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    Kapingamarangi (Greenwich)  Federated States of Micronesia

Kapingamarangi (lat 1 degree 4 minutes N, Long 154 degrees 48 east). The atoll consists of an oval coral rim enclosing a lagoon 6 1/2 miles long and 4 1/2 miles wide. About 30 inlets are set on the eastern rim. Lies about 480 miles south-south-east from Truk and about 440 miles south-west from Pohnpei. About 200 miles north-east of New Ireland. Today, it is part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Prewar History
It is the most southerly island in the Japanese mandated islands. The atoll has been used by the Japanese as a seaplane base. In 1935, the native population was 399. The people lived on Hare Island and Nunakitsu Island and on the islands between them. Nanyo Boeki Kaisha steamers called at Kapingamarangi five times a year before the war.

Allied Missions Against Kapingamarangi (Greenwich)
December 15, 1941 - July 6, 1944

Kapingamarangi Lagoon (Greenwich Lagoon)
The only entrance to the lagoon is through Greenwich Passage, which is divided into two channels, able to accommodate small vessels. There is a 5-knot stream in the channel during ebb tides. Most of the lagoon has depths of over 16 fathoms, but parts are obstructed by banks and coral patches. The lagoon shores at most other island are sandy.

PB4Y-1 Liberator Bureau Number 31992
Pilot Van Voorhis (MOH) crashed July 6, 1943

During the war, at least two small Japanese ships were sunk in the Lagoon during November 1943: Auxiliary Minesweeper #5 and Hoshomaru.

Converted Fishing Vessel
Sunk in the lagoon, likely during November 1943

Unknown Vessel
Sunk in the lagoon, likely during November 1943

Hare Island
Largest island in the atoll. Located in the south-east corner , 1 mile long and 300 yards wide. Most of the native population lived on this island. The Japanese built two temporary 100' landings on Hare Island, which they also used as a seaplane station. A small radio tower was built on the island in 1935 and barracks were established there.

Kapingamarangi Seaplane Base
Located on the western coast of Hare Island at Kapingamarangi Atoll.

Naval Intelligence Division, Geographical Handbook Series, "Pacific Islands Vol IV: Western Pacific (New Guinea and Islands Northward). Produced & Printed during 1939-45 (August 1945 edition), pages 410 - 411

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Last Updated
August 5, 2015


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