Operation Cottage

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Operation Cottage
Part of the American Theater and the Pacific Theater of World War II
US landings on Kiska.jpg
American troops landing on Kiska.
Date August 15, 1943
Location Kiska, Territory of Alaska
Result Allies ceasefire and secure Kiska unopposed by Japanese forces
Belligerents
 United States  Canada
Commanders and leaders
United States Charles Corlett Canada E.A. Potts
Strength
7th Infantry Division
  • 4th Infantry Regiment
  • 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment
6th Infantry Division
Casualties and losses
Over 300 casualties[1]

  • USS Abner Read struck a stray Japanese mine during the operation, killing 71, wounding 47 and leaving 191 unaccounted for.
  • The friendly fire incident left 50 wounded on either side, in total.

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, over two days in thick fog and a confused state of affairs U.S. and Canadian forces mistook each other for the enemy, leaving 32 dead and a further 50 wounded[1] with an additional 130 Canadians wounded from trench foot alone. Allied forces suffered over 300 casualties in total during the operation, due to stray Japanese mines, friendly fire incidents, and the difficult terrain.

Background[edit]

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[edit]

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 U.S. 7th Division and the Canadian 13th Infantry Brigade, landed on opposite shores of Kiska.

The mountainous island was covered in fog and both experienced and inexperienced troops were nervous of an enemy that was expected to fight to the death.

Both U.S. and Canadian forces mistook each other as the Japanese and, as a result of friendly fire, 28 Americans were killed and 4 Canadians killed, with wounded on either side.[1] The USS Abner Read (DD-526) struck a stray Japanese mine and lost a large chunk of its stern. The blast killed 71 and wounded 47. 191 troops went missing during the two-day stay on the island and presumably[citation needed] also died from friendly fire, booby traps, or environmental causes. Four other troops had also been killed by landmines or other traps.

See also[edit]

  • "Yank" Levy who trained many of these forces in Guerrilla Warfare

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Battle for Kiska, Canadian Heroes (canadianheroes.org), 13 May 02, "Originally Published in Esprit de Corp Magazine, Volume 9 Issue 4 and Volume 9 Issue 5"  Check date values in: |date= (help)

References[edit]

  • 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.; Dillon, Katherine V. (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. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Vol 7 (Champaign, Illinois, USA: University of Illinois Press). ISBN 0-316-58305-7.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • 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[edit]