Talk:Bombing of Darwin

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Battlebox[edit]

The columns in the battlebox are off-centre; this doesn't seem to be happening with other pages. Can anyone fix it? Thanks. Grant65 (Talk) 10:48, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

Decisive Battle[edit]

Since when was a air raid killing less then 250 a Decisive battle in WW2.

I agree. This should be changed to "Japanese victory." Ultimately, the raid had almost no effect on the war.Jrt989 (talk) 14:53, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Flags[edit]

Flag of Australia.svg US flag 48 stars.svg Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
I added small flags to the infobox which was reverted, I thought they were common to use in infoboxes such as in Vietnam War or Korean War --- Astrokey44 13:10, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Warboxes maybe, but battleboxes no. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Battles. Gdr 13:25, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Merging in Darwin 1942[edit]

To me there doesn't appear to be anything at Darwin 1942 which is not in this article, except for the figure of "40 ships", which I haven't checked. What do others think? 12:45, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

If there is anything in it that can be used, fine. Otherwise, delete it. I included the merge tag because it looked like someone was working on it. Bjelleklang - talk 13:50, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Insignificant Attack?[edit]

The article states that the attack was less that significant, yet over 250 people still lost their lives in this attack, and any loss of life can be deemed significant. Talk User:Fissionfox 11:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The article actually states that the attack was less significant than the attack on Pearl Harbour. Seeing as the attack on Pearl started the Pacific War and crippled much of the US fleet I think that this is a fair statement. Darwin was a significant Allied base in February 1942, but the attack on Pearl Harbour led to a greater loss of life and had a much bigger impact on the war. --Nick Dowling 12:34, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
And for that reason I'm changing the wording to put why it was less significant in context. RutgerH (talk) 17:45, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
And it's your view not supported by a source. Bidgee (talk) 03:35, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
What are you disputing that isn't supported by the sources? That it wasn't a military target? That it was a more significant military target than Pearl Harbour? I'd love to see the sources for that. If it wasn't a less significant military target then in what sense is it less significant? That they're Australian's not Americans? You'll have to go into a bit more detail instead of claiming it's just my view. As it stands the statement needs to be clarified and since you seem to know the second source so well you could add more information from that. RutgerH (talk) 15:58, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Pearl Harbor was a military target and Northern Australia (Including Darwin) wasn't a military target. Sources in the article state that it was a less significant target and not one source states that Darwin or even Northern Australia (Broome, Townsville ect) were military targets. Bidgee (talk) 21:37, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes it was. I don't know what sources you're using but it was most definately a military base. If you can't find any sources I'll happily give you a large list starting with the very first line of this http://www.navy.gov.au/Fixed_Naval_Defences_in_Darwin_Harbour_1939_-_1945 RutgerH (talk) 06:30, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Darwin was a civilian town ( http://www.naa.gov.au/about-us/publications/fact-sheets/fs195.aspx & http://www.orford.tased.edu.au/bombing%20of%20dawin.htm ). Problem with the ADF (Air Force, Navy or Army) will call any city or town (still do) a military city/town (IE: Wagga Wagga, Townsville, Darwin ect) even though it only plays a small part. Darwin as a whole during WWII wasn't a military base. Parap was the airfield, Stokes Hill was the Navy, East Point had the largest submarine net as well as some communications plus defences and Larrakeyah was Army and Navy. Excluding the suburbs developed after WWII will show you that the military only played a small part of Darwin. Bidgee (talk) 07:06, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
This isn't about what darwin was as a whole but whether it was a military base and a military target (both very significant in terms of Australia) which it was and which you can't dispute and I can't for the life of me work out why you have such a problem with this. You don't own the article. RutgerH (talk) 07:48, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Please note I gave you ample time to respond to an above comment which you didn't see or chose not to. If you still dispute this then DON'T revert it or I will take action under WP:3RR but instead request a third opinion under WP:3O so someone else can explain why the context is important. RutgerH (talk) 08:04, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
First of all it's only you who wants the change. This article has been reverted to the what has been long standing which is deemed as the consensus version. I don't have the WP:OWN issue but it's yourself. and again Darwin wasn't a military target (IE: It was a civilian town). Yes the military was targeted but civilian buildings were also targeted. Bidgee (talk) 08:10, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
No the first editor also appears to want it clarified but didn't make the change and it's only you who wish to revert it. One person does not make a consensus. If you look at the history it's clear you do take a great interest in this article and petty "I didn't but you did" rubbish have no place here. Your reasons for changing it back are not consistent and if we expand on the latest reason Pearl Harbor and almost every other base located in a city can't be considered a military target if it was attacked which is not correct. I am simply stating that it was a military target, not a 'no reason whatsoever but insignificant' target. I am going to make the change again. If you wish to revert it instead of taking alternative action, as stated above, I will request action under 3RR. RutgerH (talk) 08:26, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
First editor? Only editor I can see is you. I don't have an ownership of the article. If you look I've reverted vandalism, did some fixes, reverted unsourced POV as well as your edits with the reasons stated in the edit summaries and talk page. It's yourself who has ownership of the article but forcing the change over a long standing wording. Bidgee (talk) 08:52, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Please stop edit warring and making accusations of bad faith. The reference (which, from memory, I originally added) says nothing about Darwin being a 'military' or 'nom-military' target and the distinction seems unnecessary. The raids on 19 February 1942 did only target military targets though - the first raid focused on the ships in the harbour (the crews of which made up the great majority of casualties) and second targeted the RAAF base. The civilian township was hit only by bombs which missed their targets. The purpose of the raid was to prevent the Allies from using Darwin as a base to oppose the invasion of Java, and the Japanese didn't have any interest in attacking the totally insignificant civilian facilities in what was then a small town. Nick-D (talk) 10:34, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
