Enogai is located on the northern coast of New Georgia Island. Borders Enogai Inlet to the east. Further to the east along the north coast is the Rice Anchorage. Borders Leland Lagoon to the west and beyond Dragons Peninsula and Bauroko (Bairoko). Borders Kula Gulf to the north and Kolombangara
Island to the northwest. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the British Solomon Islands. Today located in Western
Province in the Solomon Islands.
Occupied by the Japanese who emplaced four 140mm naval guns (Type 3) Sea Coast guns at this location. Two facing Kula Gulf and two facing Enogai Inlet. Their field of fire covered northward into Kula Gulf, eastward to Rice Anchorage and westward to Dragons Peninsula.
By early July 1943, roughly 400 Japanese defended the Enogai area. During early July, attacked by U. S. fighters and bombers and targeted by U. S. Navy gunfire to suppress the defenders and naval guns.
American missions against Enogai
July 5, 1943–August 4, 1943
On July 5, 1943 at 12:49am USS Strong DD-467 was hit by a torpedo fired by Japanese destroyer Niizuki,
while the 140mm naval guns at Enogai fired star shells to illuminated the damaged ship and opened fire with HE shells and began hitting the damaged ship and caused USS Chevalier DD-451 to break off rescue operations. In response, USS O'Bannon began counter-battery fire in an effort to silence the guns. At roughly 1:15am despite pouring rain lookouts at Enogai spotted the transports of the Northern Landing Force (NLG) heading towards Rice Anchorage to the east and fired on the vessels but missed then fired on the landing area but their fire continued to be inaccurate and long. At 5:00pm, American aircraft strafed and bombed Enogai.
On July 10, 1943 Enogai was assaulted by the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) 1st Marine Raiders commanded by Harry B. Liversedge "Harry the Horse" supported by the U. S. Army 145th Infantry.
By July 11, 1943 after hard fighting, Enogai was captured at a cost of 51 American dead and roughly 350 Japanese dead. Afterwards, the Marines posed with the captured 140mm Naval guns.
Type 3 (1914) 140mm Naval Gun (Enogai No. 1)
Located furthest to the west, it was at this gun that Marine Radiers
posed for photo after its capture. Then & Now
Photograph by Justin Taylan, taken September 2003.
Type 3 (1914) 140mm Naval Gun (Enogai No. 2)
Located to the west, at Enogai.
Type 3 (1914) 140mm Naval Gun (Enogai No. 3)
Located to the east, around the point at Enogai overlooking Enogai Inlet
Type 3 (1914) 140mm Naval Gun (Enogai No. 4)
Located furthest to the east, around the point at Enogai overlooking Enogai Inlet
Ewan Stevenson recalls:
"I visited these guns about 1984 and then again in 1994. In '84 I went there
with the manager of the Kolombangara Levers Timbers company. The projectiles
were scattered around at that time. [Today they are missing]."
Justin Taylan adds:
"I visited this site with Danny Kennedy / Dive Gizo, John Innes, Gareth Coleman
and Marcus Browning. We located all four of the guns, fighting
positions, expended ammunition and bottles. None of the shells
were present, locals said they had collected them and brought them
to the nearby village. Many Japanese bunkers and fighting positions
were present made of fuel drums filled with pieces of coral."
Marines in the Central Solomons - Chapter 4: From Rice to Bairoko pages 96-112, 114, 116-121
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October 23, 2019