Even without the war Milne Bay would have been a hell hole – it was a terrible place. The sun hardly ever shined and it rained all the time. It was stinking hot and bog holes everywhere and it was very marshy, boggy country. Even without the Japanese it would have been hard to live there. It was a disease-ridden place – it was terrible.
Milne Bay was a deep bay, running over 30 km west from the sea. Surrounded by rain-clad mountains – the area received 200 inches of rain a year – this tropical paradise did not appeal to the Australians.
Work began carving airfields out of jungle and swamp, and building roads, wharves and other facilities, with conscripted local labour helping the troops. Soon a much larger force of Australians arrived to supplement the defence: this was the 7th Brigade, commanded by Brigadier John Field and consisting of the 9th, 25th and 61st militia battalions.
The terrain of Milne Bay was difficult. A narrow, swampy coastal strip, covered in dense jungle and no wider than a few kilometres, leads up to steep mountains. the climate is hot and humid with torrential rain likely to wash out any roads being constructed.

[click the map to enlarge]

The pages below are an action timeline of the Battle prepared by Maj J Mahoney, Bde Maj 7 Aust Inf Brigade.
[click on each page to enlarge]
Corporal John Alexander French of the 2/9th Battalion was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions on 4 September 1942 during an attack on Japanese positions near KB Mission at Milne Bay. Finding that his section was held up by three machine-gun posts, he ordered his men to take cover while he advanced and silenced the first post with grenades. He did the same to the second post and then attacked the third with a Thompson sub-machine-gun, firing as he went. Badly hit in this last attack, French died in front of the gun pit.
[AWM 100643

Battle of Milne Bay