BATTLE FOR EORA CREEK- 22 October 1942
The Australian successes against the Stanley Detachment and then again at Templeton’s crossing were severe delays in the Japanese defensive plans. Within a week General Horri had lost the ground the Stanley Detachment had held at Templeton’s Crossing.
With the Australians pushing intensely towards Eora Creek Village, General Horii realised his third defensive position high above Eora creek on the northern side of the valley was far from arranged. Japanese troops whom were resting in the Kokoda area were hurriedly pushed forward to strengthen the defences. 22nd of October approximately six hundred Japanese soldiers supported by mountain guns were in place at Eora Creek, within the next few days approximately five hundred further troops reinforced the position.
Australian attacks at Eora Creek commenced on the 22 October. Initial attacks on the position failed at great cost of life. These attacks were of a full frontal nature whilst attempting to cross a rampaging torrent of a stream with no bridges in place. They faced the well dug in enemy on the far bank of the creek that had guns fixed on all possible river crossing points, numerous machine guns with varied arcs of fire, and an enemy that was supported by artillery and mortar fire from above.
After five days of attempting to cross in a bloody battle with little success, the Australian forces matched Japanese tactics and conducted a classical out flanking manoeuvre. 26 October the 2/3rd Battalion were sent on a wide ranging arc through the jungle to the west of the position. This was in order for them to gain a position to the north west of the heights from which the Japanese guns and main defensive position were located.
After two days of trekking through the jungle, the 2/3rd Battalion attacked the Japanese from the westward and was hugely successful. They attacked and retreated the Japanese from the position and the forces below in the valley were able to once again move forward.
November 1942 Eora Creek was a battlefield of death and destruction. The creek ran red with blood and the smell of death loitered in the valley.