The Battle of the Driniumor River Once Aitape was secured, 163 Regiment was pulled out for operations further west. During the fighting, Japanese forces launched several attacks on United States forces on the Driniumor River, near Aitape in New Guinea, over the course of several months. [3], Following this, Aitape was developed as base from which to support the continuing Allied drive towards the Philippines and the US forces in the area increased to include elements of the 31st and 32nd Infantry Divisions. The Allies began to prepare for their next move, and chose to leapfrog the Japanese positions at Wewak and Hansa Bay and go straight for Hollandia, on the coast of Dutch New Guinea (Operation Reckless). [15] These operations continued until 11 August, by which time the 16th Brigade had reached Numoikum, about 23 kilometres (14 mi) from Wewak, while the 17th Brigade had captured Kairivu, 24 kilometres (15 mi) from Wewak. It was during this attack that Private Edward Kenna carried out the deeds that led to him being awarded the Victoria Cross,[8] attacking several Japanese bunkers. [8] Heavy fighting continued for four days after this, and the Australians resorted to the use of flame throwers for the first time in the war, using them effectively against heavily entrenched Japanese positions; the weapon had a profound psychological effect, boosting the morale of the Australians and sapping that of the Japanese defenders, many of whom simply fled in the face of flame thrower teams. This fighting took place throughout June and July. [8], Initially tasked with the defence of the port, airfield and base facilities at Aitape, the 2/6th Cavalry Commando Regiment was ordered to advance towards Wewak to destroy the remnants of the Japanese 18th Army. The battle of Aitape (22-24 April 1944) was carried out in support of the larger landings at Hollandia, and was designed to provide a shield against any possible intervention by Japanese forces further to the west at Wewak. Aitape is a small town with a population of about 18.000 people on the North coast of Papua New Guinea in the province of Sandaun. Between November 1944 and the end of the war in August 1945, the Australian 6th Division, with air and naval support, fought the Imperial Japanese 18th Army in northern New Guinea. When the Americans landed they were still in the middle of this 210 mile march across some very difficult terrain, and after the success of the invasion they turned back. The Battle of Manila was a major battle of the Philippine campaign of 1944-45, during the Second World War. A few days after the landings at Hollandia and Aitape he had pulled out of Madang, his base on the north-eastern coast of New Guinea and Allied troops occupied it on 24 March. Air support was provided by eight escort carriers that had been provided by Admiral Nimitz, and that weren't needed at Hollandia. [8], In contrast, the Australians were better equipped and better fed, and their medical and other support services were superior. The Aitape–Wewak campaign was one of the final cam­paigns of the Pa­cific The­atre of World War II. The Aitape-Wewak campaign was one of the final campaigns of the Pacific Theatre of World War II.The Australian 6th Division, with air and naval support, fought the Imperial Japanese 18th Army in northern New Guinea between November 1944 until the end of the war in August 1945. Flotilla,[10] under the command of Bill Dovers, captain of Swan. In one incident, seven men from the 2/3rd Battalion drowned in the swollen waters of the Danmap River which had risen suddenly after a torrential downpour. [8] The fighting around Wewak Airfield continued until 15 May, however, when men from the 2/4th Battalion, with armoured support, attacked Japanese positions overlooking the airstrip. As a result, the Australian planning staff believed they faced three Japanese divisions—the 20th, 41st and 51st Divisions—all of which had been reduced to brigade-strength. At Aitape the attack was carried out by the 163rd Regimental Combat Team of the 41st Division, commanded by General Jens Doe. Between November 1944 and the end of the war in August 1945, the Australian 6th Division, with air and naval support, fought the Imperial Japanese 18th Army in northern New Guinea. Crash Site & Remains P-40N Kittyhawk A29-527 Aitape - West Sepik. The only problem was that the landing craft missed their intended beach and instead landed at Wapil, 1,200 yards further to the east. To do that, it was argued that there was a requirement to clear the Japanese that had been bypassed to allow the garrisons of these areas to be reduced.[21]. [17] Following the end of hostilities in New Guinea, approximately 13,000 Japanese surrendered, with about 14,000 having died of starvation and illness during the entire campaign. [16] Meanwhile, the 19th Brigade came up against strongly defended positions around several high features known as Mount Kawakubo, Mount Tazaki and Mount Shiburangu. The Japanese were caught out and both places fell easily. A series of minor actions followed, but no significant engagements took place, and at the end of four weeks the Australians had reached Wallum, about 45 miles (72 km) east of Aitape. The fall of Maprik allowed the Australians to begin constructing an airfield 8 miles (13 km) away at Hayfield, and this was completed on 14 May allowing reinforcements and supplies to be flown in. Gill established a perimeter and sent out patrols to watch the movements of Adachi 's 18 Army, which … Aitape, Tadji, Battle of the Driniumor River: May 3rd - July 18th, 1944. Aitape had been occupied by the Japanese in 1942. After making some initial gains, the Japanese attack was contained and eventually turned back having suffered heavy casualties. The first Japanese unit to swing into action against the Driniumor defenses of the PERSECUTION Covering Force was the 1st Battalion, 78th Infantry, which, about 2355, charged across the river along a narrow front against Company G, 128th Infantry. Adachi was a determined figure, and decided that it was worth launching a counterattack against Aitape. The landing was unopposed, as any Japanese troops on the coast had fled at the start of the naval bombardment. Aitape is a small town of about 18,000 people on the north coast of Papua New Guinea in the Sandaun Province. Recaptured by an American landing on 22 April 1944, it was developed as a base area to support the continuing drive towards the Philippines. [8] While the advance was under way, the 17th Brigade was assigned the task of building a defensive position around the airfield and base facilities at Aitape, while the 16th Brigade was held back in reserve. [7] During this period there had been very little contact between the Japanese and US forces in the area,[8] and US forces had remained on a primarily defensive footing, restricting their operations to limited patrols around their position on the Driniumor. [5] Consequently, in early October 1944, troops from the Australian 6th Division along with some support personnel from the 3rd Base Sub Area began to arrive at Aitape to relieve the American garrison. By the spring of 1944 it was clear that Operation Cartwheel, the series of attacks carried out to isolate Rabaul, were close to success. Considered a "mopping up" operation by the Australians, and although ultimately successful for them with the Japanese forces cleared from the coastal areas and driven inland, amidst difficult jungle conditions, casualties from combat and disease were high. HMAS Hobart, Arunta, Warramunga, Swan and HMS Newfoundland (of the British Pacific Fleet) as well as the RAAF bombarded the Wewak defences. [14], In the Torricelli Mountains, the 17th Brigade continued its advance against stubborn Japanese defence. Japanese forces attacked United States forces on the Driniumor River, near Aitape in New Guinea. During this period there had been very little contact between the Japanese and US forces in the area, and US forces had remained on a primarily defensive footing, restricting their oper… The airfield at Tadji was securely in Allied hands and Aitape could now be used for a staging area to support further operations. 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