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HotelBushranger
04-21-2006, 09:59 AM
It's a great film. The setting of the movie is that during the battle of Isurava, a company was placed forward of the village to act as the early warning. A bunch of men get cut off, and have to work their way back to behind Isurava.

In real life, this did happen, under the leadership of Leftenant Bob Sword. They worked they way back, with wounded, sickness and no food, to a village behind Isurava, Illora IIRC. When they found out the rest of their Battalion were still fighting at Isurava, and losing, they turned around and walked all the way up the track to Isurava, and rejoined their mates.

In the movie, it does not completely stick to this. My expectation was that they WOULD keep it as historically accurate as possible, so I was a bit disappointed about this. There were also little nicknacs, the biggest being that in the movie, the men had green clothes, or a sort of jungle green. In real life, they were issued with Khaki uniform (nice work Blamey ya yutz http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif).

However, it is a very moving story. What it appears to have done, is taken examples of events in the campaign, ie individual events, and placed them all into this movie, so that you get a genuine understanding of what happened throughout the whole thing. For someone with intricate knowledge of the campaign, it is still good. The acting is great, and there are moments you feel a lump in your throat. For newbies to Kokoda, this movie is excellent, I cannot stress that enough. The movie makers did a fine job with this. Could have been better, but I'm mightily stoked Kokodas getting the attention it truly deserved.

4 out of 5 stars. I recommend as many people as possible see this film.

BSS_Goat
04-21-2006, 10:31 AM
Is this the one with Steven Segal or the one with Chuck Norris?

MLudner
04-21-2006, 10:37 AM
I've always hoped a movie would be made about that battle, but I'll probably have to wait for the DVD release to see it because I live in the US. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/sadeyes.gif I'm one of the few people over here who knows about that battle.

Edbert
04-21-2006, 10:41 AM
Originally posted by BSS_Goat:
Is this the one with Steven Segal or the one with Chuck Norris?
It was with Hasselhoff.

ploughman
04-21-2006, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the review, I look forward to seeing it.

Phas3e
04-21-2006, 02:24 PM
I look forward to it, I might have to wait for the DVD here in NZ
But it will be good to see someone other than the yanks fighting the war in a movie (JOKES)

mandrill7
04-21-2006, 03:41 PM
I thought they dyed the khaki outfits jungle green en route from the Middle East.

Stigler_9_JG52
04-21-2006, 06:04 PM
I've never heard about this, so I'm thinking it's a foreign film or something?

Can you give us more info about it, who is in it, who produced it, where it comes from, etc.?

I might have to put it in my netflix queue if i can locate it...

willyvic
04-21-2006, 07:32 PM
here ya go Stig.


http://www.kokodathemovie.com.au/

WV.

-HH-Dubbo
04-21-2006, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by Edbert:
It was with Hasselhoff.

Oddly enough, Hasselhoff is filming here at my appartment building today...complete with KITT. (I **** you not)

So HBR, you got a sneak peak yeah? I was wondering if you'd make it ANZAC day as you are usually taking part in events.

Bussard_1
04-21-2006, 09:13 PM
Mandril,
The 39th, 49th and 53rd Battalions which formed the 30th Brigade which garrisoned Port Moresby in early 1942 were militia troops and were woefully undertrained and equipped. Their unforms were in khaki and even when the 7th Division AIF troops arrived from the Middle East they were khaki clad, even though Commanders in the field were urging the Army to supply Jungle green replacements.
HBR,
Saw KOKODA first day it was out.
Very good, but I think it may have been rushed to be in theatre for ANZAC day.
I'm looking forward to Yahoo Serious's offering.
Did you like the Trek Kokoda advert at the beginning? I'd like to do that trek early Sept next year if I can, while it's still possible that I can make it.
Salute Chokos, Diggers, ANZACs and Fuzzie Wuzzies.

Gumtree
04-21-2006, 09:54 PM
Guys ,
I was under the impression that the militia battallions (39,49and 53) were issued Greens and that the problem of khaki was limited to the 21st brigade troops at Kokoda due to them still having their uniforms from the desert ,that they brought back with them from the Palestinane camapain they had just conluded.

