Posted by: Gregoryno6 | August 25, 2017

From Morning Mail: More about Milne Bay.

Commenter Bill’s story underlines just how narrow the margin was between victory and defeat 75 years ago.

…An 18 year old Australian soldier was assigned to guard the road out of town to give warning of any Japanese reinforcements that might come in reaction to the attack. He shot and killed a Japanese wearing an aviator’s helmet and carrying a brief case who was attempting escape from the town. (It is believed he was a seaplane pilot who was making his way to his aircraft.) Recognising that the brief case might contain important documents, the 18 year old Australian recovered it and passed it on to his officer after the attack. The officer saw that it could be important and told one of his soldiers to take it from Salamaua to Wau, where it was put aboard a RAAF Auster and taken to Port Moresby.

(That run, by the way, from Salamaua to Wau, would have been up there with running a marathon, with a climb into impossibly rugged mountains thrown in – an incredible athletic feat, to say nothing of fact that the ground he was running through was occupied by an alerted enemy intent upon killing him.)…

…It needs also to be said that the troops who were defeated were not baggy-arsed infantry, but elite marines. My father (9th Div Commando Regt) fought these men later in the war, and he once said to me: “Don’t you believe those stories that the Japanese soldiers were all short and bandy legged like you see in the Hollywood movies; the Japanese marines were all six foot tall and incredibly good soldiers.”

MM’s full article is here.

 


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