Articles

USS Tulagi - History

USS Tulagi  - History



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Tulagi

(CVE-72: dp. 7,800, 1. 512'3", b. 66' ew. 108'1"; dr. 22'6"; s. 19 k., cpl. 860, a. 1 5', 16 40mm., 20 20mm.; el. Casablanca; T. SA-S2-BB3)

Tulagi ( CVE-72) was laid down on 7 June 1943 at Vancouver, Wash., by the Kaiser Co., Inc., as Fortazela Bay (ACV-72); and redesignated CVE-72 on 15 July 1943. However, her name was corrected to read Fortaleza Bay on 19 October 1943, and the ship was renamed Tulagi on 6 November 1943, Iaunched on 15 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. James Duke Barner and commissioned on 21 December 1943, Capt. Joseph Campbell Cronin in command.

The new escort carrier got underway from Seattle on 17 January 1944 bound for San Francisco where she was immediately pressed into service ferrying stores, airplanes, and military personnel to Hawaii She departed Pearl Harbor for the homeward voyage on 29 January and arrived at San Diego with her load of passengers on 4 February. Throughout most of February, she participated in training exercises out of San Diego before steaming, via the Canal Zone, for Hampton Boads, Va. Following her arrival at Norfolk on 17 March, Tulagi underwent overhaul and carrier qualification tests.

Tulagi embarked a load of Army Air Forces planes late in May and departed New York on the 28th in convoy with two other carriers and their screen. On 6 June, Tulagi entered her first foreign port as she steamed the swept channel approach to Casablanca. After disembarking her cargo, the carrier took on passengers including a group of 35 prisoners of war and then headed home.

After arriving at Norfolk on 17 June 1944, Tulagi got underway late in June for Quonset Point, R.I. where she embarked personnel, planes, and equipment. On the last day of the month, she departed Narragansett Bay with Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin on board as Commander, Task Group 27.7, and steamed eastward conducting squadron and battery training en route to Oran, Algeria. Tulagi visited Malta on 26 July and then spent the following weeks conducting exercises which included a dress rehearsal out of African and Italian ports for the coming Operation "Dragoon," the invasion of southern France.

On D-day, Tulagi steamed in formation 45 miles off the invasion beach; and, at 0546, she launched her first flight of Hellcats. In the next week, aircraft from Tulagi flew a total of 68 missions and 276 sorties, inflicting considerable damage on the enemy. Weather was generally good as carrier-based planes conducted spotting missions and made strikes at various targets ashore, including gun emplacements and railway facilities. On 21 August, Tulagi's last day in support of Operation "Dragoon," German forces were in retreat before the Allied thrust. Tulagi's fliers conducted a devastating attack along the line of march of a German convoy which snarled the roads for miles around Remouline and crowned her achievements of the day by downing three German Ju 52's.

After taking on supplies and fuel at Oran, she got underway for home on 6 September. Following a quick overhaul at Norfolk, the escort carrier set her course for Panama; transited the Canal; and arrived at San Diego on 26 October. There, she embarked two air squadrons for transportation to Hawaii and departed the west coast on 29 October 1944.

Following her arrival at Pearl Harbor on 5 November the carrier participated in antisubmarine warfare an] gunnery exercises. On the 24th, she got underway in company with a special antisubmarine task group which conducted sweeps as it steamed via the Marshalls and Ulithi for Saipan. Throughout December Tulagi continued antisubmarine activities in the Palaus and the southern Marianas.

On the first day of the new year, 1945, Tulagi got underway for Lingayen Gulf and the impending invasion of Luzon. Meanwhile, the Japanese in the Philippines had assigned more than 100 suicide planes for a concerted attack on Tulagi's task force. The convoy passed through Surigao Strait into the Mindanao Sea on 3 January. In the following three days, the kamikazes took their toll. On the 4th, reports of enemy aircraft in the area became more frequent; and, late in the afternoon, a suicide plane splashed while trying to dive into Lunga Poi1qt (CVE-19). Moments later, observers on Tulagi saw the conflagration which marked the death throes of Ommaneg Bag (CVE-79), the victim of another kamikaze. On the morning of 5 January, enemy air attackers continued to menace the convoy as it steamed through Mindoro Strait and into the South China Sea. Although fighters from the carrier splashed two "Zekes," three enemy aircraft succeeded in penetrating the defenses of the convoy. Two were splashed, but one managed to crash into cruiser Louisville (CA28), a member of the convoy's screen.

When landing began at Lingayen Gulf on 9 January 1945, Tulagi launched her planes for air strikes on land targets, anti-snooper patrols, and air cover for American vessels. On 12 January, Tulagi supplied air support for the Lingayen Gulf beachhead, and, the next day, her port battery shot down a suicide plane which had singled out the carrier for destruction. Before it splashed, the attacker, deflected from Tulagi by withering antiaircraft fire, crossed astern and to starboard of the escort carrier and vainly attempted to dive into an alternate target. On 17 January, the Army Air Forces assumed responsibility for direct air support of American operations in Lingayen Gulf, and Tulagi's firs turned their attention toward the Zambales coast where they provided cover for support and protection of forces near San Narcisco. On 5 February, Tulagi arrived at Ulithi after a grueling period of sustained flight operations during which her planes had been in the air for all but two of 32 days.

Tulagi departed Guam on 21 February to conduct hunter-killer exercises in support of the assault on Iwo Jima before joining a task unit in area Varnish west of Iwo Jima on 1 March. She supplied air support and antisubmarine patrols until departing the area on 11 March, bound for Ulithi. Arriving there on 14 March, she prepared for the invasion of the Ryukyus.

Assigned alternately to antisubmarine and direct support activities, Tulagi operated continuously off the coast of Okinawa from the end of March until early June. On 3 April, four "Zekes" attacked her formation, and all were splashed. On the 6th, while Tulagi was anchored at Kerama Retto for rearming, a Japanese air attack penetrated air space over the harbor. The carrier took one of her attackers under fire at 4,000 yards, but the Japanese plane came harrowingly close before turning aside to dive into a nearby LST which burst into flames 200 feet high. Minutes later, Tulagi splashed another attacker and chased off a third with her accurate fire. The next day, Tulagi resumed her station off Okinawa, providing planes for air strikes called in by ground observers and for running photo reconnaissance and patrol missions. On the 13th, after she launched a special strike against the airfields of Miyako Jima, she began antisubmarine operations along the shipping lanes approaching Okinawa.

Following this long and arduous tour, Tulagi arrived at Guam on 6 June 1946. The carrier departed the Marianas on the 8th, bound for San Diego. She remained on the west coast throughout the summer undergoing overhaul, trials, and training. Peace came while she was at San Diego, but she departed the west coast again on 4 September and steamed via Hawaii for the Philippines. At Samar, she embarked planes for transportation back to the United States and reached Pearl Harbor in October. After returning to San Diego in January 1946, the veteran escort carrier reported to the 19th Fleet at Port Angeles, Wash., on 2 February 1946 for inactivation. She was decomissioned on 30 April 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1946.

Tulagi received four battle stars for World War II service.


USS Tulagi - History

Prewar
The British colonial government was based on Tulagi to administer the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). During the prewar era, a small number of Japanese worked on the island in marine industries. Their presence and "yellow peril" sentiments led to the suspicion they were spies and were closely monitored.

Before World War II, the Royal Navy (RN) surveyed Tulagi Harbor as a possible anchorage for the Asiatic Fleet and recommended developing this area as a naval base but the recommendation was never acted upon. A small force of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel and Australian Army commandos defended Tulagi.

On January 22, 1942 the first Japanese aircraft first bombed Tulagi and another air raid happened in early May 1942. Coastwatcher Gordon Train married to Vera Atkinson stayed behind on Tulagi and was lost on a flight to the Shortland Island to warn of the imminent Japanese invasion. On May 2, 1942 the Australian personnel and commandos were ordered to begin demolition of facilities then evacuated aboard two small boats bound for Port Vila in New Hebrides.

On May 3, 1942 during "Operation MO", the invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby, the invasion force arrives at Tuglagi Harbor and Okinoshima disembarks the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) landing without opposition on Tulagi to establish Tulagi Seaplane Base on nearby Gavutu Island and Tanambogo Island (Tanombago). Starting May 4, 1942 targeted targeted by Allied bombers and fighters until August 7, 1942. American aircraft bombed Tulagi.

On August 7, 1942 during the first phase of the Guadalcanal campaign, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) landed at Blue Beach on Tulagi Island and met fierce resistance from the Japanese defenders. By August 8, 1942 at nightfall, Tulagi was declared secure, but for several days, individual Japanese and small groups continued to be flushed from hiding places and hunted down by patrolling Marines.

Americans killed on Tulagi were buried in three U.S. Cemeteries were established on Tulagi: USN & USMC Cemetery No. 1 (White Beach), USN & USMC Cemetery No. 2 (Police Barracks) and USN & USMC Cemetery No. 3 (Chinese Barracks). Later, these graves were exhumed and transported to American Cemetery Guadalcanal then postwar transported overseas for permenant burial.

After the battle, Tulagi was developed into an American base area supporting future operations in the Solomon Islands and U.S. Navy vessels and PT Boats. Tulagi was targeted by Japanese aircraft during 1942-1943.

Today
After the war, the of colonial government moved to Honiara to utilize the infrastructure left by American forces. Tulagi again became the provincial capital. The facilities left in the area by the U.S. Navy are still used to this day, with pontoons and overhaul areas on the island still used for small craft.

Tulagi Harbor
Anchorage to the north of Tulagi also known as Tulagi Anchorage or Tulagi Road.

Blue Beach
Located on the western coast of Tulagi. On August 7, 1942 the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) landed at this location.

Sesapi
Located on the northeastern tip of Tulagi bordering Tulagi Harbor. During World War II, U.S. Navy base and PT Boat base.

District Residence House on Tulagi Island
Located on one of the higher ridges on the island prewar. This house was built prewar as the home of the British district residence. Today, only the original staircase and stair posts remain. The house was rebuilt postwar until abandoned during 2003.

Hill 281
Located at the center of Tulagi Island. This high ground was the main Japanese defensive position and headquarters on Tulagi, with tunnels and fighting positions built in the area. After the battle, Americans also defended this hill with machine guns for anti-aircraft defense.

Hill 280
Located in the southeast center of Tulagi Island.

Roadcut (The Cutting)
This prewar roadcut into one of the ridges was heavily defended by the Japanese, who built cover into its side walls, most of these are covered with sediment. Also known as "The Cutting".

Japanese Tunnels
The Japanese built tunnels on Tulagi for defense. One entrance is located on an overgrown hillside. It opens into a deceivingly large tunnel inside. Another is located on the Catholic church property with two entrances, the second entrance is partially filled.

References
Thanks to John Innes, Peter Flahavin and Ewan Stevenson for additional information

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?


USS Tulagi - History

Ship History
Built by the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company in Hong Kong. Launched in 1939 and purchased by Burns Philp & Company and named MV Tulagi in honor of Tulagi Island. Manned by a crew of twelve Australians plus thirty-two Malay and Chinese crew.

Prewar, operated between Sydney, the Pacific Islands including New Guinea and the west coast of North America. Afterwards joined MV Montoro operating a run between Sydney via Port Moresby to Darwin.

Wartime History
During 1940, MV Tulagi was in the vicinity of German raiders was kept under surveillance by a float plane but was never attacked.

On December 5, 1941 departs Sydney and travels via Brisbane and Cairns before arriving at Darwin. At the start of the Pacific War, MV Tulagi was pressed into service with a convoy transporting troops and supplies to "Sparrow Force" on Timor.

