I want to write and tell stories.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm a SNAG......

You can see by the following email conversation I'm a SNAG.

Me: So Kokoda (see below) is on this weekend, when are we going?

Ex-Army Friend(top bloke): possibly...will let you know...in perth (edit for info: couple thousand clicks away) now, and have a big weekend ahead...frankly, im tired just thinking about it...

Me: It's Kokoda...suck it up

Ex-Army Friend(still a top bloke): you know what....good point.....I'll clear it with the Adjutant, but yes, i'm in.

Kokoda is opening today, and I have high hopes for it. Shot on a $4.5million dollar budget, it looks great. Waiting to see what the story is like, but it is based on an actual event. These guys were known as chocolate soldiers, the regulars expected them to melt in the heat of battle.

Kokoda is a trail in Papua New Guinea that the allies battled the Japanese along. The story at the time was that the Japanese were going to fight to Port Moresby the capital and then use that as a staging post to invade Australia. Based on new information, this may not be true, but at the time, these guys believed they were fighting off a possible invasion of Australia.

Many claim it was the worst conditions for fighting in WWII. I cannot confirm that as I was obviously not there, and for me any place is a horrible place for a war. However, from what I have seen of the conditions they fought in, if it wasn't the worst, it had to have been in the top 5 suckiest places to fight. Steep hillsides, muddy, tropical, disease, etc. horrible conditions.

Here is a link to a map to show you how close Port Moresby is to Australia.

Will let you know what I think of it. It is a big change to the type of movies that have been made lately, as these have mainly been indie type productions that are more well, non-mainstream, drug addicts, people infatuated with death, etc.

Here is the link www.kokodathemovie.com

If you liked Gallipoli or The Lighthorsemen, you might like this one as well.

PS just read the tagline on IMDB for the Lighthorsemen....."They did what they were told...They didn't know it was impossible" great movie about an amazing bunch of blokes, last great cavalry charge in history, and first under machine gun and artillery fire.


Just found this article. Sums it up well.


Unlikely heroes who turned tide on Track
By Julian Lewis20-04-2006
From: The Daily Telegraph

FEAR of invasion by Japan was a reality for Australians in early 1942. Darwin had been bombed and the only remaining Australian garrison outside Australia, at Port Moresby, which had also been bombed, was under grave threat.Australian Major-General Basil Morris, who had recently assumed command of Papua and the territory of New Guinea, told war correspondent and novelist George Johnston: "I suppose the Japs will try to capture Port Moresby because it would give them a marvellous striking base for air blows against the Australian mainland".
He said Australians must be prepared to defend the city valiantly.

But by the end of 1941, most of the experienced soldiers of the all-volunteer Australian Imperial Force, or AIF, were in the Middle East or Malaya, leaving only 168,800 troops to defend Australia.

Of these, 132,000 were members of the Australian Military Forces, or AMF, a militia of generally older citizen soldiers and new conscripts seemingly to be stationed on the home front. The AIF men called the AMF "chockos" - chocolate soldiers who would melt in the sun.

When the Americans applied pressure to the Australian government to extend the operational area for the militia, the "chockos" became liable to serve in New Guinea. In early 1942, the only force available there to mount the first effective stand against the Japanese comprised a brigade of three inexperienced, ill-equipped and poorly-trained infantry battalions, a battalion of Papuan infantry, the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (white expatriate workers and administrators), an artillery regiment and an anti-aircraft battery.

However, many of these militamen were to excel in the theatre; in August of that year, hardened veterans of the 7th Division, who had returned from the bloody fighting in the Middle East, combined with elements of the militia, the RAAF and a small number of US army engineers to inflict, at Milne Bay, the first defeat of the Japanese on land in WWII. The Japanese landing force was destroyed and the victory boosted morale for Allied servicemen in the Asia-Pacific theatre, and particularly for those Australians who were still fighting the rearguard action against the Japanese along the Kokoda Track.

Many militia men had faced a baptism of fire. Some of the troops sent to New Guinea had never fired a weapon in training and arrived without rifles, mess tins or mosquito nets in a place rife with malaria.

Another of the under-strength battalions had seen 100 or so men virtually press-ganged in December 1941, rounded up around Sydney and taken to the docks without time to farewell their families.

