[The commanding officer] said don't worry about Salamaua, it won't be tough to take. I think there are only 2 Japs in Salamaua. One sick and the other minding him.

Corporal Noel Anthony Carey, 2/3rd Independent Company (later 2/3rd Australian Commando Squadron). Listen to his story.

The five-month Battle of Bobdubi weakened the Japanese army and forced them away from garrisons at Salamaua and Lae.

Throughout late August and into early September 1943, the Japanese in the Salamaua region fought to hold the advancing Allies. They established a final line of defence in front of Salamaua.

Despite this, the 58th/59th Infantry Battalion managed to cross the Francisco River to the west of Salamaua. The 42nd Infantry Battalion captured the main Japanese defensive position around Charlie Hill. The Australian 15th, 17th and 29th Infantry Brigades and the US 162nd Infantry Regiment rounded out the Allied troops.

In early September, the Japanese abandoned Salamaua and retreated toward Lae.

At 3pm on 11 September, a small patrol group of 42nd Battalion entered Salamaua after the airstrip had been captured. The town lay in ruins due to Allied bombing raids.

Between April and September, 343 Australians died in the Salamaua region, with approximately 1,080 wounded. The Japanese lost more than 2,700 and around 5,380 wounded. The US 162nd lost 81, with almost 400 wounded.

Papua New Guinea
11 September 1943
Image caption
Australian troops examine a 70mm Japanese mountain gun and a Japanese flag captured during the advance on Salamaua.
Image attribution
Australian War Memorial. AWM 015839. From a Damien Parer still image.

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