This is beautiful and dramatic
volcanic cone shaped island that looms over the whole area.
the site of another of the slogging jungle fighting
battles that were typical of the New Georgia campaign. Highlights
of this were a series of duels between Japanese and American
artillery where with the aid of spotter planes they literally
engaged in fire at individual gun batteries. Eventually
the Marine "Long Tom" 155mm guns won out
and the Japanese declined to continue. It was a very
apparently. The gunners were aided by spotter planes
that allowed pinpoint accuracy.
Also here was one of the places where airfields
were closer to each other than at almost any time during the war.
At Vila there was an airstrip that the Japanese used as a forward
satellite field.It is only about twenty miles from the main field
at Munda and it must have been a very short flight indeed to get into
combat! There is still some guns in the bush there and I am told that
there are still some aircraft bits left. I have seen wartime photos
showing Zeros abandoned here being used as a background to GI's having
souvenir photos taken. There is a underground hospital too.
Vella Lavella Island
At the end of the fighting on Kolombangara
the Surviving Japanese evacuated to Vella Lavella to the north
and that Island was the scene of the final fighting in the central
Solomons. In the old TV series "Black Sheep Squadron"
it was the basis for the VMF-214 squadron's base at "Vella
LaCava" Though I sincerely doubt that it had so many
gorgeous nurses and free time!