Battle of Scarlet Beach

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Battle of Scarlet Beach
Part of Pacific theatre of the Second World War
Australian soldiers and U.S. Navy landing craft at Scarlet Beach on 22 September 1943.
Australian soldiers and U.S. Navy landing craft at Scarlet Beach on 22 September 1943.
Date 22 September 1943[1]
Location Huon Peninsula, New Guinea
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 Australia
 United States
 Japan
Commanders and leaders
Australia George Wootten
Australia Victor Windeyer
Japan
Units involved
Australia 9th Division

The Battle of Scarlet Beach (22 September 1943) took place during the Huon Peninsula campaign of the Second World War. Involving forces from Australia, the United States and Japan, Allied forces landed at Scarlet Beach, north of Siki Cove and south of the Song River, to the east of Katika and about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the north of Finschhafen. The capture of Finschhafen would allow the construction of air base and naval facilities to assist Allied air and naval forces to conduct operations against Japanese bases in New Guinea and New Britain. The landing was opposed with the Japanese forces withdrawing to Katika.

Prelude[edit]

Lae was captured on 16 September 1943,[2] where large scale air and naval facilities could be constructed for operations that were planned to be launched in the planned New Britain campaign.[3][4] Brigadier Victor Windeyer's Australian 20th Brigade was detached from the 9th Division by Major General George Wootten to undertake the landing at Scarlet Beach, to the north of Finschhafen.[5]

The landing beach became known as Scarlet Beach from the post landing red screens, to guide future landing craft, used by the United States Navy; however, as they had been used at Red Beach during the landing at Lae, General Edmund Herring recommended that to avoid confusion of two Red Beaches, the landing beach should be called Scarlet Beach.[6]

A reconnaissance landing was undertaken prior to the main landing by amphibian scouts, consisting of four officers and two soldiers of the United States Army's 532nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment and four natives, during the night of 11/12 September in rubber boats launched from P.T. boats. The scouts were unable to obtain hydrographic information because of Japanese patrols in the area. A number of machine-gun nests were identified during their reconnaissance of the enemy positions and they were extracted on 14 September.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Maitland 1999, p. 143
  2. ^ Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 241
  3. ^ Johnston 2002, p. 153
  4. ^ Keogh 1965, p. 329
  5. ^ Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 242
  6. ^ "The Landing at Scarlet Beach". The Sydney Morning Herald. 3 October 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 

References[edit]

  • Johnston, Mark (2002). That Magnificent 9th: An Illustrated History of the 9th Australian Division 1940–46. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-643-7. 
  • Keogh, Eustace (1965). The South West Pacific 1941–45. Melbourne, Victoria: Grayflower Productions Pty Ltd. OCLC 7185705. 
  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris (1998). Where Australians Fought: The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles (1st ed.). St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-611-2. 
  • Maitland, Gordon (1999). The Second World War and its Australian Army Battle Honours. East Roseville, New South Wales: Kangaroo Press. ISBN 0-86417-975-8.