Ratsack
04-21-2006, 10:07 PM
Originally posted by Stigler_9_JG52:
I've never heard about this, so I'm thinking it's a foreign film or something?



No, mate, it's a domestic movie. You're foreign.

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Ratsack

tagTaken2
04-21-2006, 11:32 PM
Unfortunately, next cheaparse choosday falls on Anzac day, so may have to wait a week...

Is it realistic- blood, dysentery, ringworm not glossed over?

I don't want, especially in the current political climate, to see another movie that glorifies war.

Gumtree
04-22-2006, 01:27 AM
just got back from seeing it now,I liked it ,focuses on a small patrol of the 39th battalion AMF during the fighting withdrawal from Kokoda.

Just the right amount of action and oppressive jungle to give you a feel of what it may have been like.The Japs are rarely seen also living up to the major complaint that the Aussies had which was they couldn't see them till they were right on you.

Prisoners are brutilised by the Japs then in reprisals the Aussies kill in cold blood a wounded enemy , which is good as it doesn't take the morale high ground of making out the Japs to be the only ones who killed their prisoners.

Not a all encompassing account of the campain but rather a focus on a lost patrol and their adventures to stay alive and reach friendly troops...where ever they may be.

Guys I can't recommend enough if you have an interest in this battle then read a book buy Peter Brune called 'Raggered bloody heroes' this is a real eye opener to the inadequate preparation by Australia and the criminal treatment of the these troops that were sent into the Jungle barely trained and poorly equipt and supplied.

At the end of a magnificant fighting withdrawal they are slandered by the Australian Highest command and never given the recognition they truely deserved.

Waldo.Pepper
04-22-2006, 02:10 AM
The next movie I will be seeing. Be sure.

HotelBushranger
04-22-2006, 04:42 AM
I thought they dyed the khaki outfits jungle green en route from the Middle East.

Nah mate. The 39th and 53rd Battalion were never in Palestine, that was the 7th Division. the 39th and 53rd came from Australia, they only being Militia Battalions and only serving in New Guinea because a law was passed stating PNG as Australian territory.
The 2/14th, 2/16th and 2/27th Battalions, the AIF units that served in the Kokoda campaign, were from the 7th Division, just finished fighting in Palestine. It was they who died their khakis whilst on the track, not on the way too.


So HBR, you got a sneak peak yeah? I was wondering if you'd make it ANZAC day as you are usually taking part in events.

Nah mate, it came out on the 20th over here in WA. I couldn't see it on ANZAC day cos I'm participating in the parade http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/metal.gif


Is it realistic- blood, dysentery, ringworm not glossed over?

Yes mate, it is very realistic, theres bugger all glossed over - even the dysentry.


I don't want, especially in the current political climate, to see another movie that glorifies war.
It in no way glorifies war, more like celebrates the fact that these poor bastards made it out alive.

For some more Kokoda books, read Kokoda by Paul Ham and Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimons. Hams is a much more detailed account, which also includes the actions at Milne Bay, Buna, Gona, and Sanananda. Fitzsimons is a more emotional book, focusing on the feelings and experiences of the men, without detracting from the actual campaign history.


Did you like the Trek Kokoda advert at the beginning? I'd like to do that trek early Sept next year if I can, while it's still possible that I can make it.

Mate there was no advert over here, but I've been looking at several companies to do the trek for years.

I recommend http://www.kokodatrail.com.au/ and http://www.kokodatreks.com/

~S~

Bussard_1
04-22-2006, 04:43 AM
Ah Ratsack, you rock Sir! IV/JG1-Kaiser,aka Bussard_1
HBR, got those. Have you seen; http://www.kokodaspirit.com/
http://thegreatoutdoors.com.au/display.php?location=islands&ID=2052

faelas
04-22-2006, 01:18 PM
Watched the trailer... awesome. Cant wait for this to make it to the USA.

Here is a copy of an email that I sent to a bunch of friends about the battles along the Kokoda Trail (as it's know in the US...)

