By late 1942, the Allies had pushed the Japanese forces back along the Kokoda Track and were now down on the coastal plains of northern New Guinea. The Japanese may have been retreating, but they intended to hold the vital beachheads from Gona down through Sanananda to Buna. The fight to take the beachheads would be bloody and brutal, but first the Australians and their American comrades had to get there.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Gough Whitlam’s visit to China in 1971 is an iconic moment in the history of Australia-China relations. As prime minister, he officially recognised the People’s Republic of China the following year, heralding a new era of engagement with China.
But Whitlam’s visit overshadows an earlier and equally significant moment in Australia’s relationship with China.
On October 28 1941, Australia opened its first diplomatic mission in China, a legation in the wartime capital of Chungking (Chongqing) in central Szechwan (Sichuan) province.
This podcast episode was commissioned by History Guild as part of our support of THE BLOODY BEACHHEADS: THE BATTLES OF GONA, BUNA AND SANANANDA – ONE DAY CONFERENCE. Angus Wallace, creator of the fantastic WW2 Podcast is joined by Peter Williams, author of Japan’s Pacific War: Personal Accounts of the Emperor’s Warriors.
The Battle of the Beachheads was the bloodiest of all the Papuan campaigns. The resolve and tenacity of the Japanese defenders was, to Allied perceptions, unprecedented to the point of being “fanatical”, and had not previously been encountered. Please join a group of well-qualified speakers as we examine the Battle of the Beachheads in a one-day conference.
Reading time: 7 minutes
It was estimated by Force 136 that they recruited around 20,000 indigenous personnel for operations in Burma. A few hundred of them are on my Men of SOE Burma page, compiled by going through several files of training cards. While the research for that page has provided excellent insight into a cross section of the many Burmese peoples who served with SOE, most of the 20,000 will remain unaccounted for because there is no record of them. Sadly, this means that their service will never be recognised outside of their own families.
Reading time: 10 minutes
After the retreat from Kokoda, the battered survivors of B Company, 39th Battalion regrouped at the small village of Deniki. Major Allan Cameron, a 30th Brigade staff officer, arrived shortly after at Deniki on 4th August. Disgusted by the apparently ‘unsoldierly’ appearance of B Company, he jumped to the conclusion that these men must have run away from the fighting and had abandoned Kokoda for no reason. He sent them further back to Isurava in disgrace, depriving the remainder of the 39th of the only troops with battle experience. This wouldn’t be the last time that a textbook tactical withdrawal would be mistaken for cowardice. Cameron then decided that Kokoda must be recaptured.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Today’s biggest companies are considered young, especially when compared to some of the oldest companies in the world. While companies like Microsoft and Apple are well on their way to reaching five decades old, that doesn’t come close to the more than 200 years some others have been around for. Several companies have stood the test of time for hundreds of years, the oldest of which dates to 563 CE.
The Final Campaign: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014) The three-month-long battle of Okinawa covered a 700-mile arc from Formosa to Kyushu and involved a million combatants–Americans, Japanese, British, and native Okinawans. With a magnitude that rivaled the Normandy invasion the previous June, the battle of Okinawa was […]
Closing In: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima – AUDIOBOOK By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014) Sunday, 4 March 1945, marked the end of the second week of the U.S. invasion of Iwo Jima. By this point the assault elements of the 3d, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions were exhausted, their combat efficiency […]
ACROSS THE REEF: THE MARINE ASSAULT OF TARAWA – AUDIOBOOK By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014) “Tarawa Atoll is 2085 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor and 540 miles southeast of Kwajalein in the Marshalls. Betio is the principal island in the atoll. The Japanese seized Tarawa from the British within the first three days after […]
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD – AUDIOBOOK By H. G. Wells (1866 – 1946) A Short History of the World is a non-fictional historic work by English author H. G. Wells, largely inspired by Wells’s earlier 1919 work The Outline of History. The book summarises the scientific knowledge of the time regarding the history of […]
THE FALL OF SINGAPORE The Land Campaign Nothing in history is inevitable but the fall of Singapore Island after the defeat of British forces in Malaya came close to it. In December 1941 the Japanese established complete air and naval dominance in the region, sinking the British capital ships the Prince of Wales and the Repulse on 8 December […]
With ANZUS in the news at the moment, this book is a good way to understand where it all started. In early 1942, America needed Australia’s location linking the Pacific and Indian Oceans as a base from which to project power into Southeast Asia. Australia, seriously unprepared for war, needed American combat power. The relationship later formalised as […]
THE CORAL SEA, 1942: A NATION-SAVING BATTLE The Battle of the Coral Sea isn’t as iconic in our national consciousness as Gallipoli, Kokoda, or even El Alamein, Villers-Bretonneux, Amiens or Beersheba. Those battles and others in the two world wars played into our evolving sense of what we were, and are, as a people, and […]
The link between warfare and welfare is counter-intuitive. One is about violence and destruction, the other about altruism, support and care. Even the term “welfare state” – at least in the English-speaking world – was popularised as a progressive and democratic alternative to the Nazi “warfare state” during World War II. And yet, as new research shows, […]
The Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 has become the touchstone for the Australian-American strategic relationship. The 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on why this engagement, in which for the first time the opposing fleets did not sight one another, still resonates. By Peter Jones During the six months after the […]
Less than two months after the devastating surprise attack at Pearl Harbour, the US Navy was on the offensive. They carried out several raids on Japanese territory in the Pacific. The Raid on the Marshall and Gilbert IslandsFebruary 1, 1942 The first offensive operation by Task Forces of the United States Pacific Fleet in the […]
If sometimes it seems that governments rush to appoint inquiries or royal commissions, then I want to assure you: this is no modern-day phenomenon. The bombing of Darwin, on this day 79 years ago, prompted a swift response from the Commonwealth. On 3 March 1942, Justice Charles Lowe, a Victorian Supreme Court judge, was appointed […]
The Battle of Savo Island The Battle of Savo Island occurred early in the morning on 9 August 1942 when the the Japanese 8th Fleet surprised the Allied Task Force shortly after the landing at Guadalcanal. In approximately 37 minutes, the Japanese Navy destroyed four Allied heavy cruisers and killed more than 1000 American and Australian sailors, handing […]