Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese aircraft struck at U.S. Army and Navy installations at Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island.
The first flight of Japanese fighters arrived over the island at 5:45 am on June 3rd, 1942 followed five minutes later by bombers. Fourteen bombs fell on Fort Mears, destroying five buildings, killing 25 soldiers, and wounding 25 more. A second strike caused no damage; but a third damaged the radio station and killed one sailor and one soldier. Late on the afternoon of June 4th, a force of nine fighters and seventeen bombers struck. They hit the 3,000-ton S.S. Northwestern, a beached vessel near Dutch Harbor dock that served as housing for civilian workers. The vessel caught fire and was destroyed, as was an adjacent warehouse. A bomb hit a naval gun emplacement, killing four men; and another destroyed an army gun, leaving two dead and two wounded. Four new steel fuel tanks and 22,000 barrels of oil, a month's supply for Dutch Harbor, were destroyed. A naval hangar, still under construction, had a big hole punched through its roof and a Catalina PBY inside was damaged. The total death for the two-day attack was 43 and another 50 were wounded.
The United States had recently completed an airfield, Fort Glenn on Umnak Island, and its aircraft were anticipating the Japanese attack. On June 3rd, however, communications difficulties between the two islands resulted in Umnak being unaware of the attack until after the enemy planes had returned to the carrier. Later in the day, Umnak's P-40 fighters intercepted two Japanese reconnaissance planes, and shot one of them down. On the raid of the 4th, eight P-40s from Fort Glenn met them, shooting down four with a loss of two of their own. During the two-day battle eleven Japanese planes were shot down. Five Army aircraft and six Navy Catalina PBYs were also lost. After the two-day attack on Dutch Harbor the carriers sailed west, to a point off Kiska Island to protect their forces who were landing there.
Last updated: June 3, 2022