Allied logistics in the Kokoda Track campaign

During the Second World War, Allied logistics in Papua played a crucial role in bringing the Kokoda Track campaign to a successful conclusion. Port Moresby, the most significant Papuan town, had just two airfields and basic port facilities in early 1942. The Allies were confronted with an interior covered with rainforest and tall mountains where wheeled vehicles could not operate. The Australian Army was forced to rely on air transport and native carriers, two modes of transportation that it had never used before.

About Allied logistics in the Kokoda Track campaign in brief

Summary Allied logistics in the Kokoda Track campaignDuring the Second World War, Allied logistics in Papua played a crucial role in bringing the Kokoda Track campaign to a successful conclusion. Port Moresby, the most significant Papuan town, had just two airfields and basic port facilities in early 1942. An enormous amount of work was required to transform it into a major base for both air and land operations against the Japanese. The Allies were confronted with an interior covered with rainforest and tall mountains where wheeled vehicles could not operate. The Australian Army was forced to rely on air transport and native carriers, two modes of transportation that it had never used before. The environment posed the danger of endemic tropic diseases, particularly dysentery, scrub typhus and malaria. Thousands of Papuans were conscripted to help the war effort, including the sick and wounded, many of whom had to walk back to the base area along the Kokodas. The Kokoda track is a foot track that reaches a height of 4,694 metres. While there is a main track that is associated with the fighting during the campaign, there are many parallel, interlocking tracks that follow the same general course. The main track falls 96 kilometres south west from Kokoda 96 kilometres overland toward the Stanley Range. It was used before the war as a mail route, but now it is used as a training track for soldiers and airmen. The track was used by the Australian Army as well as the Royal Australian Air Force during the war, and is still used today by Australian soldiers. It is also used by some of the world’s most famous sports teams, such as the Australian Football League and the Australian Rules Football Association.

It has also been used as the base for the Australian Open tennis tournament. It also has been the site of the opening of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Opera House, and has been used for the opening ceremony of the Australian Paralympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, among many other sporting events. In 1942, Papua was a territory of Australia. Around 240,000 square kilometres in area, it occupied the south eastern part of the island of New Guinea. The population was about 300,000, of whom 1,800 were Europeans; there were very few Asians owing to Australia’s immigration policy. It contributed about one-eighth of Australia’s supply. There had been little development and it was largely devoid of infrastructure except around the administrative centre of Port Moreby on the southern coast, which had two air fields and basicport facilities. The area was relatively dry, with a rainfall of less than 1,000 millimetres per annum, as a result of the north eastern monsoon, which comes between December and April. By air it was 1,150 kilometres from the nearest Allied airbase at Townsville, although there was a small airfield on Hornfield in the Torres Strait, whereas the Japanese airfields at Laea and Salama were less than 370 kilometres away. There were few aircraft available, and these were of a variety of different types, complicating maintenance. Air operations in New Guinea were restricted by the weather.