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    Cape Gloucester (Tuluvu) West New Britain Province Papua New Guinea

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5th AF c1943

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5th AF Dec 26, 1943

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380th BG Dec 26, 1943

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USMC December 1943

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USMC January 1, 1944

Location
Lat 5° 31' 0S Long 148° 31' 0E  Cape Gloucester is located on the western tip of the northern coast of New Britain. Known to the Japanese as 'Tuluvu'.

Japanese Occupation
At dawn on December 17, 1942 the destroyer Tachikaze and Patrol Boat No. 39 landed 350 Japanese troops at Cape Gloucester, under cloud cover. The detachment under the overall command of Major Kiyomitsu Mukai, the construction battalion commander, rapidly secured the airfield (No 1 strip) and established a 40 km beachhead.

American missions against Cape Gloucester
December 23, 1942 - January 29, 1944

Marine Corps Landing
This attack was part of a plan to advance Allied air bases closer to Rabaul. On December 15, the US Army's 112th Cavalry made an assault on the Arawe to the southeast of Cape Gloucester for the primary purpose of distracting the Japanese from the main Marine thrust.

On December 26, 1943, the First Marine Division commanded by Major General William H. Rupertus (veteran of Haiti, China and Guadalcanal) landed at Cape Gloucester after a brief naval bombardment and aerial smoke screen, landing at Yellow Beach 1 & 2 and Green Beach. The Marines faced swampy terrain and thick jungle, but met only rear-echelon Japanese troops. Some criticized the landing unnecessary, as the Allies already had total control of the Huon Peninsula of New Guinea.

Two new weapons were introduced during the battle: the M1 Garand rifle and M4A1 Sherman tank. Also, L-4 and L-5 Liaison planes for spotting, supply drops and message relay. Following the landing the Marines moved to occupy Cape Hoskins on the northern coast. After the area was secured, the Marines were relived by the US Army 40th Division, commanded by Major General Rapp Brush. Finally, the area was controlled by the Australian 5th.

Today
Cape Gloucester is now a quite area of West New Britain. The article War On Our Shores by Sam Vulum talks about memories of the war in Cape Gloucester today.

Cape Gloucester Airfield (Tuluvu)
Located at the northern most tip of Cape Glochester. Its construction was begun by the Australians, finished by the Japanese and improved by the Americans after liberation.

Mikazuki (Mikatsuki)
Ran aground July 27, 1943 off Cape Gloucester, sunk by Army aircraft July 28

B-25D "Here's Howe" Serial Number 41-30279
Hit by US Navy anti-aircraft fire and crashed.

B-25D "Crabb 2nd" Serial Number 41-30517
Hit by US Navy anti-aircraft fire ditched and crew made it ashore in raft

USS Brownson (DD-518)
Sunk December 26, 1943 by Val dive bombers off Cape Gloucester off Yellow Beach

Government Station (Yellow Beach 1 & 2)
Located to the east of Cape Glochester airfield.  Yellow Beach 1 (Webber) was the site of the initial landing at 7:46am. The landing at Yellow Beach 2 (Williams) followed at 7:48am. Remains of some landing craft are present on the beach. While moving inland into a large swamp, Captain Joseph A. Terzi commander of Company K was killed by fire from a camouflaged bunker and posthumously awarded a Navy Cross for valor leading the attack. Today, between the strip and the government station are abandoned American Armored Personnel Carriers (APC).

Silimati Point
Point located to the south-east of the Yellow Beach landing areas, including Target Hill, Suicide Creek and Hill 150, Hill 660 and Aogiri Ridge.

Target Hill
High ground located to the left flank of the Yellow beaches, near Silimati Point. Captured December 26, 1943 by assault battalions of the 7th Marines. Counter attacked by Col. Kenshiro Katayama 141st Infantry. Japanese believed only 2,500 Marines were ashore (10% of the actual number). Scaling up the hill on the night of January 2-3, 1944 they attacked failing to probe the line first and were repulsed.

Green Beach
Site of diversionary landing by 1,500 Marines that landed December 26 at 07:48a but met no opposition. Hampered by weather and unable to find the trail they were supposed to block, they were not attacked until dawn on December 30, one Marine Gunnery Sgt Guiseppe Guilano, Jr. earned the Navy Cross for firing a 30 cal mg from the hip at attackers. The attack left 6 KIA, 17 WIA Marines and 89 KIA and 5 POW Japanese.

Blue Beach (Hell's Point)
Landing beach three miles to the west of Yellow Beach, closer to the airfield. 1st Marines, 3rd Battalion  (Col Hawkins) landed at the flank of the point. Defended by the Japanese with bunkers, it was attacked by Marines and Sherman tanks. 9 KIA 36 WIA Marines an estimated 260 KIA Japanese. After the defense was destroyed, the landing beach was used beginning on the morning of December 29.

Kilenge Village
Near the airstrip many huts use Marston Matting for fencing.

Suicide Creek
This creek is located to the north-west of Target Hill. Japanese had defenses built around this location. On January 3, tanks first tried to cross but were unable. A bulldozer worked to create a lip allowing Sherman tanks to cross while fired on by the Japanese. The next morning the tanks crossed and proceeded to Aogiri Ridge.

Aorgiri Ridge (Hill 150, Walt's Ridge)
This ridge was located to the west of Hill 150. The Japanese had a supply dump at this location. Marines proceeded towards this objective after crossing Suicide Creek. Resistance persisted, including the wounding of Lt. Col. David MacDougal (CO 5th Marines, 3rd Battalion) and his EO, Major Joseph Skoczylas, forcing Col Puller to temporarily assume command, before Col. Lewis Walt assumed command. The largest weapon that Marines could get to the ridge was 37mm gun that had to be pushed up the ridge while gunners were killed or wounded. Clinging to their holds, the Marines repulsed counterattacks. Renamed Walt's ridge for their commander's leadership, who received the Naval Cross for his actions.

Hill 660 (Manjuyama)
Located to the south-east of Aorgigi Ridge and Hill 150. After occupying Hill 150 and Aorogiri Ridge, Marines advanced again without tanks support and were forced to scale the hill while Japanese fired downward from hastily constructed trenches. On January 16, 1944 two companies of Japanese counter attacked the hill, but were killed by mortar and artillery fire. Survivors tried to break thru the line but failed.  The capture of Hill 660 ended the assault.

Natamo Point
Japanese strong point that was flanked by the Marines, then abandoned by the Japanese. Captured by company C & D of the 5th Marines.

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Last Updated
August 27, 2014

 

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