The Spell Broken: Exploding the Myth of Japanese Invincibility : Milne Bay to Buna-Sanananda 1942-43

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Allen & Unwin, 1998 - Milne Bay (Papua New Guinea), Battle of, 1942 - 304 pages
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Tells the story of how the Australian 18th brigade inflicted the first defeat on land of the Japanese army in World War 2.

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The Pacific theatre
This place takes the bun
Close to home
Whose killingground?
Up two hundred gunfire
like a bloody barometer
Unrest around the perimeter
Milne Bay July 1942 13
Brigadier Woottens plan
Bouncing the ball
Brigadier Woottens plan
Still rings in my ears
The Sanananda affair
The land is bright
18th Brigade 1523 January 1943

With astute aggression
A bum guess
To the beachhead
A special breed

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Page 3 - I have come as a soldier in a great crusade of personal liberty as opposed to perpetual slavery. My faith in our ultimate victory is invincible and I bring to you tonight the unbreakable spirit of the free man's military code in support of our just cause....
Page 229 - I had hoped that our strategical plans would have been crowned with complete and rapid success in the tactical field. It was completely successful strategically in as much as we brought an American Division on to Buna and an Australian Division on to Gona simultaneously. But in the tactical field after the magnificent advance through the most difficult area, the Owen Stanley Range, it is a very sorry story. It has revealed the fact that the American troops cannot be classified as attack troops. They...
Page 3 - There can be no compromise. We shall win or we shall die, and to this end I pledge you the full resources of all the mighty power of my country and all the blood of my countrymen.
Page 142 - Australian troops had, at Milne Bay. in New Guinea, inflicted on the Japanese their first undoubted defeat on land. If the Australians, in conditions very like ours, had done it, so could we. Some of us may forget that of all the Allies it was Australian soldiers who first broke the spell of the invincibility of the Japanese Army; those of us who were in Burma have cause to remember.
Page v - They are too near to be great, But our children shall understand When and how our fate Was changed, and by whose hand. Our children shall measure their worth. We are content to be blind But we know that we walk on a new-born earth With the saviours of mankind.
Page 229 - ... Commander, and sent him over to take charge. He informs me that he proposes to relieve both the regimental commanders, the equivalent of our brigade commanders, and five out of six of the battalion commanders; and this in the face of the enemy. I am afraid now that the bulk of the fighting will fall on our troops in spite of the greatly larger numbers of the 32nd US Division. The brigades that went over the mountain track are now so depleted that they are being withdrawn and I am utilising the...
Page 107 - You possibly do not realise that for GHQ this is their first battle and they are, therefore, like many others, nervous and dwelling on the receipt of frequent messages. Hopkins told me that you had said you were not going to give a 'ball for ball
Page xii - CB . . Companion of the Order of the Bath CBE . . Commander of the Order of the British Empire CC . . . . Companion of the Order of Canada C.Chem.
Page 110 - I'm personally very bitter over the criticism from a distance and I think it damned unfair to pillory any commander without any knowledge of the conditions. It has rained for ten days at Milne Bay and it keeps on raining. I suppose there will be heresy hunts and bowler hats soon. I hate to think what would have happened with our allies in charge up here.14 Rowell's reply to Vasey's second letter of 28 August: ... I do hope there is a showdown.
Page 5 - ... Commanders of all armed forces within your Area will be immediately informed by their respective governments that, from a date to be notified, all orders and instructions issued by you in conformity with this directive will be considered by such commanders as emanating from their respective governments. 9. Your staff will include officers assigned by the respective governments concerned, based upon requests made directly to the national commanders of the various forces in your Area. 10. The governments...

About the author (1998)

Peter Brune is an oral historian and is a successful Allen + Unwin military history author. His previous works include Those Ragged Bloody Heroe, Gona's Gone and (with Neil McDonald) 200 Shots.

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