The Battle of Kiska, also known as Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June, 1942.
The Japanese, however, had secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, and so the Allied landings were unopposed. Despite this, Allied forces suffered over 300 casualties during the operation, mostly due to Japanese mines and the difficult terrain.
Kiska under Japanese OccupationEdit
The Japanese under Captain Takeji Ono had landed on Kiska at approximately 01:00 on June 7, 1942, with a force of about 500 Japanese marines.
Soon after arrival, they stormed an American weather station. Here they killed two and captured eight United States Navy officers. The remaining eight were sent to Japan as prisoners of war.
Another 2,000 Japanese troops arrived, landing in Kiska Harbor. At this time, Monzo Akiyama, a Rear-Admiral, headed the force on Kiska.
In December 1942, additional anti-aircraft units, engineers, and a negligible number of reinforcement infantry arrived on the island. In the spring of 1943, control was transferred to Kiichiro Higuchi.
Kiska Incident of 1943Edit
A Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft sighted Japanese ships in Kiska. No further identification was visible. To United States naval planners, none was necessary and the orders to invade Kiska soon followed.
Due to the heavy casualties suffered at Attu Island, planners were expecting another costly operation. The Japanese tactical planners had, however, realized the isolated island was no longer defensible and planned for an evacuation.
Although small, there were signs of Japanese retreat. Anti-aircraft guns, once active during the Kiska Blitz, were silent when Allied planes flew over in the days leading up to the invasion.
On August 15, 1943, the 7th Division (U.S.) and the 13th Infantry Brigade (Canada), landed on opposite shores of Kiska.
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. A stray Japanese mine caused the USS Abner Read (DD-526) to lose a large chunk of its stern. The blast killed 71 and wounded 47.
191 troops went missing during the two-day stay on the island and presumably also died from friendly fire, booby traps, or environmental causes. Four other troops had also been killed by landmines or other traps.