The convoy departed on February 15, 1942 departs as part of a convoy with USAT Meigs, USAT Mauna Loa and USS Portmar transporting troops from the US Army 148th Field Artillery escorted by USS Houston, USS Peary, HMAS Warrego and HMAS Swan.

On February 16, 1942 the convoy was attacked by Japanese aircraft and the convoy aborted the mission and returned to Darwin Harbor, return during the afternoon of February 18.

On February 19, 1942 Japanese aircraft attacked Darwin Harbor, but only sustained superficial damage. Because of the troops aboard, Captain Thompson grounded the ship into a mud bank north of Harper's Folly and south of Sweir's Bluff allowing the crew to exit, although the area was crocodile infested.

After the raid, Captain Thompson and the Chief Engineer Mr. J. R. Ward went back on board and with the help of others floated the vessel, made repairs. Crewed by volunteers from MV Neptuna and MV British Motorist departed for Sydney, arriving 19 days later.

During the remainder of 1942 until 1944 transported supplies and troops from Australia to the South Pacific. During February 1944, returned to the United Kingdom Department of Defense to join the Royal Navy Fleet Train.

On March 10, 1944 departed Sydney with captain L. W. Millar still in command bound for Colombo. Aboard were fifty-four passengers including the crew of 16 Europeans, 26 Indians, 7 Malays and five RAN gunners. The ship traveled southward along the coast of New South Wales via the Bass Strait and around Cape Leuwin. The weather was fine with calm seas.

Sinking History
On March 27, 1944 in the Indian Ocean spotted by German Submarine U-532 and tracked. On March 28, 1944 at 1:00am the ship was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-532 on the starboard side between the No. 3 hatch and the engine room, causing it to sink in only 20 seconds stern first, before rolling over to the starboard side. Thirty-nine went down with the ship.

Fates of the Crew
The survivors took to life rafts including the Chief Engineer, 2nd Mate, 3rd Mate, Purser, Deck Cadet, 3rd Engineer, the 5 Naval gunners 3 Malays and 1 Indian. Over the next several days, an unknown submarine followed and observed the life rafts.

Their fate began one of the most epic drifts of survival. On April 21, 1944 twenty four days after the sinking, the fifteen were split into two raft groups, seven on one, eight on the other. On April 30, 1944 the survivors saw smoke from a ship on the horizon. The ship passed at about 5:00pm without seeing them. Around this time, the rope connecting the rafts rotted and caused them to separate.

One of these rafts was never seen nor heard from again and no evidence was found of survivors. On May 25, 1944 (fifty-eight days after the sinking) the remaining raft with seven aboard saw white gulls and at 11:10pm the seven landed at Bijoutier Island in the Seychelle Islands.

The seven survivors were:
1) John R. T. Ward, Chief Engineer Officer, earned Order of the British Empire (OBE)
2) Richard T. Charles, 2nd Officer, earned Member Order of the British Empire (MBE)
3) Dudley G. S. Jacobs, Purser, , earned Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
4) Ali Bin Sarawee, Quartermaster, earned British Empire Medal (BEM)
5) Bahu Mian, Fireman, earned British Empire Medal (BEM)
6) Abdul Bhooya, Fireman, earned British Empire Medal (BEM)
7) ?

Rescue
At daylight two boats approached and the survivors were taken back to a small village and fed and clothed for fourteen days. On June 12, 1944 the survivors were transported to Mahe on Victoria Island then taken by ship to Bombay then departed for Melbourne and then travelled by train to Sydney arriving July 31, 1944.

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?


Contents

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, initiating a state of war between the two nations. The attack crippled much of the U.S. battleship fleet. The initial goals of Japanese leaders in the war were to neutralize the U.S. fleet, seize possessions rich in natural resources, and establish strategic military bases to defend Japan's empire in Asia and the Pacific. In support of these goals, Japanese forces attacked and took control of the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, Wake Island, Gilbert Islands, New Britain, and Guam. [6]

Two attempts by the Japanese to extend their defensive perimeter in the south and central Pacific were thwarted in the battles of Coral Sea (May 1942) and Midway (June). These two strategic victories for the Allies provided them with an opportunity to take the initiative and launch an offensive against the Japanese somewhere in the Pacific. [7] The Allies chose the Solomon Islands, specifically the southern Solomon Islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida as the location for their first offensive. [8]

As part of an operation that resulted in the Coral Sea battle, the Japanese Navy sent troops to occupy Tulagi and nearby islands in the southern Solomons. These troops—mainly members of the 3d Kure Special Naval Landing Force—occupied Tulagi on 3 May, and constructed a seaplane, ship refueling, and communications base on Tulagi and the nearby islands of Gavutu, Tanambogo and Florida, all of which were soon operational. Aware of the Japanese efforts on Tulagi, the Allies' concern increased in early July when the Japanese Navy began constructing a large airfield near Lunga Point on nearby Guadalcanal. By August, the Japanese had about 900 troops on Tulagi and nearby islands, and 2,800 personnel (many of whom were Korean and Japanese construction specialists and laborers) on Guadalcanal. [9] The airfield—when complete—would protect Japan's major base at Rabaul, threaten Allied supply and communication lines, and establish a staging area for possible future offensives against Fiji, New Caledonia, and Samoa (Operation FS). [10]

The Allied plan to attack the southern Solomons was conceived by U.S. Admiral Ernest King, Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. He proposed the offensive to deny the use of the southern Solomon Islands by the Japanese as bases to threaten the supply routes between the U.S. and Australia, and to use them as starting points for a campaign with the objective of capturing or neutralizing the major Japanese base at Rabaul while also supporting the Allied New Guinea campaign, with the eventual goal of opening the way for the U.S. to retake the Philippines. [11] U.S. Admiral Chester Nimitz—Allied commander-in-chief for Pacific forces—created the South Pacific theater—with U.S. Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley in command—to direct the Allied offensive in the Solomons. [12]

In preparation for the offensive, in May, U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift was ordered to move his 1st Marine Division from the U.S. to New Zealand. Other Allied land, naval, and air force units were sent to establish bases in Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia. [13] Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides was selected as the headquarters and main base for the impending offensive—codenamed Operation Watchtower—with the commencement date set for 7 August. At first, the Allied offensive was planned just for Tulagi and the Santa Cruz Islands, omitting Guadalcanal. However, after Allied reconnaissance discovered the Japanese airfield construction efforts on Guadalcanal, capturing that airfield was added to the plan and the Santa Cruz operation was dropped. [14]

The Allied Watchtower expeditionary force of 75 warships and transports, which included vessels from both the U.S. and Australia, assembled near Fiji on 26 July, and engaged in one rehearsal landing prior to leaving for Guadalcanal on 31 July. [15] [16] Vandegrift was the overall commander of the 16,000 Allied (primarily U.S. Marine) ground forces involved in the landings and personally commanded the assault on Guadalcanal. In command of the 3,000 U.S. Marines set to land on Tulagi and the nearby islands of Florida, Gavutu, and Tanambogo was U.S. Brigadier General William H. Rupertus on the transport ship USS Neville. [17]

Bad weather allowed the Allied expeditionary force to arrive in the vicinity of Guadalcanal unseen by the Japanese on the morning of 7 August. The Japanese detected the radio traffic from the incoming Allied invasion force and prepared to send scout aircraft aloft at daybreak. [18] The landing force ships split into two groups, with one group assigned for the assault on Guadalcanal and the other tasked with the assault on Tulagi, Florida, and Gavutu–Tanambogo. [19] Aircraft from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp dive-bombed Japanese installations on Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo, and Florida and strafed and destroyed 15 Japanese seaplanes floating in the anchorages near the islands. Several of the seaplanes were warming their engines in preparation for takeoff and were lost with their aircrews and many of their support personnel. [20]

The cruiser USS San Juan and destroyers Monssen and Buchanan bombarded planned landing sites on Tulagi and Florida Island. To cover the assaults on Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo, U.S. Marines from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment made an unopposed landing on Florida Island at 07:40. They were guided to their objective by several Australians, such as Lieutenant Frank Stackpool (later Captain, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force), who were familiar with the Tulagi-Florida area from having previously lived and worked in the area. [21]

Tulagi Edit

At 08:00 on 7 August, two battalions of U.S. Marines, including the 1st Raider Battalion under Colonel Merritt A. Edson (Edson's Raiders), and the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines (2/5) under Lieutenant Colonel Harold E. Rosecrans made an unopposed landing on the western shore of Tulagi about halfway between the two ends of the oblong-shaped island. [22] Beds of coral near the shore kept the landing craft from reaching the shoreline. The Marines, however, were able to wade the remaining 100 m (110 yd) without hindrance from the Japanese forces, who were apparently taken by surprise by the landings and had yet to begin any organized resistance. At this time, the Japanese forces on Tulagi and Gavutu, a detachment of the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) plus members of the Yokohama Air Group—commanded by Captain Shigetoshi Miyazaki—signaled their commander at Rabaul—Rear Admiral Sadayoshi Yamada—that they were under attack, were destroying their equipment and papers, and signed off with the message, "Enemy troop strength is overwhelming, We will defend to the last man." Masaaki Suzuki, commander of the SNLF unit, ordered his troops into pre-prepared defensive positions on Tulagi and Gavutu. [23]

Marines of 2/5 secured the northwest end of Tulagi without opposition and then joined Edson's Raiders in their advance towards the southeastern end of the island. The Marines advanced towards the southeast end of the island throughout the day while defeating a few isolated pockets of Japanese resistance. Around noon, Suzuki repositioned his main defenses into a line 9°6′26″S 160°8′56″E  /  9.10722°S 160.14889°E  / -9.10722 160.14889  ( Hill 281 ) on a hill—called Hill 281 (Hill 280 in some sources) by U.S. forces based on its elevation—and a nearby ravine located at the southeast end of the island. The Japanese defenses included dozens of tunneled caves dug into the hill's limestone cliffs and machinegun pits protected by sandbags. The Marines reached these defenses near dusk, realized they did not have enough daylight left for a full-scale attack, and dug in for the night. [24]

During the night, the Japanese attacked the Marine lines five times, beginning at 22:30. [25] The attacks consisted of frontal charges along with individual and small group infiltration efforts towards Edson's command post, which at times resulted in hand to hand combat with the Marines. The Japanese temporarily broke through the Marine lines and captured a machine gun, but were quickly thrown back. After taking a few more casualties, the Marine lines held throughout the rest of the night. The Japanese suffered heavy losses in the attacks. During the night, one Marine—Edward H. Ahrens—killed 13 Japanese who assaulted his position before he was killed. [26] Describing the Japanese attacks that night, eyewitness raider Marine Pete Sparacino said:

". full darkness set in. There was movement to the front . you could hear them jabbering. Then, the enemy found a gap and began running through the opening. The gap was (sealed) when another squad closed the gate. Some Japanese had crawled within 20 yards of (Frank) Guidone's squad. Frank began throwing grenades from a prone position. His grenades were going off 15 yards from our position (and) we had to duck as they exploded. The enemy was all around. It was brutal and deadly. We had to be careful not to kill our comrades. We were tired but had to stay awake or be dead." [27]

At daybreak on 8 August, six Japanese infiltrators hiding under the porch of the former British colonial headquarters shot and killed three Marines. Within five minutes, other Marines killed the six Japanese with grenades. Later that morning, the Marines, after landing reinforcements in the form of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines (2/2), surrounded Hill 281 and the ravine, pounded both locations with mortar fire throughout the morning, and then assaulted the two positions, using improvised explosive charges to kill the Japanese defenders taking cover in the many caves and fighting positions throughout the hill and ravine. [28] The individual Japanese fighting positions were destroyed with these improvised explosives. Significant Japanese resistance ended by the afternoon, although a few stragglers were found and killed over the next several days. [29] In the battle for Tulagi, 307 Japanese and 45 U.S. troops died. Three Japanese soldiers were taken prisoner. [30]

