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Menado (124.847E 1.531N) is a port on the northeastern tip of Celebes Island. It was captured by the Dutch in 1683 and twice occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars. Most of the local population is Christian, converted after 1820 by Dutch Protestant missionaries. Much of the city is built on pilings. The port exports rice, corn, copra, and coffee.
In late 1941, there were two nearby airfields (Langoan and Mapanget), among the best in the Netherlands East Indies, that were coveted by the Japanese as stepping stones towards Java. These were protected by just two 75mm coastal guns and a force of about 1500 infantry, 75% of whom were militia.
The Japanese seized Menado on 11 January 1941 in a combined parachute and amphibious assault. Combined Sasebo SNLF landed on 11 January 1941 on the southeast shore of the northeast tip of Minahassa Peninsula while 1 Yokosuka SNLF parachuted onto the airfield. The two sites were linked by a road which was quickly secured, after which the Japanese overwhelmed the Menado garrison. A number of Dutch prisoners were executed in reprisal for the heavy casualties suffered by the Japanese paratroops (some 130 were killed). Japanese air units were operating from the airfields by 24 January.
"The fall of Menado, January 1942" (accessed 2010-9-1)
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