THE KOKODA CAMPAIGN

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THE KOKODA CAMPAIGN
A map of northern Australia, New Guinea and Papua showing areas under Japanese
control and the three Japanese attempts to seize Port Moresby
• The campaign in New Guinea in 1942 was the most
important that Australian soldiers have ever been involved
in
• It was the only time in our history, Australians were
defending their own territory
• New Guinea had been an Australian territory since 1920
• The campaign along what became known as the Kokoda
Track, was some of the toughest Australian soldiers have
ever experienced.
• Australians believed the Japanese were preparing to invade Australia
• PNG was probably planned just to be a base to defend their newly
captured countries.
• Japanese wanted to prevent Port Moresby from being used by the
United States and Australian forces as a military base
• Success on the Kokoda Track in 1942 was believed to save Australia
from a Japanese invasion and greatly assisted the Allied effort to push
the Japanese back.
• The Kokoda campaign marked the moment when the war had clearly
turned against the Japanese in favour of the Allies.
TIMELINE
 February 1942 - The fall of Singapore to the Japanese
 March 1942 - Japanese then advanced and occupy Indonesia
 May 1942 - Battle of the Coral Sea to prevent Japanese capturing Port
Moresby in Papua New Guinea
 June1942 – 400 Australian militia sent just north of the Owen Stanley
Ranges to secure the airfield at Kokoda
 July 1942 – 60000 Japanese land at Gona on the north coast march towards
Kokoda
KOKODA CAMPAIGN
TIMELINE
 29 July - First Battle at Kokoda . Japanese capture Kokoda
 26 August – Battle of Isurava. Japanese forced back Australian
troops
 26 August – Battle at Milne Bay - Japan's first land defeat of World
War II
Kokoda itself was just a small village about half-way across New
Guinea but whole campaign became named after it.
Kokoda was of strategic importance for two reasons:
•It was an area of relatively flat land, where an airstrip had been
built.
•It was near the northern edge of the mountain range and it was
thought that it could be easily defended.
However, this part of Papua New Guinea provided some of the
toughest terrain in the world in which to fight.
A photograph of the Golden Stairs. This was the initial climb from Owers’ Corner up to Imita Ridge. Army
engineers had cut out 3000 steps.
MURDER AND ABUSE OF FUZZY WUZZY
ANGELS
Whilst most of the PNG locals willingly aided the Australian forces. This
was not always the case. The Australian Army at times used violence and
intimidation to force local people into compliance.
They used execution by hanging and torture to control any villages
unsupportive of the Australian Army. They also punished and killed any
who escaped and were later recaptured.
In an Australian Government inquiry that followed the executions, the
Army deceived the government by grossly understating the number of
executions carried out by the Australian Army.
KOKODA TIMELINE
Milne
Bay
A map of northern Australia, New Guinea and Papua showing areas under Japanese
control and the three Japanese attempts to seize Port Moresby
Source 2
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