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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

December 23rd, 1941 - The Battle of Wake Island

Conflict: World War II

Combatants: Americans v. Japanese

Location: Wake Island

Outcome: Japanese victory

On the day following the Pearl Harbor attack, Japanese Admiral Sadamichi Kajioka launched an invasion of Wake Island some two thousand miles west of Hawaii. The little island was defended by about 500 US Marines commanded by Major James Devereaux along with 76 Navy and Army personnel. Following air raids, the Americans succeeded in pushing back an initial Japanese amphibious assault on December 11th, but were overwhelmed on December 23rd by a sceond attack and forced to surrender. The Marines inflicted over 1000 casualties on the Japanese while losing 50 men and 70 civilians in the battle.

Destroyed fuel storage tanks on Wake Island c1941 by an unknown Japanese photographer

Points of Interest:

  • Two days after the initial raids on Wake Island, the Japanese seized Guam.

  • The film Wake Island (1942) with Brian Donlevy and Robert Preston depicts this battle.

James Patrick Sinnott Devereux by an unknown photographer

Kajioka Sadamichi by an unknown photographer

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