The Guerrilla Campaign: Hit, hit hard and run

A rocky outcrop used as an observation post during the Japanese occupation of Bo

A rocky outcrop used as an observation post during the Japanese occupation of Bobanaro.
Courtesy Australian War Memorial AWM 121416

Despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned the 2/2nd forcefully hit back with sub-section ambushes.

They would hit the enemy hard with a hail of brief and concentrated fire and then disappear before the Japanese could effectively respond.

Guerrilla warfare is the ‘hit and run’ method of combat by which an occupied country can defeat an enemy of greater strength. It relies on the support of local people and the avoidance of conventional battles.

Together with the East Timorese, local Portuguese also provided both tacit and active support to the Australians.

So successful was this guerrilla campaign, that the Japanese were forced to bring in thousands of troops that could have been deployed on the Kokoda Track or elsewhere.

Strategically located observation posts monitored enemy activity at the Dili airfield and harbour providing intelligence and targets for RAAF attacks.

Active patrolling by small sub-sections mercilessly ambushed larger Japanese patrols killing and demoralising their troops. Japanese outposts had their supply routes constantly attacked.

The Japanese tried to win local support by inflaming anti-colonial sentiment. Where this failed, they destroyed the villages suspected of assisting Australian forces.

A sniper in action.

A sniper in action. Avoiding full scale confrontations, the 2/2nd ambushed the Japanese wherever they found them but never near villages.
Damien Parer, courtesy Australian War Memorial AWM 013827