The Battles for Kokoda Plateau

The Battles for Kokoda Plateau Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

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Product details

Listening Length 13 hours and 14 minutes
Author David W. Cameron
Narrator Steve Shanahan
Whispersync for Voice Ready
Audible.com.au Release Date 01 April 2020
Publisher Wavesound from W. F. Howes Ltd
Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
ASIN B08669K1FC
Best Sellers Rank 35,631 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
57 in History of Oceania
97 in Australian, New Zealand & Oceanic History
670 in Military History (Audible Books & Originals)

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Reviewed in Australia on 5 October 2020
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Reviewed in Australia on 17 September 2021
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3.0 out of 5 stars Kokoda was really indefensible
Reviewed in Australia on 17 September 2021
The 'plateau' at Kokoda is only small in the overall layout of the terrain. Sure, there is a definite steep rise along it's edges, but without clear fields of fire, 150 or so Aussies could never have held it from a night assault. As well, Kokoda is bypassed by several tracks, and it was only a matter of time before it could be bypassed and surrounded. Deniki is similarly able to be bypassed.

One of the strongest characters to emerge from the whole campaign was Bert Kienzle, the planter from Yodda. I had the great pleasure of flying Bert and his family into Kokoda several times in the period 1968-1970 when I was flying as a Commercial Pilot out of Port Moresby. He was a true gentleman and had some great insights into WW2.

We pilots became very familiar with the various 'track' locations, as many were, by the 60s, developed into airstrips by the locals. Naoro, Efogi, Kagi and Manumu were the ones that I regularly flew out of. Menari was yet to be built. The old WW2 strip on Myola was unusable, and still had wreckage of a tri-motor aircraft there.

In Camerons' book, p209, bottom sentence, he states that a Papuan, (George Meta), walked with several other escapees from the 1st Kokoda skirmish, to Kairuku on Yule Island, and then back to Port Moresby over the Owen Stanley range. This seems to be questionable, as Kairuku is some 50 miles NW of Port Moresby, and my guess is that they travelled SE along the coast to Port Moresby by boat. To get to Kairuku, the group would have crossed the Owen Stanleys NW of Kokoda: probably some of the highest country of the whole range? One hell of a feat, as there were no 'low' gaps for the next 30-40 miles!

One of the pics that I've posted is of Patairs' very 1st DC3, parked at Kokoda in 1961 - pic taken by Robyn Kienzle. Bert is somewhere in there. VH-PAT became a complete loss a month later when it caught fire en route to the Highlands, but the crew narrowly escaped by force landing it at Kairuku, (Yule Is), and jumping from the pilots small windows. Very lucky people.
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