WWII and the Solomon Islands: Introduction
The Solomon Islands campaign was a major campaign of the Pacific War of World War II
The campaign began with Japanese landings and occupation of several areas in the British Solomon Islands and Bougainville, in the Territory of New Guinea, during the first six months of 1942.
The Japanese occupied these locations and began the construction of several naval and air bases with the goals of protecting the flank of Japanese offensive in New Guinea, establishing a security barrier for the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain, and providing bases for interdicting supply lines between the Allied powers of the United States and Australia and New Zealand.
The Allies, in order to defend their communication and supply lines in the South Pacific, supported a counteroffensive in New Guinea, and isolated the Japanese base at Rabaul, and counterattacked the Japanese in the Solomons with landings on Guadalcanal, (see Guadalcanal Campaign) and small neighbouring islands on 8 August 1942.
These landings initiated a series of combined-arms battles between the two adversaries, beginning with the Guadalcanal landing and continuing with several battles in the central and northern Solomons, on and around New Georgia Island, and Bougainville Island.
In a campaign of attrition fought on land, on sea, and in the air, the Allies wore the Japanese down, inflicting irreplaceable losses on Japanese military asset.s The Allies retook some of the Solomon Islands (although resistance continued until the end of the war), and they also isolated and neutralized some Japanese positions, which were then bypassed.
The Solomon Islands campaign then converged with the New Guinea campaign.
Tours and Activities
WWII Tours in Gizo
For those interested in history and the legacy of World War II in the heart of the Solomons, from Gizo you can visit an American tank, a Japanese Gun Fort and partially submerged shipwrecks.
Go West Tours
Based at Agnes Gateway Hotel, Go West offers fully guided half and full day tours throughout the area. Off the beaten track adventures, cultural experiences, historical site visits, fishing and charter trips. You can also design your own experience.
World War II Site Visits
For those interested in war history, the Munda area is a goldmine. See an American M5 Stuart tank, the Japanese coastal defence battery at Enoghai, the anti-aircraft battery above Munda airfield or snorkel the wreck of the Kashi Maru.
Honiara City Tour
Discover the capital of the Solomon Islands and surrounds on a tour of the city. Vist Point Cruz, the Coast Watchers Memorial, the Honiara Central Market, China Town, the US War Memorial, National Parliament, the National museum and more.
Tulagi Tours & Travel
For first time visitors to Tulagi and with so much to see and do, it is best explored with a local guide. Tulagi Tours are not only well known for their informative World War II walking tours of Tulagi, but they can also organise visits to the surrounding islands, village visits, cultural tours, cultural entertainment, fishing charters and more.
Battlefield tours in Honiara
Some of the most brutal World War II battles took place on the northern face of Guadalcanal. Visit Bloody Ridge, Red Beach, the Vilu War Museum, Betikama school relics, the American War Memorial, Tetere beach, The Thin Red Line, Honiara golf course (previously a US Airstrip), and the Japanese War Memorial (Mt Austen). Tours of both the Western Battlefield and Eastern Battlefield are also available.
National Museum and Cultural Centre
The National Museum is modest but still worth a visit, for a taste of the history of the Solomon Islands. With exhibitions that traverse history and the diverse cultures that make up its almost 1000 islands, you can view old photographs, currency, weaponry and find out more about the history of World War II and the missionaries, both of which are core to the current national identity and way of life.
Peter Joseph WWII Museum
During World War II, Munda was a vital military airfield base and remnants are scattered throughout the region. You can visit two small private museums of WWII relics. One is the Peter Joseph WWII Museum and the other is further east. Both are walkable from Agnes Gateway Hotel and accommodation in town or easily accessible by taxi.