the Arctic 1942: Aleutian Islands Campaign
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.
11 Dec 1941 Germany at war with U.S.▲
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 on 11 December 1941. 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.
24–25 Dec 1941 Rallying of St. Pierre and Miquelon▲
On Christmas Eve 1941 a 230-man Free French force under Émile Muselier, and including the submarine Surcouf and three corvettes, arrived in the Vichy French-controlled islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, partially to pre-empt a feared Canadian invasion of the archipelago. After a twenty minute stand-off, the Vichy administration agreed to a referendum the following day, which voted 98.2% in favor of Free France. The action—which had been secretly carried out despite being forbidden by the United States as contrary to the Monroe Doctrine—caused a short-lived diplomatic incident between the Americans and the Free French.
30 Apr–2 Jul 1942 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.
3–4 Jun 1942 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.
4–7 Jun 1942 Battle of Midway▲
In an attempt to lure the US Pacific Fleet’s few remaining aircraft carriers into a trap, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an offensive against Midway Atoll. Warned of Japanese plans by its code-breakers, the US was prepared for the attack and successfully ambushed 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.
6 Jun 1942 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.
6 Jun 1942 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.