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Attack on Nauru by B-24s

Attack on Nauru by B-24s American History Geography History World War II

As a group of B-24s approached Nauru, during April of 1943, Japanese defenders readied their anti-aircraft artillery.  This iconic photo - from the U.S. Library of Congress - documents a moment-in-time of the attack as smoke rises from the three phosphate plants.

A similar picture was published in Canada - in the Globe and Mail - on May 3, 1943.  Now maintained in Australia's National Archives, it includes the following description:

Jap [Japanese] Base on Nauru Island blazes under attack by United States bombers which on April 21 carried out the longest aerial task force mission of the war - Smoke billows from the important phosphate works and the airfield of the little coral attol seized from the British last August - It is on the equator southeast of the main Jap base at Truk in the Carolines.

The attack is also described in an official military history:

...at high noon twenty-two of the B-24's droned over Nauru. Since an early morning take-off, they had carried their bomb loads more than a thousand miles, which crowded the tactical radius of the B-24D to the limit. 

The weather over the target was excellent for the bombing with 28 x 1,000-pound and 45 x 500-pound GP bombs plus 45 frag clusters. Despite heavy interception and antiaircraft fire, direct hits on the runway, dispersal area, and a near-by phosphate plant were achieved. An oil dump at the north end of the runway went up in flames.  (Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. IV - The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944 - edited by Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, page 286.)

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy U.S. Library of Congress.

 

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