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The Battle for Templeton’s Crossing: 11th-28th of October

General Horii’s force had paid a heavy price for their advance to Ioribaiwa Ridge and were now not capable of holding the line forward of the beach-heads without reinforcement. Horii had reason to believe the 38th Division from Rabaul would be made available so he chose to defend the trails north of Kagi and north-west of Lake Myola and established his main defensive positions on the ridge overlooking Templeton’s Crossing and further back on the ridge overlooking Eora Creek.

On 11th October Eather advanced with a battalion on each flank and they attacked both forward positions on 13 October and forced the Japanese to withdraw to their defensive position at Templeton’s Crossing after an intense 24 hours battle. Although hampered by a critical lack of supplies and a heavy toll on the strength of his Brigade ( 55 killed, 133 wounded and 769 sick) Eather kept the pressure on the Japanese defences until he was relieved by the 16th Brigade under Brigadier Lloyd on 19th October.

The following day the Australians broke through the Japanese position at Templeton’s Crossing and pushed the Japanese back towards their main defensive position at Eora Creek. General Horii was unprepared for the breakthrough and he ordered reinforcements from the Kokoda area. On 22nd October the scene was set for a decisive battle with the Japanese dug in on a high ridge dominating a major obstacle – the thundering white-water of Eora Creek.

The Japanese defensive position bristled with heavy and light machine guns protruding from mutually-supporting camouflaged bunkers. Attempts to cross the log bridges over Eora Creek were met with heavy fire as the area had been well sighted asa prepared killing ground. A small Australian unit led by Captains Paul Cullen and Basil Catterns finally breached the obstacle and menaced the Japanese defenders for four days and nights while Brigadier Lloyd sent a fresh battalion, the 2/3rd around the western flank to the high ground on the 26th. They attacked the Japanese the following day and drove them off the position on the 28th.

The Australians lost 291 killed or wounded in the battle.'Templeton’s Crossing' was the first major battle during the advance of the Australians which eventually ended at Gona, Sanananda and Buna.

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