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Battle of Kiska
Part of World War II, Pacific War, Battle of the Aleutian Islands
caption=United States troops landing on Kiska.
DateAugust 15, 1943
LocationKiska, Aleutian Islands, off Alaska
51°57′36″N 177°25′48″E / 51.96°N 177.43°E / 51.96; 177.43Coordinates: 51°57′36″N 177°25′48″E / 51.96°N 177.43°E / 51.96; 177.43
Result Allies secure Kiska
Belligerents
 United States
 Canada
 Empire of Japan (not present in the area)
Commanders and leaders
United States Navy:
United States Thomas C. Kinkaid,

First Special Service Force:
Canada William Kirby
None present
Strength
7,800 None
Casualties and losses
313 dead,
2,500 wounded, sick, or frostbitten
None

Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June, 1942. The Japanese, however, had secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, and so the Allied landings were unopposed. Despite this, Allied forces suffered well over 200 casualties during the operation, mostly due to Japanese mines and the difficult terrain.

Background[]


The Japanese under Captain Takeji Ono had landed on Kiska at approximately 01:00 on June 7, 1942, with a force of about 500 Japanese marines. Soon after arrival, they stormed an American weather station. Here they killed two and captured eight United States Navy officers. The remaining eight were sent to Japan as prisoners of war. Another 2,000 Japanese troops arrived, landing in Kiska Harbor. At this time, Monzo Akiyama, a Rear-Admiral, headed the force on Kiska. In December 1942, additional anti-aircraft units, engineers, and a negligible number of reinforcement infantry arrived on the island. In the spring of 1943, control was transferred to Kiichiro Higuchi.

Invasion plan and execution[]

The Allied invasion of Kiska, August 17, 1943

A Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft sighted Japanese ships in Kiska. No further identification was visible. To United States naval planners, none was necessary and the orders to invade Kiska soon followed.[citation needed]

Due to the heavy casualties suffered at Attu Island, planners were expecting another costly operation. The Japanese tactical planners had, however, realized the isolated island was no longer defensible and planned for an evacuation. Although small, there were signs of Japanese retreat. Anti-aircraft guns, once active during the Kiska Blitz, were silent when Allied planes flew over in the days leading up to the invasion.

On August 15, 1943, the 7th Division (U.S.) and the 13th Infantry Brigade (Canada), landed on opposite shores of Kiska. Both US and Canadian forces mistook each other as Japanese and as a result friendly fire incidents killed 28 Americans and 4 Canadians and wounded 50 more.[1] A stray Japanese mine caused the USS Abner Read (DD-526) to lose a large chunk of its stern. The blast killed 71. 191 troops went missing during the two-day stay on the island and presumably also died from friendly fire. Four other troops had also been killed by landmines or other traps. See related article Bombardment of Kiska

Notes[]

  1. "The Battle for Kiska". Canadian Heroes. canadianheroes.org. 13 May 02. http://canadianheroes.org/henri/the-battle-for-kiska-story.htm. "Originally Published in Esprit de Corp Magazine, Volume 9 Issue 4 and Volume 9 Issue 5" 

References[]

  • Feinberg, Leonard (1992). Where the Williwaw Blows: The Aleutian Islands-World War II. Pilgrims' Process, Inc.. ISBN 0-9710609-8-3. 
  • Garfield, Brian The Thousand Mile War, Aurum Press, 1995 ISBN 1-84513-019-7
  • Goldstein, Donald M.; Katherine V. Dillon (1992). The Williwaw War: The Arkansas National Guard in the Aleutians in World War. Fayettville, Arkansas, USA: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-242-0. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1951 (Reprint 2001)). Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944, vol. 7 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Champaign, Illinois, USA: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-316-58305-7. 
  • Perras, Galen Roger (2003). Stepping Stones to Nowhere, The Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and American Military Strategy, 1867 - 1945. Vancouver British Columbia: University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 1-59114-836-7. 

External links[]

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