The Kokoda Track was vital to Australia during WWII, as the Japanese troops were repelled by the Australian and US troops during the Kokoda Trail campaign. Japan had already landed troops on the island of New Guinea, and sought to head south through the Owen Stanley Ranges to establish bases on the southern coast of the island.
The PNG natives offered invaluable assistance to the Allied troops along the Kokoda Track, often at great risk to themselves. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels were a tribe of Papua New Guinean native people nicknamed for their thick, woolly hair. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels helped Australian soldiers during WWII in the 1942 battles against invading Japanese troops. They lived in the villages along the Kokoda Track and initially knew nothing of the war until Australian troops began moving through their area. They carried wounded out of the jungle, on stretchers and on their backs, and nursed them back to health where possible, at the risk of their own lives. They also carried supplies and equipment for the Australian troops. Stories have also emerged of these natives rescuing US airmen who were shot out of the sky. They evacuated allied troops from compromising situations during alerts of Japanese invasions, or hid them from advancing troops. Not only did they nurse the wounded back to health, but many Allied troops fell victim to the diseases of the tropical jungle, such as malaria - the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels also nursed them through that.
The Kokoda Track campaign represented the first time that the national security of Australia was directly threatened. The victory of the Australians was celebrated as the saving of their country by the public. While there were intelligence failures and unrealistically high expectations of the Australian forces during the campaign, it helped highlight what needed to improve for more efficient medical and logistical infrastructure.
Kokoda Front Line (1942) It won 'Best Documentary Feature'
Kokoda Front Line! won the Oscar for Documentary - other - in 1942.
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