Home' Army News : February 14th 2013 Contents Mention you saw this flyer prior to completing
your initial contract and we'll give you a choice
of either a Free Portable GPS or a $300 Fuel
Voucher when your new vehicle is delivered
O er *
Specialists in sourcing
Salary Packaged Cars
Quick and easy Finance
Choose the car of your
Pay NO GST on your new car
purchase or its running costs
Save with national fleet
Novated Lease set up with
your Approved Bureau
Buy a new car with your Pre-Ta x Salary and save thousands $$$$
Call us for an obligation free quote NOW
1300 738 601 www.fleetnetwork.com.au
Lease Package Save
Fleet Network Pty Ltd *To qualify for this o er you must mention this advertisement to Fleet Network prior to the completion of your initial contract. Vehicle must be new and supplied by Fleet Network. Not valid in conjunction
with any other current Fleet Network o ers. Employees should consult their employer's salary packaging policy before entering into a contract.
Army February 14, 2013
ASMALL contingent of
Australian soldiers risked
their lives to fend off an
advance in Papua New Guinea dur-
ing World War II.
If they failed, it could have pro-
longed the war by more than a year.
The settlement of Wau was valued
for its airstrip that was a supply line
for the Australian 'Kanga Force'. Well-
known for its guerrilla tactics, Kanga
Force was made up of men from the
local militia force and members of 2/5
Independent Coy. Supporting Kanga
Force elements troops from 2/6 Bn.
CO of 2/6 Bn Lt-Col Jim Wood's
after-action report painted a desperate
"A serious situation, which would
have probably led to the loss of Wau
and the valley, was averted by the
splendid stand of A Coy under Capt
Bill Sherlock, who was killed. This
stand enabled reinforcements from Port
Moresby to be landed in Wau," Lt-Col
"The general disposition of the bat-
talion was bad; owing to either wrong
information or failure to correctly appre-
ciate the position, Kanga ordered a dis-
persal of the battalion, which prevented
any chance of a successful attack. At no
time was the battalion under one com-
mand and companies were asked to do
the work of battalions."
In 2011, Pte Eric Noakes, a former
member of 2/5 Independent Coy, said:
"If the Japs only knew how few we were
Our brave saviours of
More than 100 diggers were killed in the little-known but decisive Battle of Wau in Papua New Guinea in WWII, writes
Bold actions: Capt Bill Sherlock was killed in the Battle of Wau, Papua
New Guinea, in 1943.
Photo provided by the Australian War Memorial
they would have walked into Wau any
time. When you work it all out, they
were all in the wrong place."
On January 14, the bulk of 2/6 Bn
landed at Wau's tiny airstrip as rein-
forcement and was dispersed over a
wide area covering trails leading to
Mubo. The companies ended up many
days march from each other and had
On January 27, the understrength
A Coy 2/6 Bn and a platoon of 2/5
Independent Coy, commanded by Capt
Sherlock, were tasked to defend against
a suspected Japanese patrol of 300.
On January 28 at 6am, it was
intended for them to patrol up the
ridge to follow it to Mubo to link with
two other companies and contact the
Japanese patrol, which the men now
knew was actually 3000-strong.
At dusk on January 27, 9 Pl sent out
an eight-man listening patrol and about
1am they heard Japanese coming.
A Bren gunner opened up but the
gun jammed, warning the Japanese of
the Australian presence. The Japanese
attacked with mortars and machine
guns. A salvo hit 9 Pl, killing Pte R
Hamilton and wounding three others.
Capt Sherlock's 100 Australians
were distributed at Wandumi with 8 Pl
and 9 Pl up front, the commandos in
between and 7 Pl behind company HQ.
At 5.30am, after sustained enemy
fire, the company was forced to move
300m down the hill. Sherlock kept the
company on high ground to pick off
enemy below and make themselves dif-
Communications with HQ Kanga
were lost and 9 Pl was pinned down.
Multiple patrols were sent out to
reinforce from the nearby Black Cat
area but their numbers were too small
against the Japanese.
At 8am, many planes left Port
Morseby, because of bad weather only
one flight landed.
At 1.10pm, 10 Pl B Coy 2/5th Bn
arrived after a six-hour forced march to
reinforce Capt Sherlock's group.
At 2.30pm, the Japanese firepower
from 500m directly in front with gre-
nades and machine guns was so intense
that 9 Pl was overrun. Capt Sherlock
immediately led a bayonet charge with
one section of 10 Pl. More casualties
Capt Sherlock told brigade:
1445 -- "Badly in need of water and
1455 -- "Cut off and look like being
1510 -- "Things very hot, any help sent
may be too late. One platoon overrun
and am countering now."
1525 -- A signal to Port Morseby from
Brigade said, "Enemy attacking in
force Wandumi about four hours from
Wau. Our company isolated this area,
sending coy from Wau to Wandumi to
support. No reserve force left in Wau.
You must expedite arrival of troops this
1540 --"Only 40 men left."
1700 -- "Game was on again, more
people coming over the hill, Japanese
now engaging our position with gre-
nades and mortars."
1700 -- Eight engineers arrived with
badly needed supplies and carried back
some of the wounded.
A hotchpotch group of HQ staff,
cooks and other men from the 2/5th
Bn, led by Maj Duffy, arrived from
Wau. After crossing the raging river,
they engaged the enemy with Brens.
Brigade major Maj R Muir reported:
"Sherlock's position was thick with
Japanese and enquired any news of
reinforcements. Japanese were passing
on the left and still pouring down past
the trig point like ants. More casualties
1800 -- Capt Sherlock's last message
was, "Don't think it will be long now.
Close up to flank and front, about 50
yards in front."
Links Archive January 31st 2013 February 28th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page