Gavutu–Tanambogo Edit

The nearby islets of Gavutu and Tanambogo housed the Japanese seaplane base as well as 536 Japanese naval personnel from the Yokohama Air Group and 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force and Korean and Japanese civilian technicians and laborers from the 14th Construction Unit. [31] The two islets were basically mounds of coral—both about 42 m (138 ft) high—and connected to each other by a 500 m (1,600 ft)-long causeway. The hills on Gavutu and Tanambogo were called Hills 148 and 121 respectively by the Americans because of their height in feet. [32] The Japanese on both islets were well entrenched in bunkers and caves constructed on and in the two hills. [33] Also, the two islets were mutually supportive since each was in machine gun range of the other. The U.S. mistakenly believed the islets were garrisoned by only 200 naval troops and construction workers. [34]

Surviving Marines were able to deploy two M1919 Browning machine guns to provide suppressing fire on Gavutu's caves, allowing more Marines to push inland from the landing area. Seeking cover, the Marines became scattered and were quickly pinned down. Captain George Stallings—the battalion operations officer—directed Marines to begin suppressive fire with machine guns and mortars on the Japanese machine gun emplacements on Tanambogo. Shortly thereafter, American dive bombers dropped several bombs on Tanambogo, diminishing some of the volume of fire from that location. [37]

After about two hours, Marines reached and climbed Hill 148. Working from the top, the Marines began clearing the Japanese fighting positions on the hill, most of which still remained, with explosive charges, grenades, and hand-to-hand combat. [38] From the top of the hill, the Marines were also able to put increased suppressive fire on Tanambogo. [39] The Marine battalion commander on Gavutu radioed General Rupertus with a request for reinforcements before attempting to assault Tanambogo. [40]

Most of the 240 Japanese defenders on Tanambogo were aircrew and maintenance personnel from the Yokohama Air Group. Many of these were aircraft maintenance personnel and construction units not equipped for combat. One of the few Japanese soldiers captured recounts fighting armed with only hand sickles and poles. [41] Rupertus detached one company of Marines from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment on Florida Island to assist in assaulting Tanambogo, in spite of advice from his staff that one company was not enough. Incorrectly believing Tanambogo to be only lightly defended, this company attempted an amphibious assault directly on Tanambogo shortly after dark on 7 August. Illuminated by fires started during a U.S. naval bombardment of the islet, the five landing craft carrying the Marines were hit by heavy fire as they approached the shore, with many of the U.S. Navy boatcrews being killed or wounded, as well as heavily damaging three of the boats. Realizing the position was untenable, the Marine company commander ordered the remaining boats to depart with the wounded marines, and he and 12 men who had already landed sprinted across the causeway to cover on Gavutu. The Japanese on Tanambogo suffered 10 killed in the day's fighting. [42]

Throughout the night, as the Japanese staged isolated attacks on the marines on Gavutu under the concealment of heavy thunderstorms, Vandegrift prepared to send reinforcements to assist with the assault on Tanambogo. The 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines (3/2), still embarked on ships off Guadalcanal, was notified to prepare to assault Tanambogo on 8 August. [43]

The 3rd Battalion began landing on Gavutu at 10:00 on 8 August and assisted in destroying the remaining Japanese defenses on that islet, which was completed by 12:00. [44] Then the 3rd Battalion prepared to assault Tanambogo. The Marines on Gavutu provided covering fire for the attack. In preparation for the assault, U.S. carrier-based dive bombers and naval gunfire bombardment were requested. After the carrier aircraft twice accidentally dropped bombs on the U.S. Marines on Gavutu, killing four of them, further carrier aircraft support was canceled. San Juan, however, placed its shells on the correct island and shelled Tanambogo for 30 minutes. The Marine assault began at 16:15, both by landing craft and from across the causeway, and, with assistance from two Marine Stuart light tanks, began making headway against the Japanese defenses. One of the tanks got stuck on a stump. Isolated from its infantry support, it was surrounded by a group of about 50 Japanese airmen. The Japanese set fire to the tank, killing two of its crew and severely beat the other two crewmembers before most of them were killed by Marine rifle fire. The Marines later counted 42 Japanese bodies around the burned-out hulk of the tank, including the corpses of the Yokohama executive officer and several of the seaplane pilots. One of the Japanese survivors of the attack on the tank reported, "I recall seeing my officer, Lieutenant Commander Saburo Katsuta of the Yokohama Air Group, on top of the tank. This was the last time I saw him". [45] The overall commander of troops on Tanambogo was Captain (naval rank) Miyazaki-san who blew himself up inside his dugout on the late afternoon of 8 August. [46]

Throughout the day, the Marines methodically dynamited the caves, destroying most of them by 21:00. [47] The few surviving Japanese conducted isolated attacks throughout the night, with hand to hand engagements occurring. By noon on 9 August, all Japanese resistance on Tanambogo ended. [48] In the battle for Gavutu and Tanambogo, 476 Japanese defenders and 70 U.S. Marines or naval personnel died. Of the 20 Japanese prisoners taken during the battle, most were not actually Japanese combatants but Korean laborers belonging to the Japanese construction unit. [49]

Landings on Guadalcanal Edit

In contrast to Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo, the landings on Guadalcanal encountered much less resistance. At 09:10 on 7 August, General Vandegrift and 11,000 U.S. Marines came ashore on Guadalcanal between Koli Point and Lunga Point. Advancing towards Lunga Point, they encountered no resistance except for "tangled" rain forest, and halted for the night about 1,000 m (1,100 yd) from the Lunga Point airfield. The next day, again against little resistance, the Marines advanced all the way to the Lunga River and secured the airfield by 16:00 on 8 August. The Japanese naval construction units had abandoned the airfield area, leaving behind food, supplies, and intact construction equipment and vehicles. [50]

During the battle, about 80 Japanese escaped from Tulagi and Gavutu–Tanambogo by swimming to Florida Island. They were, however, all hunted down and killed by Marine and British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force patrols over the next two months. [51]

The Allies quickly turned the Tulagi anchorage, one of the finest natural harbors in the South Pacific, into a naval base and refueling station. During the Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands campaigns, Tulagi served as an important base for Allied naval operations. Since the Japanese exerted control over the nearby seas at night throughout the Guadalcanal campaign, any Allied ships in the Guadalcanal area that could not depart by nightfall often took refuge in Tulagi's harbor. Allied ships damaged in the naval battles that occurred between August and December in the vicinity of Guadalcanal usually anchored in Tulagi's harbor for temporary repairs before heading to rear-area ports for permanent repairs. [52]


USS Tulagi - History

Tulagi received four battle stars for World War II service.

USS Tulagi (CVE-72) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy.

She was laid down on 7 June 1943 at Vancouver, Washington, United States, by the Kaiser Company, Inc., as Fortazela Bay (ACV-72) and redesignated CVE-72 on 15 July 1943. However, her name was corrected to read Fortaleza Bay on 19 October 1943, and the ship was renamed Tulagi on 6 November 1943 launched on 15 November 1943 sponsored by Mrs. James Duke Earner and commissioned on 21 December 1943, Capt. Joseph Campbell Cronin in command.

The new escort carrier got underway from Seattle on 17 January 1944 bound for San Francisco where she was immediately pressed into service ferrying stores, airplanes, and military personnel to Hawaii. She departed Pearl Harbor for the homeward voyage on 29 January and arrived at San Diego with her load of passengers on 4 February.

Many of the CVEs do not have a ship association or hold annual reunions, therefore we cannot provide a name for you to contact.

Click here to see our expanded
photo gallery of ships, exhibits and conventions. You must be an ECSAA member to view these pictures.

Would you like to upload your Tulagi photos to our archives?
Click here to start the process!

Throughout most of February, she participated in training exercises out of San Diego before steaming, via the Canal Zone, for Hampton Roads, Virginia. Following her arrival at Norfolk on 17 March, Tulagi underwent overhaul and carrier qualification tests.

Tulagi embarked a load of Army Air Forces planes late in May and departed New York on the 28th in convoy with two other carriers and their screen. On 6 June, Tulagi entered her first foreign port as she steamed the swept channel approach to Casablanca. After disembarking her cargo, the carrier took on passengers including a group of 35 prisoners of war and then headed home.

After arriving at Norfolk on 17 June 1944, Tulagi got underway late in June for Quonset Point, Rhode Island, where she embarked personnel, planes, and equipment. On the last day of the month, she departed Narragansett Bay with Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin on board as Commander, Task Group 27.7, and steamed eastward conducting squadron and battery training en route to Oran, Algeria. Tulagi visited Malta on 26 July and then spent the following weeks conducting exercises, which included a dress rehearsal out of African and Italian ports for the coming Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France.

On D-Day, Tulagi steamed in formation 45 miles off the invasion beach and, at 0546, she launched her first flight of F6F Hellcats. In the next week, aircraft from Tulagi flew a total of 68 missions and 276 sorties, inflicting considerable damage on the enemy. Weather was generally good as carrier-based planes conducted spotting missions and made strikes at various targets ashore, including gun emplacements and railway facilities. On 21 August, Tulagi's last day in support of Operation "Dragoon", German forces were in retreat before the Allied thrust. Tulagi's fliers conducted a devastating attack along the line of march of a German convoy which snarled the roads for miles around Remoulins and crowned her achievements of the day by downing three German Junkers Ju 52s.

After taking on supplies and fuel at Oran, she got underway for home on 6 September. Following a quick overhaul at Norfolk, the escort carrier set her course for Panama transited the Canal and arrived at San Diego on 26 October. There, she embarked two air squadrons for transportation to Hawaii and departed the west coast on 29 October 1944.

Following her arrival at Pearl Harbor on 5 November, the carrier participated in antisubmarine warfare and gunnery exercises. On the 24th, she got underway in company with a special antisubmarine task group which conducted sweeps as it steamed via the Marshalls and Ulithi for Saipan. Throughout December, Tulagi continued antisubmarine activities in the Palaus and the southern Marianas.

On the first day of the new year, 1945, Tulagi got underway for Lingayen Gulf and the impending invasion of Luzon. Meanwhile, the Japanese in the Philippines had assigned more than 100 suicide planes for a concerted attack on Tulagi's task force. The convoy passed through Surigao Strait into the Mindanao Sea on 3 January. In the following three days, the kamikazes took their toll. On the 4th, reports of enemy aircraft in the area became more frequent and, late in the afternoon, a suicide plane crashed while trying to dive into Lunga Point. Moments later, observers on Tulagi saw the conflagration which marked the death throes of Ommaney Bay, the victim of another kamikaze. On the morning of 5 January, enemy air attackers continued to menace the convoy as it steamed through Mindoro Strait and into the South China Sea. Although fighters from the carrier shot down two Mitsubishi A6M Zeros, three enemy aircraft succeeded in penetrating the defenses of the convoy. Two were shot down, but one managed to crash into Louisville, a member of the convoy's screen.

