The Kokoda battle is said to be one of the most significant battles. What really is the significance? What happened? And why do we remember it? From July 1942 – November 1942 the Australians fought against the Japanese in Papa New Guinea. It was a hard battle ending in a hard success for Australia. What really happened? The Australians weren’t going to fight but they were forced to repel a Japanese invasion. Papa New Guinea acted as a barrier towards Australia, so it was important nothing got by them.
With Australia in the battle the Japanese strategy was to first take Port Moresby. It was part of the Pacific war of WWII. The Japanese wanted to isolate Australia from the United States. The Australians fighting against the Japanese invasion force, was said to be the most significant battle fought by Australians in WWII. Port Moresby was the main Australian base in New Guinea. The battle is significant because it saved Australia from possible invasion, or more precisely from isolation forcing Australia to surrender.
Port Moresby was vital to the defence of Australia. If the Japanese they planned to begin a bombing offensive against North Queensland and, had they decided to invade Australia, the invasion would have been launched from Port Moresby. Protecting Port Moresby due to Kokoda was of the highest significance in protecting the home country. It wasn’t all good in the beginning. The Australians had to go through four harsh months. Both Japanese and Australia suffered really bad sickness.
The Australians had appalling conditions for the four months of fighting. The Australians suffered more illness than the Japanese. The Japanese came more medically prepared, than the Australians. The Japanese were said to be more prepared to combat disease. To the end of September, the Australians evacuated 1752 sick men from the mountains. The Australians weren’t used to the new terrains the had live and fight in for 4 months. An Australian soldier’s diary, shows damage due to damp jungle.
The soldier’s diary said “Monday 24: Ears syringed out – still waiting – heavy rain and cold – still waiting – Mylola Tuesday 25: Pushing on – heavy mud track – rain Wednesday 26: Alola – pushing on ditto – muddy track – getting close up – scare at tea time – wet through all night – no dry clothes Thursday 27: Isharava [lsurava] – Mary and Marg the game is on – hoping for the best – always thinking of home Friday 28: Mr. Moore passed out – Bad Luck – 1850 hours relieved Saturday 29: Spell – bullets everywhere – hell on earth amongst the clouds in the mountains – retired – first dry night Sunday 30: Waiting A, B+C – mistake – cut off. The soldier makes the harsh conditions evident, explaining how there are “no dry clothes. ”
The Australian soldiers suffered harshly, many men got sick and many had to be evacuated. The Australians really suffered compared to the Japanese. The Japanese came more medically prepared. At the end of September, the Australians suffered with 1752 men evacuated. The Japanese, ready to combat disease were more fortunate, only evacuating 343 men. The Japanese and Australians both lost more men to illness than battle. The main 2 problems the soldiers were facing was malaria and dysentery.
Malaria being transmitted by biting bugs such as mosquitos, making the soldiers very sick with very high temperatures. Dysentery giving the soldiers really bed diarrhea and making them very ill. Soldiers also suffered from dengue fever and scrub typhus. These were smaller issues only lasting a little while but still made soldiers sick with high temperatures and vomiting leading to evacuation. In the end of the battle, the Japanese lost 19,250 men in total. 13,600 were killed or died of illness. 5,650 men were evacuated due to wounds or illness.
The Australians lost 34,966 men in total. 5,650 were killed in battle or died of sickness. Which compared to the Japanese wasn’t much but the Australians had 29,100 men evacuated to wounds or illness. In total, there were 19,466 casualties and 34,750 men evacuated. Both Japan and Australia suffered a lot of casualties. It was a hard battle on both sides. 4 months of living, fighting in hard terrain payed off for Australia with a success. But why do we still remember it? The Kokoda battle is remembered because of its importance in understanding our countries shaping events.
The Japanese plan was to attack Australia after they invaded Port Moresby. If Australian soldiers didn’t come to help prevent them from taking over the main Australian base Australia wouldn’t have been invaded. We remember this significant battle to show how Papa New Guinea acted as a barrier for Australia. Without Papa New Guinea being there the Japanese would have gone straight to Australia and who knows how it would look today. This event is remembered because of how to odds were stacked up against Australia but they still managed to win and save the home country from possible invasion.