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Solomon Islands
Images in: /World War II/Pacific Theater /Solomon Islands

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"Water Buffalo" line up for invasion of Cape Sansapor, New Guinea "Water Buffalo" line up for invasion of Cape Sansapor, New Guinea
"Water Buffalo" (amphibious tanks) line up for invasion of Cape Sansapor at the western end of Dutch New Guinea. Coast Guardsman Robert Campbell stands guard, 1944. (Coast Guard)
 
 
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1st Marine Division hold captured flags "Battle of Cape Gloucester" 1st Marine Division hold captured flags "Battle of Cape Gloucester"
 Soldiers of the 1st Marine Division display Japanese flags captured during the Battle of Cape Gloucester, Solomons. New Britain was defended by the Imperial Japanese Army's 17th Division, under Major General Iwao Matsuda; reinforced by 65th Independent Mixed Brigade and elements of the 51st Division, known as the Matsuda Force. The strain and fatigue of 23 days on the line at Cape Gloucester is clearly shown in the faces of these men of the 7th Marines, relieved after taking Hill 660.  They trapped the Japanese between 60mm mortar fire in front and 81mm and artillery fire in back, then  overlapped the impact areas; over 100 Japanese were caught in the open and killed. Later the 5th Marines attacked and neutralized Matsuda's Command Post. New Britain cost the reinforced 1st Marine Division 310 killed in action and 1,083 wounded. The remains of the Matsuda Force were ordered back to Rabaul to defend the base. For the rest of the war, 40,000 Japanese starved and were harassed by a much smaller Allied force. 1st Marine Division was relieved by the US Army's 40th Infantry Division and prepared for the Peleliu operation.
 
 
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1st Marine Division Lands on Cape Gloucester 1st Marine Division Lands on Cape Gloucester
 Soldiers of the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division wade through a three-foot surf from Infantry Landing Craft (LCIs) to land on Yellow Beach. The Landing Zone was divided into two areas.  Beach Yellow 1, the westernmost, was about 500 yards long, bounded on the east by a 1,000-yard stretch of rocky shore line where jungle grew out over the water to provide a secondary barge hideout that serviced what aerial observers had spotted as a small supply dump and bivouac area immediately inland.   Beach Yellow 2: approximately 700 yards long and terminating some 1,200 yards west of the tip of Silimati Point. The first wave of the 3d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel William R. Williams) landed on Yellow 1 at 0746, the 1st Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel John E. Weber) on Yellow 2 two minutes later, both in landing craft from the APDs. Charging down the lowered ramps of their LCVPs, the Marines found themselves brought up short by a dense jungle. Cape Gloucester, New Guinea, Solomon Islands.
 
 
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1st Marine War Dog Platoon "Devil Dogs" 1st Marine War Dog Platoon "Devil Dogs"
 US Marine "Raiders" and their war dogs, which are used for scouting and running messages, starting off for the jungle front lines on Bougainville, November 1943. Photo by  T.Sgt. J. Sarno, US Marine Corps.  The first appearance of the "Devil Dogs" as the Raiders were to be called, was during the Bougainville operation, 1 November 1943. Here the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon was attached to H & S Company, 2nd Marine Raider Regiment (provisional). This platoon was composed of 24 dogs (21 Doberman Pinschers, 1 Belgian and 2 German Shepherds).
 
 
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2nd Marine Regiment on Guadalcanal 2nd Marine Regiment on Guadalcanal
 Group of Marines at rest are with K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, on extended duty with the 1st Marine Division, landed in Tulagi, August 7, 1942 and held it until relieved by other elements of the 2nd Marines, September 14, 1942. Tulagi, Guadalcanal.
 
 
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37th Infantry Division lands on Bougainville 37th Infantry Division lands on Bougainville
 Soldiers with 37th Infantry (Army) Division try to secure landing craft in heavy surf after landing on Bougainville, November, 1944.
 
 
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3rd Marine Division lands on Bougainville 3rd Marine Division lands on Bougainville
 The first wave of the assault force moved ashore, Third Marine Division during the landings on Bougainville, at 0645hrs on 1 November 1943, "Battle of Bougainville," Solomon Islands.
 
 
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3rd Marine Division move into Empress Augusta Bay 3rd Marine Division move into Empress Augusta Bay
 On 1 November 1943 the US 3rd Marine Division landed at Cape Torokina in Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville. The bay had been chosen because it was at the outer limit of Allied fighter plane range, and because the numerically-superior Japanese 17th Army was concentrated at other more strategic sites in the north and the south.  The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, on November 1-2, 1943 — also known as the "Battle of Gazelle Bay," "Operation Cherry Blossom" and in Japanese sources as the "Sea Battle of Bougainville Bay Shore"— was a naval battle fought near the island of Bougainville.
 
