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Battle off Horaniu
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
U.S. destroyers (from right to left): O'Bannon, Chevalier, and Taylor head towards Tulagi harbor in the Solomon Islands on August 15, 1943, two days before engaging in the Battle off Horaniu.
DateAugust 17–18, 1943
LocationNear Vella Lavella in the Solomon Islands
Result Successful Japanese evacuation
 United States  Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
United StatesThomas J. Ryan JapanMatsuji Ijuin
4 destroyers 4 destroyers,
20 barges and auxiliary ships
Casualties and losses
None 4 auxiliary ships sunk,
2 destroyers slightly damaged[1]

The Battle off Horaniu (Japanese: 第一次ベララベラ海戦) was a minor naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II fought on the night of August 17, 1943 near the island of Vella Lavella in the Solomon Islands


After the fall of Munda and their defeat in the Battle of Vella Gulf, the Japanese had decided to evacuate their garrisons in the central Solomons. An evacuation convoy escorted by four destroyers (Sazanami, Hamakaze, Isokaze, and Shigure) commanded by Rear Admiral Matsuji Ijuin set out from its staging base at Horaniu on the northern tip of Vella Lavella on August 17 to evacuate the island of Kolombangara to the east.


At about 23:30 they were attacked by planes and were still in some disorganization when they were spotted at 00:29 by an American force of four destroyers (USS Nicholas (DD-449), USS O'Bannon (DD-450), USS Taylor (DD-468), and USS Chevalier (DD-451)) commanded by Captain Thomas J. Ryan. After an ineffective exchange of torpedoes and gunfire at long range, the Japanese retreated at about 01:00.


The Japanese had saved their barges and were subsequently able to evacuate 9,000 troops from Kolombangara.


  1. Morison, Breaking the Bismarcks, p. 236. Ships sunk included two subchasers, two motor torpedo boats, and one powered barge with an unknown number of personnel killed or injured.


  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1. 
  • Hara, Tameichi (1961). Japanese Destroyer Captain. New York & Toronto: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-27894-1. 
  • Kilpatrick, C. W. (1987). Naval Night Battles of the Solomons. Exposition Press. ISBN 0-682-40333-4. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, vol. 6 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Castle Books. ISBN 0-7858-1307-1. 
  • Roscoe, Theodore (1953). United States Destroyer Operations in World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-726-7. 

External links

Coordinates: 7°42′0″S 156°43′0″E / 7.7°S 156.716667°E / -7.7; 156.716667

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