================================================

I've recently been reading about a battle in the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations) of WW2 that may be regarded as a turning point in the war against Japan. This relatively small battle almost lead to the capture of Port Moresby, which would render Australia proper open to invasion. This would have given Japan some much needed breathing room, and would have greatly complicated any further Allied operations in the Pacific for a long time. That place, that battle, was Kokoda. It was fought mostly by Australian militia against overwhelmingly superior, battle hardened Japanese soldiers with superior equipment and proper training. In the end they came frighteningly close to their objective.


About the Australians:

"In the Kokoda battle their qualities of adaptability and individual initiative enabled them to show tremendous ability as fighting men in the jungle. They were superb."
Lieutenant-General Tsutomu Yoshihara, chief of staff of Japan's South Seas army

The Australians began the campaign with three battalions of Australian militia, the 39th, 49th and 53rd, and one battalion of untrained natives called simply the "Papua Battalion".

Also, the many Papuan pack bearers and guides were essential to the Allied victory. Regarded by Australian troops with great respect and affection, they were known as "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels" due to their afro-like hair style and the extreme lengths they took to help wounded Australian soldiers. To this day the Australians show a great deal of heartfelt respect for the natives of Papua New Guinea.


About the Japanese:

Japanese forces consisted at first of the 5th Sasebo Landing Force €" a 500-strong Japanese marine battalion €" commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hatsuo Tsukamoto. After the Buna landings this force was augmented by troops of the Imperial Japanese Army's 10,000-strong South Seas Force, commanded by Major-General Tomitaro Horii , based at Rabaul. These troops were moved to Papua, landing on July 29 1942. Virtually none would survive.


About the battleground:

The basic idea was a Japanese land offensive to capture Port Moresby, a precious strategic point to the Japanese in 1942. Papua New Guinea is the second largest island in the world. Buna, where the Japanese landed in July, is on the north east coast. 'As the crow flies' the area is less than 200 kilometers from Port Moresby, on the South side of the island. It is, however, separated from that town by the steep Owen Stanley Range of mountains. The Owen Stanley Range contains some of the most rugged and isolated terrain on Earth, the mountains each rising higher and higher until 7,000 feet is reached at Mount Bellamy, then declining again to 3,000 feet. It is covered in thick jungle and tangled with vines. Too steep and muddy even for pack animals, the only way over this range was by foot, a rugged and dangerous, single file, 100 mile long track. This track was known as the Kokoda Trail. The trail was named for the village of Kokoda, about half way between Port Moresby and Buna in a relatively flat stretch of terrain known as the Kokoda Gap. The Kokoda Trail covers seemingly impossible terrain: from nearly impenetrable rain forest to agonizingly steep cliff-like ascents and descents. Neither the Japanese or the Australians had proper maps of the Kokoda Trail. The country was so rough that distances could not be measured in kilometers or miles, but in how many hours or days it would take to walk from one point to another. Daily climate on the trail ranged from hot, humid, rainy days to intensely cold nights due to high altitudes. Seemingly continuous torrential rainfall and tropical diseases such as malaria and typhoid added to the miserable conditions. The trail started in the small village of Buna on the north coast of Papua and lead up the slopes of the Owen Stanley Range through Gorari and Oivi to Kokoda. The track then became crumpled and folded into a series of steep ridges, until finally flattening out into merely hilly terrain south of Imita Ridge, just 30 miles from Port Moresby.

Their losses at the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway had prevented the Japanese from invading Port Moresby by sea, so the objective in July was an overland assault on the town via the Kokoda Trail.



Kokoda: the battle

The Australians left Port Moresby on 7 July reaching Kokoda on the 15th. Even before the troops met the enemy they had to fight conditions horrific to men untrained in jungle warfare. As well as the steepness of the track the young soldiers had to contend with rain forests dripping with leeches as well as mosquito-infested swamps. Large numbers of men contracted malaria. Despite being in the tropics they were continually wet and cold in the incessant rain and high altitudes. Their equipment, with 60lb packs, heavy combat boots and khaki summer uniforms, was unsuitable for the conditions. Indeed the khaki color allowed them to be seen easily against the green of the jungle. Camouflage and jungle-green uniforms didn't arrive until later in the campaign.

On 21 July a force of 1,800 Japanese landed at Buna with the object of building a road to cross the Owen Stanley Range and taking Port Moresby. The Japanese forces advanced rapidly up the Kokoda track. The Australian 39th militia soldiers fought a small Japanese advance force at a place called Awala and Lt Colonel Owen, the commanding officer of the 39th, was killed in action while throwing hand grenades at advancing Japanese Marines. The Australian militia were outgunned and outnumbered and fell back to Kokoda Village. The Japanese soon caught up and launched a counterattack. The Papuan Infantry Battalion and part of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, were driven back to Wairopi on 24 July. On 29 July the Japanese captured Kokoda. By early August, the situation was desperate. Supplies of food and ammunition were running out. The Australians withdrew to Isurava, where on the 14th of August 1942 they dug in using their steel helmets and bayonets and awaited the Japanese onslaught. The Australians numbered less then 300 men - many were sick or wounded. At dawn, on the 26th of August, the Japanese attacked at Isurava. During the four day battle, from sunrise to sunset the Japanese attacked in overwhelming numbers. The Australian 10th platoon of the 2/14th (about 32 men), commanded by Lt Harold Bisset, fought off attacks by over 1,100 Japanese. Afterwords, over 200 enemy bodies were counted in front of the 10th platoon's position. In another action, Private Charlie McCallum, with a Bren gun in one hand and a tommy gun in the other, covered the withdrawal of 12th Platoon. Calmly, McCallum shot down about 40 charging Japanese soldiers. The Japanese got so close to him that one was even seen to grab at the pouches on his belt. Elsewhere, Private Bruce Kingsbury leapt up from his position, and firing his Bren gun from the hip, charged the Japanese attackers through a storm of gun fire. He cleared a swath of 100 meters in front of his battalion before being shot in the chest by a sniper. Kingsbury€s action stopped the Japanese breakthrough and restored the battalions position. Kingsbury was posthumously awarded Australia€s highest medal for bravery, the Victoria Cross. After four days of non-stop, day and night, often hand-to-hand fighting, the Australians were forced to withdraw from Isurava to avoid being outflanked. The withdrawal took place in nightmare conditions of mud, rain and total darkness. Some men were cut off. Captain Ben Buckler led 41 men through the rain forest for 6 weeks after they were cut off from the main Australian force during the Isurava withdrawal. For several weeks during their epic journey, Buckler's party was behind enemy lines with absolutely no supply. The remains of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion made their way back along the Kokoda track to the base hospital, every last man suffering from gunshot wounds sustained in the fighting. To reach the hospital area they had to walk for nearly six days through thick jungle. Typical of these men was private Kieth Norrish. With three bullets lodged in his stomach, one in his chest and another in his arm, he spent five days walking the muddy track before reaching safety.

The Australians on the Kokoda Trail were forced to withdraw from Isurava under fierce attack from vastly superior Japanese forces, falling back to Templeton€s Crossing. By this time the appalling conditions and lack of supplies had caused health problems among the Australian troops. Apart from battle wounds and difficulties with adequate medical treatment, soldiers were sick with dysentery, malaria and weakness from starvation. The 39th Australian Infantry Battalion had been reduced greatly in strength by combat and disease. Of the 1,500 men of the 39th Battalion, just 185 were in fighting condition. By this time there were only about 500 Australian troops holding back a force of over 5,000 Japanese. The Australian retreat continued, first to Efogi, losing the Myola supply point, then to Menari and Nauro. After a fierce battle at Ioribaiwa the exhausted Australians had to withdraw again to Imita Ridge, only 50 kilometers from Port Moresby.

By the end of September though it became clear that the Japanese would not take the battle to Port Moresby. From a tactical point of view the Australians were now closer to their supply lines. the Japanese, however, were far from theirs. Now, like the Australians, they were exhausted and starving. At the end of September it was the turn of the Australians to pursue the Japanese back over the Owen Stanleys. Nevertheless the fighting was far from over. The Japanese had dug in at Templeton€s Crossing and kept up the fighting for eight days before retreating. After further fierce fighting with heavy losses on both sides, the Australians recaptured Kokoda, finding it deserted. The recapture of Kokoda on 2 November was not the end of the campaign to expel the Japanese invaders from Papua however. Some of the most fierce fighting came around the isolated beachheads of Buna, Sanananda and Gona. Here exhausted but desperate Japanese soldiers dug in and resisted repeated attacks, surviving under horrifically inhuman conditions.

