KOKODA: So it was at Kokoda? [Humanities]


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Kokoda: So it was at Kokoda?

Kokoda Campaign

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KOKODA: So it was at Kokoda? [Humanities]

  1. 1. General Vernon Sturdee, Director of military operations and intelligence at Army Headquarters in Melbourne, warned in 1933 that Japan would pose the major threat to Australian security. He predicted: ‘the Japanese would act quickly, they would all be regulars, fully trained and equipped for the operations, and fanatics who like dying in battle, whilst our troops would consist mainly of civilians, hastily thrown together on mobilisation, with very little training, short of artillery and possibly of gun ammunition.’ He was ignored. As the storm clouds of war gathered over the Pacific in late 1941 the only troops available to defend our homeland at the time were training with broomsticks because they had no rifles. Spirit of Kokoda: 70 years on!
  2. 2. Where is Kokoda? Kokoda is a town in Papua New Guinea. It is in the Northern state/region. Latitude: 8° 52' 57" S Longitude: 147° 42' 28" E
  3. 3. What is the Kokoda Track/Trail? The southern end of the Kokoda track/trail begins at Ower’s Corner, a 61km drive from north-east of Port Moresby. The track/trail is 96 kms long and ends on the northern side of the Owen Stanley Range at Kokoda station near Kokoda village.
  4. 4. What is in a Name? 1526 Portuguese sailor JORGE DE MENESES is the first European visitor. He names one of the islands “Ilhas dos Papuas” meaning: “Land of fuzzy-haired people”. 1546 Spanish explorer INIGO ORTIZ DE RETES names the other main island New Guinea because the islanders resemble the people of Guinea in Africa. 1768 French explorer LOUIS-ANTOINE DE BOUGAINVILLE lands at the islands during his circumnavigation of the world. Gives his name to an island just to the east of New Guinea: Bougainville Island. 1873 Port Moresby is named by English explorer JOHN MORESBY after his father. Port Moresby is annexed by the British 1883-1884. 1942 Japanese forces occupy parts of both territories. Annexed: To add territory to one’s own territory by appropriation (Just taking it).
  5. 5. The Europeans and the Australians 1884 Great Britain established a protectorate over south-east New Guinea, while Germany annexes the northern part of New Guinea. 1906 The control of British New Guinea is transferred to the newly independent Commonwealth of Australia and renamed: Territory of Papua. 1914 Australian Forces occupy German New Guinea during The Great War (World War I). 1921 After the Great War (World War I), the League of Nations grants Australia a mandate to run ‘German New Guinea’. This new MANDATED TERRITORY of New Guinea is governed totally separately from the ‘Territory of Papua’. Protectorate: A state controlled and protected by another. Mandate: An official order or commission to do something: A Federal Mandate.
  6. 6. Road to Independence 1828 The area West of 141 East longitude, was claimed by the Dutch, on August 24, 1828, by proclamation. The first establishment was at Merkusoord/Fort Du Bus, in 1828 and abandoned in 1836. 1895 The Eastern Border was set at 141 1’47” East longitude. 1898 The first permanent administrative posts at Fakfak and Manokwari, were set up. 1884 Germany annexed the Northeast as Kaiser Wilhelmsland. England claimed the Southeast on November, 1884 with the establishment of Port Moresby. 1899 The German Government gave exploitation rights to the “Neuguinea Compagnie”. Proclamation: A public or official announcement of great importance.
  7. 7. Road to Independence cont… 1906 British New Guinea was administered by Australia as “Papua”. 1945 Australia combined its administration of “Papua” and that of the mandate into the “Territory of Papua New Guinea”, with the common capital at Port Moresby. 1946 From 1946 it became “United Nations Australian Trust Territory of New Guinea”. 1921 German New Guinea and the Solomon Islands formed the “New Guinea Territory” administered by Australia as a mandated territory of the League of Nations in 1921, after the Great War. (World War I). 1973 Self-government was achieved on December 1, 1973. 1975 Full independence from Australia on September 16, 1975.
