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|Ten of these 12 Navy men stationed on Kiska would be taken prisoner by the Japanese and sent to Japan at the onset of the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands during WWII. Caption. (Courtesy of Jill Holmgren)|
The St. Louis fires a salvo
at Kiska during the bombardment
of 7 August 1942.
Capt. Takeji Ono of the Japanese Imperial Navy landed on Narukami-shima (Kiska) a little after 1 a.m. on the 7th of June, 1942, with a landing party of 500 Japanese marines. Within a short time they reached the United States Navy weather and radio shack manned by 10 men and a dog name "Explosion." Two of the U.S. Navy sailors were wounded by machine gun fire aimed at their shack, while the remaining eight sailors escaped into the foggy night along with their dog. The two wounded sailors were captured, had their wounds treated, and were declared to be prisoners of war. Seven of the remaining eight sailors were captured when they went to their food caches...which the Japanese riflemen were watching. These nine sailors were then sent to Japan as prisoners of war. The tenth sailor, William House, remained at large hiding in caves, eating whatever he could find...including grass. After hiding out for 50 days in the cold and being dangerously emaciated, he finally surrendered. The Japanese fed him and restored his health, then sent him to Japan as a prisoner of war. Their dog "Explosion" remained on Kiska.
At the same time as the Japanese marines had landed on Kiska,
some twenty Japanese ships, including four transports, moved into
Kiska Harbor. In September, 1942, the Kiska garrison was reinforced
with an approximate 2,000 additional personnel. Kiska was then
placed under the command of Rear Admiral Akiyama. Shortly
afterwards, an infantry battalion was moved to Kiska from Attu,
which was captured on the 6th of June 1942. In December of 1942 and
January of 1943, additional anti-aircraft units, engineers and
infantry arrived at Kiska. In the Spring of 1943, the tactical
command was transferred from the Imperial Navy to Lt. General
Higuchi, commanding general of the Japanese Northern Army.
behind by the Japanese which broke off the ship's stern
killing 71. Wounded and missing numbered around 47. Amazingly, one of the
few living creatures on Kiska that came to meet the invaders was
Explosion, the dog owned by the sailors who had been
captured over a year earlier by the invading Japanese forces.
For a more detailed account of the battle for Kiska, read of the account from any number of books including "The Thousand Mile War," "Aleutian Headache," and "The Aleutian Warriors." See the Bibliography Page for additional resources.
This page updated on: 23 Jan 2014 09:29 AM
Online as of 11 July 2005