When landing began at Lingayen Gulf on 9 January 1945, Tulagi launched her planes for air strikes on land targets, anti-snooper patrols, and air cover for American vessels. On 12 January, Tulagi supplied air support for the Lingayen Gulf beachhead and, the next day, her port battery shot down a suicide plane which had singled out the carrier for destruction. Before it crashed, the attacker, deflected from Tulagi by withering anti-aircraft fire, crossed astern and to starboard of the escort carrier and vainly attempted to dive into an alternate target. On 17 January, the Army Air Force assumed responsibility for direct air support of American operations in Lingayen Gulf and Tulagi's fliers turned their attention toward the Zambales coast where they provided cover for support and protection of forces near San Narcisco. On 5 February, Tulagi arrived at Ulithi after a grueling period of sustained flight operations during which her planes had been in the air for all but two of 32 days.

Tulagi departed Guam on 21 February to conduct hunter-killer exercises in support of the assault on Iwo Jima before joining a task unit in "area Varnish" west of Iwo Jima on 1 March. She supplied air support and antisubmarine patrols until departing the area on 11 March, bound for Ulithi. Arriving there on 14 March, she prepared for the invasion of the Ryukyus.

Assigned alternately to antisubmarine and direct support activities, Tulagi operated continuously off the coast of Okinawa from the end of March until early June. On 3 April, four Zeros attacked her formation, and all were shot down. On the 6th, while Tulagi was anchored at Kerama Retto for rearming, a Japanese air attack penetrated air space over the harbor. The carrier took one of her attackers under fire at 4,000 yards, but the Japanese plane came harrowingly close before turning aside to dive into a nearby LST which burst into flames 200 feet high. Minutes later, Tulagi shot down another attacker and chased off a third with her accurate fire. The next day, Tulagi resumed her station off Okinawa, providing planes for air strikes called in by ground observers and for running photo-reconnaissance and patrol missions. On the 13th, after she launched a special strike against the airfields of Miyako Jima, she began antisubmarine operations along the shipping lanes approaching Okinawa.

Following this long and arduous tour, Tulagi arrived at Guam on 6 June 1945. The carrier departed the Marianas on the 8th, bound for San Diego. She remained on the west coast throughout the summer undergoing overhaul, trials, and training. Peace came while she was at San Diego, but she departed the west coast again on 4 September and steamed via Hawaii for the Philippines. At Samar, she embarked planes for transportation back to the United States and reached Pearl Harbor in October. After returning to San Diego in January 1946, the veteran escort carrier reported to the 19th Fleet at Port Angeles, Washington, on 2 February 1946 for inactivation. She was decommissioned on 30 April 1946 and struck from the Navy List on 8 May 1946.


USS Tulagi - History

By Arnold Blumberg

The strategic defeats suffered in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway checked Japan’s advance in the Pacific. The engagements, which cost the Japanese over 400 carrier and landbased aircraft and five aircraft carriers, forced Tokyo to assume a defensive posture.
[text_ad]

As part of its new military reality in the Pacific, Japan still relied on its plan to secure its strongest naval bastion in that area, Truk in the Caroline Islands some 1,600 miles northeast of New Guinea, by strengthening its recent acquisition of Rabaul on New Britain in the Solomon Islands, and building a major base there. To safeguard Rabaul, forces were landed in eastern New Guinea, Guadalcanal, and Tulagi in the southern Solomons chain.

By holding fortified air bases at these locations, the Japanese could meet Allied air and amphibious attacks by shuttling their own air assets from base to base. This strategy was employed in anticipation that the United States might push its inevitable counterattack through Port Morseby, Rabaul, and Tulagi as an alternative or complement to its obvious strategy of attacking across the Central Pacific toward the home islands of Japan.

By mid-June, the Japanese program designed to establish airfields in the Solomons, including Guadalcanal (construction commencing there on July 6), Florida, and Savo Islands, was authorized. Its primary purpose was to use airpower to cut communications between the United States and Australia and forestall American offensive operations. The threat to vital American supply bases in New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, and Fiji was also an important reason for the expansion of the Japanese defensive perimeter.

The Americans planned to parry the enemy’s plan by capturing Tulagi and the Santa Cruz Islands and setting up their own airfield somewhere in that zone to support an advance toward New Britain and New Guinea. On June 24, 1942, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet, was ordered to prepare to capture “Tulagi and adjacent positions.” It was not until July 5, when definitive intelligence revealed that the Japanese were preparing to build an air base on the island of Guadalcanal, that the Americans dropped the Santa Cruz Islands from their forthcoming amphibious assault, instead preparing to move against Guadalcanal. Tulagi remained a target, albeit now a secondary one, to be occupied simultaneously with Guadalcanal.

Tulagi’s Strategic Importance

The island of Tulagi is two miles long and a half mile wide it lies just south of Florida Island and 22 miles directly north across Sealark Channel from Guadalcanal. A ridge rising over 300 feet above the sea marks the northwest-southeast axis of the island. About two-thirds of the way down from its northwest tip, the ridge is broken by a ravine and then rises again in a triangle of hills, the farthest southeast designated Hill 208 and the farthest northeast Hill 281 after their elevation in feet.

Tulagi had been the seat of the British Solomons Island Protectorate with the governor’s residence and other governmental structures located on its northeast side. About 3,000 yards east of Tulagi are the small islets of Gavutu and Tanambogo joined by a 500-yard long causeway. Gavutu Harbor on the northeast end of the island and Purvis Bay to the southeast of Gavutu and Tanambogo formed the finest deepwater anchorage in the Solomons.

The islands of Tulagi, Tanambogo, and Gavutu are located in the southern Solomons. Control of these small islands was deemed critical to the success of U.S. landings on Guadalcanal and subsequent ability to resupply the Marines ashore.

To protect Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanamabogo the Australians stationed only two dozen soldiers and 130 native policemen along with crew and maintenance personnel who operated the four Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats assigned for patrol duty there. After the Japanese began regular bombing of the islands in January 1942, the Australian government evacuated the civilian population. The tiny defense force was taken off on May 2, one day before the Japanese Army occupied Tulagi while also installing small garrisons on Gavutu and Tanamobogo. Concerned about the ability of the enemy to conduct long-range air rreconnaissance from Tulagi, in late May Admiral Nimitz urged that the island be reoccupied using the 1st U.S. Marine Raider Battalion. However, his idea was rejected by General Douglas McArthur, commander of U.S. ground forces in the Pacific, citing the shortage of combat troops available to hold the place once it was retaken.

On May 3, 1942, the Japanese invaded Tulagi. The ground troops were from the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF). Sometimes erroneously referred to as Japanese Marines, these were a peculiar hybrid of sailors used as landing parties, specially trained in amphibious warfare. After taking Tulagi, the Japanese constructed a seaplane, ship refueling, and communications base on the island with supporting facilities on Gavutu, Tanambogo, and Florida Island.

The First U.S. Ground Offensive of World War II

The amphibious assault on Guadalcanal and Tulagi was the first U.S. ground offensive of World War II. Designated Operation Watchtower, the hastily thrown together plan called for the 1st Marine Division, about 19,000 men, supported by American and Australian warships and transport vessels, 82 ships of all types, to make the seaborne assault. The Allied armada assembled near Fiji on July 26. A poorly planned and executed rehearsal, Operation Dovetail, was held on Koro Island in the Fijis, after which the fleet sailed for its objectives on the 31st.

As the Allied fleet neared Guadalcanal, it split: the Guadalcanal Group, made up of Combat Group A composed of the 1st and 5th Marine Regiments, the divisional artillery, and support units (11,300 men), under 1st Marine Division commander Maj. Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, headed for Lunga Point on Guadalcanal. The Northern Group, built around four Marine infantry rifle battalions (2,400 troops), led by assistant division commander Brig. Gen. William H. Rupertus, steered for Tulagi, Florida, Gavutu, and Tanambogo.

Guadalcanal vs Tulagi: Two Very Different Battles

At 9:10 am, August 7, 1942, the first wave of Marines of Combat Group A scrambled ashore on Guadalcanal between Koli Point and Lunga Point, quickly establishing a 2,000-yard-long, 600-yard-deep beachhead. Their surprise arrival met no organized Japanese ground resistance. Approximately 2,500 laborers, mostly Korean, of the 11th and 13th Construction Unit along with the few dozen regular Japanese soldiers melted into the island’s hinterland as the Americans came ashore. The only threats to the leathernecks that day came from a number of mostly ineffective Japanese air raids launched from Rabaul. By nightfall the Americans had carved out a mile-deep toehold on Guadalcanal. They halted for the night about 1,000 yards from the unfinished Japanese airfield near Lunga Point. The next day, August 8, the Marines, meeting only sporadic enemy resistance, advanced to the Lunga River and at 4 pm captured the airdrome.

The main Marine force that came ashore on Guadalcanal encountered more difficulty with the island’s foreboding jungle terrain, oppressively hot weather, and the confusion the inexperienced Americans had with offloading men and supplies than it did with the Japanese. It was a different and deadly story for General Rupertus’s command, which hit the beaches at Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo that same day.

Following a U.S. air raid on Japanese positions on Tulagi, August 7, 1942, smoke billows from the island’s cricket grounds.

At 6:52 am on the morning of August 7, 1942, Japanese troops on Tulagi began to send a flood of radio transmissions in the clear reporting 20 enemy ships shelling the island accompanied by air attacks and seaborne forces. At 8:05 am, Tulagi signaled that the island’s defenders were destroying their papers and equipment and signed off with the message, “Enemy troop strength is overwhelming. We pray for enduring fortunes of war,” and pledged to fight “to the last man.”

Landing on Beach Blue

The Japanese garrison on Tulagi consisted of a 350-man detachment of the 3rd Kure SNLF under Commander Masaaki Suzuki, 536 naval members of the Yokohama Air Group, and some Japanese and Korean civilians from the 14th Construction Unit. About 900 soldiers under the supervision of Captain Shigetoshi Miyazaki, commander of the seaplane-equipped Yokohama Air Group, were in residence on Gavutu and Tanambogo. Making good on their promise, the Japanese on Tulagi did fight almost to the last man while exacting a heavy price on their American opponents.

The Marines assaulting Tulagi were carried to their objective by Transport Group Yoke, consisting of three troop transports, four Navy transport-destroyers, and one cargo ship. The landing force was made up of the 1st Raider Battalion 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and 1st Parachute Battalion. These were the best trained units in the division and expected a tough fight. That assumption, which proved to be spot on, was based on prebattle intelligence assessments that Tulagi and the other islands were held by several hundred elite Japanese SNLF personnel of proven fighting ability who were well dug in.

Preinvasion aerial reconnaissance revealed that the strongest defenses on Tulagi fronted the northeast and southeast shorelines. Therefore, the Marines selected a 500-yard stretch of beach (named Beach Blue) midway on the southwest side of the island for the landing. The invasion plan called for elements of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines to secure flanking positions on Florida Island followed by the 1st Raiders and then the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines going ashore on Tulagi. The idea was to make the first American amphibious assault of the war against natural obstacles instead of enemy firepower.

Four hours after American troops hit the beach on Tulagi, the parachutists were to have gained control of Gavutu and Tanambogo. Lt. Col. Merritt A. “Red Mike” Edson, chief of the Raider Battalion, offered to make a reconnaissance of the objectives on Tulagi prior to the operation, but the idea was rejected since it might alert the Japanese to the impending landing. As a result, the Marines would be landing with little concrete information on Japanese dispositions and strength.

Reaching Phase Line A

At 7:40 am, Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, under Captain Edward J. Crane, made an unopposed landing near Haleta on Florida Island guided by three Australians, all former colonial officials who were familiar with the area. The rest of Company B’s parent unit, led by Lt. Col. Robert E. Hill, waded ashore on Florida’s Halavo peninsula east of Gavutu and Tanambogo. Both parties secured the high ground overlooking Blue Beach on Tulagi, and neither encountered any opposing forces.

