Vella Lavella, an island in the Solomons occupied by the Japanese, was the site of the first action by New Zealand's 3rd Division and involved about 3,700 men. Between 18 September and 9 October 1943, the New Zealand troops, largely from the 14th Brigade, cleared the island of the Japanese. The conditions were difficult, with heavy rain and thick jungle, but the operation was achieved with the loss of 34 New Zealanders.
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