Landing at Nadzab


Landing at Nadzab
Landing at Nadzab
Part of World War II, Pacific War

5 September 1943. Dwarfed by and silhouetted against clouds of smoke generated to provide concealment, C-47s from the US Army Air Forces drop a battalion of the 503rd Parachute Regiment at Nadzab, New Guinea. A battalion dropped minutes earlier is landing in the foreground. Date 5 September 1943

Location 6°33′S 146°42′E [1] Nadzab, Morobe Province, Territory of New Guinea Result Allied victory

 United States  Australia

Empire of Japan

Commanders and leaders
Douglas MacArthur Thomas Blamey George Kenney Edmund Herring George Alan Vasey Hitoshi Imamura Hatazō Adachi Kumaichi Teramoto Hidemitsu Nakano

6,000 2,000

Casualties and losses
119 killed, 241 wounded or injured, and 166 evacuated sick. unknown.

The Landing at Nadzab was an airborne landing on 5 September 1943 during the New Guinea campaign of World War II in conjunction with the Landing at Lae. The Nadzab action began with a parachute drop at Lae Nadzab Airport, combined with an overland force. The parachute drop was carried out by the US Army's 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment and elements of the Australian Army's 2/4th Field Regiment into Nadzab, New Guinea in the Markham Valley, observed by General Douglas MacArthur, circling overhead in a B-17. The Australian 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, 2/6th Field company, and B Company, Papuan Infantry Battalion reached Nadzab after an overland and river trek that same day and began preparing the airfield. The first transport aircraft landed the next morning but bad weather delayed the Allied build up. Over the next days, the 25th Infantry Brigade of the Australian 7th Division gradually arrived. An air crash at Jackson's Field ultimately caused half the Allied casualties of the battle.

Battle of Buna–Gona. which blocked any Allied advance along the northern coast of New Guinea towards the Philippines or northward towards the main Japanese naval base at Truk.[2] By agreement among the Allied nations. Such decisions had to be made on the basis of compromise.[4] The Japanese reaction to Task One. The development of Nadzab was delayed by the need to upgrade the Markham Valley Road.[5] Following these victories. in the end the Japanese Army managed to withdraw its forces from Salamaua and Lae. Battle of Milne Bay. the immediate aim of these operations was not the defeat of Japan but merely the reduction of the threat posed by Japanese aircraft and warships based at Rabaul to air and sea communications between the United States and Australia. in March 1942 the Pacific theatre was divided into two separate commands. the plans were reviewed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. it engaged the Japanese soldiers at Jensen's Plantation. After strenuous efforts in the face of wet weather. Private Richard Kelliher won the Victoria Cross. the seizure of the southern part of the Solomon Islands. so the plans had to be scaled back. The Japanese Army elected not to fight for Lae. Indonesia. At the Pacific Military Conference in Washington. 2 Background Strategy Allied In July 1942. with the capture of Rabaul postponed to 1944. Troops of the 25th Infantry Brigade reached Lae shortly before those of the 9th Division that had been advancing on Lae from the opposite direction. each with its own commander-in-chief. the road was opened on 15 December. it engaged and defeated a larger Japanese force at Heath's Plantation. the Battle of Wau and the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. was more violent than anticipated and some months passed before the Guadalcanal Campaign was brought to a successful conclusion. Australia's highest award for gallantry. the 25th Infantry Brigade commenced its advance on Lae. setting priorities. March 1943. The South West Pacific Area. MacArthur's General Headquarters (GHQ) in Brisbane issued Warning Instruction No. Elkton III Plan. In keeping with the overall Allied grand strategy of defeating Nazi Germany first. and no authority capable of resolving competing claims for resources.Landing at Nadzab Once assembled at Nadzab. in March 1943. or shifting resources from one command to the other. Nadzab then became the major Allied air base in New Guinea. came under Admiral Chester W. which included Australia. officially informing subordinate commands of the plan. and the Philippines came under General Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander. known as the Pacific Ocean Areas. the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a series of operations against the Japanese bastion at Rabaul.[3] Rabaul fell within MacArthur's area but the initial operations in the southern Solomon Islands came under Nimitz. The chiefs were unable to supply all the requested resources. Most of the remainder. This proved to be a gruelling test of endurance for the Japanese soldiers who had to struggle over the rugged mountains.[6] On 6 May 1943. Meanwhile.C. General MacArthur's forces fought off a series of Japanese offensives in Papua in the Kokoda Track campaign. After defeating them. Nimitz. There was no overall commander. which divided the Task Two operations on the New Guinea axis into three parts: . cooperation and consensus. On 11 September. preferring instead to withdraw over the Saruwaged Range. 2. D. During this skirmish. the initiative in the South West Pacific passed to the Allies and General Douglas MacArthur pressed ahead with his plans for Task Two.

