A GENERAL PETTYGREE BATTLE STORY
Location: Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea
Date: July 1942 (2022)
Situation: Japanese Overland Attack on Kokoda Village
Rules: Home Rules
Played Solo 16-18 July 1942-2022
Miniatures: We Use What We Have --- Geography Is Imagineered
By The Way: The table covering simulates tall grass providing cover
Click on photos to enlarge them
39th Infantry Battalion, Kokoda Village
"That's all Miti Buka reports Colonel."
"Very well Sparks. Stand by."
"I'm now reporting from Kokoda, Papua, New Guinea. You just saw Colonel Shears, the Australian commander in these parts. He has received news radioed by Sergeant Miti Buka commanding the Papuan Advance Guard Screen to the north. He is falling back before advancing Japanese forces on the Kokoda Track."
"Let's listen and observe developments."
"Battalion! --- Stand --- at Ease."
"Well men, the enemy is finally waltzing up the Kokoda Track. They'll be here on our plateau this afternoon. They mean to use Kokoda Village and its airfield as a base to attack Port Moresby behind us to the south and then Australia."
"She'll be right, Colonel! We'll cut 'em up!" (Laughter and approval from the ranks.)
"That's the spirit Duncan. --- Now men, everyone fill your tucker bags with three days rations. Officers, in thirty minutes, march your platoons to pre-designated positions, take cover and keep your heads down. --- Questions?"
"None. Then that is all. --- Good luck. --- Dismissed."
Colonel Tsukamoto's 1/144 Infantry Regiment
Near 1400 hours dense jungle vegetation began to open in the distance as Colonel Tsukamoto's column neared Kokoda Village. The thinning canopy meant they might be close. He therefore ordered a temporary halt to rest the men and receive reports from scouts up the track before attacking.
Imperial Japanese soldier Hiroto Tanaka was thankful for the respite. He was hungry, exhausted, soaked in perspiration, feeling symptoms of malaria and possibly a little delirious. He longed to return home. While staring vacantly into the forest, his eyes blinked several times and finally focused on something instantly terrifying."Alarm! An ancient Kaiju has raised its long neck and is peering at us. Run!"
"Private, what terrorized your idiot friend?"
"After believing he saw a Kaiju, Hiroto fled back down the trail. Then he tripped over a vine, hit his head on something and was rendered unconscious for a time."
"Show me where this apparition occurred."
"Here Lieutenant. It resembles a dragon and..."
"A tree? Enough! Get back to your squad. We're leaving in ten minutes."
Soon two enemy squads supported with medium machine gun and mortar sections moved out arriving three hundred yards short of the village.More infantry hurriedly (per doctrine) arrived as three reinforced squads deployed to the right (west). Surely they wondered where the enemy was.
"Men, the village, our objective, is just ahead. Rush on."
"A --- haaaa!"
"Two Australians have raised their heads for us. We'll attack forward on my order when..."
"The other squad comes up on our left. Here they are now."
Japanese Far Right Flank
Three Japanese Squads move forward.
We shall concentrate on the rightmost group.
Opposed by Sergeant Miti Buka 's Papuans. "Fire brothers!"
"Retreat my friends. The infernals are going to charge. We'll draw them in."
Japanese Right Flank Nearest the Track
"The Australians are in cover just ahead of us."
Fire was soon exchanged with the left-most Australians. But....
"I radioed Col. Shears, Sir, the Papuans to our left have pulled back, our mates to the right have suffered cruelly and are...."
"Incapable of further defence."
"The Colonel says pull back to the village joining him there."
"Alright men, we're done here.
"Halt, line the bushes. Fire at will to stop 'em."
It's not working, Sir. Too many of 'em!"
"Right. Fall back."
"No good men. Run for the track and into the bush. We're outta here mates!"
Japanese Far Left Flank
Australian Far Right Flank
"Radio the Colonel the enemy is not in sight anywhere to our front. New orders?"
"He says withdraw back to the village. Quick march. Our left flank has collapsed."
"Tell him we'll leave now."
"Pull back. Colonel Shears wants us in the village fast. No dithering."
"The enemy is just on the other side of that hut where Colonel Shears is standing. He's a cool one, he is, without a care. We're in it now!"
Battling Up The Track
"There's the village. Forward. Don't stop."
"Wait for 'em mates and fire."
"We're taking hits, Sir. Then we'll charge straight in. BANZAI!"
Hand to hand combat in the village as....
The Australians from the Right Flank arrive.
"We beat them. They run!"
"Fall back men."
"Form a new line here. More are coming."
"Help has arrived."
"That's all men. Back down the track now."
"We can't stay Duncan. Off we go lads."
"Before Colonel Shears ordered the retreat from Kokoda Village, he suggested that I fly back to Port Moresby in my Lysander to report what I had seen."
"Fortunately the Lysander was not engaged by Japanese aircraft as I flew back to Port Moresby. However, after thirty minutes or so I perhaps foolishly asked the pilot to return to Kokoda and make a quick pass for a last photograph."
"This is what I saw. The Japanese had formed up on the very parade ground we had used early that morning. The commanding officer even spoke to his men upon the same crates Colonel Shears had stood upon."
"The immediate future of our campaign remains Top Secret for now. However, you will be the first to learn where and when General MacArthur will strike back. Until then, keep calm and carry on."
"One last thing. The following booklet was used to inspire Bill's tabletop solo game."
"We would be grateful for your remarks below."