Volume V – South–West Pacific Area – First Year: Kokoda to Wau (1st edition, 1959)

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Author: McCarthy, Dudley

This volume describes the fighting on land in the South–West Pacific from mid–1942 to March 1943, including the critical operations in the Owen Stanley mountains, at Milne Bay and round Buna, Gona and Sanananda. It tells how Australian troops stemmed the advance of the hitherto–victorious Japanese, and, with American help, destroyed two–thirds of their force and drove the remainder out ot Papua. The Japanese story is told side by side with the Allied one, and it is now shown that the Japanese forces involved were considerably larger (but their losses somewhat lighter) than was thought at the time.

The author also describes the guerilla operations round Lae and Salamaua, the defeat at Wau of the last Japanese offensive against Australian troops, and the final phase of the operations of the Independent Companies in Timor. Woven through the story of the fighting in the field is an account of the discussions – and sometimes the sharp differences – between the Allied generals in this first year in the life of a mainly–American command established on Australian soil.