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Peter Flahavin 1996
Peter Flahavin 1998
Justin Taylan 2006
Justin Taylan 2017
Hill 27 is a grass covered feature was designated "Hill 27" by the U.S. Army. To the north is The Gifu and nearby is Mount Austen (Mt. Austen, Grassy Knoll) inland from the north coast of Guadalcanal. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). During the 1960s Barana (Mbarana) was established to the north of this feature. Today located in Guadalcanal Province in the Solomon Islands.
During December 1942, Hill 27 was part of the Japanese defensive positions south of The Gifu. Atop the hill, the Japanese Army "Oka Force" with an emplaced 70mm Battalion Gun Type 92.
On January 2, 1943 after a heavy artillery bombardment, 132nd Infantry, Americal Division continue their offensive against The Gifu. To the south, the 2d Battalion caught the Japanese by surprise and reached the crest of Hill 27. At the start of the assault, the gun crew was resting under trees 30 yards away and cut down as they ran to man the gun. Afterwards, the Americans used the gun to shell Japanese positions until they ran out of ammunition then disassembled and buried the pieces. Although the Japanese launched a number of counterattacks, they were unable to recapture Hill 27. During the fighting, roughly 100 Japanese defenders were killed on Hill 27. The American casualties included Pfc Dale W. Ross Missing In Action (MIA) January 14, 1943 on the western slope.
Peter Flahavin adds:
"The Japanese lost about 100 men in the Hill 27 battle and I think most of them have been dug up by the Japanese and cremated at their memorial on Hill 27, but bones can still be found in the ravines."
Japanese War Memorial to "Oka Force"
The Japanese have constructed a simple white pillar memorial to the Oka Force that died here. Nearby was a pile of shrapnel and more M-1 Garand rifle en bloc clips. Read "Oka Force" memorial plaque.
Pfc Dale W. Ross
Missing In Action (MIA) on January 14, 1943 while advancing along the west slope of Hill 27 south of The Gifu near Mount Austen, Pfc was reported as Killed In Action (KIA). He was not seen after an engagement with a small Japanese patrol when shots were heard in the vicinity in which he was last seen. He was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Guide to the Guadalcanal Battlefields (2017) by John Innes pages 23, 74, 75-76 (photo January 1943), 79 (photo 2013), 278 (photo)
Thanks to Peter Flahavin and John Innes for additional information
Jan 8-11, 1943
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