The Markham Valley was traversable by motor vehicles in the dry season. The second part was assigned to General Sir Thomas Blamey's New Guinea Force.9 to 4. To support these operations. Like Blamey. On 16 May. Seize the Lae-Salamaua-Finschhafen-Madang area and establish air forces therein.210 ft).[] By June. Adachi faced formidable difficulties of transportation and supply just to bring his troops into battle. Occupy or neutralise Talasea. "It became obvious that any military offensive in 1943 would have to be carried out mainly by the Australian Army. and therefore formed part of a natural highway between the Japanese bases at Lae and Madang.8 to 2. Bena Bena and Mount Hagen. commanded by Vice Admiral Jinichi Kusaka. Occupy Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands and establish air forces thereon. in a reprise of the Battle of Buna–Gona in 1942 would advance on Lae from the west by an overland route. The valley floor is largely composed of gravel and is generally infertile. Kunai grass grew from 1.[] On 27 July 1943.[7] As a result. the 41st Division at Wewak and the 20th Division around Madang. Naval forces came under the Southeast Area Fleet. Imperial General Headquarters transferred the 7th Air Division to New Guinea.[12] Planning and preparation At Blamey's Advanced Allied Land Forces Headquarters (Adv LHQ) in St Lucia.9 ft) high but in parts where there had been a build up of silt. around the model at which the details of the operation were discussed. Queensland the Deputy Chief of the General Staff.[10] Imamura ordered Adachi to capture the Allied bases at Wau. Occupy western New Britain. which ran from December to April. 3.[11] and the 51st Division in the Salamaua area.000 millimetres (39 in) per annum.2 to 12 mi) wide.000 men. headed the planning process. based at Rabaul.[14] Its primary role was to prevent reinforcement of the . 2. Army forces came under General Hitoshi Imamura's Eighth Area Army. A model of the Lae-Salamaua area was constructed in a secure room at St Lucia. Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi's Eighteenth Army in New Guinea. runs between the Finisterre Range to the north and the Bismarck Range to the south and varies from 10 to 19 kilometres (6. and the 6th Air Division. consisting of the Seventeenth Army in the Solomon Islands.5 metres (5. the Japanese decided not send any more convoys to Lae. just as during the bitter campaigns of 1942. the windows were boarded up and two guards were posted on the door round the clock. Major General Frank Berryman.5 metres (3. Arawe and Gasmata. Half of its area was covered by dense kangaroo grass 1. both recently arrived from Palau.[9] As a result of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.Landing at Nadzab 1. emptying into the Huon Gulf near Lae. Meanwhile Major General George Alan Vasey's 7th Division. Blamey held a conference with Berryman and Lieutenant General Sir Edmund Herring.[] Major General George Wootten's 9th Division would land east of Lae in a shore-to-shore operation and advance on Lae. a total of about 80.[13] Blamey's operational concept was for a double envelopment of Lae. the 14th Air Brigade and some miscellaneous squadrons.9 to 8.2 to 1.[] 3 Geography The Markham River originates in the Finisterre Range and flows for 180 kilometres (110 mi). but to land troops at Hansa Bay and Wewak and move them forward to Lae by barge or submarine. which rises to an elevation of 370 metres (1. Lieutenant General Kumaichi Teramoto's Fourth Air Army was assigned to Imamura's command to control the 6th and 7th Air Divisions.2 ft) high. Adachi had three divisions in New Guinea. In the long run they hoped to complete a road over the Finisterre Range and thence to Lae through the Ramu and Markham Valleys. Of these only the 51st Division was in contact with the enemy. using "two of the finest divisions on the Allied side". the commander of I Corps."[8] Japanese The Japanese maintained separate Army and Navy headquarters at Rabaul who cooperated with each other but were responsible to different higher authorities. establishing air forces at Cape Gloucester. The Markham Valley. Rainfall was around 1.

Vasey raised the prospect of utilising the entire regiment with Kinsler.[15] The POSTERN plan called for the 7th Division to move in transports to Port Moresby and in coastal shipping to the mouth of the Lakekamu River.Landing at Nadzab Japanese garrison at Lae by establishing itself in a blocking position across the Markham Valley.[] MacArthur agreed to make the 2nd Battalion.[] cross the Markham River with the aid of paratroops. the 7th Division would have been unlikely to make the operation target date. who authorised it on 8 August. Major General Stanley Savige's 3rd Division in the Wau area and Major General Horace Fuller's US 41st Infantry Division around Morobe were ordered to advance on Salamaua so as to threaten it and draw Japanese forces away from Lae. and in trucks over the Bulldog Road to Wau and Bulolo. It relied on the Bulldog Road being completed. Queensland on the Atherton Tableland. due to the rugged nature of the country to be traversed and shortages of equipment. although this was actually the GHQ code name for Lae itself. eager to discuss the Battle of Crete with the 21st Infantry Brigade's Brigadier Ivan Dougherty. Vasey pronounced the plan "a dog's breakfast". and the commander of the Advanced Echelon of Lieutenant General George Kenney's Fifth Air Force. The result was the arduous Salamaua Campaign.[] Meanwhile.[] The delays in getting the overland supply route organised and the 7th Division itself ready meant that. It had taken heavy casualties in the Battle of Buna–Gona and was seriously under-strength. He further authorised the regiment to conduct training with the 7th Division and a number of exercises were conducted. which it was not. the 7th Division would have to be maintained by air. the 1st Motor Brigade was disbanded in July to provide reinforcements.[16] Blamey took up the matter with MacArthur. There were a number of suitable airfield sites in the Markham Valley. It would travel up the river in barges to Bulldog. where they spent a month training under conditions closely resembling those in New Guinea. available to New Guinea Force to capture Nadzab.[] On 31 July. made five C-47 Dakota transports available to the 7th Division each day so they could practice loading and unloading.[] There were a number of serious problems. Kinsler. capturing Salamaua and forcing the Japanese back to Lae. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment based at nearby Gordonvale. took the unusual step of parachuting into Ravenshoe. Major General Ennis Whitehead. "Loading the Douglas C-47". Its secondary task was to assist the 9th Division in the capture of Lae. Vasey further proposed that the bulk of his forces avoid a tiring overland march by moving directly to Nadzab by air. Blamey made the Australian Army transport Duntroon available to ship the regiment from Cairns to Port Moresby.[] and secure an airfield site. From there it would march overland via the Watut and Wampit Valleys to the Markham River. They flew to Tsili Tsili Airfield on 23 and 24 August. with many men on leave or suffering from malaria.[] 4 Lae-Nadzab operations. To bring it up to strength. and which at times looked like succeeding all too well. the commander of the 503rd.[18] The 7th Division was treated to a training film. which moved by air as originally planned. thereby throwing Blamey's whole strategy into disarray.[] Whitehead also made a B-17 Flying Fortress available so Vasey could fly low over the target area on 7 August.[] . in the initial stages of the operation at least.[] Even if it was. which increased the importance of capturing Nadzab early. Blamey selected Nadzab as the most promising.[] Reinforcements passed through the Jungle Warfare Training Centre at Canungra.[17] except for the 2nd Battalion and advance party. It would take time to concentrate it at its camp at Ravenshoe. Colonel Kenneth H. The plan was generally known as Operation POSTERN. which was fought between June and September.[] Meanwhile the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion and 2/6th Field Company practiced crossing the Laloki River with folding boats. Queensland. Queensland.

