18 November 1942

The Allied intelligence on the Japanese troop numbers defending the northern beachheads and the extent of their defences is greatly inaccurate.

Early estimates claim around 2000 Japanese are defending Gona, Buna and Sanananda. The real figure is at least three times that number.

And the intelligence reported that the area’s coastal swampland would preclude the construction of any substantial strongholds. The reality was that the determined Japanese had, over the past four months, built heavily fortified bunkers, connected by zig-zag trenches and cleverly concealed by tree trunks and foliage.

They also prepared deadly fields of fire emanating from the fortifications, supported by a cluster of hidden snipers.