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Royal New Zealand Air Force



New Zealand and American troops went ashore at Stirling and Mono Islands in the Treasuries on the morning of 27 October 1943. Surprise was essential to the success of the operation, as the Japanese could have heavily reinforced the Treasuries from the Shortlands and southern Bougainville at a few hours' notice.

Five groups of transports brought the troops up from Guadalcanal, Rendova and Vella Lavella, approaching their objectives under cover of darkness. All units were spotted during the night by enemy reconnaissance aircraft, but the Japanese appear to have taken little notice of the reports from their planes. At all events, a satisfactory degree of surprise was attained.

New Zealand troops landed on Stirling without opposition, but the attack on Mono was met by artillery, mortar and small-arms fire. Despite this the landing was successfully made, and by the end of the day all effective opposition had been overcome.

Throughout the day fighter patrols were maintained over the Treasuries to give protection to the landing forces and shipping. The RNZAF Wing flew ten patrols on this duty. The first operations of the day were a patrol by eight aircraft of No. 18 Squadron over the islands from 5.40 in the morning until 8.40, and one by page 205 four aircraft from 5.40 till ten past eight covering the task force immediately before and during its landings. Four other patrols of four aircraft each flew over the landing operations at two-hour intervals. No. 15 Squadron flew four patrols during the day, two of four aircraft and two of eight.

No contact was made with enemy aircraft until the afternoon, when thirty to forty Val dive-bombers and fifty to sixty Zeke and Hamp fighters attacked the landing craft unloading at the beaches. At the time both American and New Zealand fighters were patrolling to the north-west and north-east of the islands. In all, three groups of enemy planes were successfully intercepted by the Allied fighter screen, but a fourth group got through and damaged the fighter director ship, the USS Cony, with two direct bomb hits. Flights from both New Zealand squadrons intercepted enemy formations and between them shot down four Japanese fighters for no loss to themselves.