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    Kapingamarangi Seaplane Base Pohnpei Province Federated States of Micronesia
USN 1944

The Kapingamarangi Seaplane Base was located on the western coast of Hare Island and used Kapingamarangi Atoll (Greenwich) as a seaplane operating area.

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, Kapingamarangi lagoon was used by the Japanese Navy as a forward seaplane anchorage and operating area. During October 1943, ten A6M2-N Rufes of the 902 Kokutai under the 4th Fleet from Truk arrived. Ten or twelve mechanics were transported to the island aboard an H6K2 Mavis. The evening they arrived and air raid alert was sounded. All the pilots were waiting in their Rufes, but the mechanics were already in an air raid shelter. Unable to start their engines, they fled to the shelter when they heard bombers approaching. PB4Y Liberators of VB-102 and VB-104 attacked and made strafing run, destroying all the Rufes. All the pilots and mechanics had to wait for transport to Truk.

Units Based at Kapingamarangi
Yokohama Kokutai (H6K Mavis) December 1941 - January 1942
17 Kokutai (6 x E13A1 Jake) December 1941 - March 1942
Kiyokawa Maru Hikokitai detachment January 1942
902 Kokutai (10 x A6M2-N Rufe) July - November 1943

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

Disused as a seaplane base since the war, but occasional USN HU-16 seaplanes visited the Atoll during the late 1960s and 1970s in conjunction with patrol and humanitarian work.

Stan Gajda adds:
"There are a number of totally wrecked Rufe's there and there is a bomber in the lagoon. Also a very interesting Japanese patrol boat sunk upright in shallow water with the guns still on it and boxes of ammo inside. It is quite a way from here though and the ship only stays as long as it takes to do it's business leaving very little time to see anything. Also RAAF Beauforts raided this island at least a couple of times operating from Rabaul."

Thanks to Minoru Kamada for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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