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  #1  
Old 31-07-2011, 11:21
Abbeywood. Abbeywood. is offline
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Default Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

6th July-15 August 1943: A task force, unidentified, under the command of Rear-Adm Giffen, and comprising the heavy-cruisers, Wichita, Portland,San Francisco , light-cruiser Santa Fe, with four escorting destroyers, began shelling Japanese positions on Kiska and Little Kiska in the western Aleutians.
This shelling was repeated during five nights between 8th-20th July by the destroyers Aylwin and Monaghan.
On 22nd July, US TG 16.21,(Rear-Adm- Giffen), with cruisers Louisville, Wichita, San Francisco and Santa Fe, with destroyers Aylwin, Bache, Hughes, Mustin and Morris again bombarded Kiska while TG 16.22, (Rear-Adm Griffin) with battleships New Mexico and Mississippi, cruiser Portland, and destroyers Monaghan, Abner Read, Farragut and Perry shelled Little Kiska
On 27th July, 80nm west of Kiska, a US Task Group comprising the battle ships Mississippi and Idaho, the heavy cruiser Wichita, San Francisco and Portland with an unspecified number of destroyers conducted the so called 'Battle of the Pips' with the US ships expending 518 rounds of 14" and487 rounds 0f 8" ammunition, shooting at phantom radar echoes.
Due to bad weather the Japanes were forced to abandon their attempts at relieving Kiska on16th July but returned from Paramushiro on the 22nd with three crsuisers (Tama, Abukama and Kiso) with 12 destroyers and a tanker.
They successfully evacuated the Japanese personnel by the 27th July and were all back in Paramushiro by 1st Aug',
The US carried out a further bombardement on 2 Aug' with TG 16.6 (Rear-Adm Baker) comprising the cruisers Salt LakeCity, Indianapolis, Raleigh, Detroit and Richmond with destroyers Farragut, Meade, Frazier, Gansevoort and Edwards. TG 16.17, (Rear-Adm Kingman), battleships Idaho and Tennessee and destroyers Dale, Aylwin, Phelps and Anderson
Operation 'Cottage' began in earnest, on the 13th August with the departure from Adak, of 20 transports, 42 landing-ships and craft, plus other auxiliaries, and on the 15th, 34,426 men were landed on the island only to find it empty and abandoned, the Japanese evacuation having taken place 3 weeks earlier and been totally un-noticed by the US which seems to have been badly let down by its intelligence gathering, although no doubt the troops of the landing force were more than grateful.
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  #2  
Old 31-07-2011, 12:02
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Hi Pete
So you have stuck your head over the parapet- with this posting of the little publicised OPERATION COTTAGE, the invasion of Kiska Is; in the Aleutians in July./Aug. 1943.
I gather the Battle of the Pips was all about the ship's radar throwing up fake images; more down to the fearful weather in those parts; than the failings of the radar per se.IMHO.
The "sting" in the tale was of course the failure of USN Intelligence in not picking up the evacuation of the Garrison-leaving the island unopposed for the landing US and Canadian troops and making the considerable naval build up appear unnecessary

jainso31

Last edited by jainso31 : 31-07-2011 at 12:22.
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  #3  
Old 31-07-2011, 18:39
WGVSr WGVSr is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

There is a good commentary from the Japanese perspective by Masataka Chihaya in 'The Japanese Navy in World War II' edited by David Evans [USNI, 1986]. The author credits the success of the operation to the forecast heavy fog, the USN not having the blockading force in the correct position and Adm. Kimura's leadership.
Bill
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  #4  
Old 03-08-2011, 16:11
Keith Enge Keith Enge is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

In the battle of the pips, the false radar images were the result of atmospheric tunneling caused by a layer of dense air close to the water surface. This caused radar pulses to bend over the horizon and reflect from small islands that were otherwise out of range. Radar ranges are determined by measuring the time between pulse transmission and its return after bouncing off of the target; this is done repeatedly, pulse after pulse. In this case, however, the pulse was being bent over the horizon and returned after hitting a far away island. By this time, the next pulse had already been sent and the radar measured the time between the second pulse's transmission and the first pulse's return; thus, a mistakenly short range was measured. This phenomenon is known as the "second time around" effect.

