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    Tongatapu (Western Tongatapu)  Tonga

Tongatapu is the largest island and in the Tonga Island Group. Also known as "Tongatabu" or "Western Tongatapu". Borders Nukualofa Harbor (Tongatapu Harbor).

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, as part of the British empire, Tonga formed a local defense force of about 2,000 men, which saw action in the Solomon Islands.  For most Tongans the war was the 'American Invasion'.

On May 10, 1942 the first U. S. Navy (USN) convoy and personnel landed at Nukualofa on Tongatapu. The 1st Construction Battalion (Seabees) built Tongatabu Airfield and main wharf. At its height, there were 10,000 Americans on the island plus 700 of the Tongan Defense Force. The 1st Marine Division briefly staged through Tonga on their way to Guadalcanal. As the war moved forward, the American presence rapidly withdrew. By July 1944 there were only 31 Americans stationed on Tonga.

American units based on Tongatapu
U. S. Army 147th Infantry Regiment (less the 2nd Battalion)

Nukualofa (Nuku'alofa)
Located at the northern coast of Tongatapu. Modern day capital city of Tonga

Tongatabu Airfield (Tonga Tabu)
Built by the U. S. Navy 1st Construction Battalion (Seabees)

The United States Invasion of Tonga In 1942 by Tom McLeod

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


Map 1942

Map 1943


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