Friday, 22 August 2014

Kokoda - 39th Battalion DVD war film review Australian Forces in WW2

Taking another look through the DVD collection, I dug out this little gem.  An unknown war film really, but rather good, so I thought I would pop a little bit about it on here for those who fancy taking a look at  something a bit less "Mainstream"
 


It is  is a 2006 Australian Film, and is based on the experiences of Australian troops fighting Japanese forces during the 1942  Kokoda Track campaign.
Due to budgetary restrictions, the producers were forced to scale down the story, concentrating primarily on the trials and tribulations of one lost patrol.

In 1942 with the fall of Singapore, Australia lost nearly an entire division captured. The rest of Australia's professional military force – the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) were still in the Middle East fighting the Axis. Australia then only had available conscripts who were considered unfit for combat duties. These were known as 'chocos' – it was believed that they would 'melt' away in the heat of battle. The chocos had been kept doing menial tasks such as working at unloading cargo.
Given the circumstances that these men were the only ones immediately available to defend New Guinea they were rushed northwards with minimal or no combat training. From Port Moresby they were sent over the torturous Owen Stanley along the only track – the Kokoda Trail till they came in contact with Imperial Japanese forces coming along the track from the other direction.
The story then of Kokoda is men from one of these units, under-trained, under-provisioned sent to face battle-hardened Japanese soldiers in a desperate effort to save Australia.

The movie was inspired by the true story of a forward patrol led by Lieutenant Sword that found itself cut off from supply at the beginning of the battle for Isurava. After many frightening days making their way back to Isurava with no food, carrying the wounded and suffering from the effects of tropical diseases, they emerged from the jungle near Alola. Upon hearing that the 39th Battalion was about to be overrun, they joined a party of severely wounded men and made their way back to the battle.

Its a good film, its not huge budget like Saving Private Ryan, so not full of as many set pieces and effects, but it is a solid film, shedding some much needing light on a campaign that is rather unknown here in the west.