Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Gen. Pettygree's Kokoda Track 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
0630 Hours

"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
1400 Hours

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!"
With creditable effect.

"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."

"Be ready!"


Fire was soon exchanged with the left-most Australians. But....

"I radioed Col. Shears, Sir, t
he 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. 

"Follow me."

"Halt, line the bushes. Fire at will to stop 'em."

It's not working, Sir. Too many of 'em!"

"Right. Fall back."

"Fire again!"

"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!"

The Center
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."

"But Colonel...."

"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."



  1. Great looking game and story telling.
    Alan Tradgardland

  2. Wonderful AAR Bill. Love the Lysander. Keep on gaming! Bill

  3. Great story. Curious about the Japanese tactics, moving in close order formation with no one on point . Looks like Papuans fighting in line formation? Nevertheless a good story and pictures.

  4. Thank you All!,
    Jim the table covering is tall grass providing cover though it still looks like its all flat. I forgot to say this in the story and just added it at the top. Thank you. The Japanese had point scouts out but are not shown because they were assumed.

  5. Alo Banzai charges were fairly thick with charging soldiers. An example I've seen is the Banzai aftermath at the first battle at the Matanikau Stream on Guadalcanal. A crowd of casualties. The IJA did a lot of Banzai charges in this solo game. Doctrine demanded they hurry and throw over the enemy quickly. This worked in China but not vs the Allies much in The Pacific though there are exceptions.

  6. Great story Bill, nicely painted miniatures I actually started following this blog!

  7. This is not an era or theatre that generally interests me but it's great fun and I'm gripped!. I particularly like the Lysander. Nice touch. Best wishes..

  8. “Thanks for the update. I always enjoy the General P stories. My favorite part was the soldier knocking himself unconscious after running from a scary tree!” Lascaris

    “Quite the report.” 79th PA

    “This must be one of Pettygree's most hair raising adventures. The Kokoda trail was not a night at the Proms! Lovely!” Legioniarius

    “Great story (as usual) - so much detail. Thoroughly enjoyable! Was waiting for a giant Tiger to jump out - not a stick lol.” Dave

  9. A wonderful looking game and a great story.