On the same day supplies finally reached the roadblock, and Huggins himself was evacuated. Friday 8 December, 2017. Huggins was defended by Company I, the Antitank Company, one machine gun section from Company M and a detachment from headquarters. These three fortified areas were on the only patches of dry land in the area, and were surrounded by waist-deep sago swamps. To be sent to this battlefield was to pass figuratively through the gates of Hell. In light of developments in the Solomon Islands campaign, Japanese forces approachin… No other battle in Papua New Guinea tested the Allies so completely and unexpectedly as did the Battle of the Beachheads—Buna, Gona and Sanananda. The weary Australian units, who had pushed the Japanese across the Owen Stanley Range, were called upon to attack and capture Sanananda and Gona, even though many units were down to one-third normal strength. The centre group 'The Citadel' in Sanananda was protected by three outer groups; the groups were on its flanks on the front of the Allies. This left General Eichelberger as commander, Advance New Guinea Force, with responsibility for the final attack on Sanananda. The first success came on the next day, when roadblock Rankin was established on the Cape Killerton road. The Japanese reached within 30 miles of Port Moresby, before first being ordered to go onto the defensive, and then being thrown back by an Australian counterattack. A heavy artillery bombardment from 10:15 to 10:30 pinned the defenders down, and was followed by a five minute mortar bombardment. I and K Companies had been joined by the Antitank and Cannon Companies, and were now under the command of Major Baetcke. & Australia. 2020 The battle cost some 2,100 Allied casualties and the lives of more than 1,500 Japanese soldiers. Our collection contains a wealth of material to help you research and find your connection with the wartime experiences of the brave men and women who served in Australia’s military forces. The Battle of Sanananda was the longest of the three battles. General Yamagata ordered the evacuation to begin on 20 January. Battle of the Beach Heads. Even while this counterattack was going on, General MacArthur, the Allied Commander-in-Chief in the South West Pacific Area, was preparing for the attack on the Japanese beachhead. The battle of Sanananda was the longest of the three battles. The final Japanese positions, on the eastern perimeter, were overrun by 13:00 on 22 January. Nearly two thirds of the 979 casualties suffered so far were due to disease. - Cookies. The hardest fighting on 21 January came at the position on the main trail, where no evacuation had been possible, but even here the fighting was easier than expected. Background of the Sanananda Operation. Subjects: World War, 1939-1945 -- Australia -- Campaigns -- … On 19 December the cavalry regiment attacked north, outflanking the Japanese defenders of the road and establishing a second roadblock – Kano – 300 yards north east of Huggins. The three positions were sited on high ground, forcing the attackers into waterlogged swampy country. The next major attack was made on 26 November, and saw the two companies gain a new position only 700 yards west of the trail to Killerton. To the south the US 163rd Infantry began an attack on the last strong Japanese position on the trail, which would hold out until 22 January. Captured documents gave the strength holding the Sanananda track position as 1,688. The battles of Buna, Sanananda, and Gona was the final battle involving Australian troops following fighting in the Owen Stanley Range. The Battle of Buna-Gona; ... 2-128 IN were in position at Ango southwest of Buna, and the 7th AD was driving forward on the trails to Gona and Sanananda. On 19 January the general made his own escape, reaching the mouth of the Kumusi River. The attack began early on 30 November, and after a day of fierce fighting Major Baetcke’s men reached a Japanese bivouac area on the trail, 1,500 yards north of the track junction and 300 yards south of the next Japanese position. Fighting continued, however, and a further six days passed before Sanananda village was in Allied hands. The Battle of Buna–Gona was a battle in the New Guinea campaign, a major part of the Pacific campaign of World War II. It arrived at Port Moresby on 27 December. The fresh Australian troops attempted another frontal assault down the trail on 7 December, without success. Daily rainfall totals of 8 to 10 inches (200 to 250 mm) were not uncommon. The three American companies that had been on the front line on the trail were relieved, but Porter insisted on keeping them close to hand. The northern perimeter was soon overrun, and by the end of the day most resistance had ended. On 14 January the Allies discovered that most of the Japanese defenders had left the track junction, and launched a three-pronged attack that quickly overran the strong positions that had held them up for so long. The crucial breakthrough on the left, and one that would shape the rest of the battle, came on 29 November. Supplies did get into the roadblock on 2 December, but on the same day Captain Shirley, who had commanded the successful attack, was killed. "This pictorial record of the battle for the Beachheads illustrates the commitment, courage and