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Ponape

Digital relief map of Ponape

Ponape (158.208E 6.973N) is a relatively large, elevated island in the eastern Carolines. Rugged and heavily forested, It is about 19 miles (31 km) in diameter and has a maximum elevation of 2500 feet (760 m). It is surrounded by a reef and has a good anchorage. The Japanese invested fairly heavily in the island, and its inhabitants were moderately loyal to the Empire. The island provided hundreds of workers for other islands. By the outbreak of war, Ponape had a seaplane base, and was protected by a coastal battery and two antiaircraft batteries. The Japanese had completed an airstrip by early 1944 on an islet just north of the island capital of Colonia, on the north coast of the main island, and were working on a second airstrip.

On 12 February 1944, six Japanese flying boats staged from Truk through Ponape and managed to destroy the main Marine supply dumps on newly captured Roi-Namur. The Allies responded with strikes by 7 Air Force from Tarawa between 15 and 26 February.  The facilities were bombarded by seven battleships under Admiral Lee on 1 May 1944, with air cover was provided by the carriers of Clark's TG 58.1. This was mostly a training exercise, as there were few worthwhile targets left on the island and the battle line had never before operated as a unit.

The island was then bypassed by the Allied counteroffensive.

References
Morison (1951, 1953)

Myers and Peattie (1984)


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