In early March 1942 Allied forces in the Netherlands East Indies surrendered and the lightning Japanese conquest of South East Asia was complete. Amid fears of a Japanese invasion of Australia, two understrength RAAF squadrons of Lockheed Hudsons began a brave fight back against the enemy from the Darwin area. These modest initial efforts were the beginnings of an unwavering campaign by Allied bombers waged from Northern Australia until the end of the war in August 1945.
As the Hudson squadrons were rebuilt throughout 1942, they were joined by a unique Dutch squadron operating B-25 Mitchells. From 1943 USAAF Liberators joined the fight, and their great range enabled them to attack targets deep within the NEI. From 1944 they were replaced by RAAF Liberators.
Other RAAF squadrons used an assortment of aircraft including Vengeances, Beauforts, Mitchells, Venturas and Catalina flying boats. The last type waged an important mining campaign against Japanese held ports in the NEI and later to the Philippines and beyond.
Drawing on a wealth of new sources, Bombers North presents for the first time the full story of a little-known bomber offensive waged from remote northern Australia.
Acknowledgements About the Author Glossary & Abbreviations Maps Introduction Chapter 1 Overview Chapter 2 The Bombers Chapter 3 The Opponents: Fighters and AA Guns Chapter 4 The Allies Strike Back Chapter 5 The End of the Beginning Chapter 6 A Turning of the Tide, and the Dutch arrive Chapter 7 Bigger, Better and Faster Chapter 8 The Catalinas arrive; the Allies Apply Pressure Chapter 9 A New Wing and New Aircraft Chapter 10 Trading Hudsons for Beauforts - and the Black Cats fly Chapter 11 The Americans and the Dutch depart; Lucky 13 returns Chapter 12 No. 2 Squadron operations and the RAAFs heavies take over Chapter 13 The RAAF heavies move forward Chapter 14 The Cats fly to China, and the wars end Conclusion Appendix 1 No.18 NEI Squadron and its Australian roots by Elmer Mesman Appendix 2 Flying in RAAF Bombers - Brian Winspears Story Main Sources Index of Names
One of Australias foremost military historians, Dr Tom Lewis is a former naval officer and author of 14 books. Tom is a resident of Darwin and teaches secondary school history.