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USN July 6, 1943
USN July 10, 1943
Kula Gulf is a waterway in the central Solomon Islands that borders Kolombangara Island to the west and New Georgia Island to the south and Arundel Island (Kohinggo) to the southwest. The Blackett Strait to the southwest connects to Vella Gulf and beyond the Solomon Sea. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). Today part of Western Province in the Solomon Islands.
On March 6, 1943 the Battle of Blackett Strait (Battle of Vila-Stanmore) happened in Kula Gulf, although named for Blackett Strait to the southwest.
On May 6, 1943 starting at 12:05am light minelayers USS Gamble (DM-15), USS Preble (DM-20) and USS Breese (DM-18) laid sea mines in the Blackett Strait and western entrance to Kula Gulf. During the night of May 7-8, 1943 as four Japanese destroyers transited Blackett Strait, one was sunk and two others Oyashio and Kagero were damaged. Afterwards, Michishio attempted to help the damaged vessels but was spotted by a coastwatcher and Allied aircraft intercepted the destroyers and damaged Michishio.
Battle of Kula Gulf
On July 6, 1943 a U.S. Navy (USN) force of three cruisers and four destroyers intercepted an Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) force of ten destroyers in three groups.
USS Helena (CL-50)
Sunk July 6, 1943 by three torpedoes into Kula Gulf.
Sunk July 13, 1943 by a torpedo during the Battle of Kolombangara into Kula Gulf, shipwreck discovered 2019.
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