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Defense of Kokoda
Kokoda Campaign #3
(Defender) Australia vs Japan (Attacker)
Formations Involved
Australia 39th "Hawthorn-Kew" Infantry Battalion
Australia Papuan Infantry Battalion
Japan 144th Infantry Regiment
Japan 15th Independent Engineer Regiment

Overall balance chart for KoCa003
Side 1 1
Draw 0
Side 2 3
Overall Rating, 5 votes
Scenario Rank: 397 of 598
Parent Game Kokoda Campaign
Historicity Historical
Date 1942-07-29
Start Time 02:30
Turn Count 8
Visibility Night
Counters 24
Net Morale 2
Net Initiative 1
Maps 1: 35
Layout Dimensions 43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
Play Bounty 144
AAR Bounty 163
Total Plays 4
Total AARs 1
Battle Types
Airfield Control
Urban Assault
Off-board Artillery
Terrain Mods
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Kokoda Campaign maps + counters

Following the sharp engagement at Oivi, the Yokoyama Advance Force took several days to build up supplies and gather forces for the assault on Kokoda. Lt. Col. Owen continued to desperately request airlift for additional elements of his battalion. Early on the morning of 28 July an additional platoon of D company was loaded into planes and circled over the strip at Kokoda, but the American flight crews refused to land as they believed the Japanese were too close for safety. It would be up to B Company and a few detachments to hold Kokoda against a vastly superior Japanese force. Finally early in the morning of 29 July the Japanese launched one of their famous night attacks.


Lt. Col. Owen deployed his forces about the village of Kokoda using the slope up to the plateau to further strengthen his position. The Japanese brought the Australians under mortar fire as darkness fell, but waited until 2:30 AM before launching troops toward the Australian positions. Once again the Australians lost their commander early in the battle as Lt. Col. Owen fell with a mortal head wound during the initial charge of the Japanese forces. The Australians held firm for about an hour before breaking under the pressure of the more numerous Japanese and retreating back up the track toward Deniki.

Display Order of Battle

Australia Order of Battle
  • Foot
Japan Order of Battle
Imperial Japanese Army

Display AARs (1)

Still looking for the right strategy
Author wleonard1
Method Solo
Victor Japan
Play Date 2016-03-15
Language English
Scenario KoCa003

A small Australian force - 5 platoons - has a choice of 4 ways to earn victory points. The Australians earn victory points by eliminating Japanese steps, holding village hexes, holding an airfield, or exiting the board. The Japanese forces, reinforced since the previous scenario, have the same objectives, except for exiting the board. For the Japanese side, given the short scenario length of 7 turns, a direct charge at the closest Australian forces in the village seems the only option. Opportunity fire from the defenders costs Japan a step and demoralizes the rest of the stack, but those are the last significant losses the Japanese will suffer. The Australians slowly lose steps to assaults and free shot exits. The last two turns see the Japanese reach the airfield, and the Australian survivors start to exit. Major Japanese victory by 19 to 4.

Lessons learned? The Japanese player might have tried to detach one or two platoons to block the Australian escape route, but it would be difficult to improve on the assaults. For Australia, a smaller force in the village might have delayed the Japanese as much as the larger force did, and a stronger airfield garrison might have held on. Or the Australians might have forgone opportunity fire and headed straight for the exits.

Multiple objectives and the short time frame make this an interesting scenario to play, despite the imbalance in forces .

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