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    Babelthuap Island (Babeldaob)  Palau (Republic of Palau, Belau, Pelew)

Location
Babelthuap Island is located in the central Palau (Belau). Also known as Babeldaob Island. To the southwest is a narrow passage separating the island from Koror Island, Arakabesan Island, Malakai Island and Urukthapel Island. At the southern end of the island is Airai (A Irai, Irria, Airrai). To the west is the main entrance to the Palau anchorage and to the east is the east entrance to the Palau anchorage.

Babelthuap encompasses over 150 square miles and is the largest island in Micronesia, second only to Guam Island. Parts of the jungle covered interior are virtually unexplored, and many of the villages are still connected by ancient stone pathways.

Prewar
Babelthuap was colonized by the Japanese civilians and the Japanese military.

Wartime History
Occupied by the Japanese. A ferry service at the southwest of the island connected Babelthuap Island to Koror Island. A lighthouse was built on the west central coast of the island. By 1944, the Japanese were concentrated at Airai with a barracks area and built Airai Airport (Babelthuap Airfield, Palau International Airport). Anti-aircraft guns were emplaced at the southeast corner of the island and near the lighthouse on the western coast.

States of Babelthuap Island
Airai State  southern portion of Babelthuap Island
Aimeliik State  located on the southwest portion of Babelthuap Island
Ngatpang State  Located at the western center of Babelthuap Island
Ngeremlengui State  located on the western portion Babelthuap Island
Ngardmau State  located at the northwest corner of Babelthuap Island
Ngaraard State  located at the northeast of Babelthuap Island
Ngiwal State  located at the northeast of Babelthuap Island
Melekeok State  located on the eastern center of Babelthuap Island
Ngchesar State  located on the eastern center of Babelthuap Island

Type 95 Kurogane
Abandoned on the island

Japanese Staff Car
Located at a revetment along the road north on Babeldaob.

F4U-1D Corsair Bureau Number 57807
Pilot Misley crashed March 10, 1945 into jungle near Ngatpang

B-24J Liberator 42-73453
Pilot Arnett crashed September 1, 1944 crashed into the sea two miles west of the island

TBM-1C Avenger Bureau Number 16923
Pilot Savage crashed September 8, 1944

Ngatpang (Gasupan Hill)
Located in the west of Babelthuap bordering Ngeremeduu Bay. This location was known to the Japanese as Gasupan Hill. During September 1944 the Japanese Kempeitai (military police) executed a group of American aviators, six Jesuit missionaries from Yap and a family of four. During October 2000, a team from U. S. Army CILHI team led by Captain Kevin Upson investigated this site. Postwar, this execution was reported in U. S. Navy war crime investigations. Although no evidence of the executions has ever been found, those executed are believed to include:

One or two American crew members from B-24J 42-73453 and B-24J 44-40596.
Six Jesuit missionaries including Padre Marino, Padre Elias and Brother Emilio plus three other Jesuit missionaries from Yap transported to Palau during July 1944. Plus, civilians Agapito Hondonero and his wife Filomena Untalan and their children Balthasar Hondonero and Caroline Hondonero. Finally, British national born in Hong Kong Charlie Smith.

References
Tia Belau “Search comes up blank” October 27, 2000 "one or possibly two B-24s that the Japanese anti-aircraft guns on 25 August [B-24J 44-40596] and a second on 1 September 1944 [B-24J 42-73453]"

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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Map
March 1944
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