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Screenplay: Tom Broadhurst

Into the Darkness is the true story of a top secret mission called Operation Copper a story about how against all odds one man will live to tell a horrifying tale of sacrifice and the primal will to survive. Eight Z-Special Commandos were sent on a daring top-secret mission behind enemy lines to discover the location of two Japanese cannons hidden amongst the treacherous jungles of Papua New Guinea during World War Two.

April 1945, the Nazi’s are beaten in Europe and are yet to surrender with Imperial Japan still defying the Allies by occupying large territories of the Asia Pacific Region. Thirty thousand well armed Japanese soldiers hold-out on the Wewak Peninsula in Papua New Guinea. Australian Z-Force Commando Mick Dennis is training hard at the Guerilla Warfare School in Victoria. The gruelling combat training camp is situated amongst the rugged and picturesque terrain of Wilsons Promontory. Mick is being physically and mentally broken down by Army instructors as they try and find the next wave of commandos to be thrown at the desperate Japanese across the Asia Pacific region. Japanese previously Mick is determined to play his part in seeing the Japanese defeated. As a trainee Commando with the secretive Z-Special Unit Mick is being tested to the limits of his mental and physical endurance when he is selected for a top secret mission that will see him return to deadly combat with the Japanese amongst the unforgiving jungles of Papua New Guinea.

Mick travels to New Guinea and arrives at the Intelligence HQ in Aitape where he is debriefed alongside seven other Z-Force Commandos that will make up the reconnaissance patrol for what is to be known as Operation Copper. The mission objective for Operation Copper will see eight Commandos inserted onto Muschu Island which sits opposite the Wewak Peninsula. It is on Muschu Island that the patrol are to find the location of two concealed Japanese cannons. During the mission debrief the patrol are given cyanide capsules to be used in the event that they are captured and subjected to the torture methods of the Japanese. The hidden cannons on Muschu Island pose a significant risk to the planned Allied naval invasion of the Japanese base at nearby Wewak. The cannons must be located and destroyed before the invasion of Wewak can take place.

The eight Z-Force commando's of Operation Copper are transported to Muschu Island via patrol boat. From here in the dead of night they take to their two-man canoes and paddle towards the island. Disaster strikes when large waves crash into their canoes causing radio damage and the loss of equipment and weapons. Lieutenant Barnes the patrol’s Commanding Officer decides to push on with the mission objective. Mick and Barnes disagree about tactics and tensions rise as the pressure for mission success increases. The patrol moves through the dense jungle, managing to evade detection by the Japanese. The Commandos soon discover the location of the two Japanese cannons. When the patrol return back to the hidden location of their two-man canoes they find the Japanese have destroyed them, narrowly averting being ambushed in the process.

With no means of escape, the island becomes a killing ground, with the Commandos being hunted relentlessly by the Japanese garrison. Tension mounts as intense desperation causes the hierarchy of command to be undermined as the patrol begins to crack under pressure. Mick sticks to his personal instincts and previous experiences of survival against the Japanese, suggesting that swimming to the mainland and hiking it back to Allied lines is the only clear path towards survival. Barnes disagrees and he leads a group of four desperate patrol members who take to the sea in an effort to signal the patrol boat. Barnes and another Officer drown during this attempt to escape by sea, and five others are captured, tortured and executed by the Japanese.

Nine days later, after fighting his way off Muschu island and swimming the 8 kms via crocodile and shark infested waters of the Muschu Strait to the mainland and fighting through more Japanese patrols as he crosses the New Guinea highlands, Mick finally reaches the Australian lines 150 km north of Wewak. The vital intelligence information Mick carried back with him allowed the Japanese cannons on Muschu Island to be destroyed and Allied casualties in the subsequent landings at Wewak were minimised.

Into the Darkness is the untold true story of the top secret Z-Force mission known as Operation Copper, a story of bravery, sacrifice and survival. Based upon the novel the Guns of Muschu by author Don Dennis

contact for more details about Into the Darkness

Tom Broadhurst