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 for their own country’s security.
The Japanese were expecting reinforcements by the third week of August. Only a fraction of rations through airdrops were received by Australian soldiers. The Australians fought hard and when they were unable to hold their supply dump they contaminated as much food as possible so the starving Japanese gorged themselves on rotting food.
It wasn’t until six months later on 22nd January 1943 that the Australians crushed the last resistance of the Japanese at Buna.
The Australian soldiers on the Kokoda Track had many hurdles to overcome. One brigade wore desert uniforms as nothing else was available and they soon found out the khaki colour really stood out. Later in the campaign Australian soldiers wore jungle-green uniforms of long trousers and shirts with leather boots and socks. Some tried to dye their khaki uniforms by boiling them in kerosene drums with leaves and tea. They wanted to blend into the rainforest.
A soldier carried about 25 kilograms of food, ammunition and other equipment in a haversack on his back. At night if he was lucky he found a patch of level ground and used his ground sheet to lie on and his...