Battle of the Aleutian Islands Facts

Battle of the Aleutian Islands Facts
On June 3, 1942 a small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska on the far western edge of the Aleutian Islands archipelago of Alaska, which was at the time an American territory. The Japanese viewed Alaska as a possible American staging point for an invasion of Japan so they sent a force to occupy the sparsely populated islands of Attu and Kiska in preparation for a later, larger occupation. The Japanese force occupied the islands for over a year until they were driven out of Attu in May 1943. When a combined American-Canadian force arrived in Kiska Island in August 1943, they found it abandoned. The Japanese occupation of the Aleutians was the only Axis occupation of American territory during World War II and the first foreign occupation of American territory since the War of 1812. The Japanese occupation of the Aleutians was a tactical and strategic failure, though. The Japanese had more than 4,000 of their soldiers killed and lost seven warships in the operation, but failed to stop the American advance in the Pacific.
Interesting Battle of the Aleutian Islands Facts:
The Battle began when two Japanese aircraft carriers attacked the U.S. Navy base in Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island of the Aleutian Islands on June 3 and 4, 1942. The attack only proved to be a raid, though, as the Japanese moved on to Attu and Kiska.
The Japanese faced no resistance when they took either island.
Attu was occupied by forty-five members of the indigenous Aleut ethnic groups and a young white American couple, Charles and Etta Jones. The Aleuts were eventually sent to an interment camp where many died. Charles Jones was killed during the invasion and his wife was sent to a P.O.W. camp with Australian nurses where she remained for the war.
Kiska was man by a ten man Naval weather station. Two sailors were killed in the raid and the chief petty officer, William House, escaped and lived in the hills for fifty days before surrendering. All of the sailors were sent to a P.O.W. camp.
In August 1942, the Americans began launching air raids on Attu and Kiska from a airstrip on Adak Island at the tip of the Aleutians.
The Battle of Attu lasted from May 11 to May 30, 1943.
Unlike in most other battles in the Pacific Theater, where the Marines did most of the land fighting, the Army all of the fighting on the ground in the Aleutians.
A large Japanese fleet assembled in Tokyo Harbor in late May with the intent of sailing to Alaska to relieve its forces at Attu, but the battle had ended before it left.
The U.S. 7th Infantry Division did most of the land fighting in the Aleutians.
Only twenty-eight Japanese soldiers were taken captive at Attu, none of them officers.
Colonel Yasuyo Yamasaki led the final Japanese banzai charge at Attu with only a sword. He made it to the rear of the American forces before he was killed.
The Japanese abandoned Kiska Island on July 29.
The Japanese attempted a final "banzai" charge on the Americans on May 29.

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