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    Kolombangara Island Western Province Solomon Islands
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Solomon Airlines c1980
Lat 8° 0' 0S Long 157° 4' 60E  Kolombangara Island is circular volcanic cone in the central Solomon Islands. To the southeast is Vila (Vila Point) and Disappointment Cove (Vila Harbor, Hamberi Cove). Borders Blackett Strait, ArundeI Island, Wana Wana Island and New Georgia Island to the south and Kula Gulf to the east and Vella Gulf to the northwest. To the west is Ghizo Island.

Wartime History
During 1943 the Japanese "South-East Detachment" was established with their headquarters on Kolombangara, commanded by Major General Noboru Sasaki who arrived on May 31, 1943. Units based on Kolombangara included the 13th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion of 229th Infantry and Yokosuka 7th Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) commanded by Koshin Takeda.

During 1943, Australian coastwatcher, Arthur Reginald "Reg" Evans maintained an observation post atop the peak of the island and reported information on enemy movements.

Following the American landings on New Georgia during July 1943, the Japanese strengthened their defenses on Kolombangara in anticipation of an American landing on the island. The island was targeted by American aerial attacks and bombardment from ships for several months prior to the American landings on northern New Georgia during July 1943 and nearby Arundel Island on August 27, 1943.

During October 1943, the Japanese Navy Japanese Navy begin the evacuation of the garrison on Kolombangara using destroyers, assault boats and barges as part of Operation "SE-Go" (Operation SE). The last Japanese were evacuated from the island by October 20, 1943.

On September 25, 1943 US Army soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division with elements of the 27th Infantry made a landing on Kolombangara and established perimeter defense around Vila Airfield. On October 11, 1943 the American troops were relieved by the 1st Battalion, Fiji Infantry. During early 1944, an engineering detachment established vegetable gardens at Vila Airfield for the remainder of the Solomons campaign.

Located in the southeastern corner of Kolombangara Island. Vila Point is located on the southern coast.

Disappointment Cove (Vila Harbor, Hamberi Cove)
Located on the southeast corner of Kolombanga Island

Pontoon Wreckage
Underwater at 15.7m, this pod still has some air in it. It is torpedo shaped, with only a hook at the front end for securing and a rudder fin at the back. Possibly, this is a pontoon from a Japanese seaplane.

A6M Zero
Intact at 50m

Japanese Tunnels
The Japanese dug a number of tunnels into the hills around Vilu. According to locals, one cave was a hospital area, another has a mountain gun enplaned outside the entrance.

70mm Battalion Gun Type 92 (1932)
Emplaced outside a Japanese tunnel entrance

Ropa Point
Located at the north of the island. Several Japanese barges were sunk here by PT-126,the next morning, this PT Boat was damaged by friendly fire.

F4U-1 Corsair
Piloted by Alexander crashed September 30, 1943

Jack Harbor
Located on the southeastern coast of the island.

Beached and abandoned July 6, 1943

Buki Harbor
Located on Kolombangara

Webster Cove
Located on Kolombangara

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Last Updated
May 6, 2021


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