Japanese Landing in N.W. of Papua
WITHIN 130 MILES
Heavy Losses Inflicted
An official communique issued at Allied Head- quarters yesterday announced that on Wednesday Japanese forces had landed at Gona Mission, near Buna, on the north-western shores of Papua.
This is the first Japanese landing in Papua and brings the enemy to within 130 miles of Port Moresby, which
movement constitutes a new threat.
The Japanese landing was vigorously contested, but between 1,500 and 2,500 got ashore.
Our air force inflicted heavy casualties among the troops, and also sank one transport and a barge, as well as killing and wounding many of the landing troops.
During an air battle, one Japanese float plane was shot down and we lost two fighters.
The convoy was the one referred to in Wednesday's communique when it was thought that it was bound
for Salamaua or Lae.
There are no Allied troops at Buna, which is the terminus of the road across Papua, by way of a 7,000-ft pass through the Owen Stanley Ranges
A communique issued at Allied Headquarters read:
"North-East Sector, Buna.- The enemy effected a landing at Gona mission station on the north coast of Papua, a point not occupied by Al- lied forces. The enemy convoy was discovered by reconnaissance and our air force executed a series of bomb- ing and strafing attacks throughout the day on enemy ships, landing parties and personnel on the shore. One large transport and one barge were sunk and heavy, casualties in- flicted on debarking-troops. An ene- my float plane was shot down. Two of our fighters are missing.
"North-west, Timor.- Allied air unit on reconnaissance lightly bomb- ed enemy barracks .
Gona is an Anglican Mission and its buildings include a small hospital. It is connected by a jungle track across the formidable Owen Stanley Ranges, the only means of land con- nection between Buna and Port Moresby.
The track is not sufficiently wide nor level to permit the passing of heavy army transport vehicles as in Malaya. The track, which passes through a gap in the Owen Stanley Ranges known as "Hell's Gap," is well known by Allied patrols.
The last Japanese invasion of New Guinea occurred on March 10. when Finchafen, a former German mission
station, 60 miles from Lae, was oc-
ALLIED AIR ATTACK
(From Our Own Correspondent,
The attack by Allied bombers on a Japanese convoy off Buna was the first indication of a con- centration of enemy shipping to-
wards New Guinea.
The bombers were sent over the Huon Gulf after the convoy had been sighted by reconnais-
The reconnaissance planes picked up the convoy on Tuesday afternoon and, in the face of intense but in- accurate anti-aircraft fire, our bomb- ers pressed home their attacks. One air-gunner saw a bomb score a direct hit on a transport and another bomb dropped five feet from the stern.
All our bombers returned to their