Making Maps Under Fire: Surveying New Guinea in World War II

Ever wonder how the operations of the Pacific were planned? Where did all those maps come from?

The Rant Foundry

Filed in: War History  –  Author: JF Dowsett

HMAS Whyalla in camouflage in New Guinea HMAS Whyalla in camouflage in New Guinea

On January 2nd 1943, the Australian Navy corvette HMAS Whyalla was anchored deep in the Maclaren Harbour inlet on the Cape Nelson Peninsula in New Guinea. She had been brought in close to the shoreline and camouflaged with a bewildering array of branches, vines and bushes that were doing their best to hide 730 tons of steel ship from the Imperial Japanese Air Service, who at that stage still menaced Allied naval operations in the area.

Like a lightning storm a force of 18 Japanese dive bombers approached undetected and attacked in a terrifyingly determined manner. The Whyalla had field survey parties out on duty and her two tenders, the requisitioned trawlers HMAS Stella and Polaris, were sounding off the harbour entrance. Several bombs narrowly missed the Whyalla, which suffered damage from…

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 18, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Happy Father’s Day, GP! Sending some peace your way to lessen your haste. Bless you for your devotion to this project you share with us.

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  2. I don’t know why, but the making of maps is always fascinating to me — the people making them even more than the actual maps. Great post, GP. Hugs.

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  3. Thanks for the re-blog gp.
    Fantastic historical story, great to read the story on the Whyalla, also the story of Mitre Rock.
    The Oyster corals are story on their own I think.

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  4. Unsung heroes, I guess

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  5. Schönen Sonntag lieber Gruß und Umarmung..

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  6. Thanks for sharing – I enjoyed learning about the surveying and mapping efforts in WWII.

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  7. Interesting post and special old photo.

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  8. Bad enough having the Japanese to deal with, let alone carnivorous ants!
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  9. Amazing text. Enjoyed !

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  10. I must say I didn’t wonder where the maps came from until I read this. Quite interesting.

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  11. Excellent post, thank you for the history lesson.

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  12. Thanks for another great find!

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  13. Just saw it GP. Fantastic post.

    Liked by 4 people

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