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By February 1942 the Japanese had invaded the Dutch East Indies as part of their push south. All that stood in the way of their moving significant resources to take part in the main fighting in Papua New Guinea was a force of 700 Australian commandos and a few hundred Dutch soldiers. After months of skirmishes and attacks on Japanese forces, the Australians faced a major offensive and despite the best efforts of the individual soldiers, Australian forces were withdrawn at the end of 1942. But by then an entire Japanese division had been prevented from taking part in the Papua New Guinea campaign. THE MEN WHO CAME OUT OF THE GROUND tells the story of the heroic fighting, courage and ingenuity in the face of supply and equipment problems, and the support and friendship of the locals. It's the story of Australia's Special Forces in action and achieving what they set out to do.
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The heroics of a small team of Australian Special Forces commandos in Timor who tied down a far superior Japanese force for most of the critical year of 1942

About the Author

Paul Cleary is a senior writer with The Australian newspaper and a researcher in Indigenous development at the Australian National University. In a career spanning 20 years he has reported on politics and economics for a decade in the Canberra press gallery, and worked as a correspondent in Southeast Asia and as a political adviser. Awarded a Chevening fellowship by the UK Foreign Office to study at SOAS, University of London, he became an adviser to government of newly-independent East Timor. His work on the Timor Sea resource negotiations led to his first non-fiction book, SHAKEDOWN: AUSTRALIA S GRAB FOR TIMOR OIL. The Timor veterans whom he met while based in East Timor inspired this book. He speaks several languages, including Vietnamese and Tetum, and lives in Sydney with his partner and son.


Paul Cleary has brought to life one of the great success stories of World War II - Daily TelegraphThis account . . . is breathtaking in its scope and riveting in its research. - Sydney Morning HeraldA cracker of a read - The Age

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