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    Truk (Chuuk)  Federated States of Micronesia

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February 17, 1944

Location
Truk Lagoon is part of the Federated States of Micronesian, and consist of 11 major islands and many smaller islets within a 40 mile wide lagoon surrounded by a protective reef.

Wartime History
Truk was the Japanese "Gibraltar of the Pacific" the seemingly impregnable base for its combined and Fourth Fleets. It was also used as a ferry point for aircraft from factories in Japan to theaters of operation in New Guinea and the Solomons. Five wartime airstrips and seaplane bases were built during the war. For Japanese aircraft, it was an important way point for flights from Japan to other South Seas bases. Aircraft carriers occasionally ferried planes through the Truk strips.

Atoll Defenses
Heavily defended Truk's defenses were bolstered with additional sub and torpedo nets placed in the water along with more mines and even rocket launchers from Japan. There were over eighty 25mm guns and 12cm guns in emplacements along with many smaller guns. Kaiten units of manned suicide torpedoes were assembled to the outer islands and Daihatsu landing craft were converted into torpedo boats. Mine fields in the passes and lagoon along with beach defenses were the main defenses against possible American invasion.

Operation Hailstone
On the morning of February 17, 1944 a surprise United States Navy air attack code named "Operation Hailstone" caught a fleet of Japanese Merchant vessels and warships by surprise in Truk Lagoon. 400 tons of bombs and torpedo rained down on the lightly defended base. After a day of attacks, forty ships and thousands of men went to the bottom. Ten weeks later, a second successful raid added a score more ship to the bottom. For more than two years after the war, oil from the sunken ships covered the beaches and reefs. Truk was strategically bypassed and neutralized by incirclement, island hopping and aerial attack by the USN, 13th AF and 7th AF.

Japanese Naval anchorage with shipwrecks and aircraft
Larger island with wartime airfield, defenses and
Island with wartime defenses
Island wartime airfield and HQ building
The South Passage is the primary entrance to Truk Lagoon
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime airfield under construction
Two wartime airfields and defenses, modern capital
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime airfield
some reefs were fortified with defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime defenses
Island with wartime garrison
larger island with wartime defenses
Radar station
Island with wartime defenses

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Last Updated
August 27, 2014

 

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