Author: Peter Gamgee
Publisher: Outskirts Press
A World War II historical trail crossing the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea
In 1942, under General MacArthur’s orders, the ill-equipped Second Battalion of the US 126th Infantry Division of the 32nd Red Arrows battled their way on an ill-defined jungle track across Papua New Guinea.
The trail they took, “The Kapa Kapa”, crosses the Owen Stanley Range to the east of the famous Kokoda Track, in a country rarely walked by other than the local village people.
During the Second World War the Trail was both the saviour for a small group of the 2/14th Australian troops who were cut off behind enemy lines – and “green hell” for the thousand from the 126th Regiment who were forced to march over it from the south to the north coast.
So aff licted were those troops with exhaustion and illness through malaria, typhoid, dysentery, infection and other tropical diseases that only about 25 per cent were fit to fight after reaching the northern staging post at a village called Jaure.
The author, Peter Gamgee, first walked the Trail in 2009 and was so taken by the local people and their culture, the stunning countryside, the trekking challenges, and the mostly undocumented history that he returned with his son Jake in 2011, spending a month on the Trail gathering the material to write this book.