At 8 am, Edson’s 1st Raider Battalion grounded on an undetected coral reef 100 yards from Tulagi’s shoreline, forcing them to wade that distance to reach the beach. No enemy resistance was met at first since the Japanese garrison on the island believed that the naval bombardment and air attacks only signaled a hit-and-run raid and took shelter in caves. A solid defense was not mounted until later on the afternoon of the 7th.

In the meantime, the battalion’s leading companies pushed across the island and crested its spine. Company B then wheeled to the right while Company D moved right of Company B. Company A soon tied in with Company B, while Company C extended the entire Marine line to the island’s southwest shore. At around noon the Raiders swept down the island to their preinvasion designated Phase Line A, where Company C met the first enemy resistance from the Japanese outpost line.

Brief firefights eliminated these pockets of resistance, but not before the death of a Marine doctor and the wounding of Company C’s commander, Major Kenneth D. Bailey. Meanwhile, at 9:16 am, Lt. Col. Harold E. Rosecrans’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines landed at Blue Beach, relieving Edson’s Company E, which was guarding the landing zone. The newly arrived 5th Marines then combed the northwest end of the island but found no Japanese.

Striking the Japanese Forward Defenses

Close to dusk, as the Raiders attempted to move beyond Phase Line A, Company C ran into heavy Japanese machine-gun fire near Hill 208. Commander Suzuki had formed his forward tripwire line on the hill’s steep slopes, which ran down to a ravine on its western edge. Farther to the east, he had set up his main line of resistance running from Hill 281 on the northeast coast of Tulagi through flat land that had been used as a cricket field in peaceful times to the southeast tip of the island.

Cunningly constructed dugouts and tunnels carved into the hill’s limestone cliffs and covered by machine-gun pits protected by sandbags made up this strong and well-concealed Japanese defensive position. The Japanese subsequently employed tactics that became hallmarks of their savage defense of Pacific island strongholds, including ambushes, the plentiful use of snipers, savage nocturnal counterattacks, and stealthy infiltration of American lines by small groups of Japanese soldiers.

While clearing the small island of Tulagi of its Japanese defenders, U.S. Marines discovered dugouts and tunnels carved into the island’s hillsides. These types of defenses were encountered many times during the American march across the Pacific toward the Japanese home islands.

During the afternoon and evening, Marines rooted out stubborn Japanese defenders with small arms and hand grenades. The Americans at this point in the war did not possess flamethrowers or purpose-built explosive devices, so they had to improvise, and that took time and cost lives. After disposing of the enemy’s forward defense line, Companies C and A moved a little farther to the east. The gathering darkness precluded a Marine attempt to clear the apparently strong and unidentified enemy positions of the main defensive line, so the Raiders dug in for the night.

Japanese Infiltration Tactics

About 10 pm , the Japanese mounted a fierce counterattack, driving a wedge between Company C and Company A, almost isolating the former from the rest of the battalion. Savage assaults against Company A’s exposed flank were were fended off. A second banzai attack, which might have successfully exploited the initial thrust, fell on the front of Company A and was bloodily repulsed.

The Japanese reverted to using infiltration tactics. Throughout the remainder of the night they slipped individuals and small groups into the rear of the American lines. They attacked the aid station and the command post of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines on Blue Beach. In addition, during the early hours of the 8th, Japanese infiltrators made five separate attacks on and near Raider battalion headquarters at the governor’s residence. The attackers were wiped out in hand to hand fighting. During the desperate fighting near the battalion command post, Colonel Edson tried to summon reinforcements, but his radio communications were out.

Later that morning, reinforced by Company’s E and F, 5th Marines, which landed on the north shore above Hill 281, and by 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which reinforced the main U.S. line moving east along Tulagi, the leathernecks surrounded Hill 281 and the ravine sheltering their foe. After delivering lengthy barrages of 60mm and 81mm mortar fire, they used improvised TNT explosive devices to eliminate the numerous Japanese positions.

By 3 pm, the tenacious and often suicidal Japanese resistance on Tulagi was broken. The battle had cost the Marines 45 dead and 76 wounded. The Japanese suffered 347 killed and just three captured. Japanese prisoners reported that about 40 to 70 Japanese soldiers had escaped Tulagi by swimming to Florida Island. Over the next two months, they were hunted down by Marines and native patrols.

A Reputation for Edson and the 1st Raider Battalion

The 1st Raider Battalion performed well during its baptism of fire on Tulagi. Both officers and enlisted men exhibited daring, bravery, and individual initiative. Major Kenneth D. Baily demonstrated the type of leadership commonly found in the unit. When an enemy machine gun held up his company, he personally circled around the offending weapon, well placed in a coconut log bunker, crawled on top, and shoved a hand grenade into the firing aperture. He was wounded in the thigh.

Colonel Edson established his reputation for courage by spending most of his time on the front lines, where he contemptuously exposed himself to the enemy’s heaviest fire. More importantly, he aggressively employed his command in battle, taking the fight to his adversary and steadfastly defending his positions when attacked.

The Assault on Gavutu and Tanambogo

While the fighting raged on Tulagi, the 1st Parachute Battalion, under Major Robert H. Williams, was tasked with capturing Gavutu and Tanambogo. The attack was to commence four hours after the landing at Tulagi. Insufficient numbers of landing craft to conduct both the Tulagi and Gavutu oeprations dictated that the landings could not occur simultaneously. As a result, the defenders of Gavutu and Tanambogo were prepared for their enemy’s assault.

Each of those islets was dominated by a single elevation, Hill 148 on Gavutu and Hill 121 on Tanambogo. The islands were surrounded by coral reefs that allowed an approach only from the east. The terrain channeled any attacker into a narrow funnel dominated by high ground on two sides.

Defending Gavutu were about 240 men, mostly laborers from the 14th Construction Unit, buttressed by a 50-man platoon of the 3rd Kure SNLF. On Tanambogo were the 303 crew and maintenance personnel of the Yokohama Flying Boat Air Group under Captain Miyazaki. Only the SNLF members were equipped and trained to fight as ground troops. However, the constricted terrain and well-placed defensive positions greatly aided the other defenders, allowing them to give a good account of themselves. The Japanese on both islands were entrenched in bunkers and caves, and each spit of land was within mutual machine-gun fire support of the other.

Officers of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy who held command responsibilities at Tulagi posed for this photograph after the island was secured. On the front row left to right are Lt. Col. O.K. Pressley, Colonel Merritt A. Edson, Lt. Col. H.E. Rosecrans, and Lt. Col. R.E. Hill. The middle row left to right includes Navy Lieutenant E.B. McLarney, Brig Gen. W.H. Rupertus, Colonel R.C. Kilmartin, and Major William Enright. On the back row left to right are Captain Ralph Powell, Captain Daryle Seeley, and Captain Thomas Philpott.

As the parachutists approached Gavutu Harbor at noon, the island was rocked by a five-minute naval bombardment carried out by the light antiaircraft cruiser USS San Juan and the destroyers Monssen and Buchanan, followed by a 10-minute air assault by dive bombers from the aircraft carrier Wasp. The efforts did little damage to the Japanese defenses except for eliminating an 75mm gun on Hill 148. The seaplane landing ramp on Gavutu was damaged to such an extent that the Marines could not disembark on it. The Marines were forced to land on a more exposed part of the dock.

An Aborted Assault on Tanambogo

After getting ashore, the attackers of the first wave, Company A, pushed 75 yards inland but were met by withering fire from the Japanese on Hills 148 and 121. The second and third waves, made up of Companies B and C, landed on the dock and immediately came under Japanese rifle and machine-gun fire, so heavy that in a few minutes 10 percent of both units were cut down, including the battalion commander.

By 2 pm, elements of Companies A and B had taken Hill 148 after extensive use of grenades and improvised explosive charges, as well as close-quarter fighting to clear the many fortified positions on the heights. Unfortunately, this hard-fought Marine triumph was marred by the arrival of American Douglas SDB Dauntless dive bombers responding to an earlier call for air support. The Marines had no sooner taken control of Hill 148 than the planes attacked the summit, killing several Marines and wounding others. This tragic accident would not be the only such friendly fire incident during the struggle for Gavutu and Tanambogo. When night fell on the 7th, Gavutu was still not secured and Tanambogo had yet to be taken. The acting battalion commander, Major Charles A. Miller, who had replaced the injured Major Williams, requested reinforcements.

General Rupertus responded to Miller’s appeal by sending Captain Crane’s Company B, 2nd Marines, then on Florida Island, to subdue Tanambogo. After landing under heavy fire and suffering severe losses, Crane evacuated his wounded on boats and had them sail back to Gavutu while he and a dozen men sprinted along the causeway back to Gavutu. The Japanese lost only 10 men in the aborted assault on Tanambogo that day.

A 30-Minute Naval Bombardment

Throughout the night, the Japanese staged persistent attacks against the Marines on Gavutu under the cover of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Hoping to get his attack on Gavutu moving, General Vandegrift ordered his last reserves, Lieutenant R.G. Hunt’s 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, to land there. Hunt’s men assisted the paratroopers in exterminating the last Japanese defenders on Gavutu, enduring machine-gun fire from the Japanese on Tanambogo. During these mopping-up operations, a second American naval air attack killed four Marines and injured eight.

Photographed on August 8, 1942, the day after the U.S. landings in the Solomons commenced, Japanese installations on the island of Tanambogo lie in ruins.

With Gavutu pacified by noon, Hunt ordered an attack on Tanambogo at 3:30 pm after a 30-minute naval bombardment by San Juan and Buchanan, the latter firing at close range. At 4:15 pm, Company I, in conjunction with two M5 Stuart Light tanks under Lieutenant R.J. Sweeny (who was killed in action later that day), reached the island by water. One tank assailed Hill 121 from the south, while the other did the same from the east. Both metal monsters were closely supported by Marines. However, one of the tanks moved too rapidly ahead of its accompanying infantry. As the tank approached its target, Captain Miyazaki and other Japanese officers swarmed over the vehicle, setting it ablaze with gasoline-soaked rags, killing three of its crewmen and savagely beating a fourth. An immediate hail of American small-arms fire soon killed the captain and 41 of his comrades, who fell around the burned-out American tank.

Meanwhile, the second armored fighting vehicle was able to knock out enough enemy bunkers using its 37mm main gun to allow a platoon from Company K of Hunt’s battalion to charge across the causeway onto Tanambogo at 4:40 pm. This provided the needed muscle to finally break the Japanese hold on the islet. Although the island was declared secure by 9 pm on August 8, isolated night attacks by the Japanese continued. It was not until the next day, after savage fighting with bayonet, rifle butt, and hand grenades, that the remaining defenders on Tanambogo were completely eliminated.

Of the 1,300 men committed, 70 Marines were killed and 87 wounded during the fight for Gavutu and Tanambogo. The Japanese lost 516 killed and 20 prisoners, 15 of whom were Korean laborers who had fought alongside their Japanese masters.

“A Soldier’s Battle, Unremitting, and Relentless”

American deaths sustained in the capture of Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo totaled 122, while 863 Japanese perished in the three engagements. The 1st Marine Division’s after action report noted: “The combat assumed the nature of a storming operation from the outset, a soldier’s battle, unremitting, and relentless, to be decided only by the extermination of one or the other of the adversaries engaged. Soldierly behavior was manifest wherever the enemy was encountered.”

Shortly after Tulagi was taken by the Marines, Gavutu anchorage began serving as a giant naval base and refueling station. Purvis Bay assumed a significant role as a center for light naval forces operating in the middle and upper Solomons. Tulagi’s harbor also functioned as a temporary repair center for vessels damaged in the many naval battles that occurred in the Guadalcanal vicinity between August and December 1942. Later in the campaign for Guadalcanal, Tulagi became a U.S. PT Boat base.

After Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo were firmly in American hands, the majority of the Marines who wrested these islands away from the Japanese were transferred to Guadalcanal to help defend Henderson Field, the key to the victory in the Solomons, from repeated attempts by the Japanese Army to recapture it.


Commandeered by the Navy, Plutocrat’s Maritime Plaything Went Down a Gallant Warship

Ravaged by aerial attack, the auxiliary tender, heavily burdened with a load of ammunition, depth charges, and aviation fuel, was wallowing in open water between the Solomon Islands and New Guinea on Friday, May 22, 1943. The vessel’s 136-man crew had abandoned ship. A tin fish deliberately loosed by a friendly boat set off explosions that blew the tender to pieces. The pieces sank in the South Pacific. The ship that vanished and its mercy killer both belonged to the U.S. Navy. However, while the attacking craft, though wooden-hulled, was strictly military—a Patrol Torpedo (PT) boat—the vessel destroyed was made of steel and had had a complicated career. Originally an industrialist’s yacht more accustomed to hosting big shots than serving swabbies, USS Niagara had been commissioned for the duration. Now its war was over.

Cosseted by a crew of 50 to 60, the Manvilles rode the waves aboard the pride of their motor yacht’s designers. (Maine Maritime Museum)

Work on the pleasure craft destined for combat began in July 1928, when American asbestos magnate Hiram Manville, proprietor of the Johns-Manville Company, put a down payment on a diesel yacht at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. By June 1929, when, with most of Bath’s population watching, the 267’, 1,333-ton white-hulled vessel slid from a shipyard cradle into the Kennebec River estuary, change orders had run the original $769,827 price beyond $900,000—today, in excess of $12.6 million. The first syllables of the names of father Hiram, daughter Estelle, mother Romaine, and Manville comprised their ship’s appellation—Hi-Esmaro, the same tag the family bestowed on its 150-acre estate at Pleasantville, New York.

The Swedish officer and philanthropist Count Folke Bernadotte married Manville daughter Estelle in 1928 (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

Romaine Manville christened the yacht, built for pleasure and to display status. On the boat deck beneath the bridge and chart room, the forward deck house featured a sunroom from which occupants had an unobstructed view of what lay ahead. Aft of the sunroom were the captain’s stateroom, equipped with a bath and a large wardrobe, and the wireless room. The owner’s suite, also on the boat deck, comprised a beautifully furnished double stateroom with sitting room and bath. Four other double guest staterooms each had private baths. Hi-Esmaro also had two bachelor rooms, plus accommodations for maids and valets. The main deckhouse incorporated a sedate but attractively decorated main salon and dining room paneled in solid teak. Estelle Manville, 24, had married into the Swedish royal family in 1928 replicas of that nation’s crown hung over the stateroom beds. Designed by yacht architect Henry J. Gielow, Hi-Esmaro had two Bessemer diesel engines and a sister ship, Vanda, built simultaneously for a Boston investor. A crew of 50 to 60, sometimes including a surgeon and a barber, staffed each vessel.

For ten years the Manvilles, members of the New York Yacht Club, made abundant use of Hi-Esmaro, often to travel to sailing and crew races up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

One popular entry on the yachting calendar was an annual Harvard-Yale rowing competition along Connecticut’s Thames River. The finish line was a bridge inland from Long Island Sound linking riverside towns Groton and New London, Connecticut. On June 19, 1931, Groton-born canoeist Louis Grimmer, 12, got an eyeful of the Manville yacht. He particularly admired that rakish clipper bow and the mermaid bowsprit.

Louis had been paddling with friends through the spectator fleet anchored at the finish line when guests aboard Hi-Esmaro called down to the boys, “Good morning—who is going to win?”

Harvard did, finishing the four-mile downstream course in 21:29, 13 seconds ahead of Yale. Louis Grimmer never forgot his glimpse of Hi-Esmaro. “I used to dream at night of how I would like to own a yacht, such as this, and travel the world,” he recalled later.

The Manville yacht twice crossed the Atlantic to Europe, where Hiram and Romaine visited with Estelle and her husband, Count Folke Bernadotte. Once, the Swedish royal family joined the Manvilles for a Mediterranean cruise. In spring 1939, when Crown Prince Gustav Adolph and Crown Princess Louise visited New York to open Sweden’s exhibit at the World’s Fair, Manville put the royal couple up aboard the yacht. That September, Germany invaded Poland and the Atlantic became a combat zone.

After growing massively during the Great War, the American military had shrunk, especially the Navy, tightly hemmed by arms-control treaties until resurgent international tension reversed that. In 1938, authorized U.S. Navy tonnage began to rise. By 1940 the Navy had some 2,000 ships and was eager to acquire anything afloat serviceable enough to commission for coastal patrol and similar duties. That October the government bought Hi-Esmaro from Romaine Manville for $150,000 eventually more than half of the 500-odd vessels owned by New York Yacht Club members entered active service. Work began immediately to convert Hi-Esmaro into a warship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The elegant Hi-Esmaro, rechristened USS Niagara when mustered into naval service, looked like a dinghy in comparison to proper warships such as cruisers Leander (New Zealand) at left and USS Chicago. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

Connecticut canoeing enthusiast Lou Grimmer had joined the Navy. When his destroyer finished a cruise by docking in New York, he got orders to join the crew of a gunboat, USS Niagara (PG-52), as a storekeeper. “I will never forget the thrill I received when I walked down to the dock and found it was the old Hi-Esmaro,” Grimmer said later. It grieved him to watch shipyard workers transmogrifying the yacht for battle, a process that sacrificed not only most of the deluxe interior but also those beautiful lines. Assigned with other sailors to shovel clear the snowbound pier at which Niagara was berthed, Grimmer and mates reached the bow as “the workmen were in the process of removing a bosomly mermaid whom we were all attached to and we pelted them with snowballs, as if we could stop them from their assigned duties.” The yacht-turned-auxiliary-gunboat now was armed with two .50-cal. machine guns as well as two 3-inch guns. The crew totaled 136. The Navy assigned Lou Grimmer elsewhere.

Commissioned at New York in January 1941, Niagara was ordered south. At Miami and Key West, Florida, and at Guantanamo, Cuba, Navy men who were training to go to war in PT boats lived aboard the former yacht. Returning to New York for repairs, Niagara relocated to Newport, Rhode Island, to resume its dormitory role at the Naval Torpedo Station. In August 1941, assigned to the Pacific theater, Niagara departed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Anchoring there October 9, the vessel patrolled the islands until November 29, when Niagara joined a convoy escorting transports and heavy cruiser USS Northampton to Cavite, Philippines, by way of Fiji.

Eventually Niagara was sent to the South Pacific and stationed at Noumea, New Caledonia. (Photo © Usis-Dite)

At sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Niagara, unable to keep pace with genuine combat vessels, was ordered to Pearl to assume such supporting duties as convoy escort and service as a tender to PT squadrons. In April 1942 the gunboat sailed east to guard approaches to the Panama Canal.

Overhauled that summer at New York, Niagara returned to Newport as a school ship. However, with the war in the South Pacific gaining scope and intensity, the Navy in that theater, now thick with PT boat squadrons requiring regular refueling, needed tenders—floating resupply vessels stocking fuel and armaments and providing repair services. Shipfitters equipped Niagara with reserve fuel tanks capable of holding 50,000 gallons. In late November 1942, Niagara sailed west via the Panama Canal and the Society Islands, en route officially designated the Navy’s first Motor Torpedo Boat Tender, Auxiliary Gun, Patrol (AGP-1). The crew anchored at Noumea, New Caledonia, on January 17, 1943.

The colonial capital of French New Caledonia, Noumea offered whoever controlled its harbor domination of the Coral Sea and southern Solomon Islands. The sheltered anchorage, now a vital Allied forward naval and air base, was home to an immense armada. The streets of the port were crowded with aviators, sailors, and Marines attached to battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, repair ships, and smaller vessels.

One transient resident of Noumea was Frederick Ludwig, MD. The Michigan native, a Navy reservist, had left his medical practice in Port Huron to go on active duty. After a hurried two-week indoctrination at Great Lakes Training Center, Dr. Ludwig had sailed by Liberty ship out of San Francisco, debarking at Noumea in November 1942.

He thought it prudent to observe protocol by reporting for duty to his commanding officer clad as the Navy handbook prescribed. Pulling a rumpled, mildewed formal uniform from his seabag, Ludwig, 32, donned his heavy wool dress blues and in tropical heat sweatily quickstepped to headquarters, where a yeoman led him to a darkened room. As Ludwig was entering, a voice boomed, “Come in!” Proffering his orders with a salute to the silhouette in the shadows, the young doctor said, “Lieutenant Fred Ludwig reporting for duty, sir.”

The backlit officer stood.

“My God man, take off those blues!” he barked. “We only wear fatigues out here and never with a tie.”

There was another officer present.

“Are you the Dr. Ludwig just assigned to my hospital?” Captain Fred Conklin asked.

In the war zone, even Vice Admiral William F. Halsey eschewed finery like Navy dress uniforms. (AP Photo)

Conklin introduced Fred Ludwig to his host, Vice Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, commander of the South Pacific Theater of Operations. “We’re out here to fight a war,” Halsey said, now speaking in a warm voice. “Getting dressed up in coats and ties is a total waste of time.”

From Noumea, Halsey and subordinates were directing the American offensive in the Solomons, sometimes losing badly to Japan’s powerful fleet. Combat in the central Solomons was intense. At the Noumea hospital, Dr. Ludwig saw most of the casualties from those clashes. A case of the mosquito-borne tropical disease malaria made a patient of U.S. Marine Corps fighter ace and future South Dakota Governor Joe Foss. In 1943, Dr. Ludwig was ordered to assume the duties of medical officer aboard AGP-1, bound for the central Solomons. He busied himself stocking surgical instruments and supplies and familiarizing himself with running a commissary. To improve ventilation in the crew quarters, Ludwig oversaw the installation of screened doors, as well as wire mesh over the portholes. The Navy had not obliterated every trace of Hi-Esmaro’s former life. The officers’ mess was paneled in teak, “with linen and silver services that had belonged to Manville,” Ludwig said. “It was the only tender where the master could push a button and the entire bulkhead would fold back and expose an extra bed.” On January 27, 1943, Niagara departed Noumea with Motor Torpedo Boat Division 23, Squadron 8. After stops at Efate and Espiritu Santo, the gunboat took up station at Tulagi on February 17.

Tiny Tulagi, off the larger island of Florida, was chief port and administrative center of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, and one of the 900-mile chain’s best anchorages. At the start of the war in the Pacific, Tulagi’s coconut planters, traders, missionaries, and government officials had been in the path of Japanese forces sweeping south. A small garrison of Australian infantrymen guarded the civilians and a squadron of amphibious patrol planes and assisted what historian Samuel Eliot Morrison called a “Gilbert and Sullivan army of 15 whites, 5 Chinese and 130 native police in defending their base.”

In May 1942, the Australians evacuated Tulagi Japanese forces took over. An Allied victory that same month in the Battle of the Coral Sea stopped the Japanese advance.

By the time that Niagara reached Tulagi, the island had been recaptured and repurposed into a PT base. AGP-1 and the PT boats the former yacht supported operated at Tulagi in relative safety, though the small fleet’s anchorage was within range of shore-based aircraft using a major Japanese bastion 650 miles northwest at Rabaul, on New Georgia, and other enemy-held islands north and west.

