The Japanese wanted to take Australia out of the war and to do this they had to capture Port Moresby in New Guinea because it could be used as an aircraft base for them. The Japanese advance force first landed in July 1942 with over 10 000 soldiers landing three weeks later. They had to travel south on a very rough pathway called the Kokoda Track. The Kokoda Track was not a single pathway, it was made up of many tracks which joined together to connect villages across the mountains.
The Japanese were planning to reach Port Moresby via the Kokoda Track but they had no idea how difficult the terrain was and they had insufficient supplies. They were expecting an easy victory but the Australians matched them in training, experience and morale because the Australians were fighting
Only a fraction of rations through airdrops were received by Australian soldiers. The Japanese were expecting reinforcements by the third week of August. Men spent days and nights in these muddy stinking water filled pits plagued by mosquitoes. It was always cold in the mountains at night and the men shivered in their wet clothes. At night if he was lucky he found a patch of level ground and used his ground sheet to lie on and his half-blanket and waterproof cape for cover. May creeks had to be crossed and on some parts of the track soldiers had to crawl on their hands and knees. The Australian soldiers on the Kokoda Track had many hurdles to overcome. More soldiers were brought out of the fighting because of sickness than from war wounds. A soldier carried about 25 kilograms of food, ammunition and other equipment in a haversack on his back. Many soldiers were evacuated with typhus or malaria. No fires were allowed as the smoke would alert the enemy. For a meal a soldier ate a tin of "bully beef" which was a type of preserved meat and some hard dry biscuits washed down with water from his water bottle. Later in the campaign Australian soldiers wore jungle-green uniforms of long trousers and shirts with leather boots and socks.