RutgerH was the one who made accusations at myself and I have the right to defend myself. I've found nothing to say that bombs missed there targets (if thats the case why was the whole of Darwin wiped of the map?) See: http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww2/bfa/attack.html . Yes it was to stop the military from using Darwin as a base/staging ground but all civilian structures were also destroyed. Bidgee (talk) 11:28, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Nick the point was just to add one word (two is probably better) to provide context as to why it was less significant rather than no context. We might all know why it's more important but that doesn't mean we shouldn't state it. fyi The Lowe report stated only three civillian houses were damaged in the first two attacks though wether that was the full extent due to wartime censorship I don't know but it would be pretty hard to cover up the complete destruction of a capital city. RutgerH (talk) 12:17, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Just to add a third opinion ... from what I have read, both online and a few books, most recently:
    Peter Grose (2009), An Awkward Truth: The Bombing of Darwin, February 1942, NSW: Allen & Unwin, ISBN 9781741756432 
    It would appear the Japanese considered Darwin to be a more significant military target than the Allies, and were worried that it might be used to stage forces for a counter to thier invasions to the north. In fact it was already being used as a staging area for aircraft heading to Timor and for refueling ships. They had reconaisance photos from a few weeks earlier that showed what they thought were more warships and even an aircraft carrier in Darwin. I think this was around Jan 20th, but I don't have the book right handy.
    On the subject of the wording you guys are fighting over... I dont think it really matters if the word military is there or not. The fact is that the Japanese considered it a significant enough target to sent an entire carrier strike force and land based bombers to hit it to ensure the Allies would not be able to use it as a base anymore, which worked to a degree. And please don't change the number of raids unless you can cite sources. Every source I have seen states 64 total on Darwin and over 90 across the Top End from Broome to Townsville. Darwin was heavily damaged, but was not in fact wiped off the map. Why the government chose to hide the severity of the attacks is still argued to this day. Yes, most civilian services and admin facilities were damaged or destroyed, but much also survived. Fuchida claimed civilian buildings were not specifically targetted. The fact that military facilities were in close proximity to civilian, and in fact military aircraft were using the civilian airstrip, ensured that there would be civilian casualties.
    I plan to work on this article in the near future. Cheers, Turgan Talk 09:32, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
    • There is one issue with that book however. It has a point of view from the author. Also when I said "wipped off the map" I wasn't saying that every building was destroyed but everything needed for it to function as a town was destroyed (Photos can be found on the National Library of Australia, Australian War Memorial's website). Also aircraft were based at 4 of the airfields south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway (One of them is now being used for fire fighting). Bidgee (talk) 10:17, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Grose's book was published by a major publisher and was reasonably well reviewed, so there's no reason to dismiss it or him. Bear in mind that World War II-era bombing attacks were woefully inaccurate - for instance, the British Bomber Command had to move to targeting entire German cities in 1942 because they were the smallest targets which could be reliably hit! The airfields around Darwin weren't built until after the February 19 raid - RAAF Base Darwin was the main target of the second raid on the day because it was the only air base in the area, and was being used to stage aircraft into the Netherlands East Indies. The extent to which the Government 'covered up' the raid is disputed - Peter Stanley, the former principal historian at the Australian War Memorial, has written that reasonably accurate accounts of the raid appeared in the Australian media at the time. Nick-D (talk) 10:28, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
  • To a certain degree, all sources have the point of view of the authors. I very much enjoyed the book, and it has been well reviewed, as Nick-D states. It put much of the information I had seen elsewhere in a very different light, and added much that was not available, or public, at the time of many of the other references.
    Nick-D is right. At the time of the first raid, the two main airfields were Darwin and Batchelor to the south. After the raid, there were significantly more set up all along the Stuart Highway (and elswhere nearby) in an effort to disperse assets. Something to the effect of "Don't keep all your eggs in one basket". Had those airfields been operational at the time of the first raid, Darwin would not have been suprised, as the path of approach for the Japanese carrier-based force looks as if it passed near and over some of them.
    I have seen many of the photos Bidgee is referring to, and visited quite a few of the landmarks, sites and monuments (I happen to live in Darwin now, which is part of the reason for my interest in the area). It is actually quite amazing how much of a "military town" Darwin actually was at the time of the raids. The inaccuracies of high level bombing, and the intermixing of civilian and military installations could only have one outcome in a raid ... civilian targets destroyed. Just as a few examples: There was an AA battery and a military facility for the boom net (Fort Hill Wharf, Stokes Hill Wharf was actually a civilian wharf) in close proximity to government house and the post office; Larrakeyah(sp?) Barracks next to the hospital; Doctor's Gully was a seaplane base, near civilan facilities; Fuel oil tanks for the Navy all along the shoreline ringing the town to the south and east; ... I don't think I need to go on. Military personnell in the area significanlty outnumbered civilians. Slice it any way you like,it definately looks as though Darwin was a military town/target at the time of the raids, and the military still has a large presence there. Turgan Talk 11:28, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

The various figures for deaths being argued about here and in the article; do not, generally make any distinction between civilian and military/Merchant marine deaths and between Australian and non-Australian deaths

This, in my mind, leads to a lot of the arguments about whether the focus on Darwin in Aus (especially in popular media/books/discussions) smacks of a beat up It seems that, at least 7 civilians were killed; probably 14 in the town and another 24 at the wharf(ves) although the official history and the Lowe report indicate that some of the people on the wharves were not civilians and many were not Australian.

