|The war in New Guinea entered a new phase in early 1944 after the victory to Allied forces in campaigns in the Ramu River Valley and the Huon Peninsula. Japanese forces began a withdrawal towards Madang to the west.
Survivors from Japanese units who were retreating along the coast were subjected to pursuit from Australian troops after 25 January. The Japanese troops were stricken with disease and hunger, with many dropping out and dying during the retreat. Although the pursuing Australian forces included a company of native Papuan soldiers, the advance was undertaken cautiously and slowly. The Papuan units were left to undertake the pursuit operations alone after 22 February. The Australians anticipated that American units, which had landed at Saidor in early January, would cut off the westward retreat of the Japanese. In fact, about 8,000 Japanese soldiers bypassed the American base and continued towards Madang.
Meanwhile, Japanese survivors of the battles against Australian troops in the Ramu River Valley had begun their retreat towards Madang over the Finisterre Range. Movement through the steep mountains was difficult for the Japanese troops. The pursuing Australian units entered Bogadjim on 13 April to find that the Japanese stationed there had already left for Madang. The Australians continued their pursuit, finally arriving in Madang on 24 April to find that the heavily bombed township had been abandoned by the Japanese.
While the Australians suffered very few casualties during the pursuit operations, the defeated Japanese suffered heavy losses from Australian attacks, disease and hunger.
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