Eight of the 2/4th Field Regiment’s Mark II 25-pounders were also condemned owing to the presence of filings in the buffer system.000 that Herring's I Corps staff estimated were in the Salamaua area. It was then decided to merely contain the Japanese force at Markham Point.[19] This turned out to be the easy part. Postponing the operation from August to September 1943 allowed for the arrival of the 433rd Troop Carrier Group from the United States.[23] Battle Assault Transport aircraft were controlled by the 54th Troop Carrier Wing. with two scouts being wounded by a land mine. Prentiss. the remaining six were sent the 2/117th Field Workshops for inspection and checking. On 30 August. Two were handed over for training while. working guns. The attack on the morning of 4 September went wrong from the start. Whitehead's heavy and medium bombers and fighters. so the 2/51st Light Aid Detachment cannibalised six guns to produce two Crew of a short 25-pounder in the Markham Valley. Each squadron was equipped with 13 C-47 aircraft.[21] In September.[20] Vasey was concerned about the Japanese strength in the Lae area. although both the 6th and 7th Air Divisions were in the area. All six were condemned owing to a number of serious defects in assembly and manufacture. and each group consisted of four squadrons. In addition. which was commanded by Colonel Paul H. Only one was ready in time to leave with the gunners so the other followed on a special flight. escorted by fighters. Photographs taken by Allied reconnaissance planes showed 199 Japanese aircraft on the four fields there on 13 August.[] But the more immediate danger was posed by the Japanese Fourth Air Army at Wewak. Twelve Australians were killed and six were wounded in the attack. Brand new guns were received from the 10th Advanced Ordnance Depot at Port Moresby on 23 August. where the Japanese maintained a force of about 200 men on commanding ground. Vasey was less than impressed. they destroyed around 100 Japanese aircraft on the ground. the Japanese Army air forces had at their disposal only 60 or 70 operational aircraft to oppose the Allied air forces in New Guinea.Landing at Nadzab 5 To give the paratroops some artillery support. The force fought its way into the Japanese position but took heavy casualties and was forced to withdraw. Part of the 24th Infantry Battalion was ordered to capture the position.[22] On the south bank of the Markham River lay Markham Point. bombed Wewak. Lieutenant Colonel Alan Blyth of the 2/4th Field Regiment proposed dropping some of its eight short 25-pounders by parachute. as a precaution. which his staff estimated at 6. for a total of 52 aircraft per group. Taking the Japanese by surprise.[24] .400. He had two groups under his command: the 374th Troop Carrier Group at Ward's Field and the 375th Troop Carrier Group at Dobodura. in addition to the 7. plus the 65th and 66th Troop Carrier Squadrons of the 403rd Troop Carrier Group at Jackson's Field. Vasey watched them carry out a practice jump at Rogers Airfield. with his headquarters at Port Moresby. Prentiss could draw on the 317th Troop Carrier Group at Archerfield Airport and RAAF Base Townsville. A call went out for volunteers and four officers and 30 other ranks were selected. although it was not under his command. which was subjected to mortar fire and an airstrike. On 17 August. which were proofed by firing 20 rounds per gun. On 30 August the gunners received orders to move out the next day.

