The Battle of Ioribaiwa Ridge: 14th-16th September, 1942
Eather planned to pin the Japanese on Ioribaiwa Ridge and conduct flanking attacks to the east and west of the position. A lack of maps, poor communications and rugged jungle terrain compounded the difficulty of command and control for this manoeuvre. The Japanese were intent on maintaining the momentum of their advance and planned similar flanking movements at the same time. The two battalions clashed and became embroiled in a bitter fight on the western flank while a Japanese force broke through a gap in the Australian defences on the eastern flank.
Indirect fire from the Japanese mountain guns was decisive and forced Eather to withdraw his troops to Imita Ridge in a manoeuvre designed to consolidate his Brigade. There he would initiate an aggressive patrolling program to identify the Japanese dispositions in preparation for the next major attack.
Unbeknown to Eather, the Japanese had been ordered to withdraw to the beach-heads at Buna and Gona to aid with the battle against the American Marines at Guadalcanal. The 25th Brigade lost 49 killed and 121 wounded on Ioribaiwa Ridge.
The Japanese lost 40 killed and 120 wounded. When Eather began the advance against the Japanese positions he found they had ‘advanced to the rear’.