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Japanese Stopped at Ioribaiwa

16 SEP 1942: The Japanese advance in Owen Stanley Ranges is stopped at Ioribaiwa. The Japanese were too ill-equipped and their supply lines too extended over forbidding terrain to enable them to reach their objective – Port Moresby. After the disaster at Brigade Hill, the Australian forces on the track once again undertook tactics of ambush, fight, stall, withdrawal.

With their rear guard being harassed by the Japanese, the Australian forces fell back over the Maguli Range to Ioribaiwa Ridge.
This was just two ridges from the end of the inhospitable jungle of the Owen Stanley Range.

At Ioribaiwa Ridge the Australian forces were reinforced with the fresh 25th Brigade and overall command was now handed over to its commander Brigadier Ken Ether. The 21st Brigade were still in battle however they were severely depleted.

The 2/14th and 2/16th were acting as a composite battalion and the 2/27th were still attempting to make their way back to allied lines via the jungle to the east of the Kokoda Trail.

Australian fire power was increased with the addition of Vickers medium machine guns and also ten three inch mortars; however, at this point the Australians were still unable to be assisted by friendly artillery.

The Australian artillery units were currently in the vicinity of Owers Corner (25 pounders) and still out of range. The Japanese had managed to man handle their mountain guns all the way across the Owen Stanley Range and at this point were shelling the Australians with depressing regularity.

Japanese supply lines were now extended dramatically, at this point, reinforcements were minimal and the wounded were being retained at the front in the hope that captured medical facilities were closer than their own medical facilities in their rear.

Over the period 14th to 16th September 1942 both the Japanese and the Australian forces initiated attacks against each other in the Ioribaiwa region.

The battles in this area could almost be considered a draw: The Japanese failed to push the Australians off the ridge, however the Australians whom now had a much larger and stronger force had failed to remove the Japanese from the footholds they did have on the ridge. Photo: September 1942. Kokoda track. An Australian soldier looking out across the deep valleys towards Ioribaiwa on the Kokoda track, from a point where the road ends and the descent by foot track commences. This location is the starting point for Kokoda trekkers travelling north. More;

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