 
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503rd Parachute Infantry land on Kamiri Airdrome, New Guinea 503rd Parachute Infantry land on Kamiri Airdrome, New Guinea
 A B-17 overhead drops supplies and American paratroopers of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment on Kamiri Airdrome, New Guinea, July 3, 1944. The 503rd was sent to reinforce the American landing on Noemfoor by the 158th Regimental Combat Team on July 2. Coming in a day after the initial landing, the 54th Troop Carrier Wing of the 5th Air Force dropped 739 men directly over the airfield. Kamiri, Noemfoor, New Guinea, July 3, 1944.
 
 
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American military cemetery at Bougainville American military cemetery at Bougainville
 American military cemetery at Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Pacific Theater of War, 1944.
 
 
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Black Sheep Squadron with F4U-4 Corsair Black Sheep Squadron with F4U-4 Corsair
 Colonel Boyington with "Black Sheep" Squadron VMF-214 in front of F4U-4 Corsair fighter plane before leaving for Munda, September 1943.
 
 
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Censored Image of dead American soldiers Censored Image of dead American soldiers
 In this iconic photo by LIFE photographer George Strock, three Americans lie dead after they were ambushed by Japanese soldiers next to Japanese landing craft. The American advance on Buna was marked by green US troops failing to advance against the Japanese army, Burma, New Guinea, Solomons, January 3, 1943.  The photo, taken on January 3, 1943 and was censored until the September 20, 1943 issue of LIFE, when it was published as part of a larger publicity campaign to shock the American public, whom US President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed had become complacent about the war. Condemned by many and praised by veterans, the photo was not the first photo of war dead to be published, but was marked by the greatest controversy. Strock reportedly took the photo as part of a feature on a GI named "Bill" who was one of the three men killed.
 
 
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Colonel Boyington with Black Sheep Squadron Colonel Boyington with Black Sheep Squadron
 Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington with his Black Sheep Squadron, (VMF-214) going over tactics and strategy before the attack on Kahili airdome at the southern tip of Bougainville on 17 October 1943. He and 24 fighters circled the field where 60 hostile aircraft were based, goading the enemy into sending up a large force.  In the fierce battle that followed, 20 enemy aircraft were shot down while the Black Sheep returned to their base without loss. Boyington’s squadron, offered to down a Japanese Zero for every baseball cap sent to them by major league players in the World Series, they received 20 caps and shot down many more enemy aircraft.
 
 
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Commanding officer giving orders on Cape Gloucester Commanding officer giving orders on Cape Gloucester
 Lt. Col. John Weber, commanding officer of a Marine battalion on Cape Gloucester, sitting on his helmet, receives a report from one of his company commanders during battle. Pfc. Vincent Miley, looking on, blows cigarette smoke out of his nose, January 1944. Photo by Brenner, US Marine Corps.
 
 
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Crewmen lifting injured man out of TBF "Avenger" Crewmen lifting injured man out of TBF "Avenger"
Crewmen lifting injured Kenneth Bratton (AOM) out of turret of Grumman TBF "Avenger" on the USS Saratoga after raid on Rabaul, November 1943. Lt. Wayne Miller. (Navy)
 
 
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Deck of US Submarine during war patrol Deck of US Submarine during war patrol
 Looking forward along deck from stern of U.S. submarine on war patrol in the south Pacific, August 1944.
 
 
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Heavy flak over USS Enterprise Heavy flak over USS Enterprise
 A Japanese bomb splashes astern of the carrier USS Enterprise as the enemy plane pulls out of its dive above the carrier. In the center is another enemy plane that has made an unsuccessful dive during the Battle of Santa Cruz. Anti-aircraft shell bursts fired at attacking Japanese aircraft fill the sky above the USS Enterprise (left) and her screening ships during the battle on October 26, 1942.
 
 
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Japanese Destroyer hit by Avenger bomber Japanese Destroyer hit by Avenger bomber
 Japanese Destroyer is hit by TBM Avenger torpedo bomber near Guadalcanal, Solomons, November 1942.
 