The invasion of Kiska had some farcical aspects. The US, unaware that there was literally nobody left on the island but three or four dogs (accounts vary), continued with their invasion plans. On July 30, two destroyers shelled the deserted island. Three days later, sixteen more ships fired another 2,000 or so shells. Then, a week later for five days, the Air Force dropped 355 tons of bombs. Some pilots reporting receiving antiaircraft fire (those dogs must have been very well trained). Also during that week, ten ships dumped another 60 tons of shells there. Unfortunately, there was a tragic ending to this farce. While "clearing" the island, different groups of US troops accidentally shot at each other resulting in seventeen fatalities.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2011, 16:53
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

The "friendly fire" incidents- tragic though were, were not really surprising; because the invading troops did not know that the Japanese had gone; and so fired at anybody who shot at them. Another indication that USN Intelligence had failed miserably.
Thanks for the technical answer to the PIPS Keith.I just thought it was down to lousy weather in those parts.

jainso31
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2012, 15:55
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

The Battle of Kiska raged for two nerve-wracking days as the Allied soldiers slowly and awkwardly gained ground in the difficult mountainous terrain. Radio communication was poor, maps were inaccurate and company leaders were unsure how to proceed as the enemy continued its unabashed retreat. Messengers circulated among the platoons with word of the casualties, the wounded, and the abandoned enemy bunkers that had been found up ahead, food and tea still hot on the tables. Exhausted soldiers put themselves as deep as they could into their water-filled trenches at night. But there was no sleep for the weary: American soldiers who had let down their guard at Attu had been found bayonetted to death in their sleeping bags.

When the fighting was finally over (17August 1943), exhausted Allied troops pulled themselves out of their dank foxholes, dazed and wet, to look around them and count up the casualties.
As Tokyo Rose had warned them, they were in for a dreadful surprise. There were 28 dead American soldiers, four dead Canadians, and over 50 wounded Allied soldiers. There were no Japanese. Americans and Canadians had only been shooting each other.

jainso31
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  #7  
Old 13-07-2012, 11:15
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Brian Wentzell Brian Wentzell is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Jim: The nickname for the operation should have been "Empty Cottage"! Time on recce is usually well spent. There appears to have been little recce done in this operation.
Brian
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  #8  
Old 13-07-2012, 12:49
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Yes Brian this was a shambolic mess and yes some time spent on recce.would perhaps saved the lost lives.Empty Cottage indeed.Thanks for dropping in-a comment is always welcome.

jainso31
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  #9  
Old 15-07-2012, 15:12
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

How did the USN not having their blockading force in the correct position and Adm. Kimura's leadership affect the outcome of this unfortunate venture???

jainso31
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  #10  
Old 15-07-2012, 15:32
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Don Boyer Don Boyer is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

"--food and tea still hot on the tables." as Jim quoted in his post #6. This is an interesting comment regarding the invasion on 15 August when the Japanese had left on 27 July. Those dogs on the island must have had it good after the Japanese left!
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  #11  
Old 15-07-2012, 15:45
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Ask a "silly" question!!
Quote from#6
"Messengers circulated among the platoons with word of the casualties, the wounded, and the abandoned enemy bunkers that had been found up ahead, food and tea still hot on the tables"

Don
Obviously the messengers were letting their imaginations "run riot" and this certainly would have increased the apprehension amongst the mixed Invasion Force; and in turn causing some "friendly fire"casualties,although there were others who suffered from anti infantry mines.
To answer the question posed -the blockading force had been withdrawn to refuel and Japanese destroyers had crept in and evacuated the entire garrison.

jainso31

Last edited by jainso31 : 15-07-2012 at 16:12.
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  #12  
Old 24-07-2012, 05:17
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the Chief the Chief is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

The blockading force withdrew to re-supply/re-oil at the critical time. Japanese subs may also have been responsible for the false echoes in the Battle of the Pips, giving echoes from over the horizon. Not all ships 'saw' the echoes.
The veteran pilots reported no AAA and thought the island abandoned and the brass also thought it likely but the decision was to occupy the island Japanese or no Japanese, a good training exercise if nothing else. Vets of the FSSF said that they would have been cut to pieces if the island had been defended.
There is a book called 'The Thousand-Mile War' by Brian Garfield which covers the Aleutian and Alaskan war for anyone interested in the details.
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Old 24-07-2012, 07:01
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Thanks for your observations on the re-taking of Kiska and what you say may well be true; and as you say had the Japanese still held the island the outcome would have been a bloodbath.

