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    Truk Islands (Chuuk Islands) Chuuk State (Truk) Federated States of Micronesia
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USN February 17, 1944

Location
The Truk Islands (Chuuk Islands) are located in Truk Lagoon in Chuuk State (Truk) in the Federated States of Micronesia. Truk consist of eleven major islands and many smaller islets within a forty mile wide lagoon surrounded by a protective reef. Entrances into the lagoon including North Pass, North East Pass, Salat Pass, Wilger Pass, Otta Pass, Aualap Pass, Ulifauro Pass, Piaanu Pass, Taualap Pass. Truk Harbor  is the inner anchorage bordering Dublon Island (Tonoas, Tonowas) to the north, Eten Island (Takeshima) to the east, Uman Island to the south and Fefan Island to the west. To the southeast is Kuop Atoll (Neoch Atoll).

Wartime History
Truk was considered a Japanese "Gibraltar of the Pacific".

On November 15, 1939, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Fourth Fleet (4th Fleet) under the command of Admiral Katagiri Eikichi established their base at Truk. Chitose was assigned as flagship with tenders Kamoi and Kinugasa Maru of the 17th Sentai to support the new fleet. In December 1939 twenty-four H6K Mavis flying boats from the Yokohama Kokutai were based at Truk Lagoon.

During the Pacific War, Truk Lagoon was an important anchorage and staging base. It was also used as a ferry point for aircraft flying Japan or aircraft carriers. From Truk, aircraft could proceed southward to Rabaul and onward to New Guinea or the Solomons. During the Pacific War, five airfields and seaplane bases were built in Truk Lagoon.

Japanese airfields and seaplane bases in Truk Lagoon
Moen No. 1 Airfield (Moen 1, Harushma, Chuuk Airport)  located at the northwestern tip of Moen Island.
Moen No. 2 Airfield (Moen 2)  located at the southwestern corner of Moen Island.
Moen Seaplane Base  located at the southwestern corner of Moen Island.
Param Airfield  located on Param Island in Truk Lagoon.
Eten Airfield  located on Eten Island in Truk Lagoon.
Megeson Airfield (Megeson)  under construction during 1944 never completed.
Dublon Seaplane Base  located on Dublon Island using Truk Lagoon as an operating area.

The area was heavily defended with anti-aircraft guns, coastal guns and later in the war defenses were bolstered with additional submarine nets placed in the water along with more mines and even rocket launchers. There were over eighty 25mm anti-aircraft 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 any attempted Allied landing.

Allied missions against Truk
January 15, 1941 - June 30, 1945

On January 15, 1941 Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Catalina flying boats from Rabaul via Kavieng attacked Truk. After the Japanese occupation of Rabaul, no Allied aircraft had the range reach Truk. Beyond the reach of Allied aircraft and heavily defended, Truk was dubbed the "Gibraltar of the Pacific". It was not until early February 1944 when the first long range reconnaissance mission reached Truk.

On February 16-17, 1944 during "Operation Hailstone" U. S. Navy (USN) 500+ carrier aircraft from Task Force 58 (TF 58) under the command of Vice Admiral R. A. Spruance including USS Enterprise, USS Yorktown, USS Intrepid CV-11, USS Essex CV-9, USS Bunker Hill CV-17, USS Belleau Wood CVL-24, USS Cabot CVL-28, USS Monterey CVL-26 and USS Cowpens CVL-25 supported by seven battleships, heavy cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers and submarines. During the raids, 400 tons of bombs and torpedoes were dropped. In total, forty ships were sunk and thousands of Japanese died. Ten weeks later, a second raid sank more ships.

The Allies bypassed Truk and instead bombed the anchorage and bases to neutralize them from the air. During 1944, attacked by B-24 Liberators from the 7th Air Force and later Far East Air Force (FEAF). During 1945, Truk was within range of B-25 Mitchells from the Central Pacific and escorting fighters including P-38 Lightnings and P-47 Thunderbolts and B-29 Superfortress flew bombing familiarization missions until the end of June 1945. On the ground, the Japanese garrison was cut off from resupply but continued to defend Truk until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945. Until the late 1940s, oil from the sunken ships and war debris covered the beaches and coral reefs.

Truk Atoll
Truk (Chuuk)  includes eleven major islands and many smaller islets.
Truk Lagoon (Chuuk Lagoon)  large anchorage forty mile wide surrounded by coral reef used by the Japanese.
Reef Islands  located at the center of Truk Lagoon.
South Pass (South Passage)  located at the southern entrance to Truk Lagoon.
Faichuk Islands (Shichiyo)
Paata Island (Pata)  located in Truk Lagoon
Polle Island  located in Truk Lagoon
Tol Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Ulalu Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses and RDF station.
Ollan Island (Onnang)  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Nomwisofo Islands
Eot Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Eiol Island located between Udot Island and west of Param Island.
Fala-Beguets Island (Fanapanges)
Romanum Island
Udot Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Nomoneas Islands (Shiki)
Northern Nomoneas Islands (North Shiki)
Moen Island (Weno)  located near the center of Truk Lagoon with two airfields and seaplane base.
Fono Island (Fano)
Pis-Paneu Island
Southern Nomoneas Islands (South Shiki)
Fefan Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Param Island (Parem)  located in Truk Lagoon with Param Airfield.
Tarik Island (Totiw)  located to the south of Param in Truk Lagoon.
Dublon Island (Tonoas, Tonowas)  large island in Truk Lagoon with seaplane base and defenses.
Tsis Island  small island to the south of Fefan Island.
Eten Island (Etan, Etten)  located in Truk Lagoon includes Eten Airfield.
Uman Island  large island in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Inner lagoon Islands
Aga Island
Falas Island 
Fonamer Island
Fanuet Island
Schetan Island
Falo Island
Fanuela Island
Buet Island
Sand Island
Northern Reef Islands
North Pass (Northern Pass)
Pis Island (Piis)
Tonelik Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Northeast Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Eastern Reef Islands
North East Pass
Mor Island (Moch)  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Eniganimu Island (Eni Kanibu)  located on the northeast side of Truk Lagoon with gun emplacements.
Southern Reef Islands
Otta Island (Ocha)  located at the southern edge of Truk Lagoon.
Mesegon Island (Megeson)  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses, Megeson Airfield never completed.
Faleu Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Salat Island  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defenses.
Western Reef Islands
Taualap Passage
Yawata Island (Yawata Shima)  located in Truk Lagoon with wartime defense.

 

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Last Updated
August 11, 2018

 

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