A similar sort of analysis is warranted on the number of "raids" on Northern Aus. Apart from the big one on Broome which killed the Dutch refugees, how many other raids were there whcih actually involved more than single aircraft or a flight of aircraft and how many actually resulted in bomb damage?

Yet, another worry I have about the claims in this article and in popular Aus accounts of the Darwin raid is the claims about the number of aircraft; number/weight of bombs etc. Given that the carrier attack was mainly 81 Kate torpedo bombers, it cd only be the 71 Vals which dropped bombs; that wd be 71x 250kg= 18000kg= 400000 lbs: about the load of 4 Lancasters; 8 Wellingtons The 27 each of Nells and Betties seem to have only attacked the RAAF base; any evidence that they bombed any other part of the area? I note that the Lowe commission reported that only 3 civilian houses which even if it was wrong by a factor of 10 wd still indicate that civilian areas were not targeted

Final points: Nells and Betties are not by any measure "heavy bombers"; 2000lb max BL: wd be a medium bomber at best in 1942 and a light bomber compared to later Mosquitos and Beaufighters And, do we really want to cite the film "Australia"; its history was so false that it does not add credibility to this article; maybe we shd say the history in the film is nonsense. Merlin1323 (talk) 01:12, 31 December 2010 (UTC)Merlin1323

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was Move. Cenarium Talk 20:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Change title from Bombing of Darwin (February 1942) to Bombing of Darwin. Later redirects to former. No reason for two articles, one about all bombings of Darwin (which this should be) and one specific bombing. 199.125.109.107 (talk) 05:26, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Moved from RM:

  • Darwin has only been bombed once. No need for the date in the title. — Ben (talk) 17:17, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
    • The 2nd paragraph of page Bombing of Darwin (February 1942) says that Darwin was attacked from the air 58 other times. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 19:30, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Sorry about that, I ended up writing a mini essay on why the article should be at Bombing of Darwin, and quickly chopped it down and hit submit without checking before I had to run off. There were many bombings, but only one of particular note. All the attacks are discussed in the current article, and it's unlikely separate articles will ever be created for subsequent bombings. At the moment, Bombing of Darwin redirects to the current article, and since no other articles are every likely to be created, it really should be the other way around. Ben (talk) 20:11, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose As Darwin was bombed dozens of times the name of the article should be clear that this is only about a single raid. Some of the later raids were large and could support their own article, and there's scope to write an article on the entire series of raids. Nick Dowling (talk) 06:10, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
    If a split ever occurs you can rename it then. For now this article covers all of the bombings of Darwin and does not require a misleading qualifier. 199.125.109.107 (talk) 14:48, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, Air raids on Australia, 1942–43 covers the subsequent bombings, not this article. This article has only a single sentence all of the raids which followed the initial one while that article identifies each of the 57 other raids. Nick-D (talk) 07:22, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
In other words, both articles cover the other raids, but this other article has more detail. If this move goes ahead, it's probably appropriate to expand the coverage in this article a little. Andrewa (talk) 09:40, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. The entirety of this article's coverage of the other raids is "After the massive 19 February 1942 Japanese raid, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia's north were bombed 62 more times between 4 March 1942 and 12 November 1943.[18] One of the heaviest attacks took place on 16 June 1942 when a large Japanese force set fire to the oil fuel tanks around the harbour and inflicted severe damage to the vacant banks, stores and railway yards.". This is rather lacking in detail, and doesn't even come close to providing adequate coverage of the other attacks. If it's decided that this article should cover the other raids (and, I presume, the massive build-up of Australian and US combat units in the Northern Territory which both responded to the raids and led to further Japanese attacks as the Japanese feared that the Allies were developing Darwin into a base for offensive operations) then several paragraphs will need to be written so that it actually does this. Nick-D (talk) 10:07, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Since the other article covers all of the raids of Australia and this article is the only one to focus on Darwin it seems to make more sense to rename this article Bombing of Darwin and include in it the list of the other times that Darwin was bombed. 199.125.109.107 (talk) 03:04, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree. The bombing of Darwin, and particularly the first attack, had a big impact on the Australian Government and also on the public despite wartime censorship, and this is worthy of an article. But it's unlikely we'll have separate articles on later raids, so even if (as I suggest) the main focus of this article is the first raid, it's logical to include the others here and name the article accordingly. Air raids on Australia, 1942–43 and Axis naval activity in Australian waters are more general articles, and should be prominent in the see also section of this article. I'd also like to see an overview article on all hostile acts that have taken place in Australian territory since federation, more than a list or disambig but just an introductory paragraph on each linking to the more detailed articles... what do others think of this? Andrewa (talk) 15:11, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. This article deals with all bombings of Darwin to date, and no split is likely, so the disambiguator is unnecessary. Andrewa (talk) 15:47, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - As per Andrewa. Totally breaks naming conventions - brackets indicate a disambiguator, there are no other articles to disambiguate it from! -- Chuq (talk) 10:23, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. No need for a disambiguator unless and until there's another article that would otherwise use the same name. Station1 (talk) 04:07, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Post-move work required[edit]

