Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 1104 September 8, 1942

Efogi, Papua. At dawn, the flanking move Japanese 144th Regiment 2nd Battalion lands on the Kokoda Track in a gap between the Australian headquarters on Brigade Hill and all 3 battalions to the North, which are now surrounded. A Japanese forward artillery observer brings down mountain gun fire on Australian 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions, hampering a counterattack which fails with numerous casualties. An attack by the headquarters company, reinforced by a company from 21st Brigade held in reserve, also fails. By nightfall, the Australian position is fatally compromised and they retreat overnight. 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions manages to escape along the Track but 2/27th Battalion has to take a side track into the jungle and becomes lost for over a week, taking no part in subsequent battles. Australian casualties at Efogi are 87 dead, 77 wounded and Japanese lose 60 dead, 165 wounded.

Solomon Islands. On Guadalcanal, Japanese General Kawaguchi has 5200 troops at Taivu Point (East of Henderson Field) and 1000 troops to the West. He starts marching towards the Lunga perimeter with plans to attack from both sides with a flanking force hitting the American center. US Marine Colonel Merritt Edson is aware of the Japanese landings at Taivu. Between 5.20 and 11 AM, 813 1st Raider Battalion troops land at Taivu from fast transports (converted WWI destroyers) USS McKean and USS Manley. They destroy the Japanese base camp (capturing food, ammunition, medical supplies, documents and a radio) and return to the transports at 5.30 PM (2 US Marines and 27 Japanese troops killed). This raid hampers the Japanese attack and provided intelligence on the size of the Japanese force. Overnight, Japanese cruiser Sendai and 8 destroyers bombard the US naval base on nearby Tulagi Island.

Overnight, 249 RAF aircraft inaccurately bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Most bombs fall in the countryside Southwest of the city and 15 miles away in Rüsselsheim. 5 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes are lost.

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