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    Kolombangara Island Western Province Solomon Islands

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c1980

Location
Lat 8° 0' 0S Long 157° 4' 60E  Located to the north of ArundeI Island and Wana Wana Island, to the north-west of New Georgia Island and Kula Gulf.

Wartime History
For the defense of the New Georgia, the 'South-East Detachment' Headquarters were based on Kolombangara, headed by Major General Noboru Sasaki who arrived on May 31, 1943. Units based there included the 13th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battaltion of 229th Infantry and Yokosuka 7th Special Naval Landing Force, commanded by Koshin Takeda.

After the American landings on New Georgia, the Japanese strengthened their defenses on Kolombangara. An Allied coastwatcher, Australian Arthur Reginald "Reg" Evans maintained an observation post atop the peak of the island, and reported information on enemy movements.

During Operation "SE-Go" when the Japanese Navy begin the evacuation of the garrison on Kolombangara using destroyers, assault boats and barges. The last troops were evacuated by October 20, 1943.

On September 25, 1943 US Army soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division with elements of the 27th Infantry made a landing on Kolombangara and established perimeter defense around Vila Airfield. On October 11, 1943 the American troops were relieved by the 1st Battalion, Fiji Infantry. During early 1944, an engineering detachment established vegetable gardens on the former airfield.

Vila
Located on the south coast of Kolombangara Island.

Vila Airfield
Japanese airfield neutralized from the air, later ocupied by Allied forces.

F4F-4 Wildcat Bureau Number 11983
Pilot Feliton crashed January 31, 1943

Disappointment Cove (Vilu Harbor, Hamberi Cove)
Known locally as Disappointment Cove, this is where the Japanese maintained a supply depot for the Tokyo Express when it was resupplying Guadalcanal.

Pontoon Wreckage (?)
Underwater at 15.7m, this pod still has some air in it. It is torpedo shaped, with only a hook at the front end for securing, and a rudder fin at the back.

A6M Zero
Intact at 50m

Japanese Tunnels
The Japanese dug a number of tunnels into the hills around Vilu. According to locals, one cave was a hospital area, another has a mountain gun enplaced outside the entrance.

37mm Infantry Gun Type 11 (1922)
Emplaced outside tunnel entrance

Ropa Point
Located at the north of the island. Several Japanese barges were sunk here by PT-126,the next morning, this PT Boat was damaged by friendly fire.

F4U-1 Corsair
Piloted by Alexander crashed September 30, 1943

Jack Harbor
Located on the south eastern coast of the island.

Nagatsuki
Beached and abandoned July 6, 1943

Buki Harbor
Located on Kolombangara

Webster Cove
Located on Kolombangara

Amboina

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Last Updated
August 27, 2014

 

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