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Battle For Australia KOKODA TRAIL I IT WAS NOT THE FAULT OF 39 BATTALION THAT KOKODA WAS LOST THE FAULT LAY IN THE FAILURE TO MAKE AN EARLY ASSESSMENT OF THE TRAIL TO FORESEE THE POSSIBILITY OF THE JAPANESE USING IT AND TO TAKE IN GOOD TIME THE STEPS NECESSARY TO MEET SUCH A DEVELOPMENT COLONEL EG KEOGH SOUTH WEST PACIFIC 1941-45 Australias involvement in the long battle for the Kokoda Trail began on 21 July when the Japanese landed in Papua A partial resolution of the conflict was not to come until November The Japanese were finally driven out of Papua in January 1943 A view of the country in the Kokoda area In 1942 the administration of the island of New Guinea was divided into three sections The western section was governed by the Netherlands and the eastern half now the nation of Papua New Guinea was further divided into two The northern section was administered by Australia under mandate from the League of Nations while the southern part Papua was an Australian colony The indigenous population of both Territories was estimated at about 15 million The European residents numbered about 6000 After Pear Harbour European women and children had been encouraged to return to Australia and by mid-February 1942 the Territories were under military control In mid-July General Douglas MacArthur Allied Supreme Commander of South West Pacific Area ordered that a force of Australian infantry and American engineers should move across the Koloda track to Buna to construct an airfield at Dobodura From 1942 under American influence the track became known as the Kokoda Trail By mid-1942 however there was great pressure on troop numbers Experienced soldiers of the AIF were fighting elsewhere mainly in the Middle East and North Africa 25th Brigade Advancing along the Kokoda Trail near Templetons Crossing George Browning 1944
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