Landing at Lae

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Landing at Lae
Part of World War II, Pacific War
Awm 042371 lae.jpg
The Australian 9th Division makes its amphibious landing east of Lae. LSTs can be seen completing their unloading. A tug is in the foreground and the Saruwaged Range is in the distance.
Date 4–6 September 1943
Location Lae area, Morobe Province, Territory of New Guinea
Result Allied victory
 Australia  Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
Australia George Wootten

The Landing at Lae was an amphibious landing to the east of Lae in the Salamaua-Lae campaign of World War II between 4–6 September 1943. It was part of Operation POSTERN which was designed to capture the Japanese base at Lae. Rear Admiral Daniel Barbey was in command of Task Force 76 which landed the Australian 9th Division on the beaches.[1] The Australian soldiers and their supplies were moved close to the area by planes, prior to the beach landings. This was described at the time by war correspondent Frank Klukhorn, of the New York Times, as " of the greatest achievements in any theatre of war."[2]

Extensive planning had gone into the Salamaua-Lae campaign. The landing sites identified were Red Beach to the east of the mouth of the Busu River and Yellow Beach (near Malahang). Maps and models of the landing sites were made, and kept closely guarded. Soldiers were made familiar with models of the beaches they would be landing at, but the names of the beaches were kept secret.[3]

On 4 September, the Australian 9th Division, under Major General George Wootten, landed east of Lae, on "Red Beach" and "Yellow Beach", near Malahang. The 2/13th Battalion (20th Brigade) landed at Yellow Beach and pushed east, on toward Hopoi Mission Station West and then to Finschhafen.[4] The 9th Division quickly established a beachhead and began a pincer advance towards Lae with the Australian 7th Division.[1] The amphibious landing was unopposed by Imperial Japanese land forces who were short of food and ammunition.[1] Japanese bombers staged an air attack on the second wave of amphibious landings, and killed about 100 Allied naval and military personnel.[1] The march from Hopoi Mission to Finschhafen was described as the "greatest march of the new Guinea campaign and in 10 days the battalion had covered 50 miles (80 km) of rugged terrain".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Pacific Wrecks – Lae". 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Lae Landings Great Achievement.". The Advocate (Burnie, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 15 September 1943. p. 5. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Olsen, Axel (2013). "18 Sep 1943 – PICKETS GUARDED SECRET MAPS OF LAE LANDINGS". Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Reconquest New Guinea 1943-44. Returned Services League. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Greatest March of Campaign". Kalgoorlie Miner. 8 Oct 1943. Retrieved 23 September 2014.