Salamaua The 3rd Australian Division slowly fought its was towards Salamaua in a series of exacting and grim battles from April to August 1943 in a campaign largely overshadowed by the Papuan campaign the preceded it and by the capture of Lae that followed. The Salamaua campaign was designed to screen the preparations for the Lae offensive and to act as a magnet to draw reinforcements from Lae to Salamaua. The capture of Lae, the centre of the Japanese defensive line in New Guinea, was the allied target after the defeat of the Japanese in Papua. General Sir Thomas Blamey, the Australian Commander-in-Chief, directed that Salamaua be starved out after Lae was captured. The Japanese landed at Lae and Salamaua on 8 March 1942. The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and survivors of the 2/22nd Battalion from Rabaul destroyed all military supplies and withdraw into the hinterland where they observed the Japanese build-up. In May, Kanga Force, which included the 2/5th Independent Company, was airlifted into Wau to operate as a guerrilla force against the Japanese in the Markham Valley. On 29 June Kanga force raided Salamaua inflicting heavy casualties and capturing the first Japanese equipment and documents taken by the Australian Army. On 31 August a strong Japanese group arrived at Mubo but with the Japanese on the offensive along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay reinforcements were not available for Kanga Force until October when 2/7th Independent Company joined. Recapture of Salamaua On 26 August, Savige and his 3rd Division headquarters were relived by General Milford and his 5th Division headquarters. The 5th Division conducted the final operations around Salamaua which was occupied by the 42nd Battalion on 11 September, a week after the Lae offensive opened and five days before the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions entered Lae. The 3rd Division's long winter campaign of 1943 achieved impressive strategic gains. A great part of the strength of the XVIII Japanese Army had been diverted from the areas which were to be the objectives of the offensive which could not be mounted until the spring, when veteran divisions would be rested and retrained, landing craft available, and air superiority increased. At the same time immensely valuable experience had been gained in jungle tactics and in methods of supply. For the first time Australian infantry and independent companies had worked closely together in a lengthy campaign and each had learnt from the other. Artillery had been used on a scale hitherto unattained in mountain warfare in New Guinea. Doctrines were developed which gave the Australians decisive tactical and administrative superiority over the Japanese in bush warfare. In the six months to August 1943 the strength of the XVIII Japanese Army had been depleted and dispersed while, behind the front on which the 3rd Australian Division fought, the Allied strength in the South West Pacific had greatly increased .