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Japan invades the Aleutian islands of Attu and Kiska


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#1 Hawkerace

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 12:06 AM

What happened? Thats the only part of the pacific war I don't know much about

what happened? And What was sent to deal with this.. any casualties? What really went down. Was it a waste of money, ammo and men for just two islands? What if Japan invaded more of Alaska?
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#2 John Dudek

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 10:12 PM

What happened? Thats the only part of the pacific war I don't know much about

what happened? And What was sent to deal with this.. any casualties? What really went down. Was it a waste of money, ammo and men for just two islands? What if Japan invaded more of Alaska?


The Japanese invasion of Attu and Kiska were all part of the deversion plan pertaining to the Battle of Midway that was designed to siphon-off major units of the US Pacific Fleet in that direction while the Japanese Fleet Main Body invaded and took Midway.


The taking of Attu and Kiska were also seen by the Japanese to be a way of forstalling any further air bombing attacks on their homeland after the Doolittle Raid.

The Japanese captured and executed some military weather teams on one of the islands, but nothing more.

Japan was in no condition to invade or hold any other parts of Alaska. In fact, they did the Americans a favor, in that because of the woeful transportation conditions and lack of roads to Alaska, the US Army embarked upon the building of the ALCAN Highway that linked Alaska with the Northern US.
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#3 willg

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 07:25 PM

The Japanese brass hoped that the Americans would think that an invasion of the Aleutians would be some sort of pretext towards a move on Alaska and at the same time move attention away from Midway. However, the Americans obviously determined that Midway was the primary target and Attu and Kiska were taken without much resistance in June 1942.

The islands were retaken in 1943 and the Japanese did put up a fight. Approximately 1500 allied soliders died retaking the island.

#4 Amrit

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 12:09 PM

This is a very good site for Attu during the war:

http://www.hlswilliw...tu-homepage.htm

And THE THOUSAND-MILE WAR, by Brian Garfield, is very good.

#5 masakari

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 02:49 AM

The US mounted a massive invasion of Kiska in '42, but the Japanese had evacuated already.

#6 mikebatzel

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 08:45 PM

There is a new book out called Shattered Sword that puts forth a good argument that Operation AL was not a diversion for the attack on Midway.
The reason for this was that they were at that time the closest US assets to mainland Japan

Kiska Island was retaken with 35.000 US and Canadian troops with somewhere around 15 soldiers being killed
Please give the Combined Fleet the chance to bloom as flowers of death. This is the navy’s earnest request. RADM Tasuku Nakazawa prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf
It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it will not be fought on U.S. soil. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

#7 Neon Knight

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 11:09 PM

The Japanese invasion of Attu and Kiska were all part of the deversion plan pertaining to the Battle of Midway.....


true, i just want to add the americans knew that it was a diversion. This because they had already decrypted japanese communications, which were based on a a machine quite similar to enigma.
If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons
- Winston Churchill

#8 skunk works

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 01:06 AM

I did hear that the Allied had over 1,500 casualties from the weather though. Frozen wet feet and general exposure. They were not equipped or prepared for what they found there as far as ground for roads or for movement at all. Tents were barely enough to survive, and the weather was all around horrible for aircraft (landing, taking off, or flying).
An attack on American soil had to be countered, and as quickly as possible, and to the finish. That is was.
Good site Amrit !
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#9 Slipdigit

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 01:41 AM

Amrit won't be back to read of your gratitude.

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#10 DebbieC

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 09:41 PM

The Japanese put about 2500 men on Attu and a little over 5000 men on Kiska. The 10 man weather team on Kiska was captured and spent the war in Japan--they all survived. Lt. House held out for 50 days before hunger and exposure made him surrender. He too survived the war in Japan. The Japanese evacuated their men from Kiska before an American/Canadian invasion with over 34,000 troops. Confusion and fog led to a number of casualties on land and a ship hit a mine and blew up killing 71 crew.

On Attu the Japanese invaded a civilian village with 44 Aleut inhabitants, a white schoolteacher and her husband. The husband died, probably of suicide. The wife slit her wrists but the Japanese saved her. Two Aleuts died not long after the invasion, the rest were taken to Japan. They were NOT prisoners of war, they had a different status. About half died in Japan of disease and starvation. This is the same proportion who died when the US removed the rest of the Aleut people to camps in southeast Alaska where they died of disease, exposure, and neglect. After the war the Attuans were not allowed to return home. A few settled on Atka Island, the rest are scattered.

According to Brian Garfield in the Thousand Mile War The Battle for Attu in May 1943, was the only large operation in the PAcific since Midway, it was the Army's first amphibious assault on an island, and was the biggest invasion since Gadalcanal. Over 100,000 troops, hundreds of ships and scores of aircraft were involved. Attu was per capita one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War. The 10,000 man 7th Infantry Division suffered 549 killed, 1,148 wounded, 1,200 cold injuries, 614 injured by disease including exposure, and 318 other casualties. All but 28 Japanese were killed.

Garfields account is the best and most comprehensive but he is not always accurate. He perpetuates some hoary myths--one of the most persistent being that the Japanese guns on Kiska are from Singapore. They are not. They were salvaged from a variety of Japanese and British war ships. One of the six inchers on Little Kiska seems to be from the first Battleship purchased by the Japanese from Britain in 1894 and renamed the Fuji.

#11 jacobtowne

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 10:46 PM

Wasn't there also a small naval engagement between Japanese and American ships?


JT

#12 Slipdigit

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 11:17 PM

Yes, The Battle of the Komandorski Islands

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#13 Bob Guercio

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:26 PM

This is the same proportion who died when the US removed the rest of the Aleut people to camps in southeast Alaska where they died of disease, exposure, and neglect. After the war the Attuans were not allowed to return home. A few settled on Atka Island, the rest are scattered.


Why did the United States treat the Attuans this way? It seems very morally wrong!

Bob Guercio

#14 ozjohn39

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 08:31 PM

Slipdigit,

The account of the Battle of Komandorski Islands is most interesting.

Even in 1943, in perfect "glassy" conditions, ships seem to have a hit rate down around 1%, which is about the same as the Battle of Jutland.


John.
"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". - Voltaire.




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