The Japanese dug themselves in at Buna, Gona and Sanananda... They were hemmed in by tidal swamps, jungle, and it was hard to get at them... When we finally cleaned them up... there were 600 dead Japanese.

Bob Isokov, Second World War veteran, speaking of the fighting in Buna, Gona and Sanananda. Department of Veterans' Affairs video interview.

There were 900 Japanese at Gona on 19 November 1942. Initial attempts to seize the Papuan village had failed, as they had at Buna.

Conditions were very difficult. The battle was waged in a tidal swamp. A US colonel described his supply line as, 'neck deep in mud and water'.

Malaria was rampant.

It was hard to move reinforcements, supplies, food and ammunition through the dense jungle and swamps.

The 25th Brigade, with some artillery and air support, attacked for a week. They made no progress and suffered heavy losses.

Discover how Australian troops captured Gona in some of the campaign's harshest conditions.

Papua New Guinea
19 November 1942
Image caption
Australian troops in a captured Japanese dugout, Gona.
Image attribution
Australian War Memorial. AWM 013758. Photographer unknown.