June 30 This day during World War ll

June 30, 1943 – Operation Chronicle was the Allied invasion of Woodlark and Kiriwina Islands during World War II, in the South West Pacific as part of Operation Cartwheel. An early planning name for this operation was Operation Coronet. The operation was executed without opposition on 30 June 1943. An advanced party of 112th Cavalry Regiment under the command of Major D. M. McMains, left Milne Bay at 1600 on 22 June 1943 aboard the destroyer transports Brooks and Humphreys to Woodlark. Arriving at Guasopa Harbour at 0032 on 23 June landing in six Landing Craft, Personnel (Ramped) (LCP(R)). The destroyer transports left at 0400 for Milne Bay. An Australian coastwatcher, not having been informed of the landing, almost attacked the landing force with his native guerrilla force until overhearing the troops’ broad accents. The advance party undertook reconnaissance, established defenses and facilities for the invasion force and cleared obstructions on the landing beaches. The 158th Infantry Regiment advanced party, with a detachment of the 59th Combat Engineer Company and the 158th Infantry Regiment’s communication platoon, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Floyd G. Powell, departed Milne Bay at 1810 on 23 June aboard the returned Brooks and Humphreys. Arriving at Kiriwina at midnight 24 June they landed in LCP(R)’s along a channel winding through the reef to the beach at Losuia on Kiriwina. The ships had not been emptied before departing, returning three nights later to unload heavy communication and engineer equipment left in their holds. The advance party built a coral causeway across the reef to allow landing. On 25 June 2,600 troops of Woodlark Force, led by Colonel Julian W. Cunningham, consisting of units of the 112th Cavalry Regiment, the 134th Field Artillery Battalion, the 12th Marine Defense Battalion and quartermaster, port, ordnance, medical, and engineer units, a naval base unit and a construction battalion departed Townsville, Australia aboard six LST’s, with one subchaser SC-749 and two destroyers, Bagley and Henley, as escort. Arriving at Woodlark, with landing beginning at 2100 on 30 June. Brooks and Humphreys carrying other troops from Milne Bay arrived at 0100 on 1 July, with further supply echelons arriving in LCI’s and LST’s. On 30 June 2,250 troops Kiriwina Force, led by Colonel J. Prugh Herndon, consisting of 158th Infantry Regiment (less the 2d Battalion) the 148th Field Artillery Battalion with other artillery, engineer, ordnance, medical, antiaircraft, and quartermaster troops departed Milne Bay aboard twelve LCI’s, escorted by six destroyers. Arriving at RED Beach near Losuia, Kiriwina at 2100. A supply eschelon arrived on 30 June consisting of twelve LCT’s and seven LCM’s. Except for reconnaissance flights and two small bombing attacks against Woodlark, the Japanese took no further action in relation to the occupation of the islands. On Woodlark, the construction of Guasopa airfield was begun by 20th and 60th US Naval Construction Battalion on 2 July and by 14 July the airfield consisted of single 3,000 feet (910 m) x 150 feet (46 m) runway which could accommodate C-47’s. By 21 July the runway was expanded to 5,200 feet (1584 m) of runway and a coral surface with the 67th Fighter Squadron arriving on 23 July. The airfield was ultimately extended to 6,500 feet (2,000 m) x 225 feet (69 m) with a parallel runway of 6,000 feet (1,800 m) x 60 feet (18 m) together with 110 hardstands. The airfield was also known as Woodlark Airfield and was used as a stopover point and refuelling point. Defensive positions were set up around Woodlark with antiaircraft and coast artillery pieces of the 12th Defense Battalion being installed, and machine gun and 37 mm beach positions established. A PT and landing craft repair base was also constructed at Guasopa Bay and the island was also used as a supply base. On Kiriwina, due to the difficulty of landing heavy engineering equipment the construction of Kiriwina airfield was delayed and with heavy rains hindering construction, General Krueger unhappy with the progress of the works replaced Colonel Herndon in command of Kiriwina Force with Colonel John T. Murray. By 20 July a single runway 1,500 feet (457 m) x 150 feet (46 m) was cleared and roughly graded. By the end of July the runway was 5,000 feet (1524 m) and ready to be surfaced with coral. No. 79 Squadron of the RAAF began operations on 18 August. A seaplane base was also constructed at Losuia, consisting of an anchorage and jetty. A PT base was also constructed at Louisa in October 1943, however was closed in February 1944. The island was also used as a supply base. 

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