Military History

This Week in History | Week 45

By The Cove November 2, 2020

Week 45 | 2 - 8 November


02 November 1942 | Kokoda airstrip re-occupied

The Japanese were badly crushed at Eora Creek and they retreated in a disorderly state. They made no attempt to defend or hold the Kokoda village or airstrip. 0n 02 November 1942 members of the 2/31st Battalion entered Kokoda unopposed, only to find that the Japanese had left two days prior. By mid afternoon that day, the entire battalion was in place in Kokoda and the airstrip and the Kokoda village was secure.

The meaning of retaking Kokoda was immeasurable. At this stage in the campaign, 'Kokoda' had become a household word in Australian cities and towns. The retaking of this small village along the winding track through hostile jungle in the Owen Stanley Range was seen by all, even those with little military knowledge, as a huge turning point for our soldiers in the Pacific.


04 November 1944 | Jacquinot Bay

Troops of the 6th Brigade land at Jacquinot Bay, New Britain (PNG). Jacquinot Bay became an important base for Australian operations against the Japanese on New Britain. 

Brigadier Raymond Sandover's 6th Brigade was directed to secure the Jacquinot Bay area. While the region was believed to be undefended, the initial landing was conducted by a combat-ready force comprising the reinforced Australian 14th/32nd Battalion protected by warships and with aircraft on standby. As expected, there was no opposition to the landing on 4 November and work soon began on logistics facilities.

Once a base was established at Jacquinot Bay, it was used to support Australian operations towards Rabaul. These were conducted in early 1945 in conjunction with advances on the northern side of New Britain. The campaign was effectively one of containment, isolating the larger Japanese force and allowing the Allies to conduct operations elsewhere.

05 November 1950 | Battle of Pakchon

In November, after the actions of the Broken Bridge and Chongju, the 27th Commonwealth Brigade held position near the town of Pakchon, in defence of the road leading south to the Chongchon River. Australian troops were concentrated on the west bank of the Taeryong River near Pakchon.

On the night of 4-5 November, Chinese troops, who had only recently entered the war, attacked the area.

They were repelled by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the morning of 5 November, but other Chinese troops continued to advance southwards, threatening to isolate the position of the brigade. The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), was hurriedly sent to stop the Chinese on a tactically important ridgeline, east of Pakchon.

The enemy positions were first strafed by Mustangs of 77 Squadron, RAAF: this was the first occasion when Australian troops and airpower worked together in Korea. The raid having thrown the Chinese into confusion, 3 RAR then attacked. After two hours of fierce defence by the Chinese, the Australians captured the ridgeline. (AWM)


07 November 1917 | Third battle of Gaza

The third battle of Gaza was begun as a feint to divert enemy forces to Gaza. The garrison was bombarded for six days, and three divisions deployed, to fool the Turks into believing that another frontal attack was imminent. The real effort; however, was to be made at Beersheba, the eastern extremity of the Turkish defensive line. Beersheba fell on 31 October 1917, allowing the British and dominion forces to outflank and roll-up the Turkish defensive line. This undermined the security of Gaza, which fell to the British on 7 November 1917 after little resistance from Turkish forces.




The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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