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Gona-Buna-Sanananda Beachhead Time Line
by Daniel Leahy May 15, 2005

July 21, 1942
(IJN) Japanese floatplane machine guns Buna station [Read Account]
(IJA) Japanese General Horii commanding South Seas Force disembarks at Gona in the afternoon, completing the landing operation during the night. Japanese forces arrive with horses and bicycles and move inland across the Own Stanley Mountains in hopes of capturing Port Moresby.

July 22, 1942
Ayatosan Maru is sunk off Gona by USAAF and RAAF aircraft. RAAF 32 Squadron Hudson A16-201 (Cowan, Taylor, Polack & Sheard) shot down outside Popondetta by Zeros of the Tainan Kokutai after attacking the Japanese beachhead.

September 23, 1942
RAAF 30 Squadron Beaufighter A19-1 (Sayer & Mairet) crashes in diving attack on Buna. Wreckage located in 1946.

November 26, 1942
RAAF 22 Squadron Boston A28-22 (McDonald, O’Neill & Napier) explodes mid-air when attempting to dive bomb targets at Buna.

November 30, 1942
US Army General Robert Eichelberger received his orders for the Buna operation from General Douglas MacArthur at his new headquarters in Governor General's Residence in Port Moresby "Bob…I want you to take Buna, or not come back alive."

December 5, 1942
Bren Gun Carriers operated by the 2/7th Infantry Battalion attempt an assault at Cape Endaiadere – all are destroyed, 6 KIA (Armstrong, Davies, Fergusson, Orpwood, Seager & Walker). Douglas Roy “Jock” Taylor is awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

December 7, 1942
AMF 49th Battalion makes its first attack in approximately 20 months of service at the Killerton Track junction [near Sanananda]. 14 officers and 215 soldiers (48% of Battalion strength) are killed or wounded in 5 hours.

December 9, 1942
Gona falls to Australian infantry. Australian Battalion commander Lt. Col. Ralph Honner sent the famous signal: "Gona's Gone"

December 11, 1942
RAAF 4 Squadron Wirraway A20-485 (Smith & Bain) down near Gona.

December 15, 1942
RAAF 1 OTU Hudson A16-36 (Pedrina, Kerr, Itzerott & Callaghan) crashes when attempting to drop supplies to troops at Soputa.

December 18, 1942
First Allied tank action in Papua New Guinea M3 Stuart tanks of the 2/6th Armoured Regiment support troops of the 2/9th Infantry Battalion at Cape Endaiadere.

December 24, 1942
USN PT-122 sinks IJN submarine I-22 off Gona (8-32 S, 148-17 E).

December 26, 1942
RAAF 4 Squadron Wirraway A20-103 (Archer & Coulston) successfully shot down Japanese Ki-43 Oscar of the 11th Sentai.

January 4, 1943
Roy John Schmidt, 39th Battalion, AMF KIA along the Sanananda Track.

January 17, 1943
RAAF 4 Squadron Wirraway A20-492 (Hart & Phillips) shot down near Gona.


Valor at Buna

Medal of Honor
Sgt Elmer J. Burr (Menasha WI) 32nd Inf Division
Sgt Kenneth E. Greunnert (Jefferson, WI) 32nd Inf Division

Australia Distinguished Conduct Medal

ALLEN, RICHARD WESLEY
Conspicuous gallantry & bravery at Sanananda 21 Jan 43.

BLAIR, CLIVE
Outstanding courage & leadership Gona Area 7 Dec 42.

EDGELL, REGINALD GEORGE
Conspicuous courage near Gona Mission 6 & 11 Dec 42.

ELLIS, STANLEY JOHN
Conspicuous gallantry & bravery Gona Mission 15/17 Dec 42.

JESSE, JAMES HENRY
Cool courage & remarkable leadership Cape Endaiadere 18/22 Dec 42.

MILLER, STANLEY GEORGE
Conspicuous gallantry & courage at Soputa Nov 42.

ROACH, REGINALD EDWIN
Outstanding courage, gallantry & leadership Gona.

SPENCER, GEORGE GRENVILLE
Conspicuous gallantry & bravery at Buna on 26 Dec 42.

TAYLOR, DOUGLAS ROY
Conspicuous gallantry & bravery Cape Endaiadere 5 Dec 42.

THOMAS, ROBERT REGINALD
Conspicuous gallantry at Cape Endaiadere 18/22 Dec 42.

THOMPSON, ROBERT HENRY
Outstanding bravery & leadership Gona Beach 6/7 Dec 42.

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