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Old 24-07-2012, 08:01
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Quote:
Originally Posted by jainso31 View Post
"... and as you say had the Japanese still held the island the outcome would have been a bloodbath."
jainso31
Which would have made it like every other island battle with the Japanese. They never surrendered and island, we never failed to take one.
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Old 24-07-2012, 09:27
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Well said ,old friend and how very true.The US Forces in the Pacific War never failed.

jainso31
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  #16  
Old 24-07-2012, 12:22
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Quote:
The nickname for the operation should have been "Empty Cottage"! Time on recce is usually well spent. There appears to have been little recce done in this operation.
Quote:
The veteran pilots reported no AAA and thought the island abandoned and the brass also thought it likely but the decision was to occupy the island Japanese or no Japanese, a good training exercise if nothing else. Vets of the FSSF said that they would have been cut to pieces if the island had been defended.
Whether the island appeared evacuated or not, a cautious occupation was justified and necessary. Japanese troops could conceivably have been hidden in order to try to inflict maximum casualties on the invading force... As has been said, they never usually gave up without a fight.

More details of the casualties from Wikipedia:
Quote:
Both US and Canadian forces mistook each other as Japanese and as a result friendly fire incidents killed 28 Americans and 4 Canadians and wounded 50 more.[1] A stray Japanese mine caused the USS Abner Read (DD-526) to lose a large chunk of its stern. The blast killed 71. 191 troops went missing during the two-day stay on the island and presumably also died from friendly fire. Four other troops had also been killed by landmines or other traps.
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  #17  
Old 24-07-2012, 12:44
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

Yessir Paul- a bad job all round-the High Command thought it a good exercise to "blood" green troops of mixed nationalities-just as well they were sitting behind desks.It was known that Attu,where all the Japanese had not left-sentries had been found bayoneted.

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  #18  
Old 24-07-2012, 20:32
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

It has been said that in ratio of the forces involved that Attu was one of the most costly battles of the Pacific war.
The reason that the Japanese gave up Kiska is that they didn't want it in the first place and when they did take it, it was only supposed to be for a limited time. Attu was occupied and abandoned and re-occupied during the Japanese dithering. The Alaskan adventure was one that no one wanted but it happened because of the Japanese loss at Midway. Events have a way of propelling themselves!
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Old 25-07-2012, 11:07
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

I wholeheartedly concur with everything you have said Chief-hereunder a description of the end on Attu.:-
On 29 May, without hope of rescue, Yamasaki led his remaining troops in a banzai charge. The momentum of the surprise attack broke through the American front line positions. Shocked American rear-echelon troops were soon fighting hand-to-hand combat with Japanese soldiers. The battle continued until almost all of the Japanese were killed. The charge effectively ended the battle for the island, although U.S. Navy reports indicate that small groups of Japanese continued to fight until early July. In 19 days of battle, 549 soldiers of the 7th Division were killed and more than 1,000 injured. The Japanese lost over 2,850 men; only 29 prisoners were taken alive.

Aftermath
Attu was to be the last action of the Aleutian campaign. The Japanese Northern Army secretly evacuated their remaining garrison from nearby Kiska ending the Japanese occupation in the Aleutian Islands on 28 July 1943
.
The loss of Attu and the evacuation of Kiska came shortly after the death of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who was killed by an American plane in Operation Vengeance. These defeats compounded the demoralizing effect of losing Yamamoto on the Japanese High Command. Despite the losses, Japanese propaganda attempted to present the Aleutian Island campaign as an inspirational epic.

jainso31
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Old 25-07-2012, 23:28
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

The worst part of the episode for the US is that the troops landed on Kiska would have been better committed to Vella LaVella but then the original Japanese task force that occupied Kiska would have been better served at Midway. The whole Aleutian episode is one of those points in history that lends itself to all sorts of 'what ifs'.
The Japanese opened the hornet's nest when they occupied American soil, US forces really had no choice but to contest it.
The Kiska snafu finally put the Aleutians on the front page, giving black-eyes from Ottawa to Washington, probably the only thing about the Aleutians that most people remember!
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Old 26-07-2012, 07:07
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Operation Cottage - The Re-Taking of Kiska

"The Japanese opened the hornet's nest when they occupied American soil, US forces really had no choice but to contest it.
The Kiska snafu finally put the Aleutians on the front page, giving black-eyes from Ottawa to Washington, probably the only thing about the Aleutians that most people remember!"
Excellent way of putting this whole issue in perspective Chief


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