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    Piva Autonomous Region of Bougainville Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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David Paulley 1982

Location
Lat 6° 15' 0S Long 155° 5' 60E  Piva is located inland from Torokina near the western coast of Bougainville Island bordering the Piva River. Two villages were located in this area: Piva No. 1 (to the south, closest to the coast) and Piva No. 2 (further inland). The Piva Trail ran alongside the Piva River, connecting to the East-West Trail and Numa Numa Trail.

Wartime History
On November 1, 1943 US Marines landed at Torokina and Japanese resistance was centered around Piva. On November 8, US Marine Raiders counterattacked against the Japanese at Piva. Afterwards, Japanese attempts to flank the 3rd Raider Battalion positions near Piva No. 1 failed and the Raiders counterattacked on November 9 causing the Japanese to withdraw further inland. With the area secured, the construction of two airfields was begun.

Piva North (Piva Bomber, Piva Yoke, Piva 1)
American built airfield used by USN, USMC, RAAF and RNZAF, used as a bomber strip.

Piva South (Piva Fighter, Piva Uncle, Piva 2)
American built airfield located to the south of Piva North, used as a fighter strip.

Japanese Counter Attack
Starting around March 6, 1944, the Japanese began actively probing and patrol. On March 8, 1944 during the morning, the Japanese artillery emplaced near Hill 250, Hill 600 and other locations began bombarding the beachhead at Torokina and the Piva Airfields instead of the forward areas of the American perimeter. This bombardment proceeded a three-pronged assault. Return fire from American destroyers, and the 37th Division, 6th field artillery and 129th Infantry cannon company. Immediately, 56 SBDs, 36 TBF attacked targets around Hill 1111. Japanese artillery destroyed several planes at the Piva Airfields, fuel tanks and a 155mm Howitzer. One man was killed and a dozen wounded. More shelling that evening wounded ten others. Meanwhile, Japanese Army, 6th Division commanded by General Hyakutake prepared for a multi-pronged counterattack against the perimeter.

Iwasha Unit Attack: March 9-13, 1944
During the night of March 8-9, 1944 the "Iwasha Unit" attacked Hill 700, but were initially beaten off.  But by daylight they had taken the hill and cut the McClelland Road, forcing supplies to be carried to the forward area by hand. The next day, the 1/145 and 2/145 counter attacked, by afternoon restoring their line.

Muda Unit Attacks: March 10-15, 1944
Attacked the American sector, near Hill 260. Lead by Col. Muda's 3d Battalion 13th Infantry. They succeeded in occupying Hill 260, overwhelming the outnumbered Americans, who counterattacked on the 12th, but failed to retake the hill. Once the area was captured by the Japanese, a total of 10,000 rounds of 105mm artillery shells were fired at Hill 260. The Japanese withdrew on March 17th and joined the "Magata Force". Two days later, Hill 260 was retaken and the original line restored.

Magata Unit Attack: March 10-17, 1944
The 45th Regiment attacked from the logging trail on March 12, and overran the forward American line.  After failing, a five day lull to transfer additional troops, they attacked again on the 23rd, but was soon repulsed by infantry and tank counter attacks. In total, approximately 3,000 Japanese were killed, and 3,000+ wounded.  The US Army 14th Corps suffered 263 dead.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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