Generals Sir Thomas Blamey and MacArthur planned that the Australians should mount a final rapid offensive against Gona in mid-November. This proved a more protracted operation than MacArthur had foreseen. The Japanese bunkers were well defended and the extremely hot conditions on the swampy coastal plain amid shoulder-high, razor-sharp kunai grass gave the Australians a great disadvantage. It was not until 9 December that the leader of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, Lieut-Colonel R. Honner, was able to send the grimly humorous and pithy message, €œGona€s gone!€. American troops had in the meantime arrived for what was also to be a long struggle against Buna. Initially the troops of the United States made little headway at Buna. Partly because of their inexperience and unpreparedness for jungle fighting, the Americans suffered heavy casualties. Australian Brigadier George Wootten took direct command on 17 December, and Buna was recaptured on 2 January 1943. Organized resistance from the Japanese ended on 23 January 1943, with more than 7,000 Japanese soldiers killed. The South Seas Force had been almost completely annihilated, many Japanese fighting to the death rather than surrendering.

EDIT: Most of this is copied from an Australian historical website. I make no claim that it is my own words, as it was originally only meant to be an email to explain the battle to some friends. It is posted here for the information of the community.

BfHeFwMe
04-22-2006, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by Ratsack:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Stigler_9_JG52:
I've never heard about this, so I'm thinking it's a foreign film or something?



No, mate, it's a domestic movie. You're foreign.

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Ratsack </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

Gumtree
04-22-2006, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by faelas:
Watched the trailer... awesome. Cant wait for this to make it to the USA.

Here is a copy of an email that I sent to a bunch of friends about the battles along the Kokoda Trail (as it's know in the US...)

================================================

I've recently been reading about a battle in the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations) of WW2 that may be regarded as a turning point in the war against Japan. This relatively small battle almost lead to the capture of Port Moresby, which would render Australia proper open to invasion. This would have given Japan some much needed breathing room, and would have greatly complicated any further Allied operations in the Pacific for a long time. That place, that battle, was Kokoda. It was fought mostly by Australian militia against overwhelmingly superior, battle hardened Japanese soldiers with superior equipment and proper training. In the end they came frighteningly close to their objective.


About the Australians:

"In the Kokoda battle their qualities of adaptability and individual initiative enabled them to show tremendous ability as fighting men in the jungle. They were superb."
Lieutenant-General Tsutomu Yoshihara, chief of staff of Japan's South Seas army

The Australians began the campaign with three battalions of Australian militia, the 39th, 49th and 53rd, and one battalion of untrained natives called simply the "Papua Battalion".

Also, the many Papuan pack bearers and guides were essential to the Allied victory. Regarded by Australian troops with great respect and affection, they were known as "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels" due to their afro-like hair style and the extreme lengths they took to help wounded Australian soldiers. To this day the Australians show a great deal of heartfelt respect for the natives of Papua New Guinea.


About the Japanese:

Japanese forces consisted at first of the 5th Sasebo Landing Force €" a 500-strong Japanese marine battalion €" commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hatsuo Tsukamoto. After the Buna landings this force was augmented by troops of the Imperial Japanese Army's 10,000-strong South Seas Force, commanded by Major-General Tomitaro Horii , based at Rabaul. These troops were moved to Papua, landing on July 29 1942. Virtually none would survive.


About the battleground:

