The first landing attempt by the Japanese on 11DEC was driven off by the Marines manning the coastal batteries (6 – 5″/51 cal naval rifles removed from the USS Texas during a refit in the mid-1920s) and the F4F-3 Wildcats of VMF-211 and cost the IJN 2 destroyers.
The Hayate was hit in the magazine by 1 or 2 shells from Battery L on Peale Islet at a range of approximately 4,000 yds. She broke in two and sank within 2 minutes with only 1 survivor being picked up.
The Kisaragi was hit during the withdrawal by the Wildcats of VMF-211. She caught a bomb which took out most of the bridge and possibly set off the depth charges. She went down with all hands in about 5 minutes.
After what could be qualified as a disaster, the IJN was in no mood to play around on the second landing attempt. They detached Sōryū and Hiryū from the returning Pearl Harbor force and upped the number SNLF troops from 450 to almost 2,000.
The second landing attempt started around 0235 following a pre-landing bombardment with fighting continuing into the mid-afternoon before the garrison surrendered.
The US Marines lost 49 killed, two MIA, and 49 wounded during the entire 15-day siege, while three US Navy personnel and at least 70 US civilians were killed, including 10 Chamorros, and 12 civilians wounded. 433 US personnel were captured. USMC History estimates that 125 Japanese were killed in ground combat with another 125 wounded. It also estimates 92 killed and 195 wounded from damaged ships. At least 28 land-based and carrier aircraft were also either shot down or damaged. The Japanese captured all men remaining on the island, the majority of whom were civilian contractors employed by the Morrison-Knudsen Company.
Of those captured, 98 American civilian workers were kept on the island as forced labor. On 07OCT43 the Japanese garrison commander, fearing an attempt by the US to re-take the island, ordered them executed. 97 were executed by machine gun with 1 unknown worker escaping and carving “98 US PW 5-10-43” into a large coral rock near the mass grave of the executed. This unknown American was recaptured and personally executed by the garrison commander. After the war the garrison commander was tried and hanged for war crimes.
Wake Island was surrendered by the Japanese to a detachment of US Marines 04SEP45.
I meant to reblog this when IHRA first posted it earlier in the year but I got sidetracked and forg…oh look! A butterfly just went by! Wait, what was I talking about?
Anyway, I remembered it after I posted this the other day, so here ’tis.
We thought we’d do something a little different this week and show you some of the furry, four-legged friends that were adopted by various men as pets during their stay in the Pacific Theater.
What happens to the detritus left of the fields of battle after a war is rarely touched on in print or on film. Whether the remains are human or mechanical, something has to be done with them. wwiiafterwwii has put together an excellent look at how the mechanical remains were disposed of or reused.
Since starting wwiiafterwwii, I receive from time to time suggestions for topics. These are wide-ranging but two in particular seem very popular: WWII weapons in the Vietnam War, which has been touched on several times; and a general question of how the world “cleaned up” WWII battlefields after the war. For the latter, I was surprised at how very little is written about it so perhaps this will be of interest.
One of the reasons WWII battlefields did not remain littered with vehicles for long was that, with the lone exception of the USA, all of the major warring powers made some official level of combat usage of captured enemy arms during WWII. The most formal was Germany’s Beutewaffe (literally, ‘booty’ or ‘loot’ weapon) effort, which encompassed everything from handguns to fighter aircraft with an official code in the Waffenamt system; for example FK-288(r) (the Soviet ZiS-3 anti-tank gun), SIGew-251(a) (the American M1 Garand rifle), and Sd.Kfz 735(i) (the Italian Fiat M13/40 tank). Captured gear was assembled at points called Sammelstelle and then shipped back from the front lines for disposition.
Read the rest of this great article here: Cleaning up after WWII
Ground crew member posing next to a B-25 strafer (J model?) and it’s 14 .50 cals.
When there is lead in the air, there is hope in the heart