Thanks to User:Cenarium for moving this article in line with the above consensus. However, this means that a fair bit of work is now required. If the article is to cover all the raids on Darwin then something more than two sentences need to be included on the raids after the first one, the introduction needs to be re-written to reflect the changed topic and content and the infobox needs to be overhauled as the dates and casualties are now totally wrong (while there were relatively few casualties from the subsequent Japanese bombing, the Allies and Japanese both lost large numbers of aircraft during 1942 and 1943). Useful references for this work would be volumes I and II of the official history of Australia in World War II (full text available online) and The shadow's edge : Australia's northern war by Alan Powell. Nick-D (talk) 07:18, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Information that relates to this one raid should be moved from the infobox to a paragraph in the article text. If we simply update the infobox, whether by removing this information or by updating it to cover all the raids, we've lost valuable content. But as you say, it can't stay there. Andrewa (talk) 18:39, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll have a go at doing this once my exams are over (the end of the month) if no-one else does by then. Ben (talk) 05:00, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposed new article structure[edit]

There has still been no activity at all to change the content of this article following the above decision to rename it, and the article is still entirely focused on the 19 February 1942 raid. As a result, I'd like to propose that the article be split so that there's a new Bombing of Darwin article which covers all the 64 raids between February 1942 and November 1943 and the current article is moved back to Bombing of Darwin (19 February 1942). Thoughts? Nick-D (talk) 04:05, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Sorry Nick, I have this page watchlisted and I did intend to have a crack at this, but another debate on Wikipedia is eating up all my wiki time. I have no objections to your proposal. Sorry again, Ben (talk) 04:35, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I provided many references from the Lockwood book for the bombing of Darwin. If you wish to remove the 64 raids that occured after February 19, 1942 into a separate article, I have no objection. Please note, however, that this new article may be a minor stub since almost everyone focuses on the Feb 19 raid. Cheers from BC, Canada, --Leoboudv (talk) 06:32, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • As an "outsider" who found this article via Google I'd suggest that it doesn't need to be split (it's not overly long), you just need to find a better title for it. Something that contains "Japanese" or "World War 2" perhaps. --kingboyk (talk) 09:03, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

———————————————————————————————————————

My case for a return to the old title

Due to real world commitments, I cleared out out my watchlist about 18 months ago and was therefore unaware of the move until now. Had I been aware of the proposed change of title I would have opposed it strongly. My reasons:

  • the old title suggested/underlined a fact that many Australians are still unaware of; there were a lot of attacks on Darwin in 1942-43
  • a lack of detail regarding the ~65 other raids on Darwin persists and this article is really only about the February 19 raids
  • due to their far greater magnitude than the subsequent attacks, the February 19 raids are deserving of their own article (and this is normal practice in Wikipedia military history articles)
  • I think the other raids on Darwin are best covered by Air raids on Australia, 1942–43 and;
  • there may be confusion with a criminal bombing that took place in Darwin on February 2, 2010

Thanks.

Grant | Talk 11:41, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

    • I agree completely. I'm planning an article on the 2 May 1943 raid on Darwin and many of the other raids are probably also notable enough for an article (all the big ones get at least a page in the official history, and are covered in other sources). Nick-D (talk) 21:52, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

We don't want to be just be duplicating Air raids on Australia, 1942–43 or gutting it. I think the information about all the raids should be in there and this changes to only about the most commonly known event by that title which it pretty much already is. No need to change the title but a link to the air raids article and an explanation at the top would be appropriate. RutgerH (talk) 07:13, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Added "In Popular Culture"[edit]

Added an "In Popular Culture" section to refer as to why Australia (2008 film) was in the "See also" section in the first place... people who don't know are left to guess. - Aprogressivist (talk) 15:12, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

The Lowe Commission of Inquiry[edit]

I think it's time we added a new section for this report or at least mention it. http://www.naa.gov.au/about-us/publications/fact-sheets/fs195.aspx has a links to the actual report. Appointment of Justice Charles J. Lowe was on the 3rd March, 1942 and the inquiry was conducted in Darwin from the 5th to the 10th of March then in Melbourne from 19th to the 25th and presented on the 27th of March. In total approximately 100 witnesses presented evidence.

Purpose being

"To inquire into and report on all the circumstances connected with the attacks made on enemy aircraft on Darwin on 19th February 1942, including the preparedness of the Naval, Military, Air and Civil authorities; the damage and casualties sustained; the degree of co-operation existing between the various Services; the steps taken to meet the attack or to minimize it's effects; whether the Commanders or other officers of the Naval, Military and Air Force or any civil authority failed to discharge the responsibilities entrusted to them; and to recommend what changes may be considered necessary in the Naval, Military, Air and Civil defence measures to meet a recurrence of an attack of this nature."

That could be too much information for this article so I'll stop there for the moment. If someone else wants to comment or start adding as they see fit that would be appreciated. RutgerH (talk) 12:18, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Changes to casualty numbers in infobox[edit]

In their reversals of my edits to the infobox “Bidgee” and “ClueBot;” wrote

“infobox info as confirmed not estimated. Again still discuss as it is a major change to the article which has been on the article for some time”

AND

"(Reverted to revision 325200136 by ClueBot; Keep as is. Discuss on talk page.)"


I think my changes to the fatalities in the info box were justified. The latest official count (by the Northern Territories administration) was 292 but they under counted the toll on the USS William B. Preston by 5 so it should be listed as 292 or 297 at the least. However the researchers who’ve studied this most closely author Peter Grose and historian Peter Forrest concluded the total was over 300. Even Lowe believed some of the dead would have been uncounted. According to Forrest most witnassess he spoke think the total was well over the 250 estimated by Lowe,some say as high as 1500. Several Wikipedia article infoboxes indicate that death tollsarein dispute

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_by_death_toll#Top_Ten_Deadliest_Earthquakes


The only source I found that gave the total as 251 was an Australian senator but that number was already in the infobox so he probably got it from here. Anyone reverting to that number should find a source. Another compromise would be listing it as 250 - 1500

Also I saw no justification for not including the number of injured. Such totals are given for most other attacks. As for my changes to the totals for the Japanese they better reflect the cited source.