Kenney "split the difference between the two forecasts and told General MacArthur we would be ready to go on the morning of the 4th for the amphibious movement of the 9th Division to Hopoi Beach and about nine o’clock on the morning of the 5th we would be ready to fly the 503rd Parachute Regiment to Nadzab. and over the top. 8th Fighter Group and 48 P-47 Thunderbolts from the 348th Fighter Group. "did any circling or stalling around but all slid into place like clockwork and proceeded on the final flight down the Watut Valley. The two men which the weather patterns developed were at left are Generals Kenney and MacArthur. then discharged the other two."[27] Leading the formation were 48 B-25s from the 38th and 345th Bombardment Groups whose job was to "sanitise" the drop zones by dropping their loads of sixty 20-pound (9.50-caliber machine guns mounted in their noses. when many of the areas from C-47 transport planes loaded with paratroops for the drop at Nadzab. waited four seconds. was divided into three flights. dawned with inauspiciously bad weather. they laid three smoke curtains adjacent to the three drop zones. Kenney went over the reasons why he thought he should go." MacArthur replied "You’re right. consisting of 24 C-47s from the 403rd Troop Carrier Group from Jackson's.[28] . too. occupied by the enemy and data from them was consequently denied to the forecasters. George. The following aircraft went through the same procedure. from Jackson's. They were followed by seven A-20s of the 3rd Bombardment Group (Light). while the 85% humidity kept the screens effective for five minutes and stopped their dispersal for ten. we’ll both go. The formation of 79 C-47s. 5 September 1943. Fog and rain shrouded both the departure airfields. Conditions were favourable. Forecasting the weather days in advance with such precision was difficult enough in peacetime.1 kg) fragmentation bombs and strafing with the eight . creating a slight overlap to insure a continuous screen. Z-Day would be clear from Port Moresby to Nadzab but foggy over New Britain. by 0730 the fog began to dissipate. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment.[] When Kenney informed MacArthur that he planned to observe the operation from a B-17. as the forecasters had predicted. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. The transports were escorted by 48 P-38 Lightning fighters from the 35th and 475th Fighter Groups. carried 1st Battalion. but more so in wartime. MacArthur reminded Kenney of his orders to keep out of combat. flying through clouds. orders that Brigadier General Kenneth Walker had disobeyed at the cost of his life. The third. 12 P-39 Airacobras from the 36th Fighter Squadron. The lead aircraft discharged two tanks. made a rendezvous over Tsili Tsili at 1007. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. ending with "They were my kids and I was going to see them do their stuff. thereby preventing the Japanese air forces at Rabaul from intervening. Ideally. one Australian and one American.[] Each carried four M10 smoke tanks mounted under the wings. They’re my kids. Each battalion had its own drop zone. carried the 2nd Battalion. The first C-47 took off at 0820. passes in the mountains. consisting of 24 C-47s of 317th Troop Carrier Group. The first. "Not a single squadron. carried the 3rd Battalion. Jackson's and Ward's but. and went directly to the target. each carrying 19 or 20 paratroops. In two groups of two and one of three flying at 250 feet (76 m) at 225 mph (362 km/h)."[26] Three hundred and two aircraft from eight different airfields in the Moresby and Dobodura areas. When the two teams differed over the best possible date.Landing at Nadzab 6 The actual date was chosen by General Kenney based on the advice of his two weather forecasting teams. turned to the right down the Markham." wrote General Kenney. The second."[25] Z-Day. of 31 C-47s from the 375th Troop Carrier Group from Ward's. The smoke tanks were each filled with 19 US gallons (72 l) of the smoke agent FS.

Dropping commenced at 1022.[] Following the transports came five B-17s with their racks loaded with 300 lb (140 kg) packages with parachutes. Kenney. The "pushers out" followed when the aircraft made a second pass over the drop.180 rounds of . although to maintain surprise they did not carry out registration fire until morning. flying at 400 to 500 feet (120 to 150 m) at 100 to 105 mph (160 to 169 km/h).[34] Five C-47s of the 375th Troop Carrier Group carrying the gunners of the 2/4th Field Regiment took off from Ward's Airfield after the main force and landed at Tsili Tsili.[31] During the operation.[] Three paratroopers were killed in the drop. There were 33 minor injuries caused by rough landings. One Australian injured his shoulder in the drop. including the dismantled guns. 32 short tons (29 t) of fragmentation bombs were dropped and 42.580 rounds of .[30] Later MacArthur received the Air Medal for having "personally led the American paratroopers" and "skillfully directed this historic operation". Most jumped from the first two aircraft. Enough parts were found to assemble one gun and have it ready for firing within two and a half hours of dropping.[33] The three battalions met no opposition on the ground and formed up in their assembly areas. eventually dropping fifteen tons of supplies. This mobile supply unit stayed for much of the day. It took three days to find the missing parts and assemble the other gun.Landing at Nadzab 7 Next came the C-47s. which left the column Gunners of the 2/4th Field Regiment en route to Nadzab just before the junction of the Watut and the Markham attacked the Japanese defensive position at Heath's Plantation.[35] After an hour on the ground. At 1515. to be dropped to the paratroopers on call by panel signals as they needed them. including the bombing of Heath’s. It safely returned to base.[29] Generals MacArthur.[32] No air opposition was encountered. two B-17s dropped 192 rounds of ammunition.[][] . but some boxes of ammunition tore away from their parachutes. and Vasey observed the operation. from separate B-17s. a total of 92 short tons (83 t) of high-explosive bombs was dropped. This took some time due to the tropical heat and the high grass. A group of twenty-four B-24s and four B-17s.30 caliber ammunition were expended. they set out for Nadzab. Five B-25 weather aircraft were used along the route and over the passes. Each aircraft dropped all its men in ten seconds and the whole regiment was unloaded in four and a half minutes. Its cargo door blew off during the flight. damaging its elevator. two fell to their deaths when their parachutes malfunctioned while another landed in a tree and then fell some 20 metres (66 ft) to the ground. to keep the units informed on weather to be encountered during their flights to the rendezvous. about halfway between Nadzab and Lae. The next three aircraft dropped equipment. Their dropping was accurate. and only one C-47 failed to make the drop. The gunners then had to locate and assemble their guns in the tall grass.50 caliber and 5.