For concealment, AGP-1’s crew moored north of the Florida Island harbor, tying up to tree trunks against the Maliali River’s high, jungle-rimmed banks. The crew settled into the cycle of tendering: making repairs, restocking torpedo boats with water, fuel, ammunition, and weapons, meanwhile providing communication services for PTs sortieing from Tulagi on nightly security patrols around Guadalcanal.

Only 10° south of the equator, Tulagi was plagued by flies, mosquitos, and a fug of humidity and stale air thickened by daily afternoon rains. Besides doctoring common but vexing tropical maladies—dysentery, ear infections, ringworm, fungus—Lieutenant Ludwig treated combat casualties.

At midmorning on Wednesday, April 7, 1943, coast watchers reported an ominous bustle at Japanese airfields on Bougainville, 380 miles northwest: many planes taking on fuel and bombs. About noon, a message confirmed that a huge Japanese air fleet was bearing down on the Guadalcanal-Tulagi area. Fighter pilots scrambled from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to intercept more than 170 Japanese attackers. Every ship and shore battery on Florida, Guadalcanal, and Tulagi joined in the defense. Japanese bombs sank oilers USS Kanawah and USS Aaron Ward and Royal New Zealand corvette Moa and did damage to British-built four-masted schooner USS Erskine Phelps, the oldest ship on active sea duty in the U.S. Navy. When nine two-man Aichi “Val” dive bombers swept up the Maliali at tree-top level, machine gunners aboard Niagara and minesweeper USS Rail, moored outboard of the tender, opened fire. The lead Val, damaged and flaming, crashed and exploded in mangroves 1,000 yards aft of Niagara. Two Vals got through, but the fourth was hit. Trailing white smoke, the Val crashed behind hills to the north. The last of the raiders made strafing runs, but in passing through heavy fire from Niagara they too were shot up and crashed in the jungle.

A dashing young sailor named John F. Kennedy had a berth aboard Niagara while waiting for a PT boat to command. (Photo ©CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

After the attack, Dr. Ludwig treated wounded men, mainly for burns, shrapnel injuries, and stress. Niagara resumed its routine. Repair work continued at a floating drydock. At the Tulagi government wharf, supplies and replacements occasionally arrived. Waiting to take command of a PT boat, newly arrived Lieutenant (jg) John F. Kennedy briefly bunked aboard Niagara.

In May 1943, as Halsey’s South Pacific naval forces were continuing their slow progress north and west, AGP-1’s captain, Lieutenant Commander David B. Coleman, got orders to establish a base on Woodlark Island, 500 miles due west of Tulagi and 150 miles from the immense island of New Guinea. At a British agricultural station on Malaita Island, Ludwig reprovisioned, loading up on fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and beans.

The crew topped off Niagara’s hold and tanks. Early on the morning of Friday, May 22, 1943, Tulagi harbor’s anti-submarine nets opened and AGP-1, laden with 50,000 gallons of aviation fuel plus stocks of torpedoes and depth charges, passed into the sea, escorted by six PTs and bound for Woodlark Island.

By midday, Niagara had swung south of Guadalcanal and was sailing west. Dr. Ludwig was in the galley anticipating a salad from the Malaita gardens to accompany the noon meal.

Crewman Joseph Tropea, topside on watch, noticed a silhouette against the sun: a Mitsubishi 97 heavy bomber.

Tropea alerted the bridge. In a twitch, all hands were racing for their assigned stations to a chorus of “GENERAL QUARTERS…GENERAL QUARTERS…MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS.” As the Mitsubishi was closing, Captain Coleman ordered a tight turn to starboard at flank speed. As the 97 was releasing four bombs, Coleman ordered a swing hard to port. Three bombs struck water to starboard, the last near enough to disable the tender’s steering and dislodge the 3-inch gun. “We could not train it, but we could elevate it,” Tropea said. “So we kept firing to keep him from coming down on us.”

Niagara went down a true sea dog off Guadalcanal in 1943 after being attacked by Japanese bombers. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

The bomber broke off. The crew got the steering working. In less than an hour the same 97 returned, accompanied by five other warplanes. One bomb in a pattern of more than a dozen hit Niagara’s forecastle. Concussions from near misses caused more damage, including a 14-inch hole six feet below the tender’s waterline. Seawater began flooding two storerooms and a passageway. The power failed. Dead in the water and listing dangerously to port, Niagara had no recourse against attack. Engine room gangs were able to get one of the two main diesels going. Fires were burning below decks forward. Coleman, knowing the result if his stores went up, gave the order to abandon ship.

Tropea was about to leave when he saw flames in an officers’ quarters near an ammunition locker. He and a shipmate brought an extinguisher to bear. When the men ran low on flame retardant, Tropea dashed topside for another extinguisher. A bomb blast knocked him down a gangway, injuring one of his knees. He and the other man kept up their firefighting until an officer ordered them over the side. Most of the crew had already abandoned Niagara for lifeboats or PTs. Tropea, later awarded a Silver Star for valor, wrote, “I had a profound affection for that ship and I would have done anything to prevent it from going down.”

In the engine room, over the sound of bombs and 20mm fire, Seamen Tommy Knight and Cotton Wheeler got an urgent summons. “KNIGHT AND WHEELER, SECURE THE ENGINE ROOM!” the public address system blared. “IF THERE ARE ANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS, LEND KNIGHT AND WHEELER A HAND BEFORE YOU ABANDON SHIP!”

PT-110 commander Lieutenant Patrick Munroe recalled “the Japanese pilots giving us a jubilant wave before they left.” PTs 146 and 147 knifed toward the tender, closing in at either side of the stern to take off men still aboard. The tender was in grievous shape—generators out, pipelines severed, pumps smashed. The foredeck was in flames, bow to bridge.

Captain Coleman ordered a coup de grace by PT-147. The torpedo struck amidships, sending gasoline flames 100 yards high. Black smoke momentarily obscured the vessel, which buckled, bow and stern folding together before sinking beneath a billow of white smoke. Below the surface a lone depth charge detonated with a muffled boom.


US History Blog

/>War brings many of most stark and tragic images of history. Here, after taking a torpedo in WWII, the USS New Orleans is anchored at Tulagi Island in the Solomons Islands. The ship has been camouflaged to protect from another attack.

More USS New Orleans pictures: http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/032/04032.htm

45 comments:

Carrier battles make for interesting campaigns as they were carried out by limited forces (those aboard ship) at a set of limited targets (an island or an opposing task force), little hindered and aided by units outside the scope of the campaign - especially across the trackless expanses of the Pacific. More importantly, these battles changed the way nations designed their navies. The largest naval battles of World War 2 were fought with the opposing fleets never sighting on another.
The carrier developed from what was seen as a supporting unit by naval theorists in the 1920s and 1930s (portable air-cover against annoying enemy scouts) to the main striking arm of a bluewater navy. The battleship, in development for more than three centuries to stand in a battleline, the centerpiece for nearly very navy in the world, was eclipsed as the definitive unit of naval weaponry. Aircraft could outrange its guns rather handily, and dive bombs and torpedoes could be more decisive than cannon-fire.
--------------------
christina

Great pictures. in fact last time when I visited UK I had taken ferries to france and during my ferry travel had taken excellent photoes which I will be uploading soon.

somewhere I did read that USS New Orleans was seen after the Battle of Tassafaronga near Tulagi on December 1, 1942.

Nice, very nice photos seems to be a great scenario to be vistied through ferries

Some tips on where to buy and how to buy essay you can find here. I think that you need to check it out as soon as possible

nice from information, i'm very like and thank you for sharing
Cara Menyembuhkan Cantengan Bernanah Yang Sudah Parah

A major commented factor of our pay someone to write my research paper is the ability of our writers to provide best write my research paper for me services that matches the academic requirements of students.

Really nice information. garmin.com/express provides the best technical help and guidance. Get in touch with extensively trained tech support team for all sort of queries and issues regarding your devices. You can contact garmin.com/express round the clock according to your convenience.

Lucas und Emily, beide 21 Jahre alt, waren seit ungefähr einem Monat zusammen. Während Lucas bereits Freundinnen gehabt hatte, hatte er sich nie so gefühlt wie Emily wellustigesem. Sie hatten sich in der Klasse an ihrer kleinen Hochschule für freie Künste getroffen, verstanden sich sofort und waren zu mehreren Terminen gegangen. Nach ein oder zwei Wochen lud Emily Lucas zu sich nach Hause ein und sie hatten unglaublichen Sex. Emily war wunderschön - blondes Haar, kurz, nur 5 Ɖ' ', dünn, aber immer noch ein wenig kurvig, freche Titten, die eine perfekte Handvoll waren, und ein straffer Körper, der nicht regelmäßig ins Fitnessstudio ging super-süß - auch blond, nur ein oder zwei Zentimeter größer als Emily, und ein schlanker, glatter, straffer Körper der Turnerin thefreeadultcam.com.Nach einem Monat Datierung fühlte Emily sich ein wenig komisch, dass sie noch nie in Lucas 'Wohnung gewesen war, und fragte ihn, ob sie dort irgendwann abhängen könnten. Lucas stimmte zögernd zu, warnte Emily jedoch schnell, dass er bei seinem älteren Bruder Justin lebte, der 23 Jahre alt war und irgendwie widerlich sein könnte. Sie lachte darüber und fragte, was er meinte. Lucas sagte ihr, Justin sei arrogant und könne eine Art Frauenheld sein. Emily versicherte Lucas, dass sie mit ihm umgehen könne, und sie stimmten zu, an diesem Wochenende bei ihm abzuhängen und eine Pizza zu bestellen.

Through our experts, we offer all kinds of Nursing Research Paper Writing Services and Legit Research Paper Help Services to suit the needs of every student when they are given any Nursing Essay Writing Services.

great article, I was very impressed about it, wish you would have stayed next share visit website

در چاپ کارت ویزیت معمولی، کارت ویزیت با سایر کارت‌ها همزمان چاپ شده و پس از چاپ باهم برش خورده و جدا می‌شوند.

When the writers are working on Psychology Research Paper Writing Services, they have to ensure they conduct thorough Psychology Research Paper Writing Services on the topic areas in order to complete the best Custom Psychology Research Paper Services using recent sources.

I read your post. It is very informative and helpful to me. I admire the message valuable information provided in your article. UK Discount Codes

https://crackygame.com/icloud-remover-cracked/
iCloud Remover Crack unlocks the remote-lock that can be put on iPhone with iCloud. It has a few options. However, the consumer can use it to make the apparatus again. It can also be utilized to retrieve the data out of an unlocked phone. Furthermore, this application is used to unlock the phone that is inaccessible to iCloud for any reason. But it can also be utilized to knock out all iCloud features on your phone.

https://pcprosoft.com/webstorm-crack-license-key-latest/
WebStorm Crack informs an individual to the fly after being a code malfunction will be discovered. At length, the computer software may assess the code by the VCS (model Control programs ) and additionally synchronize using the FTP server. A potent application to its evolution of sites, ideal for dealing using HTML, CSS and Java programs.

https://crackedpro.org/resharper-ultimate-cracked-with-keygen/
ReSharper Ultimate Crack is software that jobs for Visual audio users. Its a coding program for visual studio. That is available in several digital coding languages. Such as javascript, ASP Net, etc. It supports all these languages with modern technology. Its a code analyzer. In coding for more drill, it gives fast solutions to make better the coding system.

https://crackedsoftpc.com/phpstorm-key-is-here/
PHPStorm Crack can be an all-inclusive and well-laid system that greatly helps you, young programmers. This internet web-platform offers aid to each of world wide web purposes which includes. Each of the traits of most WebStorm is included in PhpStorm giving convenient features such as auto-complete, code. While, they are going to indicating, boilerplate code, plus even more, all geared toward raising productivity.

https://crackingkey.com/autodesk-autocad-2020-cracked-download-here/
Autodesk AutoCAD 2020 Crack offered AutoCAD for Windows and Mac, sold as one product in the software market. By acquiring the subscription to AutoCAD latest obtain entry using one permit. This brand newest variant can be a pair of technical programs.

https://crackedpcgame.com/devil-may-cry-5-crack-with-torrent-download/
Devil May Cry 5 Crack is still an action and experience gaming made by Capcom. Get pleasure from the fifth setup with the renowned saga filled with frenzied mass battles and unleash your capacity by carrying out dramatic combos to get rid of the hellish hordes. Devil May Cry 5 gift ideas different choices to accommodate your ballplayer.

