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    Kangu Autonomous Region of Bougainville Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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AWM Oct 5, 1945

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Josh McDade 1999

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Yoji Sakaida 2005

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Jim Watt 1972

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Josh McDade 1999

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Pacific War Images 1984

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David Bridge 2001

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David Bridge 2002

Location
Lat 6° 49' 60S Long 155° 43' 60E  Kangu is located on the southern coast of Bougainville Island. To the north is Kangu Hill (Mount Buin) and further inland is Malabeta Hill (Malabita). The Buin-Kangu Hill Road connects to Buin roughly 12km to the north. Also known as Kangu Beach.

Prewar
The Jakohina mission was established at this location near the base of Kangu Hill (Mount Buin). Also a government station was established here.

Wartime History
Occupied by the Japanese during early 1942. During the war, Japanese referred to the southern coast of Bougainville including (east to west) Kahili, Kahili Airfield (Buin Airfield), Tonolei Harbor and Kangu as "Buin". The beach and coast at Kangu area was heavily fortified with concrete bunkers, pillboxes, tunnels, coastal guns and anti-aircraft defenses. The beach was rigged with explosives and offshore were sea mines. Occupied by the Japanese until their official surrender during September 1945.

American missions against Kangu
September 26, 1943 - June 11, 1944

After the Japanese surrender, during late September 1945, this area was occupied by the Australian Army, 2 Corps, headquarters and ANGAU. During early October 1945, Japanese Prisoners Of War (POW) from southern Bougainville were assembled at Kangu before being transported aboard landing craft to Fauro Island where they were detained at a POW Camp.

Today
During 1991, during the "Bougainville Crisis", a battle did occur at this location when the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) established a camp at this location and were attacked by rebels from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) suffering twenty killed.

During 2002, an AusAid (Australian Aid) project to build a wharf at Kangu began construction. In preparation, MilSearch was contracted to search for and dispose of explosives in the area. Their search discovered many buried 7.7mm rifle cartridges, 140mm shells and a line of buried depth charges, presumably for detonation in the event of an Allied landing at this location. These UXO munitions were carefully collected and detonated prior to the start of construction.

140mm Naval Gun Type 3 (1914) "Sea Coast Gun" No. 1
Eastern edge of Kangua Beach

140mm Naval Gun Type 3 (1914) "Sea Coast Gun" No. 2
Western edge of Kangua Beach

Generator Bunker
Built by the Japanese as a generator bunker. Postwar, the bunker was used as a jail by the Australian administration. The outer door is missing. Above the doorway is an Imperial Japanese Navy anchor. The interior of the bunker is in excellent condition.  Inside is the remains of of machinery inside.

Pillboxes and Tunnels
Several large concrete pillbox over looks the beach, and tunnels are carved into the hillside road to Kangu Hill (Buin Mountain).

Metal Pillboxes
On the beach are several pyramid shaped metal pillboxes. Each has several shooting ports, and a tank-like turret entry hatch on the top. As of the 1970s, storms and beach erosion left them on the shoreline or filled with sand.

F4U-1A Corsair Bureau Number 17804
Pilot Pillsbury crashed December 21, 1943 wreckage discovered 1968

Erventa Harbor (Buin Harbor)
Erventa Harbor spans from Kangu to Kahili. The Japanese called this location "Buin Harbor".

Mine Field
Japanese and Americans mined Erventa Harbor and approaches. By the middle of 1943, the Japanese minefields were beginning to break up. PT Boats observed and destroyed 50 mines in the area during July, August & September. American aircraft also laid mines at night from low flying Avenger aircraft from VT-11 and VMSB-143 A number of Avengers were shot down in this manner. In 1944, US Navy fast mine layers also made a run through the area. After the war, the Australian Navy cleared this mine field. But locals reported yellow stains in the water where mines still lay. A 1956 map (revised 1969) of the area lists the area of water east of Shortland Island and north of Faisi to be a 'Former Mined Area'.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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