Australians capture Sattelberg [27 November 1943]

Australians capture Sattelberg

From a “Mail” War Correspondent

Somewhere in Australia. — Australian troops yesterday fought their way up the final slopes of a 2,500-ft. ridge, and captured Sattelberg, the main Japanese base in the Cape Huon Peninsula area of New Guinea.

The last attack was made in daylight and before nightfall the Japs had been chased four miles farther north.

Enemy losses were severe and a considerable quantity of equipment, including many field guns, was abandoned.

The attack on Sattelberg began nine days ago. The Japs, who were well dug in, put up a bitter fight before they were routed.

3-pronged drive

The former mission station was attacked from three sides. There was a frontal assault in which the A.I.F. was aided by British-built tanks; a drive from the south; and one from the north-west.

On Thursday the Australians who had fought their way two miles forward in eight days, were within a quarter of a mile of Jap headquarters.

General MacArthur, in his communique today, pays tribute to the men who captured the base. He said: — “In this gallant attack most difficult operational conditions due to mountainous jungle terrain were encountered and overcome.”

Now the victorious Australians are chasing the Jap remnants along the trail north to Wareo, which is four miles to the north-east.

They have already driven the enemy through four small villages which last week were supply and ammunition dumps, and were heavily plastered by Allied planes.

Today’s communique also tells of a daring strike at a Jap cruiser by Catalinas which flew to within a few miles of Kavieng, in New Ireland.

They scored two direct hits, which caused an explosion and started fires below decks.

Another Jap cruiser, this time a light one, was probably damaged by Liberator bombers which attacked 30 miles north-east of Garove Island, north of New Britain.

(General MacArthur’s Communique, Page 2.)

The Mail (Adelaide, SA), Saturday 27 November 1943, page 1

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