Landing on the Treasury Islands
27th October 1943: Onshore the invasion force must face suicidal Japanese counterattacks, offshore the USS Cony fights off numerous air attacks
The invasion of the Treasury Islands was a small stepping stone in the occupation of all the Solomon Islands, a prelude to the much larger Bougainville expedition. It is notable for being the first amphibious action by New Zealand troops since Gallipoli.
They made up around two-thirds of the invading force, the balance being US Marines. Although it was a one-sided operation, with nearly 7,000 troops in total facing less than 250 Japanese, it was not without its dramas. The Japanese chose to fight to the death and they they took 40 New Zealanders and 12 Marines with them, with more wounded. Only 8 Japanese were taken prisoner.1
One incident would become famous. As the Landing Ship Tanks arrived to consolidate the landings that had already been achieved by the infantry arriving in Higgins boats, LST-399 came under fire from a machine gun post overlooking the beach. A bulldozer driver from the Naval Construction Battalion - the Sea Bees - Aurelio Tassone resolved the situation by using his dozer to demolish the log-built structure.
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