Combat Commander

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Combat Commander
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Wau Me Worry
WAU AIRFIELD, NEW GUINEA, 31 JANUARY 1943— After an arduous trek cutting through the jungle, and harassed along the way by Australian KANGA Force, the exhausted Japanese troops of the 102nd Regiment, Okabu Detachment struggled onto the high ground…

Closing Outer Camp
OUTER CAMP AT BUNA, PAPUA, 18 DECEMBER 1942 - The Japanese defenses at Buna were extensive and compartmentalized, requiring coordinated Allied operations at various points. Elements of the well-supported 2/9th assaulted the defenders in the area…

The Butcher's Bill
SANANANDA FRONT, PAPUA, 10 DECEMBER 1942 - The Japanese defenses west of the Girua River were anchored on numerous hidden strong points along the Soputa-Sanananda Road. One such strongpoint was flanked and cut off by the men of Coy l, 3rd Bn, 126th…

Breakout
GORARI, PAPUA, 11 NOVEMBER 1942 — The Australians had taken Kokoda and were driving toward the north coast of New Guinea. The Japanese forward defense was centered on Gorari. The Australians managed to find a parallel around the Japanese defense and…

Blind Man's Bluff
EORA CREEK, PAPUA, 28 OCTOBER 1942 - The Australians had taken the crossings over Eora Creek, but the Kokoda Trail remained blocked by a Japanese strongpoint to the north. B Company 2/1 Battalion was pinned down to the south and subjected to fire…

Templteton's Crossing
TEMPLETON’S CROSSING, PAPUA, 17 OCTOBER 1942 - The Japanese advance along the Kokoda trail had reached its high water mark. The Japanese high command decided to focus first on Guadalcanal, and the forces on New Guinea were in retreat, having extended…

Rebuked at Rabi
ELEVALA CREEK, MILNE BAY, PAPUA, 3 SEPTEMBER 1942 — The Japanese attempt to seize the allied airfields in the vicinity of Rabi (Operation Re) encountered unexpected stiff resistance from the defending Australians of Milne Force. After initial gains…

The Gloomy Forest
OIVI, PAPUA, 26 JULY 1942 - The initial formation of Maroubra Force (39th, 53rd and Papuan Infantry Battalions) faced the vanguard of the Japanese presence building up on New Guinea in June 1942. The force worked rapidly in an attempt to block the…

Encirclement of Troop C
DRINIUMOR RIVER, NEW GUINEA, 21 JULY 1944 - After the westward breakthroughs across the river (earlier in July), the 20th Infantry Division was ordered to entrap and destroy American units. The Miyake Force (composed of the 78th, 79th and 80th…

Bad Dreams
DRINIUMOR RIVER, NEW GUINEA, 10 JULY 1944 - The desperate Japanese offensive along the Driniumor River by forces of the 20th Infantry Division faced widely strung out US regiments (the 127th, the 128th and the 112th Cavalry), with both parties…

Scarlet Beach
SONG RIVER, NEW GUINEA, 17 OCTOBER 1943— As the Allies progressed up the New Guinea coast. General Adachi’s XVIII Army desperately counterattacked. To support a 20th Division thrust into the Allied perimeter around Finschhafen, Adachi dispatched…

Shattered Bobdubi
BOBDUBI RIDGE, NEW GUINEA, 30 JUNE 1943— Following the Allied victory at Buna, Australian infantry pushed northwest toward the next enemy coastal base in a war of small-unit actions across thejungie tracks and kunai-grass heights of the interior. As…

Bulolo River Bridge
NEAR THE OUTPOST OF WAU, NEW GUINEA, 30 JANUARY 1943— A company of the ANZAC 2/5 battalion ordered to intercept elements of the Japanese 51st Division advancing on Wau finds itself bypassed and cut off. The unit attempts to sneak back to friendly…

Rabaul Rousers
RABAUL, NEW BRITAIN, 23 JANUARY 1942 - The Australian men of Lt. W. G. Grant’s platoon of Coy. A, 2/22 Bn. were the forward elements defending the beachhead on the northern slopes of Mt. Vulcan. Grant's view across Simpson Bay showed the city of…

Slopes of Hell
KOKODA TRAIL, OWEN STANLEY MOUNTAINS, NEW GUINEA, 4 SEPTEMBER 1942 -The 2/16th Battalion (Australian 21st Brigade) had fallen back from Templeton's Crossing and finally reached the positions of the battered 2/14th Battalion, which in turn dropped…

Burning Buna
NEW STRIP AT BUNA, NEW GUINEA, 18 DECEMBER 1942 - Combined Australian and American forces surrounded the desperate Japanese defenses at Buna during December 1942. After an opening barrage starting at 0530, various companies of 2/9th Battalion…

The Deadly Trees
SADDLE RIDGE, GUADALCANAL, 26 OCTOBER 1942 - After the failure of the September attacks, Japanese HO sent as many ground forces as could be spared to build up for another multi- pronged attack. During what is known as the Battle of Henderson Field,…

Totsugeki!
EDSON'S RIDGE, GUADALCANAL, 13 SEPTEMBER 1942— In the second major attempt at dislodging the enemy position, the Japanese maneuvered deep in thejungie to the south of the American perimeter expecting that it would be less defended. General Kawagu-…

Dog Plus Eight
HILL 382, IWO JIMA, 27 FEBRUARY 1945—Eight days after the initial landing on the island and four days after the American flag had been raised on Mount Suribachi, the 3rd Marine Division found itself dug in on the barren stone plateau north of the…

Bitter Creek
EORA CREEK, NEW GUINEA, 22 OCTOBER 1942— After nearly succeeding in pushing the Australians back upon Port Moresby, the Japanese had neither supply chain nor time enough to hold their gains along the Kokoda Trail and so reverted to the defensive. In…

Stalemate
PELELIU, PALAU, 20 SEPTEMBER 1944 - The Japanese unveiled a new defensive approach on Peleliu using well-entrenched positions, extensive caves, and natural barriers across the island. This was developed by Colonel Nakagawa, commander of the 2nd…

West Tank Barrier
BUTARITARI, GILBERT ISLANDS, 20 NOVEMBER 1943—The Gilbert Islands became one of the first stepping stones in the large scale movement by the US to take back Japanese-held territory. A Japanese seaplane base guarded by a citadel of defenses was the…

Operation Cherry Blossom
EMPRESS AUGUSTA BAY, BOUGAINVILLE ISLAND, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 1 NOVEMBER 1943—On this date the US 3rd Marine Division landed at Cape Torokina. Naval forces assisting the Marines included 4 cruisers and 8 destroyers. Empress Augusta Bay had been chosen…

Ichiki Attacks
ILU RIVER, GUADALCANAL, 21 August 1942— Japanese HO dispatched the lchiki Detachment from Truk to displace what was mistakenly thought of as a minor US presence on Guadalcanal. During what is known as the Battle of Tenaru River, by 0030, Colonel…

Ambush at Mogaung
NORTHERN BURMA, 28 JUNE 1944 - Over the course of three weeks in June, Michael ”Mad Mike” Calvert's 77th (Chindit) Brigade took Mogaung in support of the US advance down the Hukawng Valley. They suffered 50% casualties. Fearing they would then be…
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