Papua New Guinea - Milne Bay (World War 2, 25 August 1942 to 31 August 1942)

Normal 014685

About This Campaign

"Australian troops had, at Milne Bay, inflicted on the Japanese, their first undoubted defeat on land."

"Some of us may forget that of all the Allies, it was the Australians who first broke the spell of Japanese invincibility."

Field Marshal Sir William Slim

A strategically valuable harbour on the south-eastern end of Papua, Milne Bay saw the first terrestrial defeat of the Japanese. As a result, it became an Allied base in 1942, hosting three airstrips in addition to a sheltered harbour. On 25 August 1942, when the Japanese landed to take Milne Bay on the way to Port Moresby, the Bay also boasted two Australian infantry brigades as part of an Allied contingent of 9,000, along with two RAAF squadrons with bomber capability.

Japanese intelligence had seriously underestimated Allied strength in the region and, while they experienced initial success, moving through the 61st and the 2/10th Battalions, by the end of the month they suffered increasing losses. Between Allied artillery and bomber support, from 31 August 1942, the Japanese were forced into retreat, pursued by the 2/12th and later the 2/9th Australian infantry battalions.

From 4 to 7 September, less than half of the original Japanese landing force were evacuated. 167 Australians and 14 Americans had died during the Battle of Milne Bay.

For more information, see (  



Showing 8 people of interest from campaign

Thumb image
WOOTON, David Edward

Service number SX8755
2nd/27th Infantry Battalion
2nd AIF WW 2
Born 19 Aug 1917

Thumb 1
STENING, Charles George

Service number 417756
Lieutenant Colonel
Born 26 Oct 1920

Thumb french1
FRENCH, John Alexander

Service number QX1071
2nd/9th Infantry Battalion
2nd AIF WW 2
Born 15 Jul 1914

Thumb capture
MADDEN, Joseph Munro

Service number QX28452
61st Infantry Battalion AMF
Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2
Born 14 Nov 1919

Thumb sx1668 private lawrence william stanford pic
STANFORD, Lawrence William

Service number SX1668
2nd/10th Infantry Battalion
2nd AIF WW 2
Born 25 May 1905

Thumb image
KNOTT, Horace Vivian

Service number SX3113
2nd/27th Infantry Battalion
2nd AIF WW 2
Born 1 Nov 1919

Thumb 1940  capt pat rafferty 1
RAFFERTY, Rupert Anstice

Service number TX2016
2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
2nd AIF WW 2
Born 2 Jan 1915

Thumb bushell robert mongomery sx38108   wwii pic
BUSHELL, Robert Montgomery Ferguson

Service number S43973
16th Small Ship Company
2nd AIF WW 2
Born 25 Aug 1914