3 December 1942

Both sides exchange fire from fixed positions at Gona as they consolidate their defences and the Australians welcome the return of the 39th Battalion to the front line, after being rested and partly reinforced in Moresby following their gruelling campaign as the first unit to oppose the Japanese advance four months earlier.

Led by their esteemed commander, Lt Col Ralph Honner, the 39th rejoins its comrades from the 21st Brigade, relieving the 25th Brigade, which has been badly mauled by causalties and by illness and disease.

The casualties still mount as Japanese snipers take a deadly toll and both disease and illness deplete the Australians as they are forced to fight in the mosquito-riddled swamps.