The Aleutian Islands (possibly from Chukchi aliat, “island”) are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones belonging to both the United States and Russia.
They form part of the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean, occupying an area of 6,821 sq mi (17,666 km2) and extending about 1,200 mi (1,900 km) westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, and mark a dividing line between the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Crossing longitude 180°, at which point east and west longitude end, the archipelago contains both the westernmost part of the United States by longitude (Amatignak Island) and the easternmost by longitude (Semisopochnoi Island). The westernmost U.S.
Starting in 1775, Kiska, the Aleutian Islands, and mainland Alaska became fur trading outposts for the Russian-American Company managed by Grigory Shelekhov.In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska with the Russian Empire. Kiska was included in the purchase.
Kiska (Aleut: Qisxa) is an island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. It is about 22 miles (35 km) long and varies in width from 1.5 to 6 miles (2.4 to 9.7 km).
|Archipelago||Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands|
|Area||107.22 sq mi (277.7 km2)|
|Length||22 mi (35 km)|
|Width||1.5 mi (2.4 km) – 6 mi (10 km)|
|Highest elevation||4,004 ft (1,220.4 m)|
|Highest point||Kiska Volcano|
|Census Area||Aleutians West Census Area|
World War II (1939–1945)
The Japanese No. 3 Special Landing Party and 500 marines went ashore at Kiska on June 6, 1942 as a separate campaign concurrent with the Japanese plan for the Battle of Midway. The Japanese captured the sole inhabitants of the island: a small U.S. Navy Weather Detachment consisting of ten men, including a lieutenant, along with their dog. (One member of the detachment escaped for 50 days. Starving, thin, and extremely cold, he eventually surrendered to the Japanese.) The next day the Japanese captured Attu Island.
The military importance of this frozen, difficult-to-supply island was questionable, but the psychological impact upon the Americans of losing U.S. territory was tangible. During the winter of 1942–43, the Japanese reinforced and fortified the islands—not necessarily to prepare for an island-hopping operation across the Aleutians, but to prevent a U.S. operation across the Kuril Islands. The U.S. Navy began operations to deny Kiska supply which would lead to the Battle of the Komandorski Islands. During October 1942, American forces undertook seven bombing missions over Kiska, though two were aborted due to inclement weather. Following the winter, Attu was liberated and Kiska was bombed once more for over two months, before a larger American force was allocated to defeat the expected Japanese garrison of 5,200 men.
On August 15, 1943, an invasion force consisting of 34,426 Allied troops, including elements of the 7th Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Regiment, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 5,300 Canadians (mainly the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade from the 6th Infantry Division, with supporting units including two artillery units from the 7th Infantry Division), 95 ships (including three battleships and a heavy cruiser), and 168 aircraft landed on Kiska, only to find the island completely abandoned. The Japanese, aware of the loss of Attu and the impending arrival of the larger Allied force, had successfully removed their troops on July 28 under the cover of severe fog, without the Allies noticing. Allied casualties during this invasion nevertheless numbered close to 200, all either from friendly fire, booby traps set out by the Japanese to inflict damage on the invading allied forces, or weather-related disease. As a result of the brief engagement between U.S. and Canadian forces, there were 28 American dead as well as four Canadian dead, with an additional 130 casualties from trench foot alone. The destroyer USS Abner Read hit a mine, resulting in 87 casualties.
That night, however, the Imperial Japanese Navy warships, thinking they were engaged by Americans, shelled and attempted to torpedo the island of Little Kiska and the Japanese soldiers waiting to embark. Admiral Ernest King reported to the secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, that the only things that remained on the island were dogs and fresh brewed coffee. Knox asked for an explanation and King responded, “The Japanese are very clever. Their dogs can brew coffee.”
In the summer of 1943, American and Canadian forces launched an amphibious assault on the north Pacific island of Kiska, in order to seize the last enemy strongholds on U.S. Soil from Japanese forces who managed to capture various U.S. Islands (Kiska and Attu Island) in June 1942. The operation received codename Cottage and would take place on August 15, 1943.
The island of Kiska was subjected to a heavy pre-invasion bombardment. The Eleventh Air Force dropped a total of 424 tons of bombs on Kiska during July. During the same month, an armada of US warships lobbed 330 tons of shells onto the island. This continued into August and was only to be interrupted by bad weather. For the invasion of the island itself, a force of 34,426 soldiers was foreseen, of which 5,300 Canadian soldiers.
Battle of Kiska
On 15th of August, the U.S. Forces (7th Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Regiment, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment and 1st Special Service Force) landed on Kiska. The Canadian 13th Infantry Mountain Brigade came ashore the next day. For 2 long days, the invasion force slugged its way inland through thick fog and against the constant din of machine-gun and artillery fire. Rumors spread of casualties, firefights, and elusive Japanese snipers circulated with abandon. However little did they know, the Allies had attacked an uninhabited island.
Earlier Admiral Thomas Kinkaid had remarked that it would be a “super dress rehearsal, good for training purposes.” His words will never be edged in stone, after “intense days of fighting” where the American and Canadian forces mistook each other for the enemy, they had lost 32 men (28 Americans and 4 Canadians were killed) with around 121 sick and wounded. The U.S. Navy sustained 71 men KIA or MIA and 47 wounded after the USS Abner Read (DD-526) hit a mine. By the time the search of the island had ended and was declared secure, the Allied casualties totaled 313 men. There were those who had been killed by the so-called friendly fire of their confused and scared comrades; others by mines and the timed bombs left by the Japanese; accidental ammunition detonations; vehicle accidents; unexploded bombs in the tundra; and insidious booby trap explosions.
To make the embarrassment complete, the entire enemy garrison of 5,183 Japanese men that occupied Kiska, had slipped away unseen, they were evacuated on 28 July – almost three weeks before the Allied landing! http://argunners.com/battle-of-kiska-where-the-allied-lost-a-battle-against-ghosts/
Did you know about the Battle of Kiska? The battle was a total embarrassment for American and Canadian forces, suffering 313 casualties ver