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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane
General Douglas MacArthur
We Join Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane
Ralph Holmes
Forecasting Procedure
WAAAFs and Other Staff
Briefing MacArthur & Co
Domestic Affairs
The Yanks Are Coming
Japanese Advance Across Owen Stanley Range
General George C. Kenney
Additional Staff
Staff Arrangements
Long Range Forecast
Investigations into Tropical Meteorology
Analysis Statements
MacArthur's Remarkable Strategy
A New Direction
Tropical Weather Research Bulletin
RAAF Command, Pat Squires and Henry Phillpot

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


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Japanese Advance Across Owen Stanley Range (continued)

While the Milne Bay battle was in progress, Japanese troops occupied Kokoda on 29 August 1942 after strong opposition by determined Australian militia troops. The efforts of these Australian militiamen in foot-slogging across the Kokoda track over the Owen Stanley Range and engaging the Japanese in battle in the most difficult jungle terrain, deserves to be commemorated along with the battle of Milne Bay. Although the Australian militia, now reinforced by the AIF, fought a dogged defensive action, by 20 September 1942 the Japanese had reached Imita Ridge, only 50km in a direct line to Port Moresby. They were, however, in a precarious position. Their supply line, which wound over the Kokoda track, was difficult to sustain and they were plagued by tropical illness and lack of food and ammunition. Their position was similar to that experienced by the Australian militia in the Kokoda area.

The Japanese had maintained their air-raids on Port Moresby using formations of up to 28 bombers escorted by Zeros. However, there was an increasing flow of RAAF and USAF bomber aircraft harrying the Japanese airfields and ground forces and the 82nd air-raid by 27 bombers with escorting Zeros, on 21 September, was the last to employ more than three bombers and the air-raids which followed occurred mainly at night.

Sustained air attacks on their line of supply, little food, tropical diseases, and attacks by fresh Australian troops diminished their fighting spirit. Australian troops had driven the Japanese back across the Owen Stanley Range and had occupied Kokoda by 2 November 1942. US and Australian ground forces commenced strong attacks on the Japanese in the Buna-Gona area on the north coast of New Guinea, driving them out of their positions by January 1943. The Japanese forces on the north coast of the island of New Guinea were now confined to the hinterland west of Lae.

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Gibbs, W. J. 1995 'A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 7 March 1995, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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