The Aleutians

Aleutians, map from CMH
PBY-5A Catalina made by Reuben Fleet cruises against a backdrop of snow-clad mountains in Aleutian Islands, searching for enemy activity, 1943/03. (NA photo NWDNS-80-G-475409)
Aleutians, map from Newsweek 1942/06/22 - bg
"Whose Aleutians?" map from Time, 1943/05 - bg

1741 - The Russian expeditions of Vitus Bering and Aleksey Chirikov made claim to Alaska and the Aleutian archipelago of 14 large islands and 55 small islands, from Unimak and the Komandors in the east to Attu in the west.

1867 - Russia sold Alaska to the U.S.

1940 - U. S. Navy base built at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska island.

Jan. 15, 1942 - The Alaskan Air Force was established at Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, and renamed the Eleventh Air Force on Feb. 5.

Feb. 17, 1942 - Fort Randall was established by the Army at Cold Bay on the tip of the Alaskan Peninsula

March 31, 1942 - Cape Field runway completed at Fort Glenn, a secret airbase on Umnak Island disguised as a cannery complex. The Navy built a base on Adak.

May 25, 1942 - U. Task Force 8 of Admiral Robert A. Theobald arived at Kodiak Island with 5 cruisers, 14 destroyers, and 6 submarines.

June 3, 1942 - Yamamoto sent the Northern Area Fleet of Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya, composed of 2 small aircraft carriers, 5 cruisers, 12 destroyers, 6 submarines, and 4 troop transports, to attack Dutch Harbor.

June 4, 1942 - The eight P-40s of the Aleutian Tigers counterattacked from Cape Field and destroyed four Val dive bombers and one Zero.

June 5, 1942 - TF8 sailed into the Bering Sea but failed to engage Hosogaya's fleet that moved from Dutch Harbor to the western Aleutians.

June 6, 1942 - Japan occupied Kiska, and on June 7 occupied Adak.

July 5, 1942 - U. S. learned that Hosogaya's fleet had departed from the Aleutians.

August 30, 1942 - U. S. occupied Adak and built airfield.

September 14, 1942 - Adak-based U.S. B-24 planes bombed Kiska.

January 11, 1943 - U. S. occupied Amchitka, only 50 miles from Kiska. Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid replaced Admiral Theobald as commander of Northern Pacific Force, and began a naval blockade around the Aleutians.

February 21, 1943 - Amchitka-based U.S. aircraft bombed Kiska.

March 26 - In the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, the U.S. repelled an attempt by Hosogaya to reinforce Kiska and Attu with 3 transport ships, 4 cruisers, and 4 destroyers.

May 11, 1943 - U. S. forces landed on Attu.

May 29, 1943 - Last Japan attack defeated on Attu, but Americans suffered heavy casualties.

May 30, 1943 - U. S. occupation of Attu completed.

July 28, 1943 - Japan evacuated Kiska.

August 15, 1943 - Allied forces occupied Kiska.

1944 - U.S. planes made raids against the Kurile islands, causing Japan to maintain a large northern force to defend against possible attacks from the Aleutians.




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