Drawing on material that had only just been released when this book was originally published in 1981, this book provides a graphic account of the war which, to all intents and purposes, was fought on Australian soil against Australian people – a war which came to the very door of Australia itself.
When the Japanese landed at Rabaul on 23 January 1942 it was the start of one of the fiercest campaigns of the war. On that day, with only a handful of badly trained troops, led by inexperienced officers, Australia faced its most serious threat yet.
It was to be a campaign with all the ingredients of great drama – cowardice and extraordinary courage, untrained men becoming brave, skilful fighters, torture and unimaginable brutality. On the infamous Kokoda trail, men died in their hundreds, as the Japanese advanced on Port Moresby. And when the Japanese retreated, the advancing Australian troops learnt just how brutal the fighting had been.
Table of Contents
Introduction. 1. The Fall of Rabaul 2. The Tol Massacre 3. An Administrator Sacked 4. The Flight from New Guinea 5. Looting and Sacrilege 6. First Blood is Drawn 7. Betrayal and Murder 8. The Kokoda Trail 9. Retreat 10. Horror and Victory at Milne Bay 11. Indiscipline and Execution 12. Flying to Stay Alive 13. Terror in New Britain 14. Buna – The Bloodiest Battle 15. Cannibals and Revenge 16. The Final Victory 17. Epilogue 18. Bibliography 19. Index.