8 December 1942

While the fighting eases at Sanananda, another disastrous day dawns at Gona where the Australians lose 44 killed on the day as they make a major attack to try to snuff out the desperate Japanese defenders.

Down to one-third of their original numbers, led by Ralph Honner’s 39th Battalion, they assault the Gona Mission from the south, landing at the defenders’ feet even before the artillery barrage ended. Lt Hugh Kelly’s platoon smashes through into the centre of the fortifications and Honner sends two more companies through the breach.

To the east, the 2/27th also thrusts into the defences and by nightfall the defenders are contained in an area of around 200 metres wide.