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    Shortland Harbor Western Province Solomon Islands
Click For Enlargement
USN October 11, 1943

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Justin Taylan 2003

Location
Shortland Harbor is an anchorage off Shortland Island. The Japanese called the island 'Shi-you-to-ran-do Shima'. To the east is Faisi and south Poporang and Magusaiai and Tuha Chanel.

Wartime History
On March 30, 1942 around 2:00am Japanese vessels entered Shortland Harbor and landed two Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) platoons in the early morning and met no resistance. At 10:00am, an Allied aircraft was observed overhead. The other platoon returned to the ships around 4pm and departed for Kieta. One platoon remained at Shortland to begin establishing Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base.

Naval Anchorage
During August 1942 until February 1942, The Imperial Japanese Navy used Shortland Harbor as an important anchorage for warships and merchant vessels traveling from Rabaul as a staging area before proceeding for Guadalcanal. Usually, vessels would depart Shortland in the afternoon to time their arrival at Guadalcanal to be at night to avoid being observed by Allied coastwatchers, aircraft or warships.

Allied Attacks
During late 1942, Shortland Harbor was attacked by American bombers and fighters. Photographic reconnaissance flights detected the presence of seaplanes at this location as early as January 1943. The seaplane base was detected by photographic reconnaissance on March 17, 1943. Shortland was targeted by Allied bombers and fighters flying bombing and strafing missions until May 1944.

American missions against Shortland
October 16, 1942 - December 1943 - May 15, 1944

Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base (Tuha Channel)
Ringed by Poperang Island to the east, Shortland island to the west and south, and Faisi Island to the north. This narrow channel had a seaplane ramp and service area at Nila and moorings along the shoreline acrooss from Poporang and Shortland Island.

Mine Field (Former Mined Area)
Japanese and Americans heavily mined Shortland Harbor and the approaches. By the middle of 1943, the Japanese minefields were beginning to break up. PT Boats observed and destroyed fifty mines in the area during July, August and September 1943. Also, American aircraft laid mines at night from low flying TBM Avenger aircraft from VT-11 and VMSB-143. A number of Avengers were shot down in this manner. In 1944, U. S. Navy (USN) fast minelayers also made a run thru the area. Postwar, 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
February 4, 2018

 

Map
Map
April 11, 1943

Map
Map 1969

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