Kokoda Time Line

July 7 1942- 39th Battalion walks past Mc Donald’s Corner on route to Kokoda, led by Captain Sam Templeton and guided by Bert Kienzle.

July 15 39th Battalion arrive in Kokoda

July 21 Japanese land in Buna

July 23 39th Battalion engages Japanese in fight at Awala north of Kokoda.

July 24 Australian withdraw to Kokoda

July 29 first battle of Kokoda is lost, Australians withdraw to Deniki. Lt Col Owen Killed.

August 8 Australians retake Kokoda unopposed.

August 10 Japanese retake Kokoda and withdraw to Deniki and onto Isurava.

August 16 Lt Col Ralph Honner arrives in Isurava to replace Owen’s

August 26 Forward elements of 21st Brigade led by 2/14 battalion arrive at Isurava

August 26 Battle of Isurava commences.

August 29 Bruce Kingsbury wins VC, Charlie McCallum holds off Japanese and kills 20 plus Japanese firing Bren gun and Tommy gun alternatively from hip while wounded three times, while his mates withdraw. Awarded DSM.

August 29 Battle of Isurava ends with withdrawal back through Alola.

August 30-September 2 Withdrawal to Eora creek. Eora creek defence.

September 2-3 Templeton’s crossing defence

September 5 Withdrawal to Efogi

September 6-8 Battle of Mission Ridge/Brigade Hill

September 17 Australians dig in at Iorabaiwa

September 17 Australians withdraw to Imita Ridge.

September 21 53rd Battery of the 14th Australian Field Regiment fire first rounds on Japanese at Iorabaiwa from Ower’s Corner. From Ower’s Corner to Iorabaiwa Ridge is 10km. It takes 25 seconds for rounds to hit their mark. Over the next few days 700 high explosive rounds are fired.

September 24 Japanese begin their withdrawal. Japanese have no word for retreats so are ordered to advance to the rear.

September 28 Australian troops attack Iorabaiwa, but find Japanese have already withdrawn.

October 12-17 Japanese dig in at Templeton’s crossing.

October 21-29 Japanese dig in at Eora Creek

November 2 Kokoda recaptured unopposed

November 5-11 Oivi-Goiari Battle

November 17, 16th and 25th Brigades cross the Kumusi River. The battle of Kokoda is over.

 

Bomana War Cemetery Port Moresby Commonwealth War Cemetery

                                 Known             Unknown               Total

Australian troops      3069                    237                      3306   

British                           2                        438                       440

New Zealanders           6                                                         6

Dutch                            1                                                         1

Allied                                                        22       

Others                                                        4

Subtotal              3078                      701            Total   3779     

Two VC winners Kingsbury and French

One lady nurse buried, youngest 16, oldest 67merchant seaman

Most British were POW killed in Bougainville

 

Units That Served On Kokoda Track

Initial

39th Battalion

53rd Battalion Abuari Track

Isurava, as above plus 21st Brigade 2/14th Battalion

Abuari, 2/16 Battalion and Isurava withdrawal

2/27th Mission Ridge

Fresh Troops arrive at Iorabaiwa

25th Brigade

2/25th, 2/31st and 2/33rd

3rd Battalion and 2/1st Battalion took over defence

Advance

25th Brigade

16th Brigade, 2/1st, 2/2nd and 2/3rd and 3rd Battalion

Supporting Units

2/4th, 2/6th, and 14th Field Ambulance

2/5th and 2/6th Field companies, Royal Australian Engineers

 

Army Organisation:

In the Pacific War the army was structured along the following lines although it should be remembered that during the Kokoda campaign units were under strength to due manpower problems, wounds and the ravages of disease:

Division: The highest level combat unit in the army structure. It is commanded by a Major General and comprised 14,000 men.

Brigade: 3 Brigades form a Division. Each one commanded by a Brigadier and comprised 3,300 men.

Battalion: 3 Battalions form a Brigade. Each on commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and comprised 850 men.

Company: 5 Companies form a Battalion. Each one commanded by a Captain and comprised 140 men.

Platoon: 3 Platoon form a Company. Each one commanded by a Lieutenant and comprised 39 men.

Section: 3 Sections form a Platoon. Each one commanded by a Corporal.

 

 

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