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The Hollandia, during the World War II was the largest operations in the Pacific, Mc. Arthur as the leader employed 217 ship and 80.000 men led by 50.000 combat troops. The initial objective was to size a coastal strip some 40 Km (25 miles) wide between the landing points at Hollandia and Tanah Merah bay.
The lack of Japanese resistance was a godsend as a chaotic debarkations took place amidst heavy rain and over difficult terrain, when the beachheads of Hamadi were secured, General Douglas Mc. Arthur and his staff celebrated by quaffing the commander in chief to the beach of Tanah Merah, alone Japanese plane appeared gave everyone a through scare, but the pilot unaware of the landing craft’s passengers, flew on to seek a more sizeable target.
The Hollandia campaign, considered by was historians as a model strategic maneuver, cost to the allies only 159 lives. More than 4.000 Japanese were killed and 650 prisoners were taken. About 7.000 Japanese tried to escape to Sarmi, a stronghold over 200 km (125 miles) down the coast but disease, starvation and wounds, claimed all but 1.000 mens.
Local Tribe Ceremony at Sentani Lake
Meanwhile, allied engineers reinforced and enlarged the roads and airstrips at Sentani, as Japanese built runways were neither sturdy no longer enough for the U.S. B-29 superfortress bombers. A total of 240 km (150 miles) of road and air strips were laid. Side of the mountain were curvet away, bridge and culverts were built across rivers and creeks, gravel and stone was poured in to sago swamps to support highway “As tall of Mississippi levees”.
General Mc. Arthur chose the best spot for this sprawling headquartes complex, 250 meters (820 ft) hill overlooking lake Sentani. Rugs and furniture from general Brisbane, Australia office filled prefab army buildings. One of Mc. Arthur staff described the view thus : Deep green hill of central New Guinea formed a backdrop of peaks. Ravins and jungle growth that was almost unreal. Little cone shaped island, with native houses on stilts clinging to their shores, dotted the lake.
War correspondents, not always in awe of the quick tempered Mc. Arthur, flied the story about the generals million dollar mansion with lavish furnishing and a custom built drive. Mc. Arthur was furious. After the Philipines had been secured , the misuse decided to stop at Hollandia on her way to Manila to be reunited with her husband. She wired him “ I want to see that mansion you built – the one where I am supposed to have been living in luxury.
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