4. GROUND ACTION : The ground action
proceeded as planned. The 1st battalion, 503d Parachute
Infantry seized the Nadzab E/L Strip and commenced its preparation to
receive airborne troops. The 2d and 3d Battalions, blocked all approaches
from the North and East and established a network of extended patrolling.
Very little activity was encountered. The 2/2 Australian Pioneer
Battalion joined the 1st Battalion at 1800 hour, 5 September 1943, to take over the preparation of the strip. The original strip
was 1500 feet long and had remained unused for twelve (12) months. This
strip was improved and extended to 3300 feet. The 1st
battalion then set up a perimeter defense around the strip to protect the
2/2 Australian Pioneer Battalion and the natives working with them. The
Airborne troops, in C-47 airplanes, began to land at 1000hour, 6 September 1943, 23˝ hours after the jump was made.
On 8 September 43, the 25th Australian Brigade had arrived and had
replaced our 3d Battalion who were then withdrawn to the vicinity of the
The Australians continued their push down the Valley
and on 14
September 43, the 3d Battalion was sent forward to protect their L of C and
to prevent enemy infiltration to their rear. The main body of the
Japanese Forces had at this time evacuated LAE and were withdrawing to the
Northwest. This body encountered the 3d Battalion at 0600 hour, 15 September 43, and the Battalion immediately set up a defensive position to
prevent their breaking through. A detailed account of this action is
attached herein as Inclosure # 2.
The vigorous and aggressive patrol action of this unit
resulted in a few encounters with enemy patrols. The Japanese patrols
always withdrew and in several instances, large amounts of equipment was
5. EVACUATION: a. The 1st
Battalion was evacuated by air to Port Moresby on 14 September 43
after the arrival of the 25th Australian brigade with
instructions to prepare for another mission.
b. The 2nd Battalion and regimental
Headquarters Division was evacuated on 17 September 43.
c. The 3d Battalion was evacuated on 19 September 43.
6. MISCELLANEOUS : a. The morale of the men was
excellent. The general attitude was one of determination. The men were
disappointed in that they had been ordered not to be used were Infantry
could be employed and were required to remain behind while the Australians
pushed down the Valley.
b. One (1) plane load of fifteen (15) men did
not jump because the crew chief was taking off the door, it blew out and
was hanging on the side of the plane. It would have endangered the life
of every man who would have tried to jump.
c. One (1) man did not jump as he fainted when
the men were preparing to jump. No man refused to jump on this mission.
7. RESULT: a. The prescribed mission
assigned to the 503d Parachute Infantry was carried out most successfully.
b. The casualties were as follows :
Killed in action - Eleven (11)
Wounded in action - Forty-three (43)