Title: The Spell Broken – Exploding the Myth of Japanese Invincibility
Author: Brune, Peter
Condition: Very Good
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 1998
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 304 pages
Comments: Milne Bay lies at the far-eastern extremity of Papua New Guinea. In August 1942 the Japanese staged a landing there against an Australian Infantry force of militia and AIF troops – the prize was the primitive Milne Bay airfield and the eventual capture of Port Moresby.
Along Milne Bay’s narrow northern shore, a confused and desperate battle took place against a background of Japanese naval operations in the Bay by night and low-flying and strafing Australian Kittyhawk fighter support by day – and High Command panic and interference throughout.The first phase of the campaign saw the young and inexperienced 7th Brigade troops desperately defend their ground against the crack Japanese invaders, culminating in the fire-fight at the bare-earth killing ground of Number Three Airstrip.The second phase of the fighing saw the AIF’s elite 18th Brigade committed to a determined advance against a dogged Japanese fighting withdrawl.
This operation heralded the first Japanese defeat on land in the Pacific War.Then in November 1942, after their defeat along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay, the Japanese occupied their northern Papuan beachead strongholds of Gona-Sanananda-Buna. Amidst the jungle, swamp and kunai grass patches of that malarial pesthole, 9000 Japanese troops occupied an intricate network of bunkers and sniper positions.
When the confident Americans were halted and then utterly demoralised before the Japanese defenders at Buna, the 18th Brigade’s Milne Bay veterans were called in. Buna fell, but at a staggering cost. And when the last Japanese beachhead stronghold had not fallen by early January 1943, the 18th Brigade’s Buna survivors marched to the swamps at Sanananda.The Spell Brokenis a stirring history of the battles at Milne Bay, Buna and Sanananda told through the records of those campaigns balanced against the recollections of their survivors.
About Peter Brune
Peter Brune is a leading authority and writer on the Australian campaigns in New Guinea in World War II. He has had exclusive access to much of the information he has gathered over recent years, including interviews with many of the survivors, several of whom have now passed away.
First published in 1991, Those Ragged Bloody Heroes was Peter’s first book. He has gone on to write a number of bestsellers; The Spell Broken, We Band of Brothers, and A Bastard of a Place and has co-authored with Neil McDonald 200 Shots: Damien Parer and George Silk and the Australians at War in New Guinea
Peter Brune is a school teacher and lives in Adelaide.