the Markham River formed three arms. Most of the force moved overland. Three transports followed. one of which was 6. where it rendezvoused with B Company. 2. T. with shoals and hidden snags. That evening. after an overland march from Tsili Tsili. and detachments from the 7th Division Signals.S. separated by broad sand bars. many containing American and Australian engineers. paratroops and native civilians and burned. both were fast flowing. Papuan Infantry Battalion.[38] Lacking mowers. they reached the Americans' position.3 km/h).[36] While neither river was deep. they constructed a pontoon bridge.[39] The first plane to land was an L-4 Piper Cub at 0940 6 September. Trees were felled. consisting of the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion.000 m).[] Because the lack of opposition made immediate resupply non-urgent. set out from Tsili Tsili on 2 September. dry riverbed with soil largely composed of gravel. Lang's force was treated to the sight of the air force passing overhead. the existing one becoming No. nearly running down some of the throng working on the strip. potholes filled in and a windsock erected.[37] The next day they went to work on the airstrip with hand tools. Lang. 2/6th Field Company. the commander of the U.300 feet (1. Fourteen gliders were supposed to fly in three light tractors. substituting instead the afternoon supply run by specially modified B-17s. By the end of October there were four airstrips at Nadzab. whom he knew had undergone only minimal training. They located a site for a new airstrip. bringing with it Colonel Murray C. Rivers to join Lang's force at Kirkland's Crossing. At this point.[] By 1100 on 6 September the 1. 1. Woodbury.[] The 871st followed the next day with its small air-portable bulldozers and graders. Lang's Force crossing the Markham River on the way to Nadzab. Another forty aircraft followed in the afternoon. a wheeled rake and other engineering equipment from Dobodura. which became known as No.500 feet (460 m) strip — which had not been used for over a year — had been extended to 3. General Blamey decided that the glider operation was not worth the risk to the glider pilots or their passengers and cancelled it. causing the destruction of some stores and equipment that had been lost in the long grass and "a swirl of black dust". reaching Kirkland's Crossing on 4 September. 2/5th Field Ambulance and ANGAU.[] The small river-borne task force included 10 British 5 ton folding assault boats and Australian built folding kayaks (folboats) which met up with 2/6 Independent Commandos who had reconnoitered the proposed crossing area with 8 folboats the day before. three mowers. On the morning of 5 September. That night a party of engineers and pioneers set out from Tsili Tsili in 20 small craft and sailed down the Watut and Markham Lieutenant Colonel J. the Kunai grass was cut by hand by the pioneers.[40] .000 feet (1. The site proved to be an excellent one. allowing the whole force to cross the river safely with all their equipment. with 760 native carriers. sappers. Army's 871st Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion. Two were fordable but the other was deep and flowing at 5 knots (9. an old. T.800 m) metres long and sealed with bitumen. Using the folding boats and local timber. A gravel base and steel plank was laid to accommodate the fighters based at Tsili Tsili that were in danger of bogging down when the weather deteriorated. Three boats were lost with their equipment and one man drowned. a force under Lieutenant Colonel J. and because he had doubts about the proficiency of the glider pilots.Landing at Nadzab 8 Follow up Meanwhile.

to initiate the advance on Lae. the rest of the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion reached Nadzab from Tsili Tsili. including Corporal W.800 imperial gallons (13. a patrol from Lieutenant Colonel John J. no infantry arrived from Port Moresby on 6 September because of bad flying weather over the Owen Stanley Range. dashed towards the post and hurled two grenades at it. Only the 2/25th Infantry Battalion and part of the 2/33rd had reached Nadzab by the morning of 8 September when Vasey ordered the commander of the 25th Infantry Brigade. The Americans engaged the Japanese force and reported inflicting heavy losses. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment.[] At 0420. He then asked permission to go out again to rescue the wounded Richards. which he accomplished successfully under heavy fire from another enemy position. on his own initiative. Every man in those trucks was killed or injured. On 7 September.[43] North of the main advance. 15 were killed outright. [41][42] Due to the unpredictable weather. seized a Bren gun. He returned to his section. and halted the platoon's advance. Despite the disaster. after three non-flying days.000 l) of fuel and four 500 lb (230 kg) bombs. reveille was sounded for the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion at 0330 and the unit boarded trucks of the 158th General Transport Company that took it to marshalling areas near the airfields in preparation for the movement to Nadzab. (Billy) Richards.[] Finally. H. crashed into two other trees and exploded. as the advance began. It clipped a tree at the end of the runway. The arrival of that day of the first units of Brigadier Ivan Dougherty's 21st Infantry Brigade at Nadzab at last allowed the paratroopers to be relieved. but while there were 116 landings at Nadzab. which killed some of the Japanese defenders but not all. bad weather prevented the 2/31st Infantry Battalion from leaving Port Moresby.[] . dashed back to the enemy post and silenced it. Private Richard Kelliher suddenly. with a full destroyed when a B-24 Liberator bomber crashed into the marshalling park near Jackson's Airfield on 7 September 1943 load of 2. B-24 Liberator 42-40682 "Pride of the Cornhuskers" of the 43rd Bombardment Group piloted by Two of five trucks carrying members of the 2/33rd Infantry 2nd Lieutenant Howard Wood set out from Jackson's Battalion and the 158th General Transport Company which were Airfield on a reconnaissance sortie to Rabaul. killing all eleven crewmen on board instantly and spraying burning fuel over a large area. a platoon of the 2/25th Infantry Battalion came under very heavy fire from a concealed Japanese machine gun near Heath's Plantation that wounded a number of Australians. Brigadier Ken Eather. the 2/31st Infantry Battalion reached Nadzab on some of the 130 landings on the two strips at Nadzab that day. encountered a force of 200 Japanese crossing the Bumbu River on 15 September. although the 2/25th Infantry Battalion was flown to Tsili Tsili. Kelliher was awarded the Victoria Cross. On 9 September. 44 died of their wounds and 92 were injured but survived.Landing at Nadzab 9 While engineers and anti-aircraft gunners arrived from Tsili Tsili.[] On 13 September. the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion flew out to Tsili Tsili as scheduled. on 12 September. That day there were 112 landings at Nadzab. Tolson's 3rd Battalion. Five of the 158th General Transport Company's trucks containing men of the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion were hit and burst into flames. aircraft continued to arrive at Nadzab sporadically.