 
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LST Loaded with equipment "Battle of Cape Gloucester" LST Loaded with equipment "Battle of Cape Gloucester"
Invasion of Cape Cloucester, New Britain, 24 Dec. 1943. Crammed with men and material for the invasion, this Coast Guard-manned LST nears the Japanese held shore. Troops shown in the picture are Marines during "Battle of Cape Gloucester" PhoM1c. Don C. Hansen. (Coast Guard)
 
 
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Marines battle Japanese on Bougainville Marines battle Japanese on Bougainville
 Sherman tank "Lucky Legs" and US Marines during early morning mop up operation on Bougainville. During the night, the Japanese army would try to infiltrate American lines only to be pushed back into the jungle, "Battle of Bougainville," March 1944.
 
 
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Officer at periscope Coral Sea Officer at periscope Coral Sea
 Officer at periscope looking for Japanese ships during war patrol in the Coral Sea,  April 29, 1942. The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from May 4 to May 8, 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of War between the Imperial Japanese Navy the United States and Australian Navy's.
 
 
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Officer at periscope looking for enemy ships Officer at periscope looking for enemy ships
 Officer at periscope looking for enemy ships during support for the landings on Vella Lavella in the Solomon Island, August 15, 1943.
 
 
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Pilots relaxing on F4U-4 Corsair fighter Pilots relaxing on F4U-4 Corsair fighter
 Marines pilots with VMF-222 relaxing on the wings of this F4U-4 Corsair fighter plane in between strikes. Marine Fighting Squadron 222 (VMF-222) known as “The Flying Deuces," Bougainville, Solomon Islands, April 2, 1944.
 
 
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PT-103 Torpedo Boat during patrol, New Guinea PT-103 Torpedo Boat during patrol, New Guinea
 Patrol Torpedo Boat of the PT-103 class at speed. These 80-foot (24.4-meter) boats, manufactured by Electric Launch Corporation (ELCO), were the most numerous of the three major designs. This boat has two dual-mounted hydraulically-operated M2 .50-caliber Browning machine guns, plus two more hand-operated Brownings in single mountings forward. An additional 20mm Oerlikon antiaircraft gun is mounted on the stern. Four launchers for 21-inch (53.3-centimeter) Mark VIII torpedoes were standard.   American boats would quietly maneuver within 1,000 yards (914 meters) before attacking to ensure a hit, because the American torpedo was so unreliable. The Japanese "Long Lance" type 93 24-inch (60.1-centimeter) destroyer torpedo was accurate to 40,000 yards and had a much heavier warhead of 1,083 pounds (490 kilograms). Later torpedo boats were issued the Mark XIII torpedo in a roll-off rack that made maintenance and firing simpler, New Guinea.
 
 
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Signal Corps cameramen, New Guinea Signal Corps cameramen, New Guinea
Sgt. Carl Weinke and Pfc. Ernest Marjoram, Signal Corps cameramen, wading through stream while following infantry troops in forward area during invasion at a beach in New Guinea. Red Beach 2, Tanahmerah. April 22, 1944. T4c. Ernani D'Emidio. (Army)
 
 
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U.S. Marine Raiders on Bougainville U.S. Marine Raiders on Bougainville
 U.S. Marine Raiders gathered in front of a Japanese dugout at Cape Totkina on Bougainville, Soloman Islands, which they helped to take on January 1944. These men have earned the bloody reputation of being skillful jungle fighters in the Pacific.
 
 
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Underground surgery room on Bougainville Underground surgery room on Bougainville
In an underground surgery room, behind the front lines on Bougainville, U.S. Army doctor operates on a Marine wounded by a Japanese sniper. December 13, 1943. Attributed to Miller. (Army)
 
 
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US Marines and Japanese soldiers battle on Cape Gloucester US Marines and Japanese soldiers battle on Cape Gloucester
 US 1st Marine Division under Major General William H. Rupertus, battle in the jungle with the Japanese 17th Division, commanded by Major General Iwao Matsuda, which was augmented by "Matsuda Force" the 65th Infantry Brigade and elements of the 51st Division on Cape Gloucester. "Battle of Cape Gloucester," January 1944. Photo by Brenner, US Marine Corps.
 
 
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US Marines land on Rendova Island US Marines land on Rendova Island
 Landing operations on Rendova Island, Solomon Islands, 30 June 1943. Attacking at the break of day in a heavy rainstorm, the first Americans ashore huddle behind tree trunks and any other cover they can find.
 
 
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US Troops land on Guadalcanal US Troops land on Guadalcanal
 American troops with the 160th Infantry Regiment move ashore from landing craft during amphibious landings at Guadalcanal, Battle of Guadalcanal, 1944. Photo by Tom Preston, US Army.
 
 
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