Battle of Wake Island
The Battle of Wake Island begins simultaneously with the Attack on
Pearl Harbor (Wake being on the opposite side of the International Date
Line) and ends on December 23, 1941, with the surrender of the American
forces to the Japanese.
What do you know about the Wake Island?
this World War II History Quiz.
"Check Your Answers" at the bottom
of the page.
On August 19, the first permanent military garrison,
under strength elements of the 1st Marine Defense Battalion,
totaling 450 officers and men, are stationed on the island,
under Major James P.S. Devereux. Also present on the island are
68 U.S. Navy personnel and about 1,221 civilian workers.
2) On November 28, 1941, a
U.S. Navy Commander reports to Wake to assume overall command of
U.S. forces on the island. He has less than two weeks to examine
defenses and assess his men before war began.
Who is the
U.S. Navy Commander?
- Winfield S. Cunningham
- Douglas P. Jones
- Marshall G. Mannington
- Robert J. Baker
3) On December 8, 1941, the
same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor (Wake being on the
opposite side of the International Date Line), 36 Japanese
Mitsubishi G3M bombers flown from bases on the Marshall Islands
attack Wake Island, destroying eight of the twelve fighter
aircraft belonging to Marine Corps fighter squadron VMF-211 on
What is the fighter aircraft?
- F4F-3 Wildcat
- G5G-5 Wondercat
- K2K-10 Hoppy
- F-10 Boeing
4) Early on the morning of December 11, the
garrison, with the support of the four remaining fighters,
repels the first Japanese landing attempt by the South Seas
Force, which include the light cruisers Yubari, Tenryu, and
Tatsuta; the destroyers Yayoi, Mutsuki, Kisaragi, Hayate, Oite,
and Asanagi; two Momi class destroyers converted to patrol boats
(Patrol Boat No. 32 and Patrol Boat No. 33), and two troop
transport ships containing 450 Special Naval Landing Force
Which becomes the first Japanese surface warship to be
sunk during World War II?
5) The initial resistance
offered by the garrison prompts the Japanese Navy to detach two
aircraft carriers (Soryu and Hiryu) from the force that attacked
Pearl Harbor to support the second landing attempt.
6) The projected U.S. relief
attempt by Admiral Frank Fletcher's Task Force 11 (TF-11) and
supported Admiral Wilson Brown's Task Force 14 (TF-14) consists
of the fleet carrier Saratoga, the fleet oiler USNS Neches, the
seaplane tender Tangier, the cruisers Astoria, Minneapolis, and
San Francisco, and ten destroyers. The convoy carries the 4th
Marine Defense Battalion, the VMF-221 fighter squadron equipped
with F2A Brewster Buffalo fighters, along with 9,000 five-inch
rounds, 12,000 three-inch rounds, and 3,000,000 .50 cal. rounds
as well as a large amount of ammunition for mortars and other
battalion small arms. On December 22 at 21:00, after receiving
information indicating the presence of two IJN carriers and two
fast battleships near Wake Island the Acting Commander in Chief
of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, orders TF-14 to return to Pearl
Harbor for fear of losses.
Who is the Acting Commander
in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet?
- Vice Admiral William S. Pye
- Vice Admiral Robert G. Crosby
- Vice Admiral Maynard G. Ferguson
- Vice Admiral Robert Collins, Jr.
7) The second Japanese
invasion force comes on December 23, composed mostly of the same
ships from the first attempt with some new additions, plus 1,500
Japanese marines. The landings begins after a preliminary
What time did the invasion begin?
8) Who is the pilot
from VMF-211, awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his
action on the island during the second landing attempt, having
shot down two Japanese A6M Zero fighters, and sunk the Japanese
- Captain Robert G. Armstrong
- Captain Henry T. Elrod
- Captain Joseph Walker
- Captain Randy Boone
9) The U.S. Marines loose 47
killed and 2 MIA during the entire 15-day siege, while three
U.S. Navy personnel and at least 70 civilians are killed.
Japanese losses are recorded at between 700 to 900 killed, with
at least 300 more wounded, in addition to the two destroyers
lost in the first invasion attempt and at least 28 land-based
and carrier aircraft either shot down or damaged. The Japanese
capture all men remaining on the island, the majority are
The civilian contractors are
employed with what company?
- George Penny Construction
- Morrison-Knudsen Company
- Elrod Hubbard Company
- Macon-Jones Company
10) On October 5, 1943,
American naval aircraft from USS Yorktown raided Wake. Two days
later, fearing an imminent invasion, Rear Admiral Shigematsu
Sakaibara orders the execution of the 98 captured American
civilian workers remaining on the island, kept to perform forced
labor. They are taken to the northern end of the island,
blindfolded and executed with a machine gun. One of the
prisoners (whose name has never been discovered) escapes the
massacre, apparently returning to the site to carve the message
98 US PW 5-10-43 on a large coral rock near where the victims
has been hastily buried in a mass grave. The unknown American is
recaptured, and Sakaibara personally beheads him with a katana.
The inscription on the rock can still be seen and is a Wake
11) The remaining Japanese
garrison surrenders to a detachment of United States Marines.
The handover of Wake is officially conducted in a brief ceremony
aboard the USS Levy (DE-162).
What is the date?
- August 4, 1945
- September 4, 1945
- October 4, 1945
- November 4, 1945
12) After the war, Rear
Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara and his subordinate,
Lieutenant-Commander Tachibana, are innocent of war crimes.
Several Japanese officers in American custody have committed
suicide over the incident, leaving written statements that claim
13) Like many of the Wake
Island POWs, he is relocated to China for forced labor for the
Japanese army. In 1945 he is traveling on a Japanese train as a
work detail from Shanghai, when he escapes by jumping off the
train when Japanese guards are not looking. He reluctantly meets
up with Chinese Communist soldiers. After 10 weeks of traveling
with the Chinese Communists in northern China, he is able to
contact American military forces, who call for a plane to pick
him up and bring him to an American base in northern China.
Before he leaves China he meets Mao Zedong who gives him a gift
of Chinese rugs and told him he is the only POW who has
successfully come through north China.
Who is the escaped POW?
- William L. Taylor
- Jack Hernandez
- Bill Sloan
- Gregory J.W. Uwrin
14) On February 24, 1942,
aircraft from the carrier Enterprise attack the Japanese
garrison on Wake Island. United States forces bombs the island
periodically from 1942 until Japan's surrender in 1945. On July
8, 1943, B-24 Liberators in transit from Midway Island struck
the Japanese garrison on Wake Island.
Who also conducts
his first mission as an aviator over Wake Island?
- Clint Eastwood
- Barry Goldwater
- George H. W. Bush
- John McCain