Oivi was the next village east of Kokoda on the Kokoda Trail. At Oivi the trail passed across a saddle between two high, wooded hills - a strong natural defensive position that was exploited by the Japanese. On 5 November 1942, the 2/2nd and 2/3rd Battalions, leading the Australian advance back along the Kokoda Trail closed with the Japanese defences at Oivi. Bitter fighting ensued for the following two days as the Australians sought to either find the flanks of the Japanese position, or to batter their way through - they achieved neither. With casualties mounting, Major General George Vasey, commanding the 7th Australian Division, sought an alternative. He sent the 25th Brigade to encircle the Oivi position with a wide outflanking movement that resulted in the battle for Gorari. The 2/2nd and 2/3rd Battalions were ordered to maintain pressure at Oivi, which was achieved principally through aggressive patrolling. On the morning of 11 November the battalions' patrols encountered no opposition and an advance into Oivi was ordered; it was found to have been abandoned during the night.