Kokoda by Paul Ham

I've just finished reading this excellent book about the Kokoda track and New Guinea campaign which lasted from July 1942 until January 1943.

It describes how the Australians inflicted the first land defeat of WWII on the Japanese in conditions that almost defy belief. The Australian militia and later their regular Army fought in mountainous jungle and later in mangrove swamps. Some Units suffered 80-90% casualties, mainly caused by malaria, dysentry and other diseases.

Before I read this book I knew next to nothing about a campaign which is almost unknown in the UK. If you are looking for something different about WWII , then I would definitely recommend this book. There are plenty of maps and photos and the author has covered the Japanese story as well as the Australian.

Anyway, if you're interested here's a link to the relevant page on amazon:

After reading this, and a few others on the war in New Guinea, I went over and walked the track. Truly fascinating - the place is full of discarded live ordnance and wreckage. The weapons pits and fire positions are still visible. You can follow the campaign from one end to the other.

It takes 7, 8 or 9 days depending on the route but highly recommended.

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