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Moremon, John Clifford, History, Australian Defence Force Academy, UNSW
This thesis examines the Australia Army???s campaign on Papua from July 1942 to January 1943 with the focus on logistic support of the fighting arms and the relation of logistics to the tactics of tropical jungle warfare. It begins by examining the traditional approach to logistics in the military profession - the experience of Australian officers and forces in particular - from the First World War until May 1942, when the Australian territory of Papua was invaded. It establishes that the Army was poorly prepared because, as well as having never anticipated a prolonged land campaign in Papua-New Guinea, it lacked the logistic resources and knowledge of logistics as applicable to tropical jungle warfare. It then proceeds to examine the retreat over the Kokoda Track and the turning-point battles for Milne Bay and Imita Ridge. It demonstrates that the principal factor in the Australian retreat was logistic failure, as geography and lack of logistic resources prevented adequate supply of the fighting arms at least until lines of communication had been shortened; even then, difficulties remained. The thesis is rounded off by assessing the counter-attack across the territory of Papua for the capture of the enemy???s beachheads at Buna, Gona and Sanananda. It concludes that, as the island???s geography and tropical environment so dominated operations and since shortages of logistic equipment and units persisted, the Army could not perfect its logistic organisation by the end of this first phase of the New Guinea campaign. It fell back on improvisation and the fortitude of troops to triumph over the Japanese.