  8. 8. Administration of the Island of New Guinea 1942 Eastern SectionWestern Section Northern Section Southern Section Administered until 1963 by: The Netherlands Administered by: Australia Under ‘mandate’ from the League of Nations 1921 (had been annexed by the Germans In 1884) Known as Papua was: An Australian Colony transferred by the British to Australia in 1906 The indigenous population of both Territories was estimated at about 1.5 million. The European residents numbered about 6,000. After Pear Harbour European women and children had been encouraged to return to Australia and by mid-February 1942 the Territories were under military control.
  9. 9. 1942 In mid-July, General Douglas MacArthur, orders a force of Australian infantry and American engineers move across the Kokoda track to Buna to construct an airfield at Dobodura. Under American influence, the track becomes known as the Kokoda Trail. Keep in mind: There is pressure on troop numbers. Experienced soldiers of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) are fighting elsewhere, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa. Major-General B.M. Morris, who commanded the 8th Military District, had to rely at first only on the three (3) militia units of the AMF (Australian Military Forces): the 39th, the 49th, the 53rd and a Papuan Infantry Battalion, manned by indigenous Papuans under the command of Australian Officers. Note: the AMF was originally formed by volunteer and part-time soldiers. Australia's involvement in the long battle for the Kokoda Trail began on 21 July when the Japanese landed in Papua. A partial resolution of the conflict was not to come until November. The Japanese were finally driven out of Papua in January 1943.
  10. 10. At the outbreak of the war, this force was augmented by the call-up of the conscripts for home defence. Note: New Guinea had been declared the 8th Australian Military District in mid-1942 to enable the use of conscripts in the war zone. The 39th Australian Infantry Battalion was a CMF unit ie A Citizens’ Military Force. Note: It was raised in October 1941 from volunteers in Victoria arriving in Port Moresby in January 1942. When it was relieved during the Kokoda operations in September, the Battalion’s strength of about 1500 had decreased, due to battle casualties and illness to 185. “It was not the fault of the 39th Battalion that Kokoda was lost. The fault lay in the failure to make an early assessment of the trail, to foresee the possibility of the Japanese using it, and to take in good time the steps necessary to meet such a development.” Colonel E.G. Keogh, South West Pacific 1941-1945 In July 1942, the Papuan Infantry Battalion was joined by conscripts who arrived with little military training and whose average age was 18½. Note: It was these forces that had to be called upon to mount the offensive. 1942
  11. 11. These young soldiers, with little military training earned the nick-name of ‘Chocos’ or ‘Chocolate soldiers’. Note: This term was first used in WWI and came from George Bernard Shaw’s play Arms and the Man, about a man that would not fight. But after their ‘baptism of fire’ at Kokoda and Milne Bay, the ‘Chocos’ proved that they could fight bravely and well. “The days go on. You are trying to survive, shirt torn, arse out of your pants, whiskers a mile long, hungry, and a continuous line of stretchers with wounded carried by ‘fuzzy‐wuzzies’ doing a marvellous job…” – A digger The Japanese first landed in New Guinea in March, at Salamaua and Lae. In July they landed south of these areas on the north east coast of Papua – at Buna and Gona. It is less that 200 kms from Port Moresby; it is however, separated from that town by the steep rage of the Owen Stanley mountains. The only way over the range was by foot. Note: The Japanese losses at the Battle of the Coral Sea and Midway prevented them from invading Port Moresby by sea. Their objective was to go via the track. The village of Kokoda was about half way between Port Moresby and Buna. 1942
