|Chapel built by the natives of Hollandia for the troops, May-November 1944.||The US 3rd Wing Grim Reaper sign at Hollandia, May 1944.|
Unlike the islands of Asia, the Japanese were unable to gain cooperation
of the Melanesian people of New Guinea.
Twenty feet of rain a year rendered the Japanese forces almost immobile as
malnutrition, exposure and marlia killed some 65% of the first Imperial forces
during the eighteen months they were isolated along New Guinea's north coast.
US forces on landing found locals volunteering to guide them to the best vantage points against the Japanese, while others volunteer to follow unarmed to the battle lines to bring any wounded back to medical care. The US forces enjoyed a relatively low 15% mortality of troops wounded in the New Guinea jungles. The Japanese efforts to destroy local food gardens and physical acts including cutting off the hands of Papuan men unwilling to cooperate, appear to have backfired as the West Papuan population made the produce of their vast networks of food gardens available for the some half million Americans who moved through the West Papua headquarters General MacArthur decided to establish in the heart of this Ally territory.