July 1944 (2)

Pacific Paratrooper

Soldiers near Aitape, New Guinea, July 1944 Soldiers near Aitape, New Guinea, July 1944

1o-11 July – on the night of 10th/11th July the trapped Japanese 18th Army attempted to break through US lines.  In what became known as the Battle of Driniumor River they attacked in a solid mass of around 10,000 men in a suicidal frontal assault. This was an attempt to ensure that some men would successfully break through – which they did – but it was achieved at appalling cost.

The Japanese were now aware of how strongly defended the US positions were. US machine gunners cut down hundreds of the Japanese, with some reports of so many bodies piled up in front of US positions that that they blocked the field of fire and men had to go forward to clear them away.    MGeneral H. W. Blakeley recorded:

“Shortly before midnight, after a short artillery preparation, which came as a surprise…

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