Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
    Prince Alexander Range East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Location
The Prince Alexander Range (Prince Alexander Mountains) are located inland from the north coast of New Guinea. Includes Mount Shiburangu (Mt. Shiburangu). Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in Wewak District of East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea.

Wartime History
During the middle of December 1942 occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). During early May 1945, the northern foothills were defended by the Japanese as the Australian Army approached the area. By the middle of May 1945, the Australian Army 2/4th Infantry Battalion swung inland towards Wirui and Mission Hill (Wirui Mission) to clear the foothills of the the Prince Alexander Range.

On June 19, 1945 the Australian Army 2/8th Battalion then began preparing to move against Shiburangu, the highest feature in the Prince Alexander Ranges south of Wewak. It not only commanded the whole area but included strong positions west of Big Road, thus depriving the Australians of the use of the road to any extent farther south than Wirui Mission. Shiburangu was the key position for the Australian drive inland to link up with the inland force. On 19 June Middle Knoll, south-east of Sauri, was captured and patrolling towards the main feature became aggressive. In the Yamil area Australian operations continued with the capture of Yamil 4. The emergency landing ground was also completed and light aircraft began using Yamil Airfield.

On June 22, 1945 in the morning the Australian Army began an assault with two companies of 2/4th Battalion against Mount Tazaki and Mount Shiburangu after an artillery bombardment and bombing runs by RAAF Beauforts. The first objective, a crest 300 yards north-west of the main feature, was taken by "B" Company. From this point the Japanese were engaged while "D" Company performed a flanking movement. After some hours of close fighting the Japanese were driven from the position and Tazaki occupied by 6:00pm.

On June 26, 1945 in the morning thirty-six Beauforts attacked Mount Shiburangu. At 7.30 am next morning the Beauforts again roared in, but this time when the bombing had finished the Japanese received no respite. Artillery at Wewak opened fire, and in thirty minutes more than 5000 shells from forty-eight guns screamed into the positions. Then "C" Company of 2/8th Battalion moved to the foot of the feature. The first opposition was encountered shortly after the climb began, when heavy fire from bunker positions atop the mountain pinned down the whole company. To counter this a platoon was ordered to work around to the right flank, climb the cliff-face and storm the position. As the platoon set off heavy fire was directed at the Japanese from the temporary company position. while simultaneously "C" Company of 2/2nd Battalion made a diversionary move south along Big Road. The men of the platoon climbed 700 yards in a circling movement up the tangled mountainside-a grade of about one in three. Without losing a man they reached the top and bore down on the surprised Japanese with machine guns and grenades. This was the signal for a general advance by the remainder of "C" Company. By 12.30 pm the top of the feature was finally occupied. The remaining Japanese hurriedly withdrew to another lower hill feature which was named The Blot. From the top of Shiburangu it was possible to see as far north as Aitape and southwards to the Sepik River-a distance of about 200 miles.

References
Australian Army Campaign Wewak

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
October 23, 2019

 

Map
Map
August 30, 1943
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram