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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III

Part IV. air

Part IV. air

‘(13) The Committee recommend that the air strengths given in my telegram No. 143 of 12 April2 should be increased as follows: the Catalinas in the Islands area to be increased to 60 and considered as a mobile force based on the general line New CaledoniaSamoa, and that a reinforcing reserve of 48 Catalinas and 70 land plane heavy bombers be based on Hawaii.

‘(14) The following then becomes the distribution of aircraft:

Bora Bora 6
Samoa (includes 104 aircraft of Marine mobile division) 207
Wallis 24
Tongatabu 25
New Caledonia 111
Mobile 60
Reserve at Hawaii 118
Total 551
page 310

‘(15) Fiji: The Committee recommends the following air strength and facilities—it is desired that these be based in Fiji and maintained by the Royal New Zealand Air Force: Fighter 50; medium bomber 26; observation (Army co-operation) 13; Navy type seaplane 12.

‘In addition, facilities to be provided for the operation of United States squadrons of four patrol bombers (48 flying boats), three heavy bombers (36 land planes). Note: It was strongly represented that permanent air squadrons at Fiji be increased, and the Joint Working Committee agreed to include New Zealand representations that Fiji should be increased by at least two dive-bombing squadrons.

‘(16) New Zealand:


Based and maintained in New Zealand by RNZAF: Medium bomber (Hudson) 57; fighter 80; Army co-operation 64.


Replacement carrier group based in New Zealand maintained by United States Navy: Fighters 27; dive-bombers 37; torpedo bombers 18.


Based in New Zealand as part of the mobile forces of the South Pacific, maintained by the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps: Fighters 36; dive-bombers 36; observation-utility (boats) 39; patrol bombers (flying boats) 12; patrol bombers (amphibian) 12.

‘(17) The Committee recommends the following torpedo storage and maintenance facilities:

Auckland: for one carrier.

Fiji: for one Navy patrol-bomber squadron.

‘(18) It is recommended that the additional aircraft required for strengthening the Royal New Zealand Air Force be made available by the Munitions Assignment Board.

‘(19) It is realised that these proposals do not fill your requirements, but they are related to present strengths and production. In view of the shortage of air strength in other and equally important theatres it is not reasonable at present to press for greater allocations. For instance, the total fighter strength in India, Burma and Ceylon at today's date is approximately equal to the total allocations of fighters advised in Air 1171 of 23 April.’

1 Not published.