Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

1942: February 19:  Japanese Raid at Darwin, Australia

On February 19, 1942, the Japanese, led by Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo, attacked Darwin, Australia, in the largest attack by a foreign power on the country to render it indefensible and to stop the flow of Allied shipping and traffic. Aircraft from the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, and Soryu bombed shipping, airfields and shore installations. Among the vessels sunk were: USS Peary (DD-226), U.S. Army transport Miegs, and U.S. freighter Mauna Loa. USS William B. Preston (AVD-7) was damaged along with several Australian and British vessels. USS Houston (CA-30) refueled and departed Tjilatip, Java, the day prior.   Of note, all four Japanese carriers would later be sunk at the Battle of Midway, June 4-7, 1942.  Following the raid, Darwin was temporarily abandoned.  This attack also influenced Rear Admiral William A. Glassford to move tenders and auxilaries to Exmouth Gulf, North Western, Australia. 

Image:  NH 43647:  Darwin Raid, February 19, 1942.   U.S. Naval History and Hertiage Command Photograph.