On August 5, 1944, more than a thousand Japanese prisoners of war broke out of a POW camp in Cowra, New South Wales, Australia. The escape was one of the largest and most violent prison breakouts in history.
 
Most POWs in Cowra were Italian. The camp also housed German prisoners. However, only a coordinated group of Japanese POWs attempted the audacious breakout. 
 
The prisoners were armed with kitchen knives and baseball bats. They used clothing to cover the barbed wire fence surrounding the camp, and simply rushed the guard towers, where guards were armed with machine guns. Three Australians were killed in the breakout.
 
In the manhunt that followed, 231 prisoners and one Australian were killed. All survivors were recaptured and returned to Cowra.
 
Today, Cowra is a “Center of World Friendship” that boasts strong ties to Japan. There is a Japanese garden, and both Japanese and Australian soldiers are buried in the city’s World War II cemetery.
audacious
Adjective

extremely bold and daring.

barbed wire
Noun

twisted metal with sharpened points, often used for fences.

cemetery
Noun

place for burying the dead.

coordinate
Verb

to work together or organize for a specific goal.

manhunt
Noun

intense search for a criminal or suspect.

prisoner of war
Noun

person captured and held by an enemy during a conflict.

violent
Noun

strong, destructive force.

World War II
Noun

(1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)

More Dates in History

August
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1