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    Ioribaiwa (Euribaiwa) Central Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Thomas Fisher
September 1942


George H. Nicholson
December 16, 1943
Location
Ioribaiwa village is located at an elevation of roughly 4,429' on a Ioribaiwa ridge on the the Kokoda Trail in the Owen Stanley Range in New Guinea. Ioribaiwa is located roughly 26 miles north of Port Moresby and a day's march from Uberi. Also spelled Euribaiwa.

Wartime History
The Australian Army, 21st Brigade withdrew to this location from Efogi after defensive battles at Menari and Nauro. As the depleted remnants of the 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions struggled back to the ridge on September 11, 1942 they met the first elements of the 25th Brigade which was moving forward to take offensive action.

As advancing Japanese probed the position, the 3rd, 2/25th, 2/31st and 2/33rd Battalions plus the 2/14th and 2 /16th Composite Battalion were deployed across the ridge. On September 14, 1942 Brigadier Ken Eather, C.O. of the 25th Brigade, took over from Brigadier Porter. On September 15, 1942 Japanese made determined Japanese attacks which were defeated. The next day Eather ordered the Australians to withdraw to Imita Ridge by evening with only a small covering force.

On September 16, 1942 the Japanese occupied Ioribaiwa. War correspondent Seizo recorded the mood when Japanese soldiers first saw the distant sea and coastline. He reported: "The sea! It's the sea of Port Moresby! Wild with joy, the soldiers who were stained all over with mud and blood, threw themselves into each others arms and wept". Out of supplies they found little in the area.

On September 23, 1942 their positions came under artillery fire from Australian 25 pounders at Owers' Corner. On September 25, 1942 Australian ground forces open a counteroffensive, attacking strongly toward Ioribaiwa. The remaining Japanese forces were ordered to withdraw back to the north coast. By September 27, 1942 the Japanese abandon Ioribaiwa Ridge begin to retreat northward under pressure from Australian ground forces while A-20s attack forces to the north of Ioribaiwa.

On September 28, 1942 the Australians occupied Ioribaiwa and found it abandoned by the enemy, including a dump with 75mm mountain gun shells. Afterwards, Ioribaiwa village was used by Australian forces advancing northward in pursuit of the Japanese. During April 1944 used as the Ioribaiwa Signal Camp for the 18th Australian Lines of Communication Signals and as a regimental aid post.

References
Australian War Memorial (AWM) Ioribaiwa
Field Guide to the Kokoda Track by Bill James (2006)

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Last Updated
September 21, 2021

 

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