Thank for sharing this.
Mile Solutions designed delivery software for small and medium type of business to manage deliveries in real time. For more details visit.

Thankyou for this post, it's very helpful for me, i'm new here will surely visit here again.

iCare Data Recovery Pro 8.3 Crack 2021 Latest Version Free Serial Number iCare Data Recovery Pro Crack is a free source to retrieve back the huge volume of data that is deleted or accidentally removed from your device.
i care data recovery crack

Insync Portable download is here uses for the integration of your work done by Windows and enhances online accessibility.
It is a powerful tool that evaluates the Drives data for a better connection.
INSYNC PRO CRACK

Active File Recovery 21.0.1 Crack Free Download Green and
Easily use the Restore Tool for deleted or lost files,
broken or reformatted volumes, even if your laptop does not boot.
At this point, when a document is connected to the hard drive,
two separate frameworks become potentially the most important factor
Active File Recovery CRACK

Thank you very much for sharing this blog with all of us. I am so glad. Keep it up.
crackprovst
3dmark crack
voicemod pro crack
execrack

Hello
very Helpful Content, I really loved it

we design a custom logo if you are interested in purchasing one click here.
Order

I love history blogs .. it gives us so much knowledge about the events of history which we have skipped on doing assignment help with great efforts of the people required with assignment help Sydney which is the need of the coming generation.

Visit microsoft365.con/setup or Microsoft Cloud Partner site. Click on “create a new account or Sign Up tab. Enter an email associating to Outlook or use a mobile number. Click next and create a password. Follow instructions and create Microsoft Office 365.

webroot.com/securedelivers multi-vector protection for endpoints and networks and threat intelligence services to protect businesses and individuals in a connected world. 123.hp.com/laserjet

شرکت فیلتر پرس صفا در زمینه تولید و تأمین و توزیع قطعات و لوازم فیلترپرس فعال بوده و تمامی لوازم جانبی فیلتر پرس اعم از جک هیدرولیک، کمک فیلتر، کیسه فیلتر و سایر لوازم جانبی را تامین کرده و به فروش می رساند. برای اطلاعات بیشتر می توانید به سایت شرکت فیلتر پرس پلی آب صفا رجوع کنید.

Audio Beats Pro APK Crack is quite simple and specific. Play all music codecs, along with mp3, ogg, flace, wma, wav, mp4 and many extras.
Audio Beats Pro APK Crack

Love the way you write. Thanks for sharing this with us.
ikcrack

There are many usa escort agencies in the USA. But when it comes to genuine and most trustworthy, none can stand with us. Escort city We are the top female escort, American call girlsservice provider in the USA. If you choose our female escort service, it will definitely be a wise decision. Offer In Call or OutCall escort service only all VIP hotels. Top-rated New York City escorts updated for 2021. View decadent high-res photos of irresistible escorts available right now. Escort service in California | ESCORT in New York City

Great information you shared through this blog. Keep it up and best of luck for your future blogs and posts. Visit our site to see the Latest TV schedule Jadwal RCTI

We are very good with your blog. And when we read it, all we got was good information and what we want is that you got it from your blog, thank you very much

If you want to take print then there is a very good chance for you that why our printer will get very good features and you will also get very good quality in it, http//ij.start.canon then you must try once so that you can get the right printer. And thanks for commenting us once

Hi,
That's Great & Giving so much information after reading your blog. For RentaPC Laptop on Rent
Great thanks to you
Laptop on Rent

Wow,amazing blog structure! How long have you been running a blog for you make running a blog look easy. The total look of your website is wonderful, as smartly as the content! simply couldn’t leave your web site before suggesting that I actually loved the standard information an individual provides to your guests? I am gonna be frequenting in order to check out new posts.

Our printer sells the most and you can print easily using Canon. If you want to know more about Canon, you can find out by visiting our site. You Can Also Visit Our Website - http //ij.start.canon setup

You were great and everyone received so much from your experience and knowledge.
We provide some useful information about canon.comijsetup printers. On our site, we provide the best canon printers for your personal or professional use. If you are using already a canon printer and facing some difficulties with using the canon printer. Visit my site and solve your problem.

Login to your turbotax login Online account to start, continue, or amend a tax return, get a copy of a past tax return, or check the e-file and turbo tax login refund status.


U.S.S. VULCAN

The USS Vulcan (AR-5) keel was laid 16 December 1939 at the New York Shipbuilding Corporationin in Camden, New Jersey. Sponsored by Mrs. James Forrestal, wife of the Under Secretary of the Navy, Vulvan was launched on 14 December 1940 and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 14 June 1941.

After a shake down cruise to San Juan, PR, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, USS Vulcan underwent a final fit out at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was assigned to Argentia, Newfoundland, the western terminus of the convoy routes to and from Europe. As the Summer of 1941 progressed and the war in Europe pulled more US ships into convoy duty, Vulcan was moved to Iceland where she supported a Task Force that included USS Wasp (CV-7), USS Mississippi (BB-41), Wichita (CA-45),and a squadron of four destroyers. Vulcan remained in Iceland through the winter of 1942.

Vulcan arrived in Boston in May 1942, where she underwent repairs. She returned to Argentia from June to November 1942, Vulcan then steamed to Iceland on 18 November, remaining there until April 1943. After repairs in Norfolk during June 1943 , Vulcan departed for the Mediterranean and Oran, then Algiers, Algeria where she spent the next year. In late summer 1944 Vulcan supported the invasion of southern France.

Vulcan returned to Norfolk and overhaul. Exiting the shipyard she steamed to the Pacific, where she operated out of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Nouma and Ulithi. After the war ended Vulcan moved to Okinawa. Starting in September 1945 USS Vulcan supported various ships of the Occupation Force, at Kure, Kobe and Yokosuka Japan.

In March 1946 Vulcan headed for home. touching at Pearl Harbor and transiting the Panama Canal while voyaging to Brooklyn, New York.

Vulcan was homeported at Newport, Rhode Island after the war. In February 1954 she was transfered to Norfolk, Virginia. USS Vulcan spent most of the next 35 years on the Western side of the Atlantic, servicing the ships of the US Atlantic Fleet. She ranged from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. In October 1962 the Cuban Missle Crisis erupted and Vulcan supported the Naval blockade from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In September 1964 Vuclan crossed the Atlantic for NATO exercise, returning in Decmeber 64.

Vulcan continued in Service To The Fleet through 1991.

USS Vulcan was decommissioned on 30 September 1991 and laid up at NISMF at James River, Virginia. Her hulk was sold for scrapping.

The USS Sierra (AD-18) operational history and significant events of her service career follow:


USS Tulagi - History

Shipmate Chet Thomason at Guadalcanal, 7 April 2006.

&bull Before daylight on that day in March 1942, with 13 officers on board, she grounded in 13 feet of water at the Cape Cod Canal&rsquos buoy 13, a lighted buoy with a burned-out light&mdashbad for the the ship, which returned to Boston Navy Yard for a new bow, but good for the crew, which gained a few extra weeks of leave in Beantown!

&bull That November, she was one of 13 Task Force 67 ships engaged in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, where she was sunk with three-quarters of her officers and men killed or wounded.

The circumstances of Monssen&rsquos loss overshadowed a diverse record of participation in many key events of early World War II, both in the Atlantic and the Pacific. She was laid down at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington on 12 July 1939 and launched there on 15 May 1940 she was commissioned on 14 March 1941 under LCdr. Roland Smoot. Attached to Destroyer Squadron 11, she served in the Atlantic from June 1941 until March 1942 in neutrality patrols and &ldquoshort of war&rdquo operations between New England and Iceland. Often operating with Kearny of her squadron, Monssen was in port she received news that Kearny had been torpedoed, 17 October. Monssen stood out, rendezvoused with Kearny and escorted her to Iceland.

Kearny (left) and Monssen lie off Iceland, October 1941, after Kearny sustained torpedo damage, visible amidships. From NARA photo 80-G-28788.

Detached from DesRon 11 and transferred to the Pacific, Destroyer Division 22 (Monssen with Gwin, Meredith and Grayson) joined Task Force 16 (carrier Hornet, cruisers Vincennes and Nashville and oiler Cimarron) for Lt. Col. &ldquoJimmy&rdquo Doolittle&rsquos raid on Tokyo in April. The task force then steamed to the South Pacific and, after missing the Battle of the Coral Sea, returned to Hawaii. In June, during the Battle of Midway, Monssen escorted Cimarron, then with Gwin stood by Yorktown as the latter was sunk. With her full division again, she then returned to the South Pacific in July for the beginning of the Guadalcanal campaign.

Click on any ship image to view it in more detail.

On the morning of 7 August, operating with Buchanan and San Juan (CL 53) as Fire Support Group &ldquoMike&rdquo of Task Group 62.2, Monssen was first to open fire&mdashon Florida Island&mdashin preparation for the landing on Beach Blue, Tulagi, half an hour before the 2d Marines went ashore. That afternoon, when Marines attempting to seize nearby Gavutu Island were enfiladed by enemy fire from caves on adjacent Tanambogo, the two destroyers joined aircraft from carrier Wasp with an intense bombardment, though the islands were not secured until two days later. With the landings complete, Monssen returned to escort duty.

Monssen&rsquos casualties at the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Source: Bureau of Personnel casualty report, NARA .

In November, under LCdr. Charles McCombs, Monssen escorted transports carrying reinforcements and supplies to Guadalcanal, helping fight off a Japanese air attack while they were unloading on the 12th. That night, she was part of a RAdm. Daniel J. Callaghan&rsquos Task Force 67, which was ordered to intercept a Japanese battleship force attempting to bombard Henderson Field. The resulting gunfire and torpedo action, the first surface phase of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, prevented the enemy from achieving its objective but cost the US Navy one cruiser and four destroyers. Monssen was among the latter: disabled by Japanese gunfire after flashing her recognition lights as ordered, she was abandoned and burned until the following afternoon, when she sank. Her survivors swam and/or were picked up and taken to Guadalcanal.

In 1992, Monssen&rsquos wreck was discovered and examined. She lies upright, over 2000 feet deep in Guadalcanal&rsquos Ironbottom Sound. Her hull is intact, though damaged forward by explosions and aft by impact with the sea floor. Her 5-inch guns are trained out to starboard. While her forward 5-inch guns and superstructure show the effects of Japanese shells and fire, the after guns and deckhouses are in relatively good condition.

Also in 1992, on Friday, 13 November, exactly 50 years after she was lost, Monssen&rsquos sole reunion was organized by shipmate Chet Thomason at the Radisson Hotel in San Diego. Most survivors had not seen each other since her sinking.


Watch the video: Intense Footage of the Pacific War in Color. Smithsonian Channel (August 2022).