On 11 September. Officers and men took it in turns and several at time carried these as they climbed the steep slopes. then acted as leading scout. He was deeply stirred by their sense of responsibility but could not overlook their suffering. Now many soldiers threw away their rifles. They were unimpressed. armed with a pistol. no matter what the situation. "took far longer than had been expected.[] Whitehead soon received a message sent in the clear from Vasey that read: "Only the Fifth Air Force bombers are preventing me from entering Lae. By this time it was clear that Blamey intended to cut off and destroy the 51st Division. the last of the Regiment's guns. the officers and men sympathised with the Regimental Commander and clung on to the rocks with truly formidable spirit. it was unjustifiable if they could not fire a shot on the battlefield. The Salamaua garrison assembled at Lae on 14 September and the Japanese evacuated the town over the next few days. Brigadier Eather came up in his jeep and started urging the diggers to hurry up. Eather. However. thought that if there were artillery troops.[46] "The Sarawaged crossing".[45] Crossing the Saruwaged Range proved to be a gruelling test of endurance for the Japanese soldiers. Imamura and Adachi called off their plans to capture Bena Bena and Mount Hagen and instructed Nakano and Shoge to move overland to the north coast of the Huon Peninsula while the 20th Division moved from Madang to Finschhafen. And since the fighting strength was small and the men were tired. the 9th Division was about 1. wounding one soldier. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. They started out with ten days' rations but this was exhausted by the time they reached Mount Salawaket. The 51st Division had already abandoned most of its heavy equipment. Adachi ordered Nakano to abandon Salamaua and fall back on Lae. The column entered Lae unopposed by the Japanese but aircraft of the Fifth Air Force strafed the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion and dropped parachute fragmentation bombs. one cannon would be enough. the Division Commander came to know about it. It was a retreating band that contacted the 3rd Battalion. commander of 14th Field Artillery Regiment.Landing at Nadzab 10 By this time. As they moved down the Markham Valley Road they occasionally encountered sick Japanese soldiers who held the column momentarily. Australian troops file past a dead Japanese soldier on their way into Lae. He decided that they must also carry some shells. with his troops following in a column of route behind him. wounding two men.[] Japanese withdrawal Colonel Watanabe. After discussing the matter with Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo. A message eventually reached him through RAAF channels at 1425 and the artillery was silenced. and encouraging his own troops he set out for Sarawaged. The 7th Division resumed its advance at dawn on 16 September. Soldiers who were carrying insufficient food for themselves should not have had to carry 50 kilograms of mountain gun bits and pieces. The 25th Infantry Brigade then came under fire from the 9th Division's 25-pounders. and he finally issued a divisional order that they should cease this. Lieutenant General Kane Yoshihara [] On 8 September.5 miles (2. Naturally. while the 7th Division was 7 miles (11 km) away and "it appeared an odds-on bet that the 9th would reach Lae first". On the Sarawaged Mountain the Regiment Commander and his subordinates. and its difficulties . Vasey and Eather tried every available means to inform Wootten of the situation. with tears in their eyes."[44] By early afternoon the 2/31st Infantry Battalion reached the Lae airfield where it killed 15 Japanese soldiers and captured one. sending one regiment down the Ramu valley to assist the 51st Division. wrote Lieutenant General Kane Yoshihara.4 km) East of Lae. bade a formal farewell to this. The last ten Japanese troops facing the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion were killed and the 2/25th Infantry Battalion passed through its position and headed for Lae. The Japanese hurriedly altered their route before the Australians could intercept them. his main body began to withdraw. Nakano had already evacuated his hospital patients and artillery to Lae.

