P-40M Kittyhawk RAAF 76Sqn SV-K A29-331 New Guinea 1943-44
USAAF serial number 43-5415 Curtiss construction CU-27103 delivered to the RAAF February 1943; FLost Jul 26 1943 KITA Mildura, Australia. 1KITA delivered 02/43; served with 2 OTU crashed at the Gol Gol gunnery range killing P/O J G Crowe. On diving at the target he pulled out too late and the hit the ground became air born again and spun in from a low height exploding on impact. The Pilot Officer Joseph George Crowe, who was training with the Australian 2 Operational Training Unit (2 OTU) at Mildura, Victoria, was detailed for Air to Ground gunnery at Gol Gol Gunnery Range. On his first dive at the target at 1450, he appeared to pull out too late and his aircraft, the Kittyhawk III A29-300, hit the ground in a flat configuration behind the target and then bounced back up into the air to 200 to 300 feet, rolled over, and then spun into the ground and burst into flames. Crowe was killed in the crash.
Photo 01: P-40M Kittyhawk RAAF 76Sqn SV-K A29-331 New Guinea 1943-44 01
I think the RAAF inwrongly matched to the photo because the photo appears to be in PNG but if this is indeed correct it dates this photo before July 1943.
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RAAF No 76 Squadron New Guinea
Shortly after forming in Queensland during March 1942, No 76 Squadron Kittyhawks deployed to Milne Bay to confront the advancing Japanese.
On 24 August, the Japanese invaded Milne Bay. The following battle for Milne Bay was to become one of the most significant battles in the South West Pacific and represented the first land defeat of Japanese forces in the War. The two-week battle saw No 76 Squadron Kittyhawks flying bombing and strafing operations in support of the desperate Australian diggers - who were slowly but inexorably being pushed back towards the RAAF airstrips. With Australian ground forces contesting every yard and constant air attacks by the Kittyhawk Squadrons, the Australian defenders slowly gained the upper hand. After six days of bloody combat, it was becoming apparent that the Japanese were loosing the battle and pressure on the Australian troops gradually decreased.
By September, the first signs that the Japanese were losing the will to fight were detected and soon Japanese ships under the cover of darkness began embarking troops and equipment. The battle raged on, however, until the evening of 7 September when the last remnants of the Japanese force evacuated Milne Bay. Having played a vital part in the Australian victory, an exhausted No 76 Squadron withdrew to Australia where it re-grouped at Potshot Western Australia in 1943. Sadly, it was while the Squadron was based at Potshot that it lost one of its most colourful officers and the RAAF's second highest scoring ace, when Squadron Leader 'Bluey' Truscott was killed in a flying accident.
After being re-equipped with new Kittyhawks in May, the Squadron returned to combat operations at Goodenough Island, located north of New Guinea. A succession of moves saw the Squadron operating from a number of Pacific Island bases, until its final wartime deployment to Labuan - where the Squadron supported the invasion of Borneo.
After the war, No 76 Squadron was re-equipped with Mustangs and deployed to Japan for duty with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.
The Battle of Milne Bay was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II. Japanese marines attacked the Australian military base at Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea on 25 August 1942, and fighting continued until the Japanese retreated on 5 September 1942. The battle was the first in the Pacific campaign in which Allied troops defeated Japanese land forces and, significantly, forced them to withdraw.
After the battle the British Field Marshal Sir William Slim, who had no part in the battle, said:
Australian troops had, at Milne Bay, inflicted on the Japanese their first undoubted defeat on land. Some of us may forget that, of all the allies, it was the Australians who first broke the invincibility of the Japanese army.
In fact it was elite Japanese marines, known as Kaigun Rikusentai (Special Naval Landing Forces), rather than the Imperial Japanese Army who attacked the Allied forces at Milne Bay. The Japanese high command committed approximately 2400 marines from the 5th Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF), the 5th Sasebo SNLF and (non-combat) personnel from the 16th Naval Construction Unit. The Japanese force was led initially by Commander Shojiro Hayashi.
The Allies, commanded by the Australian [Major General Cyril Clowes, were defending three strategically-important airstrips. The soldiers were mainly made up of two Australian Army brigades, the 18th Infantry Brigade from the Australian 7th Division and the 7th Australian Infantry Brigade Group, a militia formation. In addition, a portion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 46th (General Service) Engineers Regiment, was deployed for the purpose of airfield construction.
Although the Allied forces numbered 8824, only about 4500 were infantry. The Japanese enjoyed a significant advantage in the form of light tanks, which the Allies had not deployed. The Japanese also had complete control of the sea during the night, allowing reinforcement and evacuation. However, the RAAF's Number 75 and 76 Squadrons, flying P-40 Kittyhawks, which played a critical role in the fierce fighting, were largely uncontested during the day.
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