Thursday, 11 September 2014

11 September 1914 - The Battle of Bita Paka

One hundred years ago Australian troops were engaged in their first land action against a German force in the Great War. It occurred on the island of New Britain and became known as the Battle of Bita Paka.

  Sailors and soldiers of the AN&MEF (Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force) landed near Rabaul to capture the German wireless stations near there. Initially they met no resistance, but as they advanced inland the German force of local Melanesian natives led by German officers attempted to ambush them. The ambush was foiled and the German force defeated.
  After requesting reinforcements the Australians continued on, along the way they fought a couple of brief battles in which the first fatalities from direct enemy action occurred.

  Able Seaman Bill Williams was mortally wounded and stranded in a forward position so the medical officer, Captain Brian Pockley, went to bring him in. Pockley was then shot by a sniper. Both men were evacuated back to the naval ships but later died of their wounds.

  After advancing further and encountering more opposition in the form of snipers, a large pipe mine and a large enemy trench, which was captured at bayonet point after a charge, the Australian force cleared the area and took possession of the wireless mast they found and capturing all the enemy opposition.

This first battle by Australian troops was a complete success, but almost completely forgotten nowadays.

To read a detailed account go to this web page:

No comments:

Post a Comment