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Battle of Kolombangara:  July 12-13, 1943

Similar to the Battle of Kula Gulf, a Japanese reinforcement force, commanded by Rear Admiral Shunji Izaki made an attempt to land troops at Vila, Kolombangara, on the night of July 12, 1943.   The Japanese were met by Task Force 18 led by Rear Admiral Walden L. Ainsworth.  During the battle, the U.S. Navy lost the destroyer USS Gwin (DD-433) and the cruisers USS Honolulu (CL-48), USS Saint Louis (CL-49), and the New Zealand light cruiser Leander, were damaged.   The Japanese lost light cruiser Jinstu.   As a result of these two night battles, the Allies learned how far the long-range Japanese destroyer Model 93 or "long lance" torpedoes traveled.  For the Japanese, it was further proof that forward bases were unsustainable in the face of general Allied naval superiority.

Image:  80-G-342763:   Battle of Kolombangara, July 12-13, 1943.   Gunfire of Saint Louis (CL-49) and HMNZS Leander during the battle.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.