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USN October 11, 1943
Justin Taylan 2003
Shortland Harbor is an anchorage off Shortland Island in the Shortland Island Group (Shortland Islands). The Japanese called the island 'Shi-you-to-ran-do Shima'. To the east is Faisi and south Poporang and Magusaiai and Tuha Chanel. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). Today located in Western Province in the Solomon Islands.
On March 30, 1942 around 2:00am Japanese vessels entered Shortland Harbor and landed two Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) platoons and met no resistance. At 10:00am, an Allied aircraft was observed overhead. The other platoon returned to the ships around 4:00pm and depart for Kieta. One platoon remained at Shortland to begin establishing Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base.
During August 1942 until February 1942, The Imperial Japanese Navy used Shortland Harbor as an important anchorage for warships and merchant vessels traveling from Rabaul as a staging area before proceeding for Guadalcanal. Usually, vessels would depart Shortland in the afternoon to time their arrival at Guadalcanal to be at night to avoid being observed by Allied coastwatchers, aircraft or warships.
During late 1942, Shortland Harbor was attacked by American bombers and fighters. As early as January 1943, photographic reconnaissance flights detected the presence of seaplanes moored at this location. On March 17, 1943 the seaplane base was detected by photographic reconnaissance. Starting in late 1942, Shortland Harbor and shore facilities were targeted by Allied bombers and fighters flying bombing and strafing missions until May 1944.
American missions against Shortland
October 16, 1942–December 1943 - May 15, 1944
Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base (Tuha Channel)
Ringed by Poperang Island to the east, Shortland island to the west and south, and Faisi Island to the north. This narrow channel had a seaplane ramp and service area at Nila and moorings along the shoreline across from Poporang and Shortland Island.
Mine Field (Former Mined Area)
Japanese and Americans heavily mined Shortland Harbor and the approaches. American aircraft laid mines at night from low flying TBM Avenger aircraft from Torpedo Squadron 11 (VT-11) and Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 143 (VMSB-143). By the middle of 1943, the Japanese minefields were beginning to break up. PT Boats observed and destroyed 50 mines in the area between July 1943 to September 1943. In 1944, U.S. Navy (USN) fast minelayers also made a run thru the area. Postwar, the Australian Navy cleared this mine field. But locals reported yellow stains in the water where mines still lay. A 1956 map (revised 1969) of the area lists the area of water east of Shortland Island and north of Faisi to be a "Former Mined Area".
April 11, 1943
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