Historical Article: Embattled Sentinel of the Far Pacific

historical-article-embattled-sentinel-of-the-far-pacific-logoWake Island The Battle and Siege 8-23 December 1941

By John Dudek @ The Wargamer

The first shrieking Japanese aerial bombs to land upon Wake Island that hot early December morning exploded among the 8 Marine F4F-3 Wildcat fighter planes parked along the island’s airstrip. As the first bombs impacted, two Marine pilots sprinted towards their waiting Wildcats, then warming-up on the airfield apron and parked outside the unfinished protective revetment plane bunkers. Direct bomb hits killed both pilots and destroyed their planes as well as the other 6 Wildcat fighter planes standing close nearby. The four remaining Wildcats, who were aloft and still on the outbound leg of their air patrols well offshore, never saw the Japanese bombers because of extremely poor visibility. By the time they returned, much of their island atoll was under a thick pall of black smoke. The 34 land based Mitsubishi “Nell” Japanese bombers, flying from their airfield at Roi in the Marshall Islands, made a leisurely slow turn above the island as if happy and pleased with the viewing of their handiwork. They returned home without loss. The enraged Marines on Wake Island who watched their departure could do little more than curse, impotently grit their teeth, and angrily shake their fists at their attackers. The next time the Japanese bombers came, the island garrison would be ready and would give far and away much better than they received then and during the days to come.

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