The third battalion's mainly older officers had less than 10 weeks with their young troops and within five weeks of their arrival dysentery had reduced their effective fighting strength by a third.

Fortunately, however, the Battle of the Coral Sea, in early May 1942, turned back a Japanese convoy intent on attacking Port Moresby. The Japanese later landed troops on the northeast coast of Papua, and took the Allies by surprise by landing near Gona in late July.

They easily forced back the outnumbered Papuan Infantry Battalion and the Australian 39th Battalion, which had been sent earlier over the near-impassable Owen Stanley Range to the Kokoda area to prevent the Japanese setting up an airfield or moving on Moresby.

After capturing Kokoda, which was temporarily re-occupied by the Australians before the Japanese forced them to withdraw to Isurava, the outnumbered Australians dug in and awaited reinforcements over the mountain track.
It had an annual rainfall of 250cm and became a quagmire as thousands of soldiers tramped along it.

The track included the "golden stairs", where engineers cut more than 2000 timber steps and men got what they called "laughing knees" before climbing to about the height of Mount Kosciuszko, then descending into a nightmare world of mud and jungle to face an unseen enemy.
Four months of fighting in these rugged mountains, hampered by poor supplies and reinforcements, would result in 625 Australians killed and more than a thousand wounded, with the heaviest losses sustained in the early days.

For every battle casualty, perhaps two or three times that number were hospitalised by illness.
For many, the only way to medical help was to walk out of the jungle or be carried by their native comrades.

The gratitude of the Australian soldier was expressed in a poem written on the track by Sapper H. Beros that concluded: "May the mothers of Australia when they offer up a prayer, mention those impromptu angels with their fuzzy wuzzy hair". The name Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels stuck. Only days after battalions of the AIF began to arrive in Port Moresby in August 1942, they, too, were sent up the Kokoda Track as desperately needed reinforcements.

They carried the soldier's standard load of more than 27kg and were left shivering in their khaki shirts and shorts until warmer camouflage "jungle green" uniforms were issued in September.
Most supplies dropped from the air landed in the wrong place or smashed on impact. The weary men at Isurava, already weakened by dysentery, hung on for weeks without proper food or shelter until they were forced back in late August, with as many as 172 Australian soldiers missing in a single day.

The 39th Battalion, which had numbered 460 weeks before, was now reduced to below 200, while the AIF battalions had shrunk from around 1100 to half that number.
Further severe fighting saw the outnumbered Australians pushed back within 50km of Port Moresby.

But the tide of battle turned as the Japanese, hungry, exhausted and suffering from the same supply problems as their enemy, retreated back over the mountains. Back in Australia, though, US General Douglas MacArthur, who commanded the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific, believed the Australians outnumbered the Japanese. In fact, at one stage there were about 400 Australians facing a force of about 5000 Japanese.

At another stage MacArthur's headquarters ordered the Owen Stanley Range be prepared for demolition, causing the Australian commander in New Guinea to ask wryly if it was "this week's funny story". Senior Australian commanders in New Guinea were replaced on the verge of victory - unjustly, as history now shows.

Australia's most senior commander, General Thomas Blamey, in a speech to the surviving members of the 21st Brigade at Port Moresby, gave some men the impression he was accusing them of being beaten by inferior troops in inferior numbers. This nearly caused the parade to erupt. But others who heard the speech believed Blamey had been misunderstood.

By October, fresh Australian troops had advanced along the track, where the Japanese had begun to retreat.

Despite further heavy losses, the first Australians entered Kokoda in early November, with the Australians beginning to attack the Buna-Gona area on the coast towards the end of November.


At 12:00 am, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

What the heck is a snag?

At 8:09 am, Blogger Grubber said...

You better learn this one for your RomCom Maryan. :)

In Australia there are two uses for this word, the first is:

SNAG = Sausage.

The second is:

SNAG = Sensitive New Age Guy

The second I beleive, is in use around the world, not sure about the first one, but I was definitely referring to the second one in the post. :) I am not a sausage, then again, my mind sometimes does resemble one I'm sure.

You could also use it as follows:

SNAG = Screenwriter Needs A Gun (to place next to temple when writers block rears it's ugly head)

SNAG = Scriptweaver Needs A Girl

All good uses! :)


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