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USN August 7, 1942
Justin Taylan 2003
Gavutu Island is surrounded by Gavutu Harbor near Tanambogo Island. Japanese referred to the base as 'Gabutsu'. Also known as "Gavutu Seaplane Base". Many references to this base call it the seaplane base at "Tulagi", but in fact it was located on Guvutu, to the east of Tulagi. To the north is Palm (Gaomi). Also, the base was sometimes called "Tanambogo Seaplane Base" for the nearby island connected by causeway.
On January 22, 1942, Japanese aircraft bombed the island. The first shots of the war were fired in the Solomons when the Solomon Islands Defense force member Fala opened fire on the attacking aircraft.
On May 5, 1942 a Japanese flying boat attacked the island and sank the RAAF crash boat. Occupied on May 5, 1942 by the Japanese 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF). The island became a main Japanese base in the Florida Islands.
Occupied by 536 Japanese naval personnel from the Yokohama Kokutai and 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force, plus Korean laborers and Japanese civilians from 14th Construction Unit. Flying boats and seaplanes of the Yokusuka Kokutai and Yokohama Kokutai operated offshore Guvutu and Tanambogo, moored on buoys in two lines.
Japanese and American missions against Gavutu
January 22 - August 7, 1942
Japanese units based at Gavutu
(IJN 25th Flotilla)
Yokusuka Kokutai (detachment Mavis, A6M2-N Rufes)
Yokohama Kokutai (detachment Mavis) arrived from Rabaul April 1942
3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Forces
Tulagi Seaplane Base (Gavutu, Gabutsu)
Prewar seaplane base at Gavutu and Tananbogo. Used by RAAF, occupied by the Japanese, liberated by Marines August 7, 1942
A6M2-N Rufe Wreckage
Wreckage of at least two destroyed August 7, 1942, salvaged by US Navy and taken to USA
On August 7, 1942 in the morning U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraft claimed seven large flying boats (H6K Mavis) "burned" in Gavutu Harbor while warships bombarded the island, damaging the seaplane ramp and installations. Boats landed the U. S. Marines Corps (USMC) 1st Paratrooper Battalion. The original force missed the small (about 30 yard across) "bay" or slipway area, which is adjacent to the north east slope of the hillock - and landed about 30 yards north of the "bay" in along a straight piece of the coastline 30 - 40 yards long, and the water laps a low bank, and the Marines were immediately pinned down by gunfire for some time. Defending, the Japanese were entrenched in caves and bunkers and fought fanatically until eliminated. During the Battle of Gavutu, the Marines were accidentally shelled and bombed by friendly forces. On August 8, 1942 reinforcements landed in the area about a third of the way down the eastern side.
American "Gavutu Base"
Hill 148 (Observation Post)
Morris Hill reports:
Lever Brothers Wharf
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