February 19, 1942 – In their largest air attack since Pearl Harbour, more than 250 Japanese planes attack shipping and buildings in and around Darwin.
In two separate raids, the Japanese attack the town, ships in Darwin’s harbour and the town’s two airfields in an attempt to prevent the Allies from using them as bases to contest the invasions of Timor and Java. The town is only lightly defended and the Japanese inflict heavy losses upon the Allied forces at little cost to themselves. The urban areas of Darwin also suffer some damage from the raids and there are a number of civilian casualties.
More than 260 people are killed in the raids, and several ships are sunk. By the end of 1943, Darwin is bombed 64 times by the Japanese.