Japanese had concentrated ten flying regiments, their
Fourth Air Army,
far beyond the effective range of Allied fighters. Unwilling
to risk unescorted heavy bombers , US forces constructed an
advance air base at
sixty miles southeast of
where fighters could reach Wewak. On 17 August 1943,
Kenney's airmen struck Wewak and left 100 parked airplanes destroyed
on taxiways or damaged in their earthen revetments. A follow-up
strike the next morning wrecked 28 more Japanese planes. In just two
days the Fourth Air Army lost three-quarters of its aircraft.
Temporarily crippled, the Japanese were unable to oppose the first
coordinated airborne and amphibious assault in the Pacific that
occurred two weeks later.