Aleutian Islands Campaign

World War II in the Arctic

the Arctic 1942.0607

Aleutian Islands Campaign

Arctic disputes, Winter War, Weather War, World War II, Cold War, Climate Change (7 June 1942)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese expanded rapidly across Southeast Asia and the western Pacific. Then, in a bid to draw out and destroy the outnumbered US navy, the Japanese launched twin offensives against the Aleutian Islands and Midway. In the Aleutians, Japan seized Attu and Kiska with little opposition, however their main offensive on Midway was a disaster, with the Americans sinking most of their aircraft carriers.

Main Events

Germany at war with United States

Claiming that US President Franklin Roosevelt had repeatedly violated all rules of neutrality, and noting in particular his "shoot on sight" order, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States of America. The decision to declare war was made by German leader Adolf Hitler, almost without consultation. Later that day, the United States responded by declaring war on Germany.

Operation Fritham

In Operation Fritham, Norwegians sailed aboard the steamships Selis and Isbjørn from Greenock, Great Britain, for Svalbard. Although both ships were sunk by Luftwaffe Fock-Wulf Fw 200 Condor long-range bombers, killing 12 men including commander Einar Sverdrup, the survivors managed to make it to Barentsburg, Spitsbergen Island. There they held out mostly alone until they could be re-supplied and equipped with anti-aircraft guns on 2 July in Operation Gearbox.

Battle of Dutch Harbor

An Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier strike force under Kakuji Kakuta launched air attacks over two days against the Dutch Harbor Naval Base and Fort Mears in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The attacks inflicted moderate damage on the US bases, killing 78 and destroying 14 aircraft for the loss of 10 Japanese dead and 8 aircraft.

Battle of Midway

In an attempt to lure the US Pacific Fleet's few remaining aircraft carriers into a trap, the Imperial Japanese Navy launches an offensive against Midway Atoll. However, warned of Japanese plans by its codebreakers, the US is prepared for the attack and successfully ambushes the Japanese force, sinking all four of its major aircraft carriers - Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu - and a heavy cruiser for the loss of just the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer.

Occupation of Kiska

5400 troops of the Empire of Japan landed on Kiska, Aleutian Islands, capturing the 10-man weather station that formed the only United States military presence on the island.

Occupation of Attu

1140 infantry of the Empire of Japan landed unopposed on Attu, Aleutian Islands, capturing forty-five Aleut civilians and a school teacher.

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