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The Kokoda Campaign An Overview

Privacy Terms Sitemap. There were few stretchers to carry the wounded, and even badly wounded men were forced to walk. Saturday 29 August, - bullets everywhere — hell on earth amongst the clouds in the mountains..


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When the Japanese invaded Papua, it was not an independent nation, but was governed as a territory of Australia. Normally, conscripted Australian troops could not be used outside Australia, but because Papua was Australian territory, conscripts were sent to fight along the Kokoda track. Command of the Kokoda operations did not go smoothly. He criticised the Australian forces for retreating along the Kokoda Track, and commanders who were unable to stop the Japanese were quickly replaced.

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By early September , the Japanese were within 48 kilometres of Port Moresby, and could see the lights of the town. But they were now far from their own supply base on the northern coast, and faced the difficulties of moving supplies and weapons along the narrow, mountainous track. Their men were now suffering from the same hunger and disease that had earlier affected the Australian troops.

At the same time, American forces had occupied the island of Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, east of Papua.

Kokoda Trail Memorial Walk, Ferntree Gully

They could use the island as a base to attack Japanese shipping. In response, the Japanese command decided to concentrate on Guadalcanal and withdrew their forces from Papua, even though they were within sight of their objective in Port Moresby.

Australian and American troops followed the retreating Japanese along the track, and fought them when they reached their coastal base at Buna-Gona. They defeated the Japanese, but Allied casualties were extremely high.

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Overall, more than Australian troops died in fighting throughout the Kokoda operation, and more than were wounded. Over 4, soldiers suffered from tropical diseases.


  • Kokoda Track Memorial Walk ( Steps) | Visit Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges - Official Site;
  • Field Guide to the Kokoda Track.
  • The Happy Pumpkin, Patch.
  • Contact the Kokoda Track Authority.
  • The Book Of Longing?
  • Estimates of the Japanese dead are uncertain, but are probably even higher than the Allied casualties, because of the Japanese military tradition of committing suicide rather than surrendering. In recent years, walking the Kokoda track has become popular with Australians who wish to share the hardships of the original soldiers, and to pay tribute to their dedication and endurance. Today, without the obstacles of wartime, and with a professional guide, it takes about eight days to walk the Kokoda track.