Lenbrazil (talk) 13:39, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Disagree that your edit change was justified. Just because other articles have disputed tolls doesn't mean the same can be applied on this article. We will use the official toll from the Australian Government which last time I looked is what was stated before you changed it. Just because those who the author(s) talked to are reliable (Many reasons) and what recorded they looked at. It's fine to have to disputed figures lower in the article but not in the infobox. Bidgee (talk) 14:55, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
Please cite a source that indicates 251 was "the official toll from the Australian Government" Lowe said about 250 a few weeks after the attacks, the NT Government counted 292 in 2001, but that was due to an under count of a US ship. If other infoboxes reflect disputed tolls why should this one be an different? 251 gives an undue impression of precision just about everyone agrees the exact number is unkowable.
Why did you remove the number of injured?
Why you revert the Japanese totals to the previous confusing version? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lenbrazil (talkcontribs) 15:27, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Barring a reasonable reply to the above I'll change the # of killed to "292 (disputed)" or "+292" in a day or so. 292 is AFAIK the most recent "official" number. That was calculated by the NTA in 2001, AFAIK Lowe's March 1942 estimate of "approximately 250" was the last official number from the federal government. I have no idea where 251, the currently listed number, came from it doesn't come from any source I could find on the Net, including online books.

I added the number of injured.

Lenbrazil (talk) 13:45, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Since there was no further comment from Bridgee or Nick I edited the number of fatalities to "250 - 320" Lenbrazil (talk) 19:38, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Questions for Nick D (or anyone who’s read A War at Home)[edit]

Apparently you are the person who first posted the 251 figure for the death toll from the Darwin raids. In an earlier version of the page you cited: “Tom Lewis (2003). A War at Home. A Comprehensive guide to the first Japanese attacks on Darwin. Tall Stories, Darwin. Pages 63-71”.

- I took that to mean he didn’t give a single total but rather how many died in various locations and you added them up, is that correct? - If so how do his numbers compare to those give by Lowe and the 2001 plaque? (see below) - What sources, if any, did he cite for those numbers

In most cases Lowe and the plaque gave the same totals, the numbers in brackets are from the later if different from the former

Neptuna 45 Zealandia 3 British Motorist 2 Manunda 12 Swan 4 [3] Karakara 5 [2] Gunbower 1 Peary 80 [91] Meigs 2 – [1] Port Mar 1 Maunaloa 5 The Army 2 [3] The Air Force 6 [7] United States of America Army and Air Force 7 Civilians in the town. 14 [17] Civilians on the wharf 39 – [22]

the Don Isidro, the Florence Dee, and the Catalina flying boat destroyed between Bathurst Island 15 [18]*

  • From the plaque “MV Don Isidro, 14 - MV Florence Dee, 3 - PATWING 10 Catalina 1”

Lenbrazil (talk) 12:58, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Lewis states that the figure of 251 is from a journal article published by Paul Rosenzweig (p. 42) - there was no need to add anything up. He lists the fatalities by name in an appendix and has another appendix which convincingly debunks claims that casualties were greatly higher as being myths with no supporting evidence. Nick-D (talk) 07:53, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, see the discussion above. Since:
- the NTA government has now totaled 292 fatalities
- but apparently made an error counting 10 deaths from the USS William B. Preston, while the USN said 13 died (Grose claims 15).
I propose that we change the total to 295 as the latest "official" figure or "295 (disputed)" or "approximately 300".I agree numbers much beyond this are not realistic but think the controversy should be mentioned since it was already reported in the US by AP in 1992 and has gotten reasonably wide coverage in Australia

Lenbrazil (talk) 03:02, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Given that different and fairly recent reliable sources give different figures, and these are discussed in the article, I'd suggest something like 'Common estimates range from 251-approximately 300'. As there doesn't seem to be a 'dispute', there's no need to mark this as 'disputed' and as there isn't a single figure which the sources agree on a range seems most appropriate and is the usual way of handling these differences in Wikipedia articles. Nick-D (talk) 10:51, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I think 300 or so is the lower limit that's the minimum indicated by Peter Forrest and Peter Grose the researchers who studied this most carefully (with the possible exception of Lewis)and is only 5 less than what was calculated by the NTA correcting for the 13 (not 10) killed on the Preston. 251 is too low, Lowe counted 243 but didn't include any one from the Preston which would give us 256. But even Lowe assumed there were some uncounted fatalities. I suggest 500 as the top, the highest number I seen suggested by a historian is 486 from Peter Forrest("up to double that 243").These numbers are disputed as several witnesses, including Darwin's mayor, suggest 900 or more were killed. IMO the best thing to say is "300 - 500 (some believe over 900)"

Lenbrazil (talk) 18:56, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

That doesn't make any sense. 'About 300' appears to be Peter Grose's upper limit, you provide no source for the figure of 500 and figures in the vicinity of 1000 are nonsense based only on rumor-mongering and are fringe views. Nick-D (talk) 07:07, 19 November 2009 (UTC)


"'About 300' appears to be Peter Grose's upper limit"


No, he wrote, “…a figure of 297 known dead is the best count anyone is likely to achieve…the full death toll is likely to be a little over 300, perhaps as many as 310 or 320.”(2009)

Peter Forrest wrote, “the death toll was certainly greater than the 243 figure. We now know for sure that it was at least about 300. It could have been more and probably was, but just how many more is unclear… we simply don’t have the evidence we need to come to a firm view. Any estimate is a pure guess. I would say about 400, but that is a just an informed guess.” (2009)

The NTA government erected a plaque in 2001 totaling 292 but they undercounted the Preston’s fatalities by 3-5, which gives us 295-7

"you provide no source for the figure of 500"

I did,see above; I cited Forrest who said,"I'm completely satisfied, from talking to people who survived, that the death toll could have been anything up to double that 243." double 243 is 486 which rounds to 500

"figures in the vicinity of 1000 are nonsense based only on rumor-mongering and are fringe views"

I agree they are almost certainly false but they are based on the declarations of several people who were there.