The basic idea was a Japanese land offensive to capture Port Moresby, a precious strategic point to the Japanese in 1942. Papua New Guinea is the second largest island in the world. Buna, where the Japanese landed in July, is on the north east coast. 'As the crow flies' the area is less than 200 kilometers from Port Moresby, on the South side of the island. It is, however, separated from that town by the steep Owen Stanley Range of mountains. The Owen Stanley Range contains some of the most rugged and isolated terrain on Earth, the mountains each rising higher and higher until 7,000 feet is reached at Mount Bellamy, then declining again to 3,000 feet. It is covered in thick jungle and tangled with vines. Too steep and muddy even for pack animals, the only way over this range was by foot, a rugged and dangerous, single file, 100 mile long track. This track was known as the Kokoda Trail. The trail was named for the village of Kokoda, about half way between Port Moresby and Buna in a relatively flat stretch of terrain known as the Kokoda Gap. The Kokoda Trail covers seemingly impossible terrain: from nearly impenetrable rain forest to agonizingly steep cliff-like ascents and descents. Neither the Japanese or the Australians had proper maps of the Kokoda Trail. The country was so rough that distances could not be measured in kilometers or miles, but in how many hours or days it would take to walk from one point to another. Daily climate on the trail ranged from hot, humid, rainy days to intensely cold nights due to high altitudes. Seemingly continuous torrential rainfall and tropical diseases such as malaria and typhoid added to the miserable conditions. The trail started in the small village of Buna on the north coast of Papua and lead up the slopes of the Owen Stanley Range through Gorari and Oivi to Kokoda. The track then became crumpled and folded into a series of steep ridges, until finally flattening out into merely hilly terrain south of Imita Ridge, just 30 miles from Port Moresby.

Their losses at the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway had prevented the Japanese from invading Port Moresby by sea, so the objective in July was an overland assault on the town via the Kokoda Trail.



Kokoda: the battle

The Australians left Port Moresby on 7 July reaching Kokoda on the 15th. Even before the troops met the enemy they had to fight conditions horrific to men untrained in jungle warfare. As well as the steepness of the track the young soldiers had to contend with rain forests dripping with leeches as well as mosquito-infested swamps. Large numbers of men contracted malaria. Despite being in the tropics they were continually wet and cold in the incessant rain and high altitudes. Their equipment, with 60lb packs, heavy combat boots and khaki summer uniforms, was unsuitable for the conditions. Indeed the khaki color allowed them to be seen easily against the green of the jungle. Camouflage and jungle-green uniforms didn't arrive until later in the campaign.

On 21 July a force of 1,800 Japanese landed at Buna with the object of building a road to cross the Owen Stanley Range and taking Port Moresby. The Japanese forces advanced rapidly up the Kokoda track. The Australian 39th militia soldiers fought a small Japanese advance force at a place called Awala and Lt Colonel Owen, the commanding officer of the 39th, was killed in action while throwing hand grenades at advancing Japanese Marines. The Australian militia were outgunned and outnumbered and fell back to Kokoda Village. The Japanese soon caught up and launched a counterattack. The Papuan Infantry Battalion and part of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, were driven back to Wairopi on 24 July. On 29 July the Japanese captured Kokoda. By early August, the situation was desperate. Supplies of food and ammunition were running out. The Australians withdrew to Isurava, where on the 14th of August 1942 they dug in using their steel helmets and bayonets and awaited the Japanese onslaught. The Australians numbered less then 300 men - many were sick or wounded. At dawn, on the 26th of August, the Japanese attacked at Isurava. During the four day battle, from sunrise to sunset the Japanese attacked in overwhelming numbers. The Australian 10th platoon of the 2/14th (about 32 men), commanded by Lt Harold Bisset, fought off attacks by over 1,100 Japanese. Afterwords, over 200 enemy bodies were counted in front of the 10th platoon's position. In another action, Private Charlie McCallum, with a Bren gun in one hand and a tommy gun in the other, covered the withdrawal of 12th Platoon. Calmly, McCallum shot down about 40 charging Japanese soldiers. The Japanese got so close to him that one was even seen to grab at the pouches on his belt. Elsewhere, Private Bruce Kingsbury leapt up from his position, and firing his Bren gun from the hip, charged the Japanese attackers through a storm of gun fire. He cleared a swath of 100 meters in front of his battalion before being shot in the chest by a sniper. Kingsbury€s action stopped the Japanese breakthrough and restored the battalions position. Kingsbury was posthumously awarded Australia€s highest medal for bravery, the Victoria Cross. After four days of non-stop, day and night, often hand-to-hand fighting, the Australians were forced to withdraw from Isurava to avoid being outflanked. The withdrawal took place in nightmare conditions of mud, rain and total darkness. Some men were cut off. Captain Ben Buckler led 41 men through the rain forest for 6 weeks after they were cut off from the main Australian force during the Isurava withdrawal. For several weeks during their epic journey, Buckler's party was behind enemy lines with absolutely no supply. The remains of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion made their way back along the Kokoda track to the base hospital, every last man suffering from gunshot wounds sustained in the fighting. To reach the hospital area they had to walk for nearly six days through thick jungle. Typical of these men was private Kieth Norrish. With three bullets lodged in his stomach, one in his chest and another in his arm, he spent five days walking the muddy track before reaching safety.

