Destruction of Truk | Nihon Kaigun

Destruction of Truk
(February 17-18, 1944)

Truk had been the main base for Combined Fleet since the beginning of the war, and for the first two years of the conflict was considered an unassailable bastion. However, by early 1944 the American carrier forces in the Pacific had grown so monumentally in strength that attacks that would have been unthinkable a mere six months earlier became possible. In early February, Task Force 58 under Admiral Mitscher came against Truk with an enormous force of eight carriers and six battleships. Warned by radio intelligence, the Japanese had withdrawn the majority of their heavy surface units immediately prior. However, the Americans had a field day against the few light surface combatants they found, as well as against the numerous transports anchored in the lagoon. In two days of raids, American aircraft destroyed most of the ground facilities and fighter cover, and wiped out practically everything afloat. Those vessels which managed to flee the atoll were eliminated by the American surface and submarine forces ringing the area. Truk was reduced to near-uselessness, and would sit out the remainder of the war as a virtual backwater, cut of from the ongoing American offenses in the central Pacific.

Destruction of TrukJapanAllied
Starting Forces Various light surface
Various transport vessels
x350
x5
x3
x6
Numerous CA, CL, and DD
x600 (approx.)
Losses x2 sunk (Agano, Katori, Naka)
x2 sunk (Fumizuki, Tachikaze, Maikaze, Oite)
1 aircraft ferry, 2 sub tenders, 1 auxiliary merchant cruiser, 6 tankers, and 17 merchantmen sunk.
x230-280 (approx.) destroyed
x1 moderately damaged (Intrepid)
x25 destroyed, including eight non-combat lost

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WW2DB article on Attack on Truk


Map of the Philippine Sea from Japan to the CarolinesUSS Intrepid under way 26 Jan 1944 on her way to launch strikes against Truk Atoll (now Chuuk). Note the forward flight deck filled SBD Dauntless and TBF Avenger aircraft and one F4U Corsair on the outrigger sponson.Japanese naval base, warships, and fishing boats at Dublon Island under American aerial attack, Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944, photo 1 of 2Japanese naval base, warships, and fishing boats at Dublon Island under American aerial attack, Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944, photo 2 of 2Japanese ships and fishing boats under attack at Dublon Island, Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944
Map of the Philippine Sea from Japan to the CarolinesUSS Intrepid under way 26 Jan 1944 on her way to launch strikes against Truk Atoll (now Chuuk). Note the forward flight deck filled SBD Dauntless and TBF Avenger aircraft and one F4U Corsair on the outrigger sponson.Japanese naval base, warships, and fishing boats at Dublon Island under American aerial attack, Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944, photo 1 of 2Japanese naval base, warships, and fishing boats at Dublon Island under American aerial attack, Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944, photo 2 of 2Japanese ships and fishing boats under attack at Dublon Island, Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944
Strike photo taken by aircraft from USS Enterprise showing a burning and sinking oil tanker in the Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk), Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944.Strike photo taken from USS Intrepid aircraft showing burning targets and bomb splashes between the islands of Dublon and Fefan inside the Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk), Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944.Strike photo taken from USS Intrepid aircraft showing fires at the seaplane base on the south side of Dublon Island inside the Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk), Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944. Note burning H6K “Mavis”TBM Avenger of Torpedo Squadron VT-10 aboard USS Enterprise with machine gun holes in the wing following air-to-air combat with a Japanese Kawasaki Ki-61 “Tony” fighter off Truk, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944.Two US Navy fighter pilots aboard carrier Enterprise during the raid on Truk Atoll in the Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944
Strike photo taken by aircraft from USS Enterprise showing a burning and sinking oil tanker in the Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk), Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944.Strike photo taken from USS Intrepid aircraft showing burning targets and bomb splashes between the islands of Dublon and Fefan inside the Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk), Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944.Strike photo taken from USS Intrepid aircraft showing fires at the seaplane base on the south side of Dublon Island inside the Truk Lagoon (now Chuuk), Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944. Note burning H6K “Mavis”TBM Avenger of Torpedo Squadron VT-10 aboard USS Enterprise with machine gun holes in the wing following air-to-air combat with a Japanese Kawasaki Ki-61 “Tony” fighter off Truk, Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944.Two US Navy fighter pilots aboard carrier Enterprise during the raid on Truk Atoll in the Caroline Islands, 16 Feb 1944

See all 24 photos of Attack on Truk on WW2DB


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