Location - Faiwani Creek 1.5 km Nth of Deniki
Description – Faiwani creek intercepts the track that lays between Deniki and Pitoki. Both sides of the creek are heavily wooded except for an area of around a hundred yards either side of the track.
1st Platoon, 1st Company 1/144th Regt (Veteran/Spirited Reactions)
Consisting of Platoon HQ 1 x Officer and 1 x Sgt, 1 x Sniper
3 x Sections each of 1 x LMG, 2 x NCO, 8 x Soldiers
Support Elements A Section 55th Mountain battery
1 x Observer team attached to 2 x75mm Mountain Howitzers located at Kokoda
1st Section, 13 Platoon, C Company, 39th Battalion (Tired/ Green/trained)
Consisting of Platoon HQ 1 x Officer and 1 x Sgt, 39th Battalion
1 x LMG (Bren), 2 x NCOs, 6 x Soldiers
No 1 and 2 Sections, B Company, PIB (Untrained)
Each PIB Section consists of 2 x NCO and x 5 men
1 x Observer team attached to 2 x81mm Mortars located behind Denik
Battle Report Faiwani Creek 31st July 1942
The Japanese force commander (Cameron) will take up the commentary from here.
The Japanese scouting force advancedtowards the creek crossing that intersected the track heading for Deniki. They moved forwardon either side of the track with caution until they came across a clearing that now not only created a buffer zone on the track but also the creek crossing as well.
They halted for a turn to observe the far side of the clearing and through the bright and hot morning light spotted a section of Papuan infantrylead by Australian NCOs sitting hiding in cover on the far side of the creek.
Advancing Papuan Infantry Patrol – Photo via Greg and Ian
The Japanese machinegun section attached to the forward patrol opensfire laying down a hail of bullets for two turns before the Papuans begin to fire back. The attached Japanese rifle section thenbegins to add its fire to the fight and in an attempt to rattle the Papuans charges out into the open. The Sergeant of 1st Platoon realising that one of his sections are now charging across open terrain shouts to his force and calls them back into the cover of the Jungle.
Faiwani Creek and track crossing – Photo via Greg and Ian
Following the initial exchange of fire from both sides an intense fire fight begins to buildas more sections and supporting weapons from both sides are drawn into the fight over the crossing.
A lone Japanese snipper who had until this pointhad beensitting quietly in his jungle cover spots an exposed Australian NCO,he hesitates for a second and with the squeeze of his trigger the NCO falls dead.
Around the same time a second Papuan infantry section and a Japanese section located opposite their position appear on the other side of the track,a firefight begins between the two forces. The Japanese force on this flank decided that they too will try to advance on the Papuans in an attempt to rattle them, but this section soon found themselves in trouble as they came under fire from a Australian infantry section which had gone unnoticed.
Japanese commander Cameron looking through the jungle
Both sides were desperately attempting to call in fire support which was not able to range in.
The opposing forces continued to maintain a fierce fire fight. The Japanese on the right flank were almost wiped out and the Japanese commander committed his third section to the battle. More casualties were taken by the Australians and both force commanders decided to limit casualties, both sides withdrew.
The action was seen as a draw, neither side gained the creek, however the Japanese achieved their patrol objective of retrieving valuable Intel on the composition and make up of their opposing forces.
1st Section, 13th Platoon, C Company 39th Militia Battalion troops 4 soldiers killed
1st& 2nd Section, B Company PIB 3 white NCO’s, 9 Native Constables