Enemy Planes, Ships Destroyed
Prisoners Taken as Yanks Pour Tons of Bombs on Foe; Marcus Isle Hit
ABOARD A U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER IN THE PACIFIC,
March 4 - (Delayed) - (U.P.) - The United States Navy knocked at Japan's front door today
when planes from this aircraft carrier dumped 12 tons of high explosives on installations at
Marcus Island, 990 miles southeast of Tokyo.
Eight days previously, it now can be revealed, a United States naval force
delivered a crushing blow at installations on Wake Island, which the Japanese had captured
from heroic American Marine defenders.
Naval Authorities believed the two raids shattered, for some time at least,
links in Japan's chain of fortified island bases extended southeasterly from Tokyo to the
Marshall Islands, Nippon's eastern outposts.
The attack on Marcus Island - only a stone's throw from Tokyo as distances
are measured in the vast Pacific - carried the war into Japan's home waters.
It gave Tokyo and Yokohama their first taste of blackout jitters and was
expected to divert a portion of Japanese material and manpower from other vital areas in the
Attack Lasted for 82 Minutes
American losses were one plane in each attack
A hard-hitting combination of cruisers, destroyers and bombing planes for 82
minutes blasted Japanese military establishments on Wake - scene of the United States Marine's
historic stand in the early days of the war - and nearby Peale and Wilkes Islands early Tuesday
morning, Feb. 24 (Feb. 23 on the United States side of the dateline).
In addition to leveling Japanese military installations, the United States
forces destroyed three big four-engine seaplane bombers, sank three naval auxiliary vessels,
and captured a few prisoners.
At Wake, Wilkes and Peale Islands the following Japanese installations were
damaged or destroyed: Airfield with two runways; power plant; water tower; new pier; contractors'
camp; shore batteries; military barracks; magazines; fuel depot and gasoline storage;
anti-aircraft batteries; anchorage; underground hangars; underground ammunition dumps; seaplane
ramp; range-finder; tractors, rollers, steam shovels, drag lines, trucks and autos.
At Marcus Island the following Japanese installations were destroyed or
damaged: Airfield and accessory establishments, including two dirt runways; hangars; fuel
depot; gasoline storage; oil tanks; water tower; machine shops; military barracks; settlement
on south shore; radio station; anti-aircraft and shore batteries of light and heavy machine
No Japanese planes were seen on the ground at Marcus and none were encountered.
Losses of Japanese personnel in both attacks could not be estimated, but were
presumed to be "proportionately high."
Wake Isle Becomes a No-Man's Land
Wake Island was converted into a "no-man's land" in the mid-Pacific
and marked a thousand-mile advance of the American frontier in the west. Destruction of its
military establishments removed, at least temporarily, a spearhead for direct Japanese aerial
action against Midway or even Hawaii.
"Our colors once again have flown over this island, rich in traditions
of liberty through the gallant stand of that hardy band of Marines who defended it early in
the war," a high-ranking Navy officer said, "and they shall return again and again,
if necessary. We have given the Japanese good cause to remember Wake and Pearl Harbor, and we
shall remind them again, many times."
Both raids found Japanese forces on partial alert.
A Japanese gunboat discovered American surface craft within seven miles of
Wake at dawn, and flashed a warning to the island before it was sunk by a broadside from the
American destroyer leader, which subsequently rescued the Japanese crew.
In both cases, antiaircraft barrages were heavy but inaccurate, bringing
down one attacking plane in each raid. Neither was fire by shore batteries accurate. In the
two raids no damage was done to surface ships.
In the 82-minute attack on Wake, the force of United States cruisers, destroyers
and planes blasted the island with 100 tons of high explosives. Shelling by the warships' heavy
guns began at 7:05 a.m. Three divisions of bombers opened their attack from the opposite
(southwest) side of the island at 7:55 a.m.
