Battle of the Pips
The Battle of the Pips is the name given to an incident on 27 July 1943, part of the Aleutian campaign of World War II. In preparation for the attack on the island of Kiska planned for August 1943, the U.S. Navy formed Task Group 16.22 (TG 16.22)[clarification needed] under command of Rear Admiral Griffin[clarification needed], centered on the battleships Mississippi and Idaho.
On 27 July, 80 mi (70 nmi; 130 km) west of Kiska, TG 16.22 began to pick up a series of unknown radar contacts. The order was given to open fire, and 518 14 in (360 mm) shells were fired from both battleships, but there were no hits.
Radar was still a new and unreliable technology at that time, and weather conditions around the Aleutians were characteristically bad, with the very poor visibility normal for the area. No Japanese surface warships were actually within 200 mi (170 nmi; 320 km). Author Brian Garfield surmises, based on analysis by modern Aleutian fishing-boat captains, that the pips were rafts of sooty or short-tailed shearwaters, species of migratory petrel that pass through the Aleutians in July every year.