Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Battle of Kula Gulf, July 5-6, 1943

As a result of the U.S. landing on New Georgia on June 30, 1943, the Japanese, led by Rear Admiral Teruo Akivama, made an attempt to land reinforcements with ten destroyers, resulting in the Battle of Kula Gulf, July 5-6, 1943.    Rear Admiral Walden L. Ainsworth, USN, led Task Group 36.1.   In the battle, USS Helena (CL-50) was hit by three torpedoes.  Broken into three parts, she sank, resulting in the loss of nearly 170 crewmen.   The Japanese lost destroyer Nizuki and destroyer Nagatsuki ran around at Kolombangara.   USS Radford (DD-446) and USS Nicholas (DD-449) helpd to rescue the light cruiser's survivors. 

Image:  80-G-52817:  Battle of Kula Gulf, July 5-6, 1943.  Night-firing during the battle.  U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.