Wake Island

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 111
  • Published : May 5, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Wake Island
Wake Island

World war 2

5/6/2011
World war 2

5/6/2011
Kadesheia Gomez & Aaliyah Watford Our article of Wake Island presents general information ; wake island is located in the pacific ocean 2,300 miles west of Hawaii .three small islands actually compromise the wake atoll: wake island , peale island , wilkes island .wake is the main island ; peale and wilkes are its extensions here you will now learn further more information about wake island .

Kadesheia Gomez & Aaliyah Watford Our article of Wake Island presents general information ; wake island is located in the pacific ocean 2,300 miles west of Hawaii .three small islands actually compromise the wake atoll: wake island , peale island , wilkes island .wake is the main island ; peale and wilkes are its extensions here you will now learn further more information about wake island .

WAKE ISLWA

Wake Island was an American outpost in the central Pacific. Wake is a coral atoll, made up of three islands. Wake Island itself is the largest, and forms two sides of a triangle. Peale Island and Wilkes Island extend the two arms of Wake Island. The three islands are tiny – only 2.5 square miles in area, but their location in the central Pacific gave them a strategic significance far beyond their size. The Marshal Islands to the south and most of the Marianas islands to the west had been in Japanese hands since the First World War, when they seized them from the Germans. It had been annexed by the United States on 17 January 1899, but did not gain its first permanent settlement until 1935, when Pan American Airways built a small village and a hotel to service their flying boats. Wake Island became one link in Pan American’s China Clipper route, between Midway and Guam. As tension rose in the Pacific, the U.S. Navy decided to construct a base on Wake Island. Work started in January 1941, but was incomplete when the Japanese attacked. Despite this, the first permanent garrison, just under 400 men from the 1st Marine Defense Battalion, arrived on 19 August. The airfield was ready to take aircraft by December, and on 4 December twelve Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats from Marine Fighting Squadron VMF-211 arrived on Wake. The air base was usable but not complete. There were no revetments to protect the aircraft from bombs. The island’s radar was still at Pearl Harbor. Commander W.S. Cunningham had 449 Marines (including pilots) to resist any Japanese attack. His first problem was that Wake Island was within range of Japanese bombers based in the Marshal Islands. The Japanese plan took advantage of that, using land based bombers to support a small naval force (no battleships or carriers were involved) carrying just under 500 invasion troops. This fleet left Roi, in the Marshal islands, on 9 December, the day after the first bombing raid against the island. That raid struck on 8 December, the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor (Wake is on the other side of the international date line, so the date is one day ahead of that on Hawaii). The garrison of Wake Island had received a warning from Pearl Harbor at 6.50 am. Lacking radar, it was decided to keep four of the Wildcats in the air. This saved them from destruction. At noon thirty six Mitsubishi G3M medium bombers attacked the airfield. Visibility was poor, and the four Wildcats in the air failed to spot the Japanese aircraft. Seven of the eight Wildcats on the ground were destroyed. VMF-211 lost 23 men dead and 11 wounded. No Japanese aircraft were lost. The next day a second, smaller, bombing raid met with less luck, losing two aircraft in combat with four Wildcats. The island was subjected to almost daily air raids for the rest of the battle. The Japanese invasion fleet, under Admiral Kajioka, arrived off Wake Island early on 11 December. The attack...
tracking img