hell’s battlefield the australians in new guinea in wwii

Hell’s Battlefield: Australians in New Guinea in World War II


Embarking on the challenging journey of trekking the historic Kokoda Track is a profound experience that connects trekkers with the trials and triumphs of the Australians who fought in New Guinea during World War II. One indispensable resource for gaining a deep understanding of this tumultuous period is the book titled “Hell’s Battlefield: Australians in New Guinea in WWII” by Phillip Bradley.

The Author’s Deep Familiarity with New Guinea

Phillip Bradley, the author of “Hell’s Battlefield,” brings a unique perspective to the narrative due to his deep familiarity with the New Guinea battlefields. His intimate knowledge, gained through extensive research and personal connections, allows readers to delve into the complexities of the campaigns fought in this challenging terrain.

Uncovering the Whole Story

“Hell’s Battlefield” stands out as the first single-volume history that comprehensively covers all the battles fought by the Australians in New Guinea during World War II. The book goes beyond the surface, providing readers with the whole story of the Australian campaign against the Japanese, shedding light on both official and private records from Australia.

The Journey Through Hell

Kokoda: The Crucible of Conflict

The Kokoda Track, synonymous with the treacherous trek undertaken by soldiers, is intricately detailed in “Hell’s Battlefield.” Readers are taken through the battles that raged on land, from the iconic Kokoda to the challenging Shaggy Ridge, revealing the intense warfare and the sacrifices made by the Australians.

Wau and Salamaua: Amphibious Operations

The book delves into the amphibious operations at Wau and Salamaua, providing a vivid account of the challenges faced by the Australian forces. The narrative explores the strategic importance of these locations and the high-stakes battles that unfolded, shaping the course of the campaign.

Lae: D-Day in New Guinea

One of the pivotal points covered in “Hell’s Battlefield” is the D-Day in New Guinea, particularly the battle for Lae. Trekkers will gain insights into the amphibious assaults, the struggles faced by the Australians, and the resilience displayed in the face of adversity.

Beyond the Kokoda Track

Milne Bay and the Battle for Lae

The book expands its scope to include significant events in Milne Bay, where the Australians faced the Japanese in intense combat. The Battle for Lae is also explored, providing a comprehensive overview of the broader Australian campaign in New Guinea during WWII.

Buna and Gona: Grim Realities

Trekkers will encounter the grim realities of war as “Hell’s Battlefield” navigates through the battles of Buna and Gona. The book’s readable yet poignant descriptions bring to life the challenges faced by the Australians, illustrating the harshness of the conflict.

Unprecedented Insights

Invasion in 1942: An Unveiling of Truths

“Hell’s Battlefield” challenges historical narratives, unveiling the invasion of 1942 and questioning the need for certain strategic decisions. Phillip Bradley presents his strong opinions on high attrition rates, leadership, and the complexities faced by both the Australians and the Japanese.

Unearthing the Unpublished: Official and Private Records

One of the book’s strengths lies in its use of official and private records from Australia. Trekkers gain access to many previously unpublished accounts, providing a fresh perspective on the events that unfolded during the New Guinea campaign.

Phillip Bradley: More Than a Historian

Author’s Personal Connection: Phillip’s Father Among the Brave

Phillip Bradley’s personal connection to the events adds a layer of authenticity to “Hell’s Battlefield.” Trekkers will appreciate the author’s deep emotional investment in the narrative, knowing that his father was among the brave individuals who fought in New Guinea.

Critical Reflections: Questioning Leadership and Bravery

The book prompts critical reflections on leadership, bravery, and decision-making during the campaigns. It challenges preconceptions, making readers question the easy blame on certain figures and acknowledging the difficulties faced by those in leadership roles.

The Impact of “Hell’s Battlefield”

A Must-Read: Worth the Effort

Trekkers seeking a comprehensive understanding of the Australians in New Guinea during WWII should consider “Hell’s Battlefield” a must-read. Despite the difficult and brutal nature of the fighting, the book is deemed worth the effort for those eager to unearth the untold stories.

Reviews and Recommendations: What Others Say

The book has garnered positive reviews on platforms like Amazon.com.au, with readers praising its readability and the author’s ability to make descriptions fairly easily understandable. Recommendations from those who have read many books on the subject reinforce the unique value of “Hell’s Battlefield.”

Phillip Bradley’s Oeuvre: Follow the Author

For those who find “Hell’s Battlefield” enlightening, there is an opportunity to explore more of Phillip Bradley’s works. Following the author may lead to discovering other insightful books that provide a holistic view of the Southwest Pacific War and the Australians’ role in it.


In conclusion, “Hell’s Battlefield: Australians in New Guinea in WWII” is a trailblazing book that offers trekkers on the Kokoda Track an unparalleled opportunity to travel back in time. With Phillip Bradley’s deep familiarity with the New Guinea battlefields, readers are not just presented with facts but are immersed in the lived experiences of those who fought in this challenging terrain. The book stands as a testament to the resilience and sacrifices of the Australians in the face of adversity, making it an invaluable companion for anyone seeking to understand the whole story of the Australians in New Guinea during World War II.


Q: What is the book “Kokoda Books: Hell’s Battlefield: Australians in New Guinea in World War II” about?

A: The book is a single volume history that covers the intense and brutal fighting in New Guinea during World War II, specifically focusing on the experiences of the Australians against the Japanese forces.

Q: Why is this book significant?

A: “Hell’s Battlefield” is the first book that tells the whole story of the Australian campaign in New Guinea during World War II, shedding light on the often overlooked battles and experiences in the South Pacific.

Q: How does this book differ from other books on the same topic?

A: This book is the first single volume history to cover the entire New Guinea campaign, providing a comprehensive and thorough account that is further illuminated by the firsthand testimonies of those who fought in the battles.

Q: Does the book cover the experiences of the Papua New Guineans during the war?

A: Yes, “Hell’s Battlefield” also covers the experiences and contributions of the Papua New Guineans during the war, offering a well-rounded perspective on the events in the region.

Q: Are there any customer reviews available for this book?

A: Yes, there are customer reviews available for “Hell’s Battlefield” by Phillip Bradley, providing insights into the book’s content and its impact on readers.

Q: Can I read this book as an e-book?

A: Yes, “Hell’s Battlefield” is available as an e-book, providing a convenient option for readers who prefer digital copies.

Q: What are some of the key topics or events covered in the book?

A: The book delves into topics such as the D-Day in New Guinea, the harsh conditions of the campaigns, the struggles faced by the US armed forces, and the relentless fighting against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea.

Q: How does “Hell’s Battlefield” contribute to our understanding of World War II in the Pacific?

A: The book offers insights into the brutal nature of the fighting in the South Pacific, highlighting the sacrifices and challenges faced by the soldiers who fought in this theatre of the war.

Q: Does the book provide a balanced perspective on the different forces involved in the conflict?

A: Yes, the book provides a comprehensive account of the events, offering perspectives on the actions and decisions of various military leaders and forces involved, without placing undue blame on any particular individual or group.

Q: Is “Hell’s Battlefield” recommended for readers who are new to the topic of World War II in the Pacific?

A: Yes, the book is suitable for readers who are new to the topic, as it provides a well-rounded and informative account of the battles and experiences in New Guinea without assuming prior knowledge.

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