Lenbrazil (talk) 10:12, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

We have to stick to figures published in reliable sources. The article states that Peter Forrest's book isn't published - that means that it's not a good source. Taking a number at the higher end of his speculative range and then arbitrarily adding 14 to it so it produces 500 isn't a good idea. Claims that about 1000 (or more!) were killed have been debunked (as is described in the article) and shouldn't be given prominence. Nick-D (talk) 10:30, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with your assessment of Forrest, Grose called him (approximate quote)'the leading historian of the Northern territories',though his Darwin book wasn't published he has spoken to many survivors and has published several books on Australian regional history. Perhaps the the most reasonable compromise would be "approximately 300". Lewis' book was 1st published in 1999 and Rosenwieg's article obviously before that,the data from the 2001 plaque is thus based on more current data. APA, ABC(Aus)and AP (US)have cover the "controversy", Dr. Stanley from the War Memorial has spoken about it, Bradford, Grose and Lewis mentioned it in their books. Thus it should be mentioned here though I agree out of the info box. Lenbrazil (talk) 12:25, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Nick - I wrote the following "Stanley, Grose, Rosenzweig [24] and Tom Hall [25] rejected such numbers. The former said "it was certainly not the 1,024 claimed recently in unsubstantiated reports" [26] and the Grose wrote "numbers such as 1,100 are fancifully high".[27]"

Could you add brief quotes from the latter two?Lenbrazil (talk) 19:30, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Number of Allied troops in infobox wrong[edit]

The article says "there were about 15,000 Allied soldiers in the area." that is probably about right perhaps a little low according to the page linked below, "the Australian Army had 13,114 soldiers in defensive positions in and around Darwin...These army numbers were increased by 1,691 when the convoy carrying the 'Sparrow Force' to the islands to the north was attacked in the Timor Sea and returned to Darwin on 18 February, making a total strength of 14,805." 200 is pretty low ball for American and British military and Australian Navy and Air Force.[If anyone has accurate info please post it here or in the article].The infobox however says there was only "500 infantry". This obviously needs to be changed http://www.schools.nt.edu.au/ths-wwII/index2.html

Lenbrazil (talk) 03:02, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't see why that site is a reliable source given that it was created by school students, so anything cited to it should be reviewed. Nick-D (talk) 10:54, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
True it's a high school site which doesn't cite any sources but it gives very specific numbers which suggests they got them from a book. Their total, I suggest not coincidentally, is very close to the one in the article text. The article and infobox need to be consistent one says 15,000 the other 500, presumably the bulk of soldiers were infantry. In any case obviously more than 1 in 300 soldiers were infantry. Does Lewis give a total?

Lenbrazil (talk) 19:04, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

I changed the number in the infobox to 15,000. The high school site is far from a perfect reference but the article needs to be consistent and there was no reference for 500 which was obviously wrong. If anyone can find a more reliable source giving a different number they should change it. Lenbrazil (talk) 19:35, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

15,000 infantry is clearly not right (that's about one and half infantry divisions!), and a website put together by teenage kids isn't a suitable source. Australia's Forgotten Army by Graham McKenzie Smith providers a comprehensive list of units in Darwin on 28 February (see p. 116) - the infantry component comprised 5 infantry battalions (which would have had a strength of about 4-5000 infantrymen) and a machine gun battalion. There were also two US artillery regiments, some Australian engineer and pioneer units and coastal artillery units. Moreover, seeing as this was an air and sea battle I don't see any need to include the ground forces in the infobox. Nick-D (talk) 22:23, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
OK I agree the 15,000 number is probably wrong. You should edit the number given in the text or remove it. I requested a citation. What do you know about the "Sparrow Force" the school site mentioned? Lenbrazil (talk) 12:55, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Answered my own question, they were wrong about the Sparrow force which were on Timor at the time. Perhaps they were confused by this account or one like it:
"By 19 February it was clear that the Japanese invasion was imminent and the surviving aircraft of 2 Squadron RAAF, which had flown several missions against Japanese bases and shipping, were despatched to Darwin. That same day, six of the squadron's Hudsons were destroyed in the Japanese bombing raid on Darwin. By then it was too late to evacuate the troops of Sparrow Force so they stayed on the island."
http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/japadvance/timor.html
Thus I agree they have no credibility Lenbrazil (talk) 13:12, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

I think I was too quick to condemn the HS site. This site confirms that a convoy carrying 1660 men to reinforce the Sparrow force was attacked at sea and returned to Darwin the day before the town was bombed.

http://www.merchant-navy-ships.com/index.php?id=30,0,0,1,0,0

Though it didn't give number this Australian government site says:

"Japanese air raids on the airfield on 26 and 30 January 1942 encouraged the Australian government to make preparations for reinforcements to be sent to Timor. Their arrival was delayed when the convoy, which included the destroyers HMA Ships Swan and Warrego, was intercepted by Japanese bombers and forced to return to Darwin."

http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/japadvance/timor.html

In any case if the 15,000 is wrong it should be corrected or removed.

