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Royal New Zealand Air Force

operations by no. 3 squadron

operations by no. 3 squadron

Until it returned to New Zealand on the completion of its tour at the end of November 1944, No. 3 Squadron was responsible for daily patrols to the north of Emirau to watch for possible Japanese shipping on the supply route from Truk to New Britain and New Ireland. Three aircraft took off each morning and covered an arc from north-west to north-east, to a distance of 300 miles from their base. The Japanese by this time were chary of sending shipping into waters covered by the Allies, and nothing was seen by the patrols.

Dawn and dusk patrols over the coast of New Ireland searched for enemy barges and float planes and bombed and strafed any worthwhile targets they discovered on shore. The planes discovered no sign of barges or float planes, but always found something— troops, vehicles, huts or gardens—on which to use their bombs and ammunition. A third daily commitment was the provision of an aircraft at instant readiness during daylight to search for submarines reported within the squadron's sphere of operations.

Servicing difficulties and shortages of spares resulted in the squadron not always having its full quota of aircraft, but whenever there were three or more to spare, after providing for daily routine jobs, strikes were made against specific targets on New Ireland.