Kokoda (by Peter FitzSimons)
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For Australians, Kokoda is the iconic battle of World War II, yet few people know just what happened and just what our troops achieved. Now, best-selling author Peter FitzSimons tells the Kokoda story in a gripping, moving story for all Australians.
Conditions on the track were hellish - rain was constant, the terrain close to inhospitable, food and ammunition supplies were practically non-existent, and the men constantly battled malaria and dysentery, as well as the Japanese. Kokoda was a defining battle for Australia - a small force of young, ill-equipped Australians engaged a highly experienced and hitherto unstoppable Japanese force on a narrow, precarious jungle track - and defeated them.
their supply lines, blunted their thrust and made clear victory less likely. They had to break through, and quickly. That evening as the fighting lulled, Second Lieutenant Noda wrote in his diary: ‘The Australians are gradually being outflanked, but their resistance is very strong and our casualties are great. The outcome of the battle is very difficult to foresee… ’196 Lieutenant Colonel Key and his Intelligence Officer Stan Bisset felt much the same way. That night they had a long meeting in
the odd little bundles by the track showed that some soldiers were taking a kip for the night, but the majority had kept going with the view that with the Japs pressing close behind, with no shelter or medical help whatsoever bar the village of Eora which lay up ahead, it was better to stumble and stagger south through the darkness. For the most part White kept himself to himself, nodding to the wretched men he passed— many of them holding blindly on to the belt of the man in front, who was doing
of us if only they could speak to us from the grave. They would want us to finish the job they died for. They would want us to keep at the Japs, keep ourselves between them and Moresby, to help keep their loved ones and our own back in Australia safe. They would want us to never give up, while there was still breath in us and keep going…’ At first light on 9 September, the survivors of the 21st Brigade struggled forward, carrying their wounded trying to get back to Menari. There were no native
contained in a Letter to the Editor, written by Geoffrey Reading of Castle Hill—who was a newly arrived war correspondent in Port Moresby at the time—and published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 16 August 1995. 277 Originally from p. 209 of Takida Kenji, Taiyo wa moeru, [The Pacific is Burning], Tokyo, 1955. From Steven Bullard, ‘The Japanese Medical System in the Campaigns in Papua (Kokoda and Buna) in 1942 and Early 1943’, paper delivered at the 5th Symposium, The Pacific War in Papua New
lap-lap, another in shorts, the other in something akin to a dress salvaged from somewhere because he liked the colours. The first carried his load in a sugar bag that he simply slung across his back; the next had tied a vine between two smaller fully-laden bags and then used his head as the point from which to suspend them, thus leaving his hands free; still another was doing it ‘Chinese-coolie’ style, with two bags hanging from either end of a strong staff placed horizontally across his