Gona The 25th Australian Brigade commanded by Brigadier Eather reached the most southerly of the Japanese defences at Gona on 18 November. The Japanese had strongly fortified their positions with well prepared bunkers, trenches and firing pits. The approaches were covered with cleared fields of fire. The Australians were resupplied from the air on 21 November and were ready to attack the next day. On 22 November and again on 23 November, the 25th Brigade, which was down to about 1000 men, attacked but was halted with 204 men killed and wounded and little to show for its losses. On 24 November Gona was bombed and strafed from the air. A much better prepared attack with artillery support on the 25 November also failed but casualties were relatively light. However, by this stage the 25th Brigade was exhausted from the heavy fighting and those sick from malaria increased each day. On 28 November it was relieved by a fresh 21st Brigade under Brigadier Dougherty. The 21st Brigade closed in on Gona and poured a furious rain of artillery and mortar shells into the Japanese defences, assisted by heavy aerial bombardment. The 2/14th, 2/16th, 2/17th Battalions and from 3 December the 39th took part in the repeated assaults and by the night of the 9 December, victory had been achieved at Gona. The Australians buried 638 Japanese dead at Gona but had suffered 750 killed and wounded in capturing the village. Fighting continued for another week to eliminate a new threat that arose on the extreme western flank where a Japanese force had been landed to harass the Australians.