Ponape is a mountainous island of volcanic origin located in the East
Caroline Islands. It is 337 nautical miles southwest of Eniwetok
Atoll and is roughly 12 miles by 14 miles in size with mountains rising
to 2,300 feet. Receiving over 400 inches of rain per year streams,
rivers and waterfalls are abundant throughout the island. Ponape
is surrounded by a coral barrier reef that contains 25 inlets and serves
to protect the island, allowing for mangrove swamps on the shore line.
Occupied and fortified by the Japanese with numerous coastal defense and
anti-aircraft weapons of all types, its defenses proved to be a
formidable challenge to attacking forces. Also located on the
island were Japanese airstrips at Nan Pohn Mal and Palikir and a
seaplane base at one of the barrier islands with a ramp facing the calm
water side of the reef. It remained occupied by the Japanese until
it was surrendered on September 11, 1945.
Planning and Statistics, 1989