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    French Frigate Shoals Hawaii United States

Lat 23° 45' N Long 166° 10' W   30 miles across, which contains a number of small island incluing the largest Tern Island. To the east is Necker Island. To the northwest is Gardner Island.

This small group of islands has a place in Pacific history, as being used by the Japanese, before American forces occupied the area. The French Frigate Shoals were not used by the Japanese Fleet for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Having come into classified U.S. Navy Information with the fall of Wake Island on 23 December 1941, the Japanese decided to utilize the atoll for seaplane refueling and rendezvous, as it was unoccupied by the Americans at the time.

Flying Boat Raid
During the night of March 3, 1942, two Kawanishi H8K flyingboats were refueled at the French Frigate Shoals before their bombing raid against Oahu. Japanese submarines I-15 and I-19 were designated refuelers, each carrying 10 tons of aviation gasoline. I-26 was to accompany them and act as an alternate refueler and picket vessel. I-15 and I-19 would shell any U.S. observation posts they found and enter the lagoon to await the two flying boats. The flagship of the flotilla, I-19, was to be posted about 700 miles southwest of Oahu at "Point M" and was to broadcast a radio beacon for navigational purposes. I-23 would be stationed about 10 miles south of Pearl Harbor for weather observation and rescue purposes should either plane be forced down. In addition, two submarines were to be located 300 miles northwest of Wotje Atoll to help guide the returning raiders to their base. All submarines were to be on station one day prior to the attack.

American Occupation
After the Americans learned this area was being used by enemy flyingboats and submarines, the US Navy occupied Tern Island to prevent any further usage of the shoals by the Japanese.

French Frigate Shoals

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018


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