Bombing of Darwin

Bombing Of Darwin

Military Conflict
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Bombing of Darwin

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The Japanese air raids on Darwin on 19 February 1942 were the largest attacks ever mounted by a foreign power against Australia. They were also a significant action in the Pacific campaign of World War II and represented a psychological blow to the Australian population, several weeks after hostilities with Japan had begun. The raids were the first of almost 100 air raids against Australia during 1942–43.

This event is often called the "Pearl Harbor of Australia". Although it was a less significant military target, a greater number of bombs were dropped on Darwin than were used in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Darwin had a population of about 2,000 at the time, the normal civilian population of about 5,000 having been reduced by evacuation. It was a strategically placed naval port and airbase, and there were about 15,000 Allied soldiers in the area.


Most of the attacking planes came from the four aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Carrier Division 1 (Akagi and Kaga) and Carrier Division 2 (Hiryū and Sōryū). Land-based heavy bombers were also involved. The Japanese launched two waves of planes, comprising 242 bombers and fighters.

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