April 10th 1943
Operation Cobber D-Day +5
Australia Command was pleased to report today the recapture of Port Moresby from Japanese forces. The operation was successfully concluded on the morning of the 10th April following a third assault by the 1st Australian Division. Japanese unites defending the Northern end of Port Moresby were routed and put to flight into the Kokoda Tail and the unforgiving terrain of the Owen Stanley Mountains. Australian troops are now back on soil they occupied a year ago and the focus now centres on consolidating our position in Port Moresby and repairing the port and airfield installations. General MacArthur is well aware of the isolated position Port Moresby is facing but a second toe hold on New Guinea was essential. High hopes are now centred on a feint that has blossomed into a very welcome opportunity in the form of Operation Wisp. For now Australia’s men can bask in the glory of their achievement, obtained at the cost of three ships and very casualties on land.
Operation Cobber D-Day+4
A third day of enemy air attacks over Port Moresby. Exhausted after three days of constant CAP and having their main field socked in by the heavy weather accosting much of the Eastern Australian seaboard no P-39s were flying CAP over the invasion fleet today. Enemy airplanes were thus granted a free run against the transports and warships in Joyce Bay. It seemed, however, that the Japanese were also suffering weather problems as only two small raids came in, and one only carrying torpedoes. The first raid brought in 7 Betty bombers one of which only scored a hit on the 3,500 ton Admiral Wiley. One hit however was enough to send the ship to the bottom.
The weather closing down the fighter fields was not affecting the aerodromes further inland being used by the heavy bombers of the Seventh USAAF. Three squadrons of B-24 Liberators were detatched from supporting the ground attack at Port Moresby and ordered to strike at the enemy airfield at Wewak on the far side of Papua New Guinea. They met opposition in the face of Ki-61 fighters but were able to deliver a heavy blow on Wewak. Several wrecked enemy planes were seen in post raid recon and it was clear that both the runway and the base itself had suffered damages.
Nevertheless the Japanese had a small window of opportunity to fly in some more reinforcements and as the second land assault went in a fourth Japanese infantry unit was indentified, the Guards Mixed Brigade. This unit was thought destroyed during an ill fated Japanese counter attack on Ndeni in late 1942. Intell assumes that the unit was recreated from a cadre or these are small remnants that have been flown in to stiffen the garrsion. What the case may be their presence was able to stop the Australian attack in its tracks. Depsite this over 500 enemy casualties were reported despite the loss of several M-10’s amd M-3’s. A third assault had been ordered for tomorrow and the Revenge and her consorts have once again been asked to lend their guns to the assault.