Landing at Nadzab were beyond discussion. allowing the 836th. The road was reopened on 15 December. and 166 evacuated sick. Gradually the road they were climbing became a descending slope. Nadzab became the Allied Air Forces' main base in New Guinea.[51] Outcome General Blamey declared the capture of Lae and Salamaua to be "a signal step on the road to Victory". No. which arrived at Lae on 20 September but after a few days' work it was ordered to relieve the 871st Airborne Aviation Battalion at Nadzab. The 842nd then had to resume work on the road. forcing Nadzab to be supplied from Lae by air. Squalls came.100 m) by 100-foot (30 m) runway surfaced with bitumen.[] Base development The development of Nadzab depended on heavy construction equipment which had be landed at Lae and moved over the Markham Valley Road.800 m) by 100-foot (30 m) runway surfaced with Marsden Matting and a 7.000 feet (1.800 m) by 100-foot (30 m) runways surfaced with bitumen. the Japanese Army could take pride in conducting a creditable defence in the face of an impossible tactical situation."[] 11 Aftermath Casualties The 503rd Parachute Infantry lost 3 men killed and 33 injured in the jump. 2 had a 4. an RAAF airfield named Newton after Flight Lieutenant William Ellis Newton. 62 Works Wing RAAF to move to Nadzab to work on the development of the airbase.000 feet (1. the 7th Division reported 38 killed and 104 wounded. The 842nd reached Nadzab on 4 October but a combination of unseasonable rainfall and heavy military traffic destroyed the road surface and closed the road. 4.[50] The airbase would eventually consist of four all-weather airfields.000 feet (2.200 m) by 100-foot (30 m) runway partially surfaced with bitumen.000 feet (1. and the ramifications went far beyond New Guinea. favoured a valiant defender despite the equally valiant striving of the attackers. No 1 had a 6.000 feet (2. they could only doze beside the fire.200 but it is impossible to apportion them between the 7th and 9th Divisions. the ice spread and they advanced through snow under this tropical sky. 241 wounded or injured. 3 had a 7. while another 138 were evacuated sick. Another 8 were killed and 12 wounded in action against the Japanese. had two parallel 6. the impact was far greater than anyone on the Allied side realised. but the inclination was so steep that if they missed their footing they would fall thousands and thousands of feet — and how many men lost their lives like that!"[] In the end. Tolson described the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment's operation at Nadzab as "probably the classic text-book airborne operation of World War II" but the text book had not been written at the time. this time from the Nadzab end.100 m) by 100-foot (30 m) runway surfaced with bitumen in the centre with 1. The job of improving the road was assigned to the 842nd Engineer Aviation Battalion. Near the mountain summits the cold was intense and sleep was quite impossible all the cold night. Coming after the less than impressive performance of the airborne arm in the Allied invasion of Sicily. Imperial General Headquarters had regarded the defeats in the Guadalcanal Campaign and Battle of . 119 Allied servicemen were killed. and 26 were evacuated sick. Heavy rain was experienced on 46 of the next 60 days. "Fortune and Nature. Nadzab influenced thinking about the value of airborne operations.[] Thus.[52] Lieutenant General John J.[49] To this must be added the 11 Americans and 59 Australians killed and 92 Australians injured in the air crash at Jackson's Airfield.000 feet (300 m) of Marsden mat at either end.[48] Between 5 and 19 September. 868th and 1881st Engineer Aviation Battalions and No. Japanese casualties were estimated at 2. 839th.[47] The 2/5th Field Ambulance treated 55 jump casualties on 7 September. however. No.[53] However. No.

org/oclc/1227801).: Office of the Chief of Military History. Now it concluded that the Japanese position was over-extended. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. (2004). On Shaggy Ridge.worldcat. and had continued to plan offensives in the South West Pacific. ISBN 0522844626. org/ geohack/ geohack. OCLC  26195398 (http://www. General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War (http://www.Landing at Nadzab Buna–Gona as setbacks only. D. The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat. OCLC  62058889 (http://www. ed.worldcat. Airfield and Base Development.: Office of the Chief of Military History. Washington. positions beyond that line would be held as an outpost line. ISBN 1-86448-734-8. Hugh J. OCLC  223952146 (http://www.worldcat. wmflabs. Engineers of the Southwest Pacific. South Melbourne. ISSN  6274 0729 6274 (http://www.worldcat. retrieved 20 February 2009 • Kleber. Washington. the Caroline Islands and the Mariana Islands.C. David (1998). NAA (Vic): MP742/1 94/1/450 [37] Reconquest. Switzerland: Hirsch Publishing. OCLC  39291537 (http://www. New York City: • Kenney. OCLC  747879654 ( • Horner. ISBN 0-912799-44-7.. The Australian 7th Division in the Ramu Valley: From Kaiapit to the Finisterre • Kelly. "Tragedy at Jackson’s Strip". Phillip (2003). AWM54 589/5/3 [17] GHQ Operational Instruction No. Nadzab (1943): The First Successful Airborne operation (http://etd. • Bradley. ISBN 978-3-033-01717-7. OCLC  220327037 (http://www. The War in the Pacific: CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul. General Vasey's War. Melbourne University oclc/2028994) • Zurich. pp. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. Wartime (Canberra: Australian War Memorial) (23): 31–33. 8 August 1943. Department of the Army.worldcat. Dale (1966).org/oclc/26195398) • Horner. 12 References • Bradley.: United States Government Printing Office. Kelly. OCLC  1227801 (http://www.pdf). (1951) 220327037) • Dexter. The New Guinea Offensives (http://hucandgabetbooks. OCLC  1355535 (http://www. David (1992).worldcat. php?pagename=Landing_at_Nadzab& params=6_33_S_146_42_E_ [7] GHQ Warning Instruction No. Robert H. Brooks E. Phillip (2004).. Allied Air Transport Operations in the South West Pacific Area in WWII. Henceforth. but only with holding on as long as possible so as to delay the Allied advance. General Imamura was now charged not with winning a decisive victory.pdf).edu/docs/ available/etd-11022004-201139/unrestricted/Lowe_thesis.blogspot. Victoria: Oxford University Press. • . 3 September 1943.worldcat. Birdsell. 34/5.C. D. Volume II: 1943 – Year of Expansion and Consolidation.worldcat. OCLC  224699549 (http://www. Series 1 – Army.[54] 12 Notes [1] http:/ / tools. p. Sloan and Pearce. Washington. George new-guinea-offensives-by-david-dexter. ISBN 978-0-19-555359-8.hq. airforcehistory.worldcat.worldcat.html) (PDF (Table of contents only)). John (2011). AWM54 589/5/3 [20] "Defects in 25 pdr light guns". (1949). David (1961). org/oclc/62058889) • Lowe. Commando Kayak: The role of the folboat in the Pacific War. ISBN 0-646-45837-X. (2006). retrieved 25 February 2009 • Miller. Queensland: Robert H. Jr (1959). OCLC  2028994 (http://www. 29–30 [52] Reconquest.worldcat. Department of the Army. A new defensive line was drawn running through Western New Guinea. James P. Blamey : The Commander-in-Chief. Buderim. 2.