Lenbrazil (talk) 11:00, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

The High School site is not a reliable source - please see WP:RS for guidance on the kinds of sources which are usable in Wikipedia articles. The convoy which was forced to return to Darwin shortly before the bombing is mentioned in all the written accounts of the raid I've read. Nick-D (talk) 11:06, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Point taken but the 15,000 figure is still in the article, if you think it is wrong you should remove it or change it to a more realistic number.Lenbrazil (talk) 12:39, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Interestingly, other than the 18 P-40 airplanes, there is no specific mention of American troops in the area. The Pensacola Convoy had left Pearl Harbor on November 30, 1941, one week before the Japanese attack, headed for the Philippines with a brigade of field artillery, including 1 battalion from Texas, 2 battalions from South Dakota, and one battalion from Idaho. After the attack, they were diverted to Suva, then to Brisbane, Australia, where they arrived December 22, 1941. About 3 weeks later, according to my father Edward Bulian, who was there, 3 battalions were moved up to Darwin and were present for the attack on February 19. The Texas battalion was sent to Java where they were subsequently captured and held as POWs. This would seem to indicate there were at least 1,500 American servicemen in the area, plus the aircraft pilots and crews. 166.20.224.12 (talk) 21:24, 13 March 2013 (UTC)M. Bulian

Split[edit]

See [#Proposed new article structure]]

This article has been tagged for splitting into multiple articles but how would this be done and what would these articles be? Wikiwoohoo (talk) 21:26, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm removing the template as there has been no discussion here. -- PBS (talk) 05:17, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

US Navy pictures[edit]

Editors of this article may be interested in this photo album from the American NH&HC. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 22:40, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Article upgrade in progress[edit]

As the 70th anniversary of this raid will soon take place, I'm attempting to upgrade this article to B class. Contributions from other editors would be fantastic. Nick-D (talk) 07:54, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Wished I could have been there to photograph the 70th anniversary, but not possible for me to get there. In other news the death toll debate continues, Historian denies Bombing toll was higher, NT News. Bidgee (talk) 23:23, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Psychological blow?[edit]

In an unsourced statement in the lead, not reflecting anything else in the article, we are told "The raids on Darwin represented a psychological blow to the Australian population..."

That may seem intuitively and logically correct, but I doubt if it's true. Military security and censorship was tight, and the story of the Darwin bombings was not reported in the mainstream media at the time. The Australian public could not suffer a psychological blow, because they didn't know it had happened.

Even when information did come out slowly later, what got reported was much more trivial than the truth, which took decades to be fully disclosed to the public.

I recall my ex-WWII Army dad telling me around 1960 that the Japanese bombed Darwin once, but didn't do much damage. Yes, I know that's OR and not admissible, but it's no worse than the total absence of a source for what's there now. I suspect that, knowing that some information was bound to leak out, the military circulated a story far from the truth in the hope that it would kill the rumours.

I heard a Darwin veteran on radio yesterday commenting that the frustration to those who had been there was that no-one else knew what they had gone through.

I plan to delete that unsourced claim. HiLo48 (talk) 03:31, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

What I've posted above has just been endorsed by our PM's speech to mark the 75th anniversary. From The Age's report...
The prime minister said she did not learn about the bombing at school, and there was an effort by the government at the time to downplay the event and the number of casualties to protect national morale.
‘‘For too many Australians the history remains unknown,’’ Ms Gillard told the Seven Network in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
I'll delete the claim now, and may even add something to the article about how it was hushed up. HiLo48 (talk) 03:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Whoops. I really should look more carefully. I've been beaten to it. Thanks. HiLo48 (talk) 04:00, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
That's the 70th anniversary, btw. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 04:09, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Yep :-) HiLo48 (talk) 05:23, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

"Pearl Harbor of Australia"[edit]

'This event is, on occasion, referred to as the "Pearl Harbor of Australia".' I agree with Andrei.smolnikov that the event is 'is only occasionally called this, and certainly not often.'

Harbor OR Harbour ... which is correct? Will it depend on cultural location and context? In Australia, the latter?

Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 00:18, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

The only source we have is a 1992 book, obviously difficult to check. I guess the book must make that claim, but it doesn't seem a strong one to me. As for spelling, the American spelling is really the only one that makes sense. There is no such place as Pearl Harbour. HiLo48 (talk) 00:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I've never heard of the Bombing being referred to as "Pearl Harbor of Australia". It's also slightly strange that the reference is a book. Possibly the author called the Bombing the "Pearl Harbor of Australia" often, but this does not mean that it is often called this. 27.32.52.160 (talk) 09:12, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

The issue under dispute in the article concerns the use of 'This event is, on occasion [let us say, occasionally], referred to as the PHoA' ' vs. 'This event is often called the PHoA' (emphasis added); i.e. the term that best describes the degree of frequency of the use of the saying is disputed.

