1994 29¢ Allied Forces Retake New Guinea
World War II – 1944: Road to Victory
Issue Date: June 6, 1994
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
By the summer of 1942, Japanese troops had made a series of landings on New Guinea’s north shore and were steadily pushing inland. The only barrier separating them from the Australian base of Port Moresby was the Owen Stanley Mountains - a jagged, jungle-covered range that reared up two miles high. Although the Australians considered the mountains impassable, the tenacious Japanese troops succeeded in crossing.
An Allied force quickly counterattacked and by November, the Japanese had been pushed back across the mountains. MacArthur then attacked Japanese positions along the north coast in a series of brilliant operations that combined sea, air, and land forces. But New Guinea is the world’s second largest island, and the drive to recapture it would require nearly two more years of brutal fighting.
Moving westward up the northern coast, American forces took Saidor on January 2, 1944, and established an air base there. Two weeks later Australian troops took Sio. Additional airfields were captured and by the end of April the Japanese had begun to retreat. By August, nearly all of New Guinea was in Allied hands, leaving MacArthur free to drive on toward the Philippines.