The Principles of War Podcast
New Guinea Campaign Palliers Hill Podcast

41 – The Assault on Pallier’s Hill

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This podcast follows on from the Australian Army Research Centre Battlefield Staff Ride to New Guinea, looking at some of the battlefields from 1942 and 1943.  We were accompanied by Nick Anderson, author of Kokoda and Milne Bay books for the Army History Unit and Phil Bradley, who wrote On Shaggy Ridge, Hell’s Battlefield, To Salamaua, The Battle for Wau and D-Day New Guinea.  Walking the battlefield gives you a great perspective, but walking the battlefield with the Historians who wrote the books on these battles makes an incredible difference to our ability to understand how the battles were fought and what was going through the Commanders’ minds as they planned their actions.

This assault, conducted by troops of 9 Pl, C Coy, 2/14 Bn is a classic infantry platoon attack.  The 7th Division under MAJ GEN George Vasey was moving up the Ramu Valley with the 21st BDE under BRIG Ivan Dougherty moving up towards Shaggy Ridge.  Shaggy Ridge is key terrain because of the observation back into the Ramu Valley and to the coast of Northern New Guinea.  The 2/27th took King’s Hill, and was relieved by the 2/14th so they could continue the advance up the Faria Valley.  Critically, they left what was to become known as Pallier’s Hill vacant and it was occupied by the Japanese overnight.

 

Map of the Faria Valley with Kings Hill and Palliers Hill
This annotated drone photo shows the key landmarks for the assault from King’s Hill to Pallier’s Hill. It shows just how steep the ridge line is.
Map from On Shaggy Ridge
This map details the locations of the fire support on the 3 pimples and Bn HQ, with the colocated 25 pdr Short.  Map courtesy Phil Bradley – On Shaggy Ridge.

 

 

This is some DJI Mavic 2 Pro footage to give you an idea of just how steep the climb up to King’s Hill is and how steep the ridge lines are across to Pallier’s Hill.

Have a listen to the podcast – we put the assault into context, looking at the history of the 21st BDE and the 2/14th in the lead up to Pallier’s Hill.  We also look at how the assault was planned, especially the Fire Support, which would be critical for an assault, which on the face of it, looks like it will be conducted against overwhelming odds.

For more information on the Ramu Valley Campaign, try Phil Bradley’s book, On Shaggy Ridge.

Check out these 3D Map viewers by Greg Lauer.

Satellite image with contours and pins for the key terrain.

Map / Satellite contour mashup.  This is a great way to see the way that the contours on the map actually look on the ground, especially the view from the 3 pimples, where the Vickers guns were sited  across to Palliers Hill.

Ramu Vally Topo Map
The terrain around Kings and Palliers Hills, with Shaggy Ridge in the background, overlaid on the topo data.

This is certainly a different way of using a map to interpret the avenues of approach and observation.  Have a  play with the links to see just how steep the terrain is.

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