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Operations in the Central and Northern Solomons 

March–December 1943 

Saratoga (CV-3) in a South Pacific anchorage, likely Noumea/New Caledonia, 1943. Saratoga was the only operational U.S. fleet carrier available for the August 1943 New Georgia operation, so the Royal Navy's carrier Victorious (see following image) was briefly transferred to U.S. operational control (NH 81067).

Photo #: NH 76498 Munda-Vila Bombardment, 13 May 1943
Honolulu (CL-48) firing during the night bombardment of Japanese positions at Vila, on Kolombangara, and Munda, on New Georgia, 11–13 May 1943 (NH 76498).

Kolombangara- New George Bombardment, 11-13 May 1943
Two light cruisers steam into the sunset during the Kolombangara–New Georgia bombardment, 11–13 May 1943. Photo taken from Nashville (CL-43) (80-G-51656).

Photo #: 80-G-54553 Battle of Kula Gulf, 5-6 July 1943
Helena (CL-50), in the center, firing during the 5–6 July 1943 Battle of Kula Gulf, just before she was torpedoed and sunk. The next ship astern is Saint Louis (CL-49). Photographed from USS Honolulu (CL-48) (80-G-54553).

Battle of Kula Gulf, 5-6 July 1943
Fuel oil–covered survivors of the torpedoed Helena (CL-50) aboard Nicholas (DD-449) after the battle (80-G-54552).

Battle of Kula Gulf, 5-6 July 1943
Crewmembers cleaning torpedo tubes aboard Nicholas (DD-449), after the battle (80-G-54555).

Solomons Campaign, 1943
Ships of Task Force 18 underway in the Solomons, 8 July 1943, two days after the battle of Kula Gulf (80-G-259202).

Photo #: 80-G-254933 USS McCawley (APA-4)
Troops climbing down cargo nets hung over the side of McCawley (APA-4) to board LCVPs during rehearsals for the New Georgia operation, 14 June 1943 (80-G-254933).

Photo #: 80-G-57074 Central Solomons Campaign, 1943
Light cruisers maneuvering off Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, during exercises on 20 June 1943, ten days before the invasion of New Georgia. Ships are Saint Louis (CL-49) at left; Helena (CL-50) at right; and Honolulu (CL-48) in the center distance (80-G-57074).

Rendova-New Georgia Operation, June-July 1943. Lieutenant Colonel Lester E. Brown, CO, 2nd Battalion, 103rd Inf. Rgt.
Rendova–New Georgia Operation, June/July 1943: Lieutenant Colonel Lester E. Brown, commanding 2nd Battalion, 103rd Infantry Regiment , gives last-minute instructions to his officers before boarding landing craft in the Russell Islands for transportation to Rendova or New Georgia, 29 June 1943. In background are LCI-333 and LCI-334 (SC-185867).

New Georgia Campaign, 1943
Troops unloading ammunition from LCI-330, 335, and 328 during landing operations at Rendova Island, 30 June 1943 (80-G-52777).

Rendova - New Georgia Operation, 1943
Marines unloading LCIs on a Rendova Island beach, 4 July 1943. They are unloading in a hurry after a bomb struck between the two landing craft in the center. Vessels are (left to right): LCI-23, LCI-24, LCI-65, and LCI-63 (USMC-63408).

New Georgia Camaign, 1943.
Landing craft put Army infantry and medics ashore on a New Georgia beach. The troops are to make their way through the jungle led by native guides (SC-181725).

Japanese "Dai Hatsu" Type Landing Craft swamped on a New Georgia beach, July 19, 1943
Japanese Dai Hatsu–type landing craft swamped on a New Georgia beach, 19 July 1943 (USMC-60431).

Munda airfield, New Georgia Island, Solomons
Munda airfield, New Georgia Island, photographed circa 1943/44 after redevelopment by the Allies (80-G-K-1454).

New Georgia Campaign, 1943
SBD Dauntless dive bombers take off from Munda airfield, 28 October 1943, after its reconstruction for U.S. aircraft (80-G-56479).

