On December 4, twelve F4F Wildcats from VMF-211 arrived on the island after being carried south by USS Enterprise.
The Battle of Wake Island:
Due to the island's strategic location, the Japanese made provisions to attack and seize Wake as part of their opening moves against the United States. On December 8, as Japanese aircraft were attacking Pearl Harbor (Wake Island is on the other side of the International Date Line), 36 Mitsubishi G3M medium bombers departed the Marshall Islands for Wake Island. Alerted to the Pearl Harbor attack at 6:50 AM and lacking radar, Cunningham ordered four Wildcats to begin patrolling the skies around the island. Flying in poor visibility, the pilots failed to spot the inbound Japanese bombers.
Striking the island, the Japanese managed to destroy eight of VMF-211's Wildcats on ground as well as inflicted damage on the airfield and Pam Am facilities.
Aftermath of the Battle of Wake Island:
Pushed out of the southern arm of the island, American forces mounted a tenacious defense despite being outnumbered two-to-one. Fighting through the morning, Cunningham and Devereux were forced to surrender the island that afternoon. During their fifteen-day defense, the garrison at Wake Island sank four Japanese warships and severely damaged a fifth. In addition, as many as 21 Japanese aircraft were downed along with a total of around 820 killed and approximately 300 wounded. American losses numbered 12 aircraft, 119 killed, and 50 wounded.[
World War II: Battle of Wake Island
By Kennedy Hickman]
The Japanese lost the initiative after the success of the Dec 8th bombing raid.
the remaining F4F's were able to dish out alot of punishment on the Japanese,
One wonders why the medium bomber raids did not run twice aday until all the F4F's were gone.
considering the start date of Dec 8th,...with the fall of Wake on the 23rd,
US submarines and a few lucky hits from attack might have broken up the Japanese Wake offensive.
disrupted it long enough to evacuate Wake.
its only a few hundred men.
If I were an Admiral then,....I'd make the call to try for the evacuation,
and leave Wake to the Japanese.
After Dec 7th,....a heroic stand and evacuation is a victory and moral booster/...recruiter moment.
I think the US Submarines the critical component here,
some sinkings...maybe even get a transport,
the knowledge they are in the area prowling would also occupy the Japanese,
and possibly keep them from encircling Wake,
Maybe weather would play a factor to enable evacuation.
Considering the success of the Japanese bombers on the first day,
it was nearly a knock out punch right there.
certainly the remaining US forces showed grit to frustrate so great a odds against them.
If Wake became a difficult stand for the Japanese,
they would have deployed more forces and executed the inept commander.
they eventually get Wake in early 42.
Thats why I'm thinking evacuation by USN
|Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||923||Titus Livius||02-Apr-11 12:19|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||390||Avatar||02-Apr-11 14:49|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||377||Hoppy||02-Apr-11 15:17|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||272||Titus Livius||02-Apr-11 16:40|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||363||Eddie Larry||02-Apr-11 15:18|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||290||Titus Livius||02-Apr-11 16:22|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||381||Thunderbird||03-Apr-11 04:53|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||316||Titus Livius||03-Apr-11 09:38|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||258||Thunderbird||04-Apr-11 04:32|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||293||Titus Livius||04-Apr-11 08:43|
|A few final thoughts||287||Titus Livius||05-Apr-11 10:54|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||569||Pete Vanderzwet||05-Apr-11 14:26|