The Australians on the Kokoda Trail were forced to withdraw from Isurava under fierce attack from vastly superior Japanese forces, falling back to Templeton€s Crossing. By this time the appalling conditions and lack of supplies had caused health problems among the Australian troops. Apart from battle wounds and difficulties with adequate medical treatment, soldiers were sick with dysentery, malaria and weakness from starvation. The 39th Australian Infantry Battalion had been reduced greatly in strength by combat and disease. Of the 1,500 men of the 39th Battalion, just 185 were in fighting condition. By this time there were only about 500 Australian troops holding back a force of over 5,000 Japanese. The Australian retreat continued, first to Efogi, losing the Myola supply point, then to Menari and Nauro. After a fierce battle at Ioribaiwa the exhausted Australians had to withdraw again to Imita Ridge, only 50 kilometers from Port Moresby.

By the end of September though it became clear that the Japanese would not take the battle to Port Moresby. From a tactical point of view the Australians were now closer to their supply lines. the Japanese, however, were far from theirs. Now, like the Australians, they were exhausted and starving. At the end of September it was the turn of the Australians to pursue the Japanese back over the Owen Stanleys. Nevertheless the fighting was far from over. The Japanese had dug in at Templeton€s Crossing and kept up the fighting for eight days before retreating. After further fierce fighting with heavy losses on both sides, the Australians recaptured Kokoda, finding it deserted. The recapture of Kokoda on 2 November was not the end of the campaign to expel the Japanese invaders from Papua however. Some of the most fierce fighting came around the isolated beachheads of Buna, Sanananda and Gona. Here exhausted but desperate Japanese soldiers dug in and resisted repeated attacks, surviving under horrifically inhuman conditions.

Generals Sir Thomas Blamey and MacArthur planned that the Australians should mount a final rapid offensive against Gona in mid-November. This proved a more protracted operation than MacArthur had foreseen. The Japanese bunkers were well defended and the extremely hot conditions on the swampy coastal plain amid shoulder-high, razor-sharp kunai grass gave the Australians a great disadvantage. It was not until 9 December that the leader of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, Lieut-Colonel R. Honner, was able to send the grimly humorous and pithy message, €œGona€s gone!€. American troops had in the meantime arrived for what was also to be a long struggle against Buna. Initially the troops of the United States made little headway at Buna. Partly because of their inexperience and unpreparedness for jungle fighting, the Americans suffered heavy casualties. Australian Brigadier George Wootten took direct command on 17 December, and Buna was recaptured on 2 January 1943. Organized resistance from the Japanese ended on 23 January 1943, with more than 7,000 Japanese soldiers killed. The South Seas Force had been almost completely annihilated, many Japanese fighting to the death rather than surrendering.

EDIT: Most of this is copied from an Australian historical website. I make no claim that it is my own words, as it was originally only meant to be an email to explain the battle to some friends. It is posted here for the information of the community. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

Gumtree
04-22-2006, 08:47 PM
At first I thought ****e this bloke knows his stuff then saw the postscipt hehe well done.

HotelBushranger
04-22-2006, 11:13 PM
Yep, very well done thanks mate, I always like it when people share the exploits of other nations as well as their own. Perhaps also, you should put in the fact that Blamey and MacArthur offered no support to these men, and ignored the repeated requests for food, ammo, mortars, even blankets, essentially everything a soldier needs to survive. They had no idea of the terrain, not even having gone a small bit up the track. There were no documents on terrain, conditions, food, diplomacy with the natives, things that Generals making tactical decisions need to know. And still, without a foggiest clue as to the strength or the enemy or even the ground they were fighting on, Blamey and MacArthur expected these untrained Militiamen to defeat the 144th Regiment of the South Seas Force, a highly trained battle hardened unit, almost to the point of modern day special forces.
Even when the Australians had pushed the Japanese back, when the 2/16 and 2/14th Battalions were on parade for Blamey (these were units of the Australian regular Army, the AIF who had joined the battle several weeks later), Blamey insulted them, saying 'It is the rabbit who runs that gets shot, not the man with the gun'.

