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    Enogai Inlet New Georgia | Western Province Solomon Islands
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USMC July 11, 1943
Location
Enogai Inlet is located on the northern coast of New Georgia Island. To the west is Enogai (Enogai Point) and Boekineru, Triri and Maranusa I and Maranusa II. Beyond to the west is Leland Lagoon, Dragons Peninsula and Bauroko (Bairoko). Further to the northeast along the north coast is the Rice Anchorage. At the southern end is the mouth of the Enogai River. To the north is Shark Island and beyond Kula Gulf. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). Today located in Western Province in the Solomon Islands.

Wartime History
During May 1943 occupied by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) personnel from Kure 6th Special Naval Landing Force (Kure 6th SNLF) that were to establish a barge base in Enogai Inlet. To defend the area, the Japanese emplaced four 140mm Naval Guns at Enogai Point manned by the Takemura heavy artillery unit. Four 140mm naval guns (Type 3) Sea Coast were emplaced on Enogai Point: 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. The guns were supported by a searchlight and two tractors. The Japanese also had three .50 caliber machine guns for anti-aircraft defense, heavy machine guns, light machine guns and mortars.

By early July 1943, the U.S. estimated 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.

On July 5, 1943 after midnight, U.S. transports of the "Northern Landing Force" (NLG) land U.S. Marine and U.S. Army soldiers at Rice Anchorage that advance towards Enogai.

On July 7, 1943 the 1st Mar Raider Regiment occupys Maranusa I village and map of the defenses at Enogai including the locations of the 140mm guns. After July 9, 1943 reinforced by Imperial Japanese Army (IJN) 13th Infantry Regiment, 4th Company that landed at Bauroko (Bairoko).

On July 11, 1943 three PBY Catalinas from VP-24 piloted by Lt. R. F. Wadsworth, Lt (jg) R. B. Blodgett and Lt (jg) A.M.Caldwell took off from Halavo Seaplane Base at 3:05pm evacuate wounded of the First Marine Raiders in the Rice Anchorage-Enogai Inlet areas and survivors from the sinking of USS Strong DD-467. They first landed in Rice Anchorage at 4:45pm and took off again at 5:15pm then landed in Enogai Inlet at 5:25pm where more wounded were loaded. While transfer was taking place at about 6:20pm, attacked by 2 or possibly 3 F1M2 Petes that strafed and dropped bombs but missed. About 6:45pm the Petes withdrew and the PBYs airborne by 6:55pm and returned to Halavo Seaplane Base landing by 9:05pm. During this mission, a total of 71 wounded were evacuated.

On July 21, 1943 at 3:00pm three PBY Catalins landed at Enogai Inlet to evacuate wounded to Guadalcanal. The first PBY Catalina departed with Col. Griffith aboard and flew to Koli Point on Guadalcanal to make a personal report to Admiral Wilkinson. At 4:00pm the second PBY left. At 4:30pm as the third PBY Catalina was preparing to take off, a report of incoming Japanese planes bound for Enogai and was targeted by two Zeros that hit it with gunfire wounded two crew and damaging the oil lines and was forced to return to land at Enogai Inlet and were protected by the guns at Enogai.

References
Marines in the Central Solomons - Chapter 4: From Rice to Bairoko pages 97, 99, 101, 119 (PBY photo), 118
U.S. Army in WWII The Reduction of Rabaul Chapter VIII Griswold Takes Over pages 99, 100 (map 8), 101-105 (Capture of Enogai Inlet), 120, 126
U.S. Army in WWII The Reduction of Rabaul Chapter VIII Griswold Takes Over pages 127-131 (July 11-20, 1943)

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Last Updated
July 21, 2022

 

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