172nd INfantry at Danmap River New Guinea
HISTORY OF 533d EB&SR
Gunboat operations which had subsided when the climax of the Battle of the Driniumor moved inland, were revived late in August when the 43d Division relieved the XI Corps which departed for Morotai. The remnants of the Jap XVIII Army straggled back toward But and Wewak, and Major General Wing decided to give them no chance to reorganize within harassing distance of Aitape. First his I03d Infantry and later the 172d Infantry were given the mission of aggressive patrolling to the east. These patrols were also intended to season the many replacements that had joined the Division in New Zealand after its costly campaign the previous year in the Solomons, and they made constant use of the 533d's flotilla now numbering six gunboats with armament up to 57 mm guns. During early September elements of
the 103d pushed through the Drimbol plantation and established an outpost at Babieng, and in the latter part of the month the 172d fought its way against increasingly vigorous resistance another twelve miles to Suain. An attempt to push on across the Danmap River to Cape Djeruan would have been a disaster had it not been for the support of the two 533d gunboats. The Japs let a platoon of Company F, 172d Infantry ford the river and advance 1000 yards, and then they closed in. While the LCMGs helped this platoon battle its way to a point on the shore where it was possible for the boats to beach in the heavy surf and pick it up, a Jap battalion crossed the river further inland and attacked the rest of F Company near Luain. A rescue similar to that in the first days of the Battle of the Driniumor was performed by two gunboats of Band C Company with the additional obstacle of such heavy surf that the wounded had to be floated out on rubber boats. After this narrow escape Division prescribed a more conservative policy, and the Japs too seemed willing to leave a wide no-man's-land-provided their positions at But were not threatened; so the gunboats
had no more excitement.
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This page created 01/07/01 and last updated 05/19/01.