suffering of Australian and American Forces and the Papua New Guineans who played a vital role in the victories at Buan, Gona and Sanananda"--P. iii. The Allies had suffered 3,500 casualties in the fighting west of the Girua River – 2,700 Australian and 798 American (191 dead, 524 wounded and 83 missing). This line of outer defences would hold the Allies from November 1942 into the middle of January 1943. Before this plan could be put into effect, a number of preliminary steps needed to be taken. On 10 December the Americans had had 635 effective troops; on 1 January they only had 244. The American defenders of the roadblock received their first substantial reinforcements on 18 December, when 350 men from the Australian 2/7th Cavalry Regiment fought their way in. by Corporal Bernard Marly with Dr. Hargis Westerfield, Division Historian B Company 163 Infantry began our Sanananda Battle about two miles up the muddy Supply Trail to Musket Perimeter. In an attempt to cut off the forward Japanese positions, the elements of 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment flanked the Japanese road block and capture the road behind them. B Company 163 Infantry: Bernard Marly’s Battle of Sanananda. Allied patrols began to report that other Japanese positions had also been abandoned. Sources appear to treat the defenders on the Sananada Track as part of the defences at Sanananda–Giruwa but this does not appear to be explicitly stated. Historical Synopsis Company B, while attached to a battalion from the 127th Regiment, lead the way up the Papuan coast towards the Giruwa River. Sanananda. During the Battle of Sanananda in December 1942, as part of the 2 / 1st Battalion. Further north the Australians reached Wye Point. Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The 16th Australian Brigade made the first attempt. Despite having lost half of his men, Colonel Tomlinson, the commander of the 126th decided to proceed with his original plan. Senior Allied officers believed that the battle would be relatively easy to win but it turned into one of the hardest and most costly battles of the entire war in New Guinea. Help - F.A.Q. The main attack came on 16 January. Related information. One of the best roads in the area ran south from Sanananda Point to Soputa, and a number of tracks branched off from this road to reach the coast close to Cape Killerton. This decision was made on 4 January, but General Adachi, the commander on New Guinea, did not pass the orders on to General Yamagata until 13 January. By the end of December the roadblock contained the 39th Battalion and the headquarters of 21st Brigade. The battle of Buna, 19 November 1942-2 January 1943, was one part of the Allied attack on the Japanese beach-head on the northern coast of Papua (along with the battles of Gona and Sanananda). During this battle the allies did not control the sea so aircraft attacks were very limited but still continued regardless. Once Buna fell on 2 January Australian and United States units resumed their attack, this time using several different approaches.Vasey's 18th Brigade began their advance on 12 January making little progress and losing more than 100 men killed or wounded. The battle was fought by Australian and United States forces against the Japanese beachheads at Buna, Sanananda and Gona. By 18:30 Major Baetcke’s force was firmly established in the roadblock, and that evening drove off the first two Japanese counterattacks. The surviving Japanese troops were now surrounded and after three more days of fighting the last organised resistance was overcome. The constant fighting combined with disease reduced the strength of the Allied forces to dangerous levels – by the end of 1942 the entire American force was no stronger than a single company. Following the fighting on the Kokoda Trail, Japanese forces occupied a series of well-sited, heavily constructed and cleverly concealed defensive positions in the Buna, Gona and Sanananda area. The Australians attacked mainly along Sanananda track supported by the US. It was liberated by the Australian Army and US Army on 18 January 1943 during the Battle … Sanananda was defended in more depth than the positions at Buna or Gona. He was replaced by Captain Huggins, whose name was soon given to the roadblock. The US 163rd was able to attack the Japanese troops north of the two roadblocks from front and back, clearing up that position by the end of the day. By now Japanese Imperial Headquarters had decided to abandon the remaining positions at Sanananda and Giruwa, and attempt to move the surviving troops back to Lae and Salamaua. The establishment of the roadblock did not guarantee quick Allied progress. The attack began late on the morning of 22 November. Although the Japanese were driven off, the Americans got disoriented in the difficult terrain, and only advanced 350 yards during the day. The final victory in Papua came one month before the Japanese withdrew from Guadalcanal, and together the two victories marked a clear turning point in the fighting in the Pacific – the last two Japanese offensives had both failed, and it was now the Allies turn to go onto the attack. Suffering heavy casualties and widespread illness they made little headway. Department of Veterans' Affairs. The preliminary attacks began with a failed attack on the Japanese position between the roadblocks on 8 January. Papuan Campaign - The Battle of Sanananda Papuan Campaign - The Battle of Sanananda Generals MacArthur and Blamey had returned to Australia; General Herring moved up to command of the New Guinea Force with headquarters at Port Moresby and General Eichelberger now became commander of the Advanced New Guinea Force. The Americans, believing the inaccurate intelligence MacArthur’s staff provided, expected a quick victory and were full of enthusiasm. The beachhead battles of Gona, Buna and Sanananda formed the final, bloody stage of the campaign in Papua during 1942-43. From these, the Japanese had launched an overland attack on Port Moresby. 