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    Porton Autonomous Region of Bougainville Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Porton is located in northwestern coast Bougainville Island.

Prewar
Porton Plantation was established at this location planted with coconut palms harvesting copra.

Wartime History,
During early 1942, occupied by the Japanese. During the middle of 1944, the Australian Army incorrectly believed the Porton area was lightly defended and attempted an amphibious landing at this location.

American missions against Porton
December 12, 1943 - May 8, 1944

On June 8, 1944 at 4:00am one company from the 31st/51st Battalion landed at Porton and established a perimeter but met withering fire from Japanese machine guns. The second wave of landing craft became stuck on the reef 75 yards from shore. More machine-gun fire was directed from the northern foreshore on to the stranded landing craft, preventing the unloading of stores and ammunition. Patrols inland were unable to make head way against the heavy fire of the now reinforced Japanese who next surrounded the perimeter and heavily attacked it from the north and east simultaneously. Forward observation officers brought down heavy supporting fire from Australian artillery, many of the shells falling as close as twenty-five yards in front of the defending troops.

During the night further attempts were made to land ammunition and supplies on the beach, but all night long the shore was swept with murderous Japanese fire and the stranded barges were continuously the target for intensive bursts from machine guns. The troops manning the small perimeter were attacked many times, but they gallantly resisted all Japanese attempts to break their line. Ammunition was quickly running out and it was decided to withdraw the force the next night but, after a night spent in repulsing counter-attacks, a very heavy attack early in the morning penetrated the perimeter and forced a withdrawal to near the beach.

The withdrawal was urgent and the vessels of the 42nd Landing Craft Company were sent in to run the gauntlet in daylight and faced increased Japanese fire. They succeeded in withdrawing sixty of the garrison. During the night further attempts were made to take off the remainder but only partial success was achieved. On June 10, 1944 under cover of a heavy bombing attack and a continuous artillery barrage, craft made the beach in the late afternoon and during that night the withdrawal was completed. The Japanese strength had been greater than was anticipated, and they were able to reinforce the threatened area quickly. In the many vicious attacks on the perimeter the Japanese suffered heavily from the fire of Australians fighting one of the toughest defensive actions of the Bougainville campaign. After Porton, the Japanese became very aggressive and ambushed Australian supply routes.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

Map
Map
Oct 22, 1943
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