Seeadler Harbor

Coordinates: 2°01′13″S 147°21′52″E / 2.02028°S 147.36444°E / -2.02028; 147.36444
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Aerial view of Seeadler Harbor, circa 1945.

Seeadler Harbor, also known as Port Seeadler, is located on Manus Island, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea and played an important role in World War II. In German, "Seeadler" means sea eagle, pointing to German colonial activity between 1884 and 1919 in that area. The bay was named in 1900 after the German cruiser SMS Seeadler.


ABSD-4 background in Seeadler Harbor with ABSD-2 (foreground) in September 1945

On 29 February 1944, General Douglas MacArthur led Operation Brewer to take the islands from the Japanese who had occupied them beginning in 1942. The islands were secured by the Americans on 19 March 1944, who then built a large base at Seeadler Harbor including wharves and an airbase, Manus Naval Base. This US Naval Advance Base served as a staging area for further World War II operations in New Guinea and the Philippines.[1]

USS Mount Hood exploded accidentally while moored in Seeadler Harbor on 10 November 1944. The ship was carrying ammunition and the tremendous explosion caused 432 fatalities, 371 wounded, damage to surrounding ships and base from debris and sinking or severely damaging 22 smaller craft.[2]

A Japanese Mitsubishi A6M reconnaissance aircraft reported "two large aircraft carriers" at Seeadler Harbor on 22 April 1945, which were actually the U.S. Navy's Large Auxiliary Floating Dry Docks USS ABSD-2 and USS ABSD-4. Two Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers attacked the floating drydocks five nights later. Both were hit but received only moderate damage to a single pontoon each.[3]

The wrecks of the sections of large auxiliary floating drydock USS ABSD-4 and an Imperial Japanese ship amongst others are located within the harbor.[4]



  1. ^ Chapter XVII: Logistic Support at Seeadler and at Sea in Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil by Rear Adm. Worrall Reed Carter, USN (Retired), retrieved 16 April 2016.
  2. ^ USS Mount Hood (AE-11) entry in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, retrieved 16 April 2016.
  3. ^ AFDB-2 and AFDB-4 on, retrieved 16 April 2016.
  4. ^ Seeadler Harbor on, retrieved 16 April 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Gaining Control of Seeadler Harbor". The Admiralties: Operations of the 1st Cavalry Division 29 February - 18 May 1944. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military history. 1990 [1946]. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2010. - full text

Seeadler (Sea Eagle - German) 1916 WindJammer Sailboat used for reconnaissance by the German Navy It was converted from a boat of commerce to a war and spyship in disguise. The Captain was Count Luckner according to his biography written by Lowell Thomas, "The Sea Devil published in 1928". The strategy for using a Sailboat versus a coal steam driven boat was two fold. First, to be less reliant on coal since it was not always readily available on the shipping routes. And 2nd, to allow the ship to sail further and avoid ports that would bring unwanted attention.

External links[edit]

2°01′13″S 147°21′52″E / 2.02028°S 147.36444°E / -2.02028; 147.36444