“Imperial marine paratroopers at the Battle of Manado”, propaganda postcard, 1942.

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“Imperial marine paratroopers at the Battle of Manado”, propaganda postcard, 1942, Japan’s first ever combat air drop. The lightly armed parachute units of the 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force were airlifted by Mitsubishi G4M bomber-transports, with the target objective of capturing Langoan airfield, south of Menado City, and the Kakas seaplane base.

See also:
Attack on Pearl Harbor propaganda postcard, c. 1942.
“Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” propaganda postcard, 1942.
The Battle of Wong Nai Chung Gap (Hong Kong) propaganda postcard, 1942.

“The Battle of Menado took place as part of the Japanese offensive, from 11–12 January 1942, to capture the Dutch East Indies. The battle was noted as the first time in Japanese history that the country deployed paratroopers in a military operation.

“The seizure of Menado was outlined as part of Japan’s Eastern Offensive prong to capture the Dutch East Indies in their attempt to open a passage from which to attack Australia. The 1st Yokosuka SNLF (‘Special Naval Landing Force’, under Commander Toyoaki Horiuchi), in conjunction with the Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force, were to carry out a paradrop operation on the enemy airfield. Their objectives are to seize Langoan airfield and the Kakas Seaplane Base, two facilities that were to provide support for subsequent Japanese operations in the Dutch East Indies campaign.

“Mitsubishi G4M aircraft provided the airlift transport for the 1st Yokosuka SNLF. Each plane carried 12 paratroopers armed with rifles and pistols, and seven cargo containers containing heavier weapons. The paradrops occurred at an altitude of 500 ft and at a speed of 120mph. Tragically, while the flight approached northern Celebes, a group of Mitsubishi F1M ‘Pete’ fighter plans that was covering the naval invasion force mistakenly attacked them, shooting down one aircraft and killing all 12 paras aboard.

“Within three hours of the paradrop, the airfield and seaplane base were under Japanese control. The remaining Dutch troops retreated inland to wage a guerilla war.

“Menado remained under Japanese occupation until October 1945, when the Australian-composed ‘Menado Force’ liberated the region.”


“Paratroopers at Battle of Manado (Menado)”, propaganda postcard, 1942. Imperial navy paratroopers were officially part of the Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF or Rikusentai), first formed in September 1941. The paratroop force was planned to be used as a diversion, to create maximum surprise, with Rikusentai paratroopers landing inland from the assault beaches. A key objective would be for paratroopers to disable airfields, preventing enemy warplanes from interfering with amphibious landings.

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