Archive: World War II-era Pacific Maps

WORLD WAR II   |   U.S.S. YORKTOWN

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Item#: 105190 price:$6,000.00

"TARGET LOCATION MAP KWAJALEIN ATOLL," "RESTRICTED"—IMPORTANT ARCHIVE OF MAPS USED BY A TORPEDO BOMBER SQUADRON ON THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER U.S.S. YORKTOWN DURING PACIFIC THEATRE OPERATIONS, 1943-45, INCLUDING MAPS USED IN PLANNING THE DARING RAIDS ON TRUK AND KWAJALEIN

(WORLD WAR II) (U.S.S. YORKTOWN). Archive: World War II-era Pacific Theatre Maps. Pacific Ocean: 1943-45. Sixteen maps, many folding, various sizes. $6000.

Important archive of contemporary maps, including a hand-drawn map of Okinawa during World War II, some of which were used in planning the daring U.S. raid on the main Japanese naval base in the Pacific at Truk Atoll. This superb collection of 16 maps, together with related documents, mostly date between 1943 and 1945 and were used by members of a torpedo squadron based aboard the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown.

Of particular interest are a pair of large 17 by 16-inch target maps of the Truk Islands, marked "RESTRICTED" and prepared by the Joint Intelligence Center on February 4, 1944 and used in the planning of the daring U.S. raid on the island—code named "Operation Hailstone." Nicknamed "The Gibraltar of the Pacific" by the Allies, the Truk Islands served as the main Pacific base for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Japanese received advance warning of the raid and managed to evacuate their heavy battleships and carriers, but the two-day American raid destroyed 12 smaller warships, as well as 32 merchant vessels, which significantly weakened the installation's ability to support Japanese naval efforts in the South Pacific. As the U.S. advanced toward Japan, the base at Truk Atoll became increasingly isolated, but did not surrender until August 1945, although the garrison was near starvation by that point. The highly detailed map, printed in black, bears updated intelligence comments in purple ink noting the locations of the main anchorage, known radar and anti-aircraft installations, airfields, seaplane bases, as well as the passes used by Japanese ships in and out of the coral reef which surrounds the island group. The second map offers a detailed analysis of the various anti-aircraft guns and fortifications guarding the island as well as comments on searchlights and electric generators that merited targeting. The collection also includes several other smaller maps covering the same general region.

Another map, titled "TARGET LOCATION MAP KWAJALEIN ATOLL," together with 15 pages of mimeographed areal photos and commentary (many of which are stamped "CONFIDENTIAL" on the verso), was used in the planning of the American attack on that island installation known as Operation Flintlock (January 29 – February 4, 1944). The accompanying aerial images offer precise locations of a variety of targets including anti-aircraft guns, radar installations, barracks, shops, warehouses, anchorages, piers, ammunition storage, fuel tanks, hangers and more. The collection also features an unusual clear plastic overlay map (14-1/2 by 14 inches) of a portion of the Marshall Islands, including the Kwajalein Atoll.

The collection also features a beautifully hand inked and colored oilcloth map of the Island of Okinawa, in which the U.S.S. Yorktown played a supporting role in 1945. Signed at the lower right, "Drawn by D-Haydon 9/10/45 China," the map shows the various Marine divisions that took the island during the epic Spring 1945 battle for the island. Beside a large National Geographic folding map of the Pacific (1936) which makes for excellent reference, are a set of eight 8 by 10-inch photographs depicting various theatres of the Pacific Theater of Operations. Complied by the Associated Press, each photo has a small printed explanation tipped to the verso explaining the details of each map.

Light soiling, folds, and other minor wear consistent with use—overall very good condition. Scarce and desirable.

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