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Royal New Zealand Air Force



On 29 June the troops to make the main assault on Munda were embarked at Guadalcanal in transports escorted by a naval force. In the early hours of the 30th they landed in darkness and heavy rain on Rendova Island, which was separated from Munda Point by a channel eight miles wide. Disembarkation proceeded throughout the morning and the transports and their escort left shortly after three o'clock in the afternoon. There had been two air-raid alarms during the day but no enemy aircraft had succeeded in interfering with the landing. Not until the ships were pulling out was an attack made by Japanese torpedo-bombers. They succeeded in hitting one ship, which subsequently was accidentally sunk by an American destroyer.

On the night of 30 June–1 July troops were ferried in small craft from Rendova to Zanana, a beach six miles east of Munda, across the channel on the mainland of New Georgia. Enemy opposition at first was negligible and the greatest obstacle to an advance to Munda was the nature of the ground, a swamp covered with dense jungle through which only one trail led. Troops often fought knee-deep in mud, and rations had to be dropped each day by transport aircraft as land transport was useless. To add to the difficulties, the Japanese had covered the area with booby traps and land mines.

The original plan of operations called for the capture of Munda airfield by 11 July by the force working westwards from Zanana, supported by another force which was landed at Rice Anchorage on the north of New Georgia on the 4th. Stiffening opposition by the Japanese, plus the difficulties of movement in the jungle, resulted in the whole operation taking far longer than had been expected, and Munda was not finally captured until 5 August.