HMS VICTORIOUS (British aircraft carrier, 1939)
HMS Victorious with a Fairey Albacore torpedo bomber lined up to land on board, circa 1941. Before arriving in the Solomons in 1943, the carrier was fitted with additional antiaircraft guns, U.S. Navy radar and communications gear, and additional arresting wires in Norfolk, Virginia, and at Pearl Harbor. Her disruptive camouflage was only partially retained on her armored flight deck. It was found that the large TBM Avenger torpedo bombers taxed the ship's storage and deck-handling capacity. Thus, given her superior fighter-direction center, Victorious embarked the fighter squadrons of Saratoga's air wing in addition to her own during the New Georgia operation (NH 73690).

Photo #: NH 97963 USS Nashville (CL-43)
View onboard Nashville (CL-43), looking aft from amidships on the starboard side. Taken 11–13 May 1943, before or just after Task Force 18's 13 May bombardment of Japanese positions on Kolombangara and New Georgia islands. The ship immediately astern is St. Louis (CL-49) (NH 97963).

Munda-Vila Bombardment, 13 May 1943
Sailors aboard Nicholas (DD-449) swab out a 5-inch/38-caliber gun after the bombardment of Kolombangara and New Georgia, 13 May 1943 (80-G-51694).

Battle of Kula Gulf, 5-6 July 1943
Japanese warship burning during the battle. Photographed from Nicholas (DD-449) (80-G-52851).

Battle of Kula Gulf, 5-6 July 1943
Crewmembers of Honolulu (CL-48), stacking empty shell cases after the Battle of Kula Gulf (80-G-52869).

Photo #: 80-G-54566 Battle of Kula Gulf, 5-6 July 1943
Marines aboard Honolulu (CL-48) fire a salute during funeral services for a casualty from the sunken Helena (CL-50) following the Battle of Kula Gulf. Note chaplain at right and audio equipment in left center, atop the cruiser's hangar cover (80-G-54566).

Photo #: 80-G-232152 Battle of Kula Gulf, 6 July 1943
The remains of the Japanese destroyer Nagatsuki aground, just offshore at Kolombangara Island, 8 May 1944. She was beached there during the 5–6 July 1943 Battle of Kula Gulf (80-G-232152).

Photo #: 80-G-254930 USS McCawley (APA-4)
A camouflaged truck is hoisted on board McCawley (APA-4) during preparations for the New Georgia operation, 14 June 1943. Note the winch operator’s tattoos (80-G-254930).

Photo #: 80-G-52931 USS Strong
USS Strong (DD-467) Highlines mail to Honolulu (CL-48) during operations in the Solomon Islands area, June/July 1943. Strong was torpedoed and sunk off New Georgia on 5 July 1943. Note the warning notice painted on Honolulu's starboard catapult: “No Smoking Abaft This Sign” (80-G-52931).

New Georgia Campaign, 1943
Soldier wounded in the face is given first aid during the landings on Rendova Island, New Georgia, 30 June 1943 (80-G-52607).

New Georgia Campaign, 1943
Navy LCTs landing supplies for Marines who have just captured the villages of Tetamura and Tombi, in the Viru Harbor region of New Georgia, 1 July 1943 (USMC 57764).

New Georgia Campaign, June-August 1943
Smoke from a Japanese bomb explosion drifts over a U.S. Army 155-mm "Long Tom" heavy artillery piece after an enemy air raid on its position on Rendova Island. The gun was employed in shelling Japanese positions on nearby New Georgia (80-G-52787).

New Georgia Camaign, 1943.
U.S. Navy warships from Rear Admiral. A. S. Merrill's cruise-destroyer force shelling Munda airfield, New Georgia, from Blanche Channel. This attack was delivered in support of U.S. land operations against the Japanese positions at Munda (SC-181667).

New Georgia Campaign, 1943
Solomon Islanders enjoying C-ration crackers at Munda, 28 October 1943 (80-G-56456).

Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, USNR
Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, USNR, receives the Navy and Marine Corps Medal from Captain Frederick L. Conklin, MC, USN, commanding officer of Chelsea Naval Hospital, Massachusetts, 1945. Kennedy was commander of PT-109, which was sliced in two by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri during the final operations in the New Georgia campaign, 2 August 1943 (NH 91542).
Published: Fri May 10 11:34:41 EDT 2019