Finschhafen. Department of the Army. OCLC  221284976 (http://www. "Japanese air operations over New Guinea during the Second World War" (http:// on YouTube . Louis (1962).asp?levelID=67923). Markham and Ramu Valleys.htm).au/histories/second_world_war/ volume.worldcat. (1957).: Office of the Chief of Military History.worldcat. D.worldcat. Reconquest : an official record of the Australian army's successes in the offensives against Lae. Retrieved 6 November 2011. OCLC  1355622 (http://www. Australian Military Forces. 13 • • • • External links • 503rd Jump at Nadzab. September 1943 – June 1944. Journal of the Australian War Memorial (Australian War Memorial) (34).gov. OCLC  1293257 ( Australia in the War of 1939–1945 Series 5 – Medical (Canberra: Australian War Memorial) "This Island Campaigns" (http://www. Hiroyuki (June 2001). 1943 (https://www. Allan S. retrieved 5 March 2009 Walker. The War in the Pacific: Strategy and Command: The First Two Years. Washington. Melbourne: Director General of Public Relations.Landing at Nadzab oclc/1355535) oclc/1355622) Shindo.

Nick-D. MuXXo.php?title=File:Markham_River_Crossing.php?title=File:Short_25pdr. 17 anonymous edits Image Sources.jpg  Source: https://en. Karanacs. File:US flag 48 stars.jpg  Source: https://en. Ulric1313. Frietjes. 6 anonymous edits File:Flag of Rock4arolla. Spinner145.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: US Army.php?  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:NuclearWarfare File:C-47 transport planes loaded for File:Nadzab and File:Jacksons Strip.php?title=File:US_flag_48_stars. Tkgd2007. Izraías. Cycn. Timmay911. The ed17. File:2-4-FA regt in C-47. Ozistry.svg  Source: https://en. Piledhigheranddeeper. Ktr101. Wavelength. Rjwilmsi.wikipedia. Mifter File:Merchant flag of Japan (1870). Thejackruark. Aeonx. Licenses and Contributors File:Awm 128387  License: Public Domain  Contributors: kahusi .wikipedia.php?  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Unknown License Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.wikipedia. Newm30.wikipedia. Joe N.jpg  Source: Jacobolus.php?oldid=571692476  Contributors: Abraham. Original uploader was Grant65 at en. Another Believer. Colonies Chris. Dimadick.jpg  Source: https://en.0 Unported //creativecommons. Saberwyn.  Source: https://en. Brighterorange. Hugo999. Homo lupus. NuclearWarfare.jpg  Source: https://en.php?title=File:Nadzab_and_Lae. Clindberg.svg  Source: https://en.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Colin Thomas Halmarick File:Markham River Crossing. Sadads. B.jpg  Source: https://en.php?title=File:Lae_AWM015783. Hawkeye7.php?title=File:Awm_128387_nadzab. Bjenks.wikipedia. AnonMoos..wikipedia.php?title=File:2-4-FA_regt_in_C-47. R'n' File:Elkton Plan.jpg  Source: https://en.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: US Army. Later version(s) were uploaded by Miami33139 at en.wikipedia. Anotherclown. Awickert. Von Altringen.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Abjiklam. Dual Flargman4. Peter Horn.jpg  Source: https://en. Bencherlite.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: US Army.jpg  Source: https://en. John of Reading.S.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Unknown File:Lae AWM015783. Discospinster.php?title=File:Flag_of_Australia.0/ .org/w/index.php? LittleWink.wikipedia.Article Sources and Contributors 14 Article Sources and Contributors Landing at Nadzab  Source: https://en.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Unknown Original uploader was Hawkeye7 at File:Short 25pdr. Rocket000. LilHelpa. Zscout370. AustralianRupert.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: US Army Center for Military History. Orderinchaos.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Anomie.wikipedia.php?title=File:Merchant_flag_of_Japan_(1870). Original uploader was Hawkeye7 at en. Roger Davies. Hmains.wikipedia. Wiki13.

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