battle of bobdubi

The Battle of Bobdubi – An Australian War Connection to Papua New Guinea

Australia’s connection with Papua New Guinea during World War II is etched in the history of the Kokoda Track. As we delve into the events surrounding the Battle of Bobdubi, a significant chapter unfolds, showcasing the courage and resilience of both Australian and Japanese forces. Join us on this historical journey as we explore the crucial moments in August 1943, marked by the intense struggle for the strategic Bobdubi ridge.

Prelude to Battle

The Kokoda Campaign, known for its grueling trekking trails, took an unexpected turn in July 1943 when the Australian forces set their sights on Salamaua. Little did they know that the path to victory would lead them through the challenging terrain around Bobdubi. The stage was set for a confrontation that would test the mettle of the soldiers involved.

Landing at Nassau Bay

In June 1943, the Australian forces initiated their move, landing at Nassau Bay with the intent to seize control of the surrounding areas. This marked the beginning of the initial phase of the campaign, with reconnaissance operations laying the groundwork for the battles that would unfold in the coming months.

Fighting Around Bobdubi

From April to 19 August 1943, the region around Bobdubi became a battleground, witnessing clashes between Australian infantry and Japanese forces. The fighting around Bobdubi took place in two phases, each marked by strategic maneuvers and fierce resistance.

The Two Phases of the Battle of Bobdubi

1. Attack on Bobdubi Ridge The first phase, starting on 22 April, saw the Australians launching an attack on Bobdubi Ridge. The Japanese positions, strategically fortified, posed a formidable challenge. The Australian infantry, consisting of the 115th Infantry Regiment, faced an uphill battle but pressed on with determination.

2. Australians Continue the Assault Following an initial attack that faced heavy resistance, the Australians continued their assault. The Japanese forces, consisting of the 80th and 66th Infantry Regiments, mounted a counterattack. The battleground around Bobdubi Ridge echoed with the sounds of gunfire and the cries of soldiers as the struggle for control intensified.

Capture of Bobdubi Ridge

Despite the challenges, the Australians managed to secure a victory in the second phase. The capture of Bobdubi Ridge, a key vantage point, was a turning point in the campaign. The Australian Army’s resilience and strategic prowess prevailed as they held their ground against heavy Japanese resistance.

Personal Accounts from the Battlefield

As we reflect on the Battle of Bobdubi, personal accounts from the soldiers bring the intensity of the conflict to life. Veterans recount the heavy artillery preparation, machine gun fire, and the relentless determination that defined their experience. One soldier vividly recalls a close call, “I got over that barricade, barricade with half my shirt ripped off my back by a machine-gun burst and four bullet grazes across my ribs.”

Legacy of Bobdubi

The Battle of Bobdubi left an indelible mark on the Kokoda Campaign. The Australians’ successful assault on this strategic position disrupted Japanese supply routes and paved the way for further advances. The victory at Bobdubi played a crucial role in the overall success of the Salamaua-Lae campaign.


As we trek through the Kokoda Track, the echoes of the Battle of Bobdubi reverberate through the lush landscapes and challenging trails. The resilience, courage, and sacrifices made by both Australian and Japanese forces during this campaign are commemorated at the Australian War Memorial. The Battle of Bobdubi stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of those who traversed the Kokoda Track, leaving an enduring legacy in the heart of Papua New Guinea’s wartime history.

Q: What was the Battle?

A: The Battle of Bobdubi was a significant military engagement between the Australian Army and Japanese forces in the rugged terrain of Papua New Guinea during April and May of 1943.

Q: What role did the Australian forces play in the Battle?

A: The Australian forces, including the 2/7th Independent Company, the 2/6th Independent Company, and the 2/5th Infantry Battalion, played a crucial role in the Battle, demonstrating their valor and combat expertise in the challenging jungle terrain.

Q: What were the key locations involved in the Battle?

A: The key locations involved in the Battle included Coconut Ridge, Ambush Knoll, Bobdubi II, Komiatum, and various positions around Mubo and Lae, which were fiercely contested by both the Australian and Japanese forces.

Q: When did the Battle take place?

A: The Battle took place from April to August 1943, with intense fighting occurring during the months of April and May as the Australian forces sought to capture strategic positions and repel Japanese advances.

Q: What were the main objectives of the Battle?

A: The main objectives of the Battle for the Australian forces were to secure important supply routes, capture key ridges, and disrupt Japanese attempts to consolidate their positions in the region, thereby gaining a tactical advantage.

Q: What was the outcome of the Battle?

A: The Battle resulted in a hard-won victory for the Australian forces as they successfully captured Bobdubi Ridge and repelled Japanese attempts to maintain control over the territory, effectively hampering their strategic movements in the area.

Q: What were some significant tactics employed during the Battle?

A: The Australian forces utilized tactics such as ambushes, flanking maneuvers, and close combat engagements to gain the upper hand in the dense jungle terrain, effectively disrupting Japanese supply lines and communications.

Q: How did the Battle impact the overall war efforts in the region?

A: The Battle played a pivotal role in the broader war efforts in the region, as the Australian victory at Bobdubi contributed to the eventual Allied advance in the Pacific theater of war, ultimately leading to the liberation of Papua New Guinea from Japanese occupation.

Q: What were the challenges faced by the Australian forces during the Battle?

A: The Australian forces encountered numerous challenges during the Battle, including navigating difficult terrain, battling against well-entrenched Japanese positions, and contending with adverse weather conditions, all of which tested their resilience and resolve.

Q: What was the significance of the Battle in the broader context of military history?

A: The Battle of Bobdubi holds significant historical importance as a testament to the bravery and determination of the Australian soldiers who valiantly fought against formidable odds, showcasing their unwavering commitment to defending their country’s interests and contributing to the Allied victory in the Pacific campaign of World War II.

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