On Bataan Death March in Philippines, 100s of POWs are dying each day as their Japanese captors force march them. The POWs are unable to dispose of their dead and the bodies continue the spread of disease.

In Burma the Japanese advance now threatens the Burma Road to China.

19 April 1942

Young and inexperienced 39th Battalion troops still being used as labourers at 7-Mile aerordrome at Port Moresby. Many becoming frustrated at their lack of infantry and jungle training.

The Japanese invasion of Dutch New Guinea continues apace, with both Hollandia and Sarmi falling to the invaders.

17 April 1942

Moresby air raid No 25, starting around 10.30am, with 5 fighters and 5 bombers dropping about 45 bombs causing little damage but two army casualties.

Japanese forces continue their invasion of Dutch New Guinea, taking the town of Nabire.

18 April 1942

Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle provides America with a huge morale boost when he leads an air raid on Tokyo, with 16 Mitchell bombers launching from US aircraft carrier USS Hornet in West Pacific, bombing Tokyo and landing in China.

13 of 16 crews make it home, one plane lands in Soviet union where crew is interned for a year. Another crew is captured by Japanese forces and three members are executed.

Doolittle is subsequently promoted to General and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

16 April 1942

US Air Force B-25 bombers launch air raid against Japanese positions at Salamaua on the north-eastern New Guinea coast, which have been occupied by the enemy since 8 March.

US Sub USS Tambor sinks small Jap freighter Kitami Maru 65km south-west of Kavieng, New Ireland in Bismarck Archipelago.

In Japan, Imperial Navy issues order No 18 for Admiral Yamamoto’s Combined Fleet to start plans to capture Midway island.

15 April 1942

King George VI awards the island of Malta the George Cross for gallantry “to bear witness to the heroism and evotion of its people” during the Luftwaffe’s bombing siege. The island incorporates the medal into its national flag.

The Australian Army’s Sparrow Force continues its guerrilla fighti against Japanese forces on Portuguese Timor.

14 April 1942

In Philippines, the stragglers of the U.S. and Filipino POWs captured by the Japanese invaders now on the Bataan Death March are beaten, shot or bayoneted where they fall by their Japanese guards.