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.
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
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.
After the Americans
learned this area was being used by enemy flyingboats
the US Navy
Island to prevent any further usage of the shoals by the Japanese.
French Frigate Shoals
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February 4, 2018