Landing at Nadzab: A Pivotal Australian and New Guinea Chapter in the Pacific War – Places of Pride


The historical significance of Nadzab in the Kokoda Campaign cannot be overstated. This strategic location, nestled in the heart of New Guinea, witnessed key battles and events during the Pacific War in 1943. In this article, we will delve into the details of the landing at Nadzab, the involvement of Australian and U.S. forces, and its connection to the broader Kokoda Track narrative.

The Setting: Nadzab in 1943

As the Pacific War raged on, the eyes of military strategists turned towards Nadzab, situated in the Markham Valley of New Guinea. The 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, a U.S. airborne unit, played a pivotal role in the events that unfolded on the 5th of September 1943.

Sea and Airborne Landing at Nadzab

The Amphibious Approach

In a coordinated effort, Allied forces, including Australian troops, embarked on an amphibious landing to seize control of Nadzab. This move was part of the broader strategy to push back Japanese forces in the region and secure crucial airfields.

503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment

Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John J. Tolson, the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment executed a daring parachute drop at Nadzab. This marked a significant airborne operation in the South West Pacific Area, demonstrating the flexibility and effectiveness of paratroop units in the challenging terrain of New Guinea.

The Battle Unfolds

Coordinated Efforts

Australian troops, operating in conjunction with the U.S. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, engaged in fierce battles against Japanese forces near Nadzab. The success of this operation was vital in paving the way for subsequent advances, including the liberation of Lae.

Nadzab Airport Secured

The strategic importance of Nadzab was highlighted by the successful securing of Nadzab Airport. This victory not only provided a crucial airfield but also allowed for the transportation of troops and supplies, facilitating further Allied offensives.

General Douglas MacArthur’s Role

Supreme Commander’s Perspective

General Douglas MacArthur, serving as the Supreme Commander of the South West Pacific Area, closely monitored the events at Nadzab. The success of the Allied forces in this operation was a testament to the effectiveness of his strategic vision.

Capture of Lae and Salamaua

The events at Nadzab were instrumental in the subsequent capture of Lae and Salamaua, further weakening Japanese positions in the region. The cooperation between Australian and U.S. forces showcased the strength of the Allied alliance.

Legacy and Recognition

Australian War Memorial

The sacrifices and victories at Nadzab are commemorated at the Australian War Memorial, a testament to the bravery and dedication of the servicemen who participated in the Kokoda Campaign and the Pacific War.

Road to Victory

Nadzab marked a significant milestone on the road to victory in the Pacific War. The successes achieved here contributed to the overall strategy that eventually led to the defeat of Japanese forces in the region.


In the rugged terrain of New Guinea, the events at Nadzab stand as a testament to the resilience and determination of the Allied forces. The landing at Nadzab, the airborne operations, and the subsequent capture of key locations played a crucial role in shaping the course of the Pacific War. As we trek the Kokoda Track, let us remember and honor the bravery of those who fought in this pivotal chapter of history.


Q: What was the significance of the landing in the Pacific War?

A: The landing at Nadzab was a pivotal chapter in the Pacific War as it allowed the Allies to secure an important foothold in New Guinea and facilitated the eventual liberation of the region from Japanese occupation.

Q: When did the landing take place?

A: The landing at Nadzab took place on 5th September 1943.

Q: Who was involved in the landing?

A: The landing involved Australian and New Guinea forces, including paratroops, artillery, and air forces under the command of Sir Thomas Blamey.

Q: What was the strategic significance of Nadzab in the Pacific War?

A: Nadzab held strategic importance as it provided a crucial base for further Allied operations in New Guinea and served as a key point for the Allied advance towards Japan.

Q: What were the key accomplishments of the landing?

A: The landing at Nadzab marked the first successful large-scale Allied airborne operation in the Pacific War and demonstrated the effectiveness of combined air, ground, and logistical efforts.

Q: How did the landing contribute to the overall Allied campaign in the Pacific War?

A: The successful landing at Nadzab allowed for the establishment of a vital airfield, facilitating further Allied offensives and enabling the delivery of crucial supplies and reinforcements to the front lines.

Q: What role did the Australian 9th Division play in the landing?

A: The Australian 9th Division played a significant role in the landing at Nadzab, contributing to the success of the operation and the subsequent Allied advances in the region.

Q: How did the capture of Nadzab impact the overall Allied strategy in the Pacific War?

A: The capture of Nadzab bolstered Allied capabilities in the Pacific theater, allowing for enhanced coordination of air and ground forces and positioning the Allies for further strategic gains against Japanese forces.

Q: What were the immediate outcomes of the landing?

A: The successful landing at Nadzab allowed for the consolidation of Allied positions in the region, paving the way for subsequent offensives and contributing to the eventual liberation of New Guinea from Japanese control.

Q: Where can I find additional information about the landing?

A: For additional information about the landing at Nadzab and its historical significance, you can explore related external links and resources to gain a comprehensive understanding of this pivotal chapter in the Pacific War.

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