The Macmillan dictionary definition of 'often' [1] gives 1. on many occasions, or in many situations; and 2. used for talking about how many times something happens in a particular period of time. Alternatively, the term 'occasionally' [2] is defined as 'sometimes, but not frequently or regularly'.
I believe there is no question the event is called the PHoA at least occasionally (this fact is self evident), but for its frequency of use to occur on many occasions and many situations, to the extent that it use supercedes common occasional use, needs to be justified. This the article has not yet done, so occasionally remains the only option until it is justified.
My personal view/OR is that people refer to the event as 'the bombing of Darwin' more often (on many occasions, or in many situations), to the extent that the frequency of that use supercedes by a long shot any occasional (infrequent) use of the term 'Pearl Harbor of Australia'. Again, it is the use of 'often' that needs justifying.
Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 10:35, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I note that an edit summary states only the title of a book is given for a reference. IMHO, if that is the case, then it is not good enough. A full book citation would be sufficient to established that the attack is (at least sometimes) known as the PHoA. Mjroots (talk) 10:47, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Agreed.Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 11:49, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Search results using Google; and, Australian War Memorial ([3])
“Bombing of Darwin” (BoD) = 424,000; (AWM = 214)
“Darwin Bombing” (DB) = 28,600; (AWM = 35)
“Pearl Harbor of Australia” (PHoA) = 7,000; (AWM = no result)
“Australia's Pearl Harbor” (APH) = 127,000; (AWM = no result)
Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 11:49, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
From memory, I'm the editor who originally added this citation (though I don't think that I wrote the text). Lockwood's book - which remains among the more popular histories of the attack (it was recently re-issued for at least the third time) - does call this the 'Pearl Harbor of Australia'. I can't check the exact wording though as my copy is in a box. While the comparison is trotted out from time to time (including recently by the PM for some reason!), it's basically bollocks given that Darwin was a target of vastly less strategic importance than Pearl Harbor, and even the Japanese latter acknowledged that they used a hammer to crush an flea by mounting such a massive attack on a collection of minor warships, clapped out freighters and an under-developed air base. The term also implies that this was the event this brought Australia into the Pacific War, which is also obviously nonsense given the very substantial Australian forces involved in the Malayan Campaign. As such, I think that this should be removed from the lead as it basically misleads our readers. The comparison would be worth covering in the 'Aftermath' section though. Nick-D (talk) 12:03, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Filming the bombing of Darwin[edit]

Resource per Australian War Memorial, http://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2012/02/17/filming-the-bombing-of-darwin/

Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 12:08, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Japanese side of the story[edit]

The article seems to be fairly one-sided in telling the story of the bombing, there is virtually nothing about the Japanese side. How was the attack planned? What was the name of the operation? It talks about "Consequences" and "Casualties and damage" but doesn't mention anything about the Japanese side. How was the attack analysed? Was it considered successful? 119.12.139.72 (talk) 22:32, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Interesting idea. I don't know the answers to your questions. Do you? We would need to find some relaible sources with the information. Any idea where? HiLo48 (talk) 08:06, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Might find something in Aichi 99 Kanbaku 'Val' Units: 1937-42 By Osamu Tagaya (link is partial Google Books sample). Another reference with some ship details, including Admiral Halstead, an American cargo vessel loaded with 14,000 drums of aviation gasoline, was strafed and had her plates sprung by near hits but escaped more serious damage. (think of that going up) is Combat Narrative—The Java Sea Campaign—JAPANESE AIR ATTACK ON DARWIN FEBRUARY 19, a 1943 report of the Office of Naval Intelligence, United States Navy. Palmeira (talk) 06:21, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Coordination with the North Australia Air War is needed.[edit]

It appears some of the other side of the story about Japanese components exists already in North Australia Air War and its links and references. Looks as if some coordination harmonizing all these would be useful and the current authors, seemingly at least partly in Australia, of each might be the best to do that. Palmeira (talk) 20:24, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Number of bombs[edit]

The info box states:

It has been stated that the number of bombs dropped on Darwin exceeded those dropped on Pearl Harbor.[5][6] Robert Rayner[7], Steven Bullard[8], and Tom Lewis[9] have demonstrated the speciousness of this argument. At Pearl Harbor, 273 bombers dropped 457 bombs (including 40 torpedoes) weighing 133,560 Kgs., killing more than 2,400 people. At Darwin 205 bombers dropped 681 bombs weighing 114,100 Kgs., killing 235 people.

The stats given (681 bombs v 457 bombs) directly contradict the earlier sentence. This para needs to be cleaned up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 114.76.216.103 (talk) 09:50, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

No it doesn't contradict anything, more bombs were clearly dropped on Darwin than on Pearl Harbour.--Empire of War (talk) 01:56, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Excessive detail in lede concerning Pearl comparison?[edit]

The lede is only a few paragraphs long, but devotes an entire paragraph to comparisons of the attack with Pearl Harbor. While it's appropriate information for the article, and in interesting comparison, I'm not sure the amount of detail here belongs in the lede. Perhaps just leave the sentence about it being compared to Pearl, and move the rest to the body if it's not already duplicated there? The lede in this case should be a summary of the event and major issues relating to it. This comparison is certainly apt, but I don't think it's crucial enough to the event to be such a large part of the general summary. Since it was the lede, I thought I'd bring it here first before boldly changing where no man has changed before.204.65.34.237 (talk) 22:16, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree. Personally I think the comparison is overdone. It's simply a not very surprising example of the way journalists write about these things. The differences between the two events are huge. I don't think it belongs in the lead at all, and I thank you for raising it here. HiLo48 (talk) 22:24, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I also agree, and I've just removed the paragraph. I've also removed the somewhat odd material in the lead about how the raid was reported at the time and the early articles which covered it: it's not clear why this is very important or interesting to readers. Nick-D (talk) 22:39, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, I think it's cleaner now. (sorry, I wasn't logged in before)Jbower47 (talk) 16:51, 20 February 2014 (UTC)


Sad irony[edit]

This is also the day that Japanese American Internment began. that day is also remembered, in the US, as a Day of Remembrance (Japanese Americans).Mercurywoodrose (talk) 07:44, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

What's ironic about this coincidence? Australia also interred its fairly small Japanese-Australian population and actually deported most members of the population group to Japan after the war. Nick-D (talk) 07:50, 25 February 2014 (UTC)