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    Kapa Kapa Trail Central Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
The Kapa Kapa Trail spans from Kapa Kapa (Gabagaba) on the south coast of New Guinea in Central Province across the Owen Stanley Range to the north coast of New Guinea in Oro Province. Kapa Kapa Trail runs roughly parallel and thirty miles southeast of the Kokoda Trail. Also known as the "Kapa Kapa - Jaure Track". An alternate route from Abau - Namudi - Jaure was considered but never used during the war.

Wartime History
During October to November 1942, the U.S. Army 32nd 32nd Infantry Division, 126th Infantry Regiment made arduous trek across the Kapa Kapa Trail to get to the north coast of New Guinea. Simultaneously, an Australian Army Infantry Brigade departed Milne Bay traveling along the north coast to Wanigela, then across Cape Nelson to Embogo to stage for the assault against the Japanese beachhead at Buna-Gona-Sanananda. While crossing, the Kapa Kapa Trail was rendered useless by the development of several airfields on the northern coast that allowed troops and supplies to be air lifted to the forward area.

References
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 110-116

Kapa Kapa (Gabagaba)
Coastal village southeast of Port Moresby.  Start of the Kapa Kapa Trail.

Karekodobu (Karekodobu, Kalikodobu)
Known as "Kalamazoo" as the local name was hard to pronounce.

Nepeana
Located 14 miles from Kapa Kapa. During 1942, this village marked the end of a rough road. During early October 1942, E Company, 126th Infantry Regiment were based here. US Army troops crossing the Kapa Kapa Trail reached here on the first day. General Harding visited Nepeana to see the troops off and ordered their packs lightened and less ammunition to be carried.

References
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 110-112

Arapara
Village along the Kapa Kapa Trail. Located roughly 30 miles inland from Kapa Kapa, roughly four days march inland, halfwat to Laruni.

During early October 1942, US Army Major Baetcke was tasked with building a forward supply base at Arapara, the most forward location that supplies could be carried.

Four days after departing Kapa Kapa, soldiers from the 32nd Infantry Division, 126th Infantry Regiment began arriving at Arapara, where their native carriers deserted them, leaving the Americans to carry their own gear.

References
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 110, 112

Laruni
Mountain top village, furthest point where supplies from Karekodobu could reach. Advance U.S. Army troops established an air drop location nearby for resupply.

References
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 110, 112-113

Mount Suwemalla "Ghost Mountain"
A few days march out of Laruni, 2,000' higher than the gap, more difficult country than the Kokoda Trail, US Army Captain Schultz reported how narrow the trail was "Even a jack rabbit couldn't leave it." forcing troops to march single file.

Jaure (Taure, Iaure)
Village located at the headwaters of the Kumusi River, the trail splits into two trails: one towards Waropi and the other east towards Buna.

Natunga
Village northeast of Jaure, leading to the Buna area.

Bofu
Village north of Natunga and Jaure, used as a dropping ground for C-47 Dakotas

Kovio
Used as a U.S. Army base camp and dropping ground for C-47 Dakotas supporting the U.S. Army crossing of the Kapa Kapa Trail.

References
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 115

Barumbila
Village located ten miles south of Wairopi. During early November 1942, used by the U.S. Army as an advance post prior to their advance towards the Japanese beachhead area.

References
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 115

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Last Updated
August 27, 2014

 

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