Fires Started; Direct Hits Are Scored
Direct hits on gasoline, oil and ammunition dumps started huge fires. Then
airfields were bombed heavily, and some shore batteries of both light and heavy guns were
destroyed. More than 200 bombs were dropped on Wake in addition to thousands of pounds of
high explosives tossed in from surface ships.
At Marcus Island, a carrier launched a group of bombing planes with light
fighter escort before dawn for a moonlit raid in which flares were used to locate objectives.
After the initial blow, three huge fires provided ample light for successive bombing and
The attack was greeted by heavy anti-aircraft fire.
Navy Reveals Story of Wake, Marcus Blitz
Severe Losses Suffered by Japanese in Two Attacks Carried Out February 24, March 4
PEARL HARBOR, March 25 - (AP) - Two sudden,
savage and "highly successful" assaults on Wake and Marcus islands - the latter only
950 miles from Tokyo - were disclosed in first hand accounts by Navy spokesmen today.
Several Japanese were taken prisoner, and coastal and shore installations at
both outposts were battered for hours from the sea and air.
The attack on Wake was on February 24 - two months after a small garrison of
U. S. Marines was overwhelmed to end a 14 day stand which remains one of the highlights of
heroism of this war.
The raid on Marcus was by flarelight in the early hours of March 4.
No United States ships were damaged.
Only Two U. S. Planes Lost
Two planes were lost, one in each attack. Antiaircraft fire - the only major
opposition encountered - downed both of them.
The prisoners were picked up at Wake Island in debris-laden waters after two
Japanese patrol boats were bombed, shelled and sunk. At Wake, too, the entire aerial strength
found was destroyed - three four-engined seaplanes.
Shore batteries were silenced. Fuel barges and dredges were sunk, and fuel
storages, underground hangars and magazines were demolished.
At Marcus - a major stepping stone from Japan to many mandated islands in the
Pacific - the destruction included a radio station, hangars, storages, ammunition and fuel. A
nearly completed air base was bombed and damaged. No planes were found.
Navy spokesmen stressed that Marcus was potentially a highly valuable base, for
aircraft as well as for surface patrol units operating in defense of Japan itself.
The island roughly is 1,000 miles northwest of Wake and 3,000 from Pearl Harbor,
and is in the same general area as the island of Guam which the Japanese seized last December.
In one sense, Marcus is Japan's Hawaii as a strategic outpost for the mainland.
It is no secret that the Marcus attack was regarded so significantly in Tokyo
that lights of that city were blacked out for several nights afterwards.
The raids were conducted by task forces of the U. S. Pacific fleet - aircraft
carriers, cruisers and destroyers - which have been on the move constantly in carrying out the
promise of high naval officials that the sea lanes will be kept open and the battle carried to
Japan's front door.
Close Approach to Japan
So far as is known, Marcus is the closest any United States forces have
approached Japan on an offensive mission with the exception of American submarines which have
all but moored at Nippon wharves.
The Pacific fleet's attack on Marcus island was described by an official Navy
spokesman as "swift and cleanly completed."
His cryptic recital:
"Marcus was attacked by aircraft bombardment so early in the day that
flare illumination was used. An airbase in advanced stages of construction was found on the
island. No enemy aircraft was found present, and no enemy opposition other than heavy antiaircraft
fire was encountered.
"The attack accounted for the destruction of hangars, storage houses,
ammunition, fuel and gasoline storages, a radio station, and considerable damage to the nearly
complete air field."
Box Score Of Navy at Wake And Marcus
PEARL HARBOR, March 25 - (AP) - Here is the
box score of two raids on Japanese held territory by units of the United States Pacific fleet.
Wake Island, February 24
Sunk - Two patrol boats, dredges, fuel barges.
Shot down - One four engined seaplane.
Destroyed - Two other four engined seaplanes, fuel oil and gasoline storages,
underground hangars, magazines and storehouses.
Captured - A few prisoners.
United States losses - One plane.
Marcus Island, March 4
Destroyed - Radio station, hangars, storage houses, ammunition, fuel and
Damaged - Nearly completed air base.
United States losses - One plane.