Bah, I could go on for hours http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

blakduk
04-23-2006, 05:29 PM
HotelBushranger- you've just mentioned one of the most nauseating moments of Australian military history.
Blamey castigated brave men for fighting their way through a nightmare he had not prepared them for. He had asked the impossible of them, they had achieved it. In return he accused them of cowardice.
Some veterans of that campaign recall a murderous rage starting to swell within them- if he'd stayed around too long after giving that sermon he may not have survived!
The men who met the first assaults were militia, not trained troops. Most had been dragged from their homes a few weeks before and bundled onto troop ships. Most of the remaining regular forces of the Australians were still in North Africa- and we shouldnt forget the huge numbers captured in Singapore.
Some did run at the first engagement- not surprising when none had experienced battle before, and the terrain they fought in would have made it extremely difficult for officers to maintain cohesion. These initial reports back to HQ (Blamey) influenced his entire attitude to the troops.
He also accused the RAAF pilots of cowardice for not 'dogfighting' with the Japanese. He saw the bnz tactics as signs of weakness- his concept of aerial war took no account of the exploitation of the strengths of the P40 over the Japanese planes.
Blamey had his good points- he was a competent strategists, but others also consider him to have been a pompous git.

The whole New Guinea campaign was so overwhelming and cruel i cant imagine a film doing it justice. You've convinced me to at least have a look at it.
I'll let you know what i think of it- I'd better like it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Siwarrior
04-23-2006, 06:46 PM
G'day all http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Haven't seen the movie but i got a book about Kokoda ( peter Fitzsimmons) for my 15th B-day ( yewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!)and its a great read. Not only does it talk about the battle of Kokoda but Australias position before it and what was going on.
Great read !!!

HotelBushranger
04-23-2006, 11:00 PM
Aye, I have that. Read it about 6 times. Great read http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

WTE_Galway
04-23-2006, 11:14 PM
the attitude of blamey to the "chokoes", as the militia were derogatively termed, was not unusual .. it was a pretty typical opinion of the australian regular army to the reservists that still exists to some extent in the Australian army even today

pourshot
04-24-2006, 12:01 AM
Originally posted by HotelBushranger:
Yep, very well done thanks mate, I always like it when people share the exploits of other nations as well as their own. Perhaps also, you should put in the fact that Blamey and MacArthur offered no support to these men, and ignored the repeated requests for food, ammo, mortars, even blankets, essentially everything a soldier needs to survive. They had no idea of the terrain, not even having gone a small bit up the track. There were no documents on terrain, conditions, food, diplomacy with the natives, things that Generals making tactical decisions need to know. And still, without a foggiest clue as to the strength or the enemy or even the ground they were fighting on, Blamey and MacArthur expected these untrained Militiamen to defeat the 144th Regiment of the South Seas Force, a highly trained battle hardened unit, almost to the point of modern day special forces.
Even when the Australians had pushed the Japanese back, when the 2/16 and 2/14th Battalions were on parade for Blamey (these were units of the Australian regular Army, the AIF who had joined the battle several weeks later), Blamey insulted them, saying 'It is the rabbit who runs that gets shot, not the man with the gun'.

Bah, I could go on for hours http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif


To make things even worse Macarthur & Blamey gave most of their orders from a bunker in Sydney with little or no idea of how the battle was really being fought, I think we could have saved a lot of lives in this campaign if we had shot all the generals first.

HotelBushranger
04-24-2006, 12:55 AM
Yeah exactly, they were making tactical decisions in a plush hotel in Melbourne 6000 miles away, without a slightest idea of the terrain.
And roger than on the shooting the generals, the most infuriating thing was that the good battalion/brigade commanders, like Potts and Rowell got replaced by duds!