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Justin Taylan 2003
Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) as 140mm Naval Gun Type III serial number unknown. Transported to the Shortland Islands.
One of two 140mm guns in turrets emplaced on the high ground on the eastern end of Poporang Island to defend the eastern approaches to Shortland Harbor (Tuha Channel) and Faisi Island. During the Pacific War, these guns fired on several Allied targets, including:
During the night of November 13, 1943 to November 14, 1943 while patrolling a mile south of Shortland Island, PT-154 was fired on by a 3" shore battery that fired three rounds, the second of which hit the after body of the port the port forward torpedo where it exploded, putting a hole in the deck and knocking out steering control. Two members of the crew were killed: Lt(jg) Joseph D. McLaughlin and QM2C Arthur J. Schwerdt. The captain, Lt(jg) Hamlin D. Smith and six crew were wounded. Crew member MM1C John M. Nichiolson took charge and PT-155 assisted the boat to return to Stirling PT Boat Base (Treasury Base).
On December 13, 1943 ditched was F4U Corsair 17452 piloted by 1st Lt G. A. Davis who landed in the sea. On December 14, 1943 at 5:55am he was spotted by PBY Catalina commanded by Lt(jg) F. A. Tanner from VP-14 to the southeast of Shortland (Alu) at Lat 07-08S Long 155-55E. The Catalina landed, and rescued Davis, and took off again at 0610. During the rescue, the Catalina came under fire from a shore battery.
On May 8, 1944 while patrolling the area, USS Bennett (DD-473) was patrolling the Shortland area and was preparing to fire on a lookout tower on Poporang Island when puffs of smoke were observed and four shells straddled the destroyer. Afterwards, USS Montpelier (CL-57) attempted to silence the battery but a shell hit her anchor chain causing the anchor to drop into the sea and departed.
This gun remains in situ and appears to have survived the Pacific War without being damaged. The barrel is in a horizontal position. An ammunition container is located to the left side, and one 140mm shell is nearby. The breech block and sites are missing from the gun.
1944 South Pacific: Bennett and Halford under fire in the Shortland Islands via Destroyer History Homepage
At Close Quarters (1962) pages 145-146 (November 13-14, 1943)
"During the night of November 13-14, 1943, PT-154 was one mile south of Shortland Island. A 3" shore battery fired three rounds, the second of which hit the after body of the port the port forward torpedo where it exploded, putting a hole in the deck and knocking out steering control. Two members of the crew were killed: Lt(jg) Joseph D. McLaughlin and QM2C Arthur J. Schwerdt. The captain, Lt(jg) Hamlin D. Smith and six crew were wounded. Crew member MM1C John M. Nichiolson took charge and PT-155 assisted the boat to escape and return to Treasury Island PT Boat base."
Don Sheridan (USS Bennett) Memories via Destroyer History
"May 8, 1944: Were were back to the action soon enough. We [USS Bennett] patrolled the “Slot.” The Japs were using submarines to supply troops on islands around the Shortland Islands. One day, as we passed Poperang Island [sic Poporang Island], the gunnery officer asked the captain if he could fire on a lookout tower. As he prepared to fire, puffs of smoke appeared by the tower and four shells straddled the Bennett. We took off at flank speed and we found out that their guns were bigger than our five-inchers. [Likely this 140mm guns]. An interesting appendix to the story: after we returned, the USS Montpelier, with bigger guns, was sent up to knock out the shore battery. She sat offshore about far enough to put it in range but before she fired a shot, the shore battery opened up and one shell hit the Montpelier’s anchor chain and the anchor dropped in the water. She left in a hurry, too! A battleship was finally sent up to destroy the shore battery. Of course, the Shortland Islands were bypassed in the US island-hopping operations."
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