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25BN Takes Pearl Ridge

30 DEC 1944: Australians of the 25th Battalion occupy Pearl Ridge, on Bougainville. The capture of the heavily defended Japanese position on Pearl ridge gave the Australians possession of this important vantage point that provided views over both sides of Bougainville.

The Battle of Pearl Ridge was an engagement of the Second World War fought between Australian and Japanese forces on Bougainville Island.

Part of the wider Bougainville Campaign, the battle took place in the central sector of the island, shortly after the Australians had taken over responsibility from the Americans.

Believing that the ridge was held by less than a company of Japanese, on 30 December the Australian 25th Infantry Battalion launched a four-pronged attacked the ridge. The defending force, however, had been greatly reinforced by elements of the 38th Independent Mixed Brigade and was closer to a battalion in strength.

After being held up on the right of their advance, the Australians dug-in overnight and repulsed a strong Japanese counterattack before resuming the attack on 31 December.

By late in the afternoon, the Japanese had been swept off the ridge.

The Australians later established an observation post on the ridge, which had commanding views of the whole island, and throughout the remainder of the campaign used it to control artillery fire as they advanced towards Japanese enclaves in the north and south of the island.

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