Scarlet Beach


On 21 September 1943, and almost immediately after the successful landing at Red Beach and entry into Lae, the 2/15th Battalion and other 20th Brigade units were re-embarked for another landing. The destination was Scarlet Beach which was some nine km to the north of Finschhafen.  

The 2/15th Battalion would be in the third wave, following its sister companies in the 20th Brigade - 2/13th and 2/17th Battalions. This time the landing was not unopposed, with stiff responses from the defenders.  The first two waves, as at Gallipoli, did not land where they were supposed to and sub-units were mixed up.  This may have helped their landing, but caused the 2/15th Battalion to come under heavy fire and have to complete the "mopping up" of the beach defences. 

The 2/17th Battalion's historian wrote (p227):

"20 Bde troops were making the first opposed landing by Australians since Gallipoli."

This AWM link - Scarlet Beach to the Bumi- is to an extract from a book on the New Guinea campaigns.  Well worth the read as it explains quite a lot of the detailed activity.


See the drawing at AWM item ART22755.

Troops of 2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion landing from a Infantry Landing Craft approximately half an hour after the first wave of troops had landed. They had not, at this stage, fully overcome the resistance on the beach, with the rest that the second wave come under heavy fire. The port ramp of the Infantry Landing Craft and been carried away and all the troops were landed from the starboard ramp, New Guinea.This picture depicts the landing at Scarlet Beach of 2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion, 2nd Australian Imperial Force


Between 16 October and 28 October, the 20th Brigade was involved in the defence of Scarlet Beach. This was a battle to defeat a significant counter-attack that followed the initial landing.  The reports indicate that it was a near run thing with orders given to "hold the beach at all costs". As one of the units involved, the 2/15th Battalion was awarded Defence of Scarlet Beach to add to its honours.

See also this link to a contemporary newspaper report.

A young USA gunner won their Medal Of Honour while assisting in this defence.

Troops landing at Scarlet Beach 912x1024


Photo from 2/17th Battalion history - What We Have We Hold


Again, there are some detailed explanations and personal anecdotes in the following books:

The following AWM photos are of Scarlet Beach on 28 Nov 1943.  This was after the landing.  
The drawing is a impression of the landing itself.

scarlett beach 1
scarlett beach 2
scarlett beach 3
start stop bwd fwd

A short YouTube video showing Scarlet Beach as it is nowadays.