  12. 12. Major-General Morris calls the troops: ‘Maroubra Force’. He sends them towards Buna over the Kokoda track: • Preventing any Japanese advance • Holding the ‘Kokoda Gap’, a flat stretch of the Owen Stanleys. They left Port Moresby on the 7th of July reaching Kokoda on the 15th. Even prior to facing the enemy the ‘Maroubra Force’ had to fight conditions horrific to men untrained in Jungle warfare. They had to contend with the steepness of the track, rainforests dripping with moss and leeches as well as mosquito infested swamps. Many contracted malaria. Despite being in the tropics they were continually wet and cold in the rain and high altitudes. Their 27 kilogram packs, heavy boots and khaki summer uniforms were unsuitable for the conditions. The khaki allowed them to be seen against the green of the jungle. Camouflage and jungle green uniforms arrived later in the campaign. In his Recollections of a Regimental Medical Officer, Major H.D. Steward wrote, “it seemed strange that the Army had not provided us with 'Jungle Greens'. The Japanese had already shown in Malaya and the Pacific their mastery of camouflage, yet we were in khaki shirts and shorts”. 1942
  13. 13. A Timeline – Key Dates 1942 KEY EVENTS 7 July B Company 39th Battalion leave Port Moresby to cross the Kokoda track. 15 July B Coy arrives at Kokoda. Captain Sam Templeton continues on to Buna to collect supplies that have been shipped on the "Gilli Gilli". 21 July Japanese land on the Northern Beaches. 23 July Australians of the 39th Battalion and the Papuan Infantry Brigade make first contact with the Japanese near Awala. 28-29 July First Battle of Kokoda. 8-10 August Second Battle of Kokoda. 12-14 August Battle of Deniki. 26-30 August Battle of Isurava. 39th Militia Battalion reinforced by 2/14th AIF. 53rd Militia and 2/16th prevent outflanking on parallel track through Aburari. 31 August – 2 September Australians withdraw to Eora Creek. 3 September Australians withdraw to Templeton's Crossing.
  14. 14. 1942 KEY EVENTS 4 September Australians withdraw to Myola. 6-8 September Battle of Mission Ridge and Brigade Hill. 10 September Australians withdraw to Nauro. 11-16 September Australians Ambush their way back to Ioribaiwa. Battle of Ioribaiwa. 17 September Australians withdraw from Ioribaiwa and dig in at Imita Ridge. 24 September Japanese begin to "withdraw to the rear" and head back down the track towards the Northern beaches. THE AUSTRALIAN ADVANCE BEGINS September 1942 – January 1943 A Timeline – Key Dates
  15. 15. THE AUSTRALIAN ADVANCE 28 September Australian patrols enter the Japanese defensive positions at Ioribaiwa unopposed. 11 October Japanese halt their withdrawal to positions forward of Templetons Crossing. 16-21 October Battle of Templetons Crossing. 22-29 October Japanese withdraw to defensive positions at Eora Creek. Battle of Eora Creek. 2 November Australian patrol enters Kokoda station unopposed. 3 November The Australian flag is raised at Kokoda. Papuan carriers parade and receive thanks on behalf of Australia. 5 carriers receive awards. 5-12 November Battle of Oivi and Gorari. 15 November Battle along the Sanananda Track begins. 18 November Battle of Gona commences. A Timeline – Key Dates
  16. 16. THE AUSTRALIAN ADVANCE 19 November Battle of Buna starts. 9 December 'Gona's Gone'. The Australians take Gona village. 1943 2 January Buna Village falls to the Australian and American forces. 21 January Sanananda cleaned out. No further Japanese fighting force exists on the Northern Beaches. A Timeline – Key Dates
  17. 17. Webography & Resources • Article: Battle lines II: what invasion? • Article: Tracking the truth of Kokoda • Battle for Australia: Kokoda Trail 1 • Chronological Events - Papua New Guinea • Kokoda Memorial: Queensland • Mandate Records Archives: 4 Mandated Territory of New Guinea Records, 1921–42 • Margaret May MP - Parliament Address on Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall • Postage: Kokoda Series • Postage: Kokoda Series • The History of Netherlands New Guinea • Timeline: Kokoda • Vietnam Veterans & Veterans Federation ACT Inc