World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Kokoda Trail

World War II Kokoda Trail - Stories, discoveries and tours.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

The Architect of Kokoda: Bert Kienzle - The Man Who Made the Kokoda Track by Robyn Kienzle
The name of Bert Kienzle rates a fleeting mention in many WWII books written about the famous Kokoda campaign in New Guinea. The battles which raged over the Kokoda Track are credited with turning the tide of the Japanese advances through the Pacific and saving Australia from invasion. The Japanese were stopped by fierce Australian defence, poor supply lines and the efforts by men like Bert who pioneered the trail and then organised native carriers to carry food and ammunition to the troops and evacuate the wounded. Crucially, he found areas high in the mountains where supplies could be air-dropped to exhausted troops needing lots of help against a determined enemy.

Australia and PNG issue Kokoda stamps
The Kokoda campaign, the Australia's toughest battle against the Japanese in World War 2, is commemorated with a new stamp. Australia Post and Papua New Guinea Post have issued a joint Kokoda stamp in honour of the soldiers who fell along PNG's Kokoda Track. In a first between the two nations, 5 stamps have been issued depicting the bond forged during the Kokoda Campaign. "A remarkable bond was formed in 1942 that continues to this day," said Noel Leahy, of Australia Post Philatelic Group. Two stamps depict the tough conditions, while another shows the memorial along the Kokoda Track, at Isurava.

Beyond Kokoda - documentary features both Japanese and Australian veterans
Sadashige Imanishi's voice falters as he recalls all the weapons left behind by dead Japanese soldiers in the jungles of New Guinea. "That was the first time I thought of them and realized how cruel the war was." Imanishi, of the 144th regiment of the Imperial Japanese Army, is in a key role in a new documentary that tells of the WWII combat between Japanese and Australian forces from both views. "Beyond Kokoda" features the experiences of the men who battled each other and the conditions of the Kokoda Track and northern beaches of New Guinea. Using archive footage and re-enactments, the film offers a fair depiction of the bloody 7-month campaign.

Walking the Kokoda track - Touring WWII history in Papua New Guinea
I was privileged to walk the Kokoda Track as part of a group. It took 11 days from Brisbane and back, with 9 days walking and camping at night in small tents. We carried all our gear with a food re-supply half way. We were a large group of 27 trekkers, with 2 leaders from tour company "Our Spirit". Family history was clearly present, as several walkers had fathers or uncles involved in the Kokoda battles. The Kokoda Track is 96km of rugged terrain. It is slippery and every step needs to be focussed. The evidence of the war is mostly overgrown now, but there are bunkers, trenches, a few wrecks and some caches of old munitions.

Papua 'remains' are not World War II body
The suspected remains of a World War Two airman found in a jungle region of Papua New Guinea have turned out to be the moss-covered tree branches. Hikers on the country's Kokoda Trail found what seemed to be the remains of a parachutist tangled in wires and dangling in a tree. The Australian military sent a team to look into the "body" only to discover it was a branch tangled in vines. Australian and Japanese forces fought several battles in the region in 1942-1943, and the hillsides around the Kokoda Trail are cluttered with rusting guns, grenades and mortars.

World War II pilot's skeleton found hanging in Kokoda Track tree by hikers
The skeleton of a WW2 pilot have been discovered hanging in a tree on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. A group of hikers lead by David Collins, of No Roads Expeditions, made the find. "We had just left Templeton's Crossing and had walked up over the top of Mt Bellamy and were coming back down... when some of the hikers stopped to take photos of the natural canopy above the trail. One of them zoomed in on what appeared to be a body... It appears to be sitting in an aluminium harness and hanging from a cable, which leads us to believe it could be an airman." The body was covered in moss and nearly impossible to distinguish at first.

Miner to minimise damage to historic Kokoda Track
Frontier Resources has bowed to pressure and restricted a mining proposal in a bid to minimise damage to Papua New Guinea's historic Kokoda Track. Managing director Peter McNeil said a compromise was needed to secure a copper and gold exploration licence was renewed by the PNG government. The company has been under fire over a plan critics said would damage part of the historic World War II track, where Australian soldiers fought the Japanese. A redrawn proposal bypasses 15km of the Kokoda Track and only 250 metres, instead of earlier 600 metres, is affected by potential exploration.

Australia Seeks to Protect Kokoda Trail - The World War II battle site
Australia wants an accord with Papua New Guinea to safeguard the Kokoda Trail, the World War II battle site, after villagers blocked part of the track to back up the building of a gold and copper mine. "Australia has the very strong view that the Kokoda Trail needs to be protected. The Kokoda Trail for Australia and Australians is iconic," Australian Foreign Minister said. Frontier Resources Ltd. plans to dig up part of the track between Kokoda village and Owers Corner, to mine a $6.7 billion gold and copper deposit. Local landowners have been offered a 5% stake and are calling on Papua New Guinea's government to allow the development to continue.

Six world war II veterans head back to Kokoda
Harry Barkla spent his 21st birthday in a foxhole on the Kokoda Track before all hell broke loose at the Battle of Isurava in August 1942. Now he travels back to that Papua New Guinea battlefield for the first time with 5 other Australian WWII veterans to mark 65 years since the battle and to remember lost mates. "I was lucky, I was a runner for the platoon so I very seldom got any forward positions. It was scary enough when you went on forward patrols and had to walk back to battalion headquarters to get them a message." The fighting withdrawal conducted by 39th Battalion meant many bodies were left behind and could not be found when the tables turned.

Two battlegrounds and a railway mark darkest hours of Australia
Touring battlefields and war memorials can provide a poignant historical insight, a fascinating pilgrimage for military enthusiasts and an emotional journey for those with a connection to the sites. Many tour operators specialise in itineraries that coincide with Anzac Day, as well as running tours throughout the year. Kokoda Trail, PNG: This 96km route through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea is the site of one of the most significant battles in Australian military history. From July 1942 to Jan 1943, troops battled the Japanese forces, who regarded PNG as a strategic base for invading Australia.

Farmer saved a city from the Japanese in 1942   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Keith Norrish has no doubts that the actions of Brigadier Arnold Potts on the Kokoda Track saved Port Moresby from the Japanese in 1942. "Pottsy achieved the impossible. He stopped the advance of the Japs, but instead of being recognised by the hierarchy as a hero, he was sacked and sent back to Australia. We were outnumbered five to one by the Japanese. Had our commander obeyed orders to stand and fight instead of choosing a fighting withdrawal, the 21st Brigade would have been isolated, bypassed and decimated. Pottsy defied orders from High Command in Canberra and Brisbane, and saved Moresby.

Kokoda tale of the 39th Militia Battalion hits big screen
64 years ago, Australian soldiers from the 39th Militia Battalion carried their weapons and the hopes of their homeland into the Papuan jungle to confront a vastly superior Japanese force along the Kokoda Trail. At the start of the campaign, these militiamen were derisively called "chocolate soldiers". By the end, they were known as "ragged bloody heroes" for their part in stopping the Japanese advance. The world premiere of a film dramatising a small part of the Kokoda campaign finally reaches the big screen. But the movie's release has sparked a fresh skirmish over whether it really captures the spirit of Kokoda.