From Eora and Templeton's Crossing to Myola
The Japanese made another push and shoved us back to a most fearsome place called Eora Creek. It was a ghostly ghastly thing with an enormous creek running through it. It had sides on it like that. We were down the middle for some reason and the Japanese were up on the high ground. They belted hell out of us. I think why we were there was, there were a lot of wounded being cared for by the medical people down in the valley and we had to stay there and sort of hope for the best while they evacuated the wounded soldiers as best they could. That was a terrible thing. Some had to be left.
Albert Fry, 39th Battalion and 2/8th Battalion. Read more of his story.
After the battle at Isurava, Australian troops were exhausted, many men suffering outbreaks of dysentery and scrub typhus. Many others were missing in action. They started retreating along the Kokoda Track.
Having lost the supplies dumped at Kokoda, the men were running dangerously low in ammunition and food to sustain them. Aware of their situation, Lieutenant Bert Kienzle knew they needed to establish a better supply drop near the front line.
From his prewar surveys of the Owen Stanley Ranges and work in the Yodda Valley, he remembered two dry lake beds that might be suitable as air supply drop zones. Filled with long kunai grass and visible to aircraft, he found the beds were like flat saucers in the mountain tops.
By late August, Kienzle had established a supply camp at Myloa, while troops continued to engage the Japanese ahead of him on the track.
Kienzle and his men cut a new track to Myola. He named this track after Captain Samuel Templeton, a soldier who was killed in an earlier action with the Japanese at the beginning of the Kokoda campaign.
Meanwhile, Australian troops were withdrawn from Isurava to Alola under the cover of night. The Japanese were not far behind them. They were attempting to circle west to the rear of the Australian positions. But they got lost in the dense jungle. By then, the Australians had retreated further south, digging into an elevated region above Eora Village.
Fighting continued amid the perilously steep terrain. The Australians sought the high position on the ridge beyond Templeton's Crossing to delay the Japanese advance south.
During this time, the Commanding Officer of 2/16th Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Caro, decided they could not hold Myola against the Japanese. Enemy troops threatened the original route to the supply camp. They made the difficult decision to abandon it, even when supplies and medicine had built up.
On 1 September, more than 40 stretcher patients and carrier teams departed for Efogi. The route between Myola and Efogi was treacherous. Conditions for the patients had improved because medical supplies were more available.
Over the coming days, they successfully retreated with support from other units whose members themselves were becoming more and more ill.
Thankfully, Colonel Yazawa, the Japanese commander decided to move slowly, in a tactical play to reduce their casualties. This just gave the Australian forces enough time to get the bulk of their troops to withdraw and prepare at Efogi in readiness for their next attack.
Learn more about the importance of Myola to the Kokoda campaign.