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    Makin Seaplane Base Makin Atoll Republic of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands)

Location
Makin Seaplane Base is located at the end of King's wharf on Makin Island (Butaritari) bordering Makin Lagoon (Butaritari Lagoon).

Construction
On December 9, 1941 Japanese forces occupied Makin and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) began construction of Makin Seaplane Base with a large concrete ramp for flying boats and shore based facilities on Makin Island (Butaritari).

Wartime History
Used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as a seaplane base and operating area for H6K2 Mavis and H8K2 Emily flying boats also E13A Jake seaplanes.

Japanese units based at Makin
802 Kokutai (H8K2 Emily)

On August 17, 1942 U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) 2nd Raider Battalion, Company A and Company B landed at Makin from submarines USS Argonaut (SM-1) and USS Nautilus on a mission to attack Makin. During the attack, the Marines claimed two flying boats destroyed by Sgt Buck Stidham and Sgt Walter Carroll using their Boys Anti-Tank rifle. The Marines were forced to evacuate in the face of Japanese air attacks and reinforcements.

On September 14, 1943 a single H8K Emily piloted by Lt(jg) Tsutomu Endo (C. O. 802 Kokutai) from the 802 Kokutai took off from Makin Seaplane Base armed with sixteen 60kg bombs on a bombing mission against Espiritu Santo. Over the target, all bombs hit Naval facilities and caused damage. Afterwards, this Emily returned safely to Makin.

Today
During the Pacific War, the wharf and base was largely destroyed. Few traces of the base remain, as the weather has eroded what was left. Several Japanese flying boats were sunk in Makin Lagoon.

Stan Gajda reports
"I have seen two Mavis aircraft and two Emily aircraft sunk in the lagoon, and there is the wreck up on the beach. The Japanese had boating facilities there also, and seaplane tender was sunk there that I have dived too.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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