15 January also saw the US 163rd Infantry break into the Japanese position between the road blocks. The Japanese now attempted to withdraw from these last positions. The original plan had been for the 2nd Battalion to provide a reserve force, and to exploit any opportunities that developed. Encountering well-defended bunkers and well-armed enemy troops, the attack faltered on all fronts. Battle of the Beachheads 1942-43 : Buna, Gona and Sanananda, Papua New Guinea November 1942 - January 1943 / [researched and written by John Moremon] Dept. Gona is where the Japanese first landed on 21 st July 1942, before advancing across the Kokoda Track. The main Japanese garrison was evacuated by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). The Allies had hoped it was going to be a battle that would be easily fought and won because the Japanese had lost most its force along the Kokoda Track. The 126th reached Soputa by the evening of 21 November, the same day that the Australians forced the Japanese back to the trail junction. A three-pronged attack was planned – the 18th Brigade would attack up the road to Cape Killerton, the 163rd up the main road to Sanananda and the 127th Infantry would attack from the east. All rights reserved. It was surrounded by a much larger Japanese force, and its lines of communication and supply were very vulnerable. On 17 January one battalion from the 18th Brigade moved east to the main trail, then turned north to attack towards Sanananda. WHILE the right wing of the Allied force in Papua was carrying out the Buna operation, the left wing was attacking Japanese positions defending Sanananda, a few miles west of the Girua River. Only 158 Japanese soldiers were found within the defences, and only six survived to be taken prisoner. The Battle of Buna–Gona was part of the New Guinea campaign in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. By the time the battle began, Sanananda was defended by 3,200 men, 1,800 of whom were posted in the southernmost defences at the trail junctions. This was the last battle where enemy fire was encountered by Allied tanks in the Gona-Buna-Sanananda area. Like Buna and Gona, the first two enclaves to fall, Sanananda was the scene of fierce and costly fighting. Sanananda is a village on the coast of Oro Province, Papua New Guinea.. History. The last reinforcements to reach Oda were 700-800 men who arrived at the end of December, after having been stranded further up the coast, west of Gona. To the south the main Japanese position was intact, and was still too strong for the combined Australian and American force to capture. Their march to the front was poorly organised – between 16 November when they crossed the Kumusi River and noon on 19 November, by which time they were approached Soputa and the first Japanese positions, they received no food. However, 9000 Japanese remained entrenched in the eminently defensible northern beachheads of Buna, Gona and Sanananda. The breakout was timetabled for 25-29 January. The Australian War Memorial was voted the number one landmark in Australia by travellers in the 2016 Trip Advisor awards. On the right Company L ran into heavy Japanese opposition very quickly and only advanced 200 yards. From mid-November 1942 exhausted, battle-weary Australian and inexperienced American troops began a brutal two month campaign against the Japanese held beachheads. It having become clear that frontal assaults were doomed, attacks on Sanananda were halted while Buna was overcome. The area itself was an open clearing, 250 yards long and 150 yards wide. On 14 January the 18th Brigade moved to the Rankin roadblock. Gona was the smallest of the three Japanese defensive positions but was well defended. PART II-SANANANDA. At Buna in 1942 rainfall was about 4,300 mm. The Australians and Americans were still faced with a difficult task. From nearby Jap Perimeters P, a .50 heavy machine gun fired overhead, but we dropped unhurt into trackside grass. On 8 January 1943 General MacArthur returned to Brisbane. Battle of Sanananda: January 3rd -February 20th, 1943. The attack on the left ran into a number of Japanese patrols. This brigade had been in combat for just under two months by this time, having fought its way over the Kokoda Trail, and was only just over half strength. Major Baetcke with Company K and the Cannon Company was still some way off to the west. The fortified coastal belt ran from Wye Point in the west, past Sanananda Point and to the main Japanese headquarters at Giruwa. 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