Archive: Wake Island Raid

WORLD WAR II

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Item#: 105061 price:$9,500.00

THE U.S. AIR RAID ON WAKE ISLAND, OCTOBER 1943—RARE ARCHIVE OF RELATED MAPS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND DOCUMENTS USED IN PREPARING FOR AND DOCUMENTING THE RESULTS OF THE RAID

(WORLD WAR II). Archive: Wake Island Raid maps, photographs and documents. [Near Wake Island]: Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Areas, October 5-6, 1943. Sixteen maps, photographs and documents; maps range in size from 8 by 8 inches to 18 by 21-3/4 inches; photographs range from 6-1/4 by 8 inches to 18 by 9-1/4 inches. $9500.

Superb archive of rarely seen map and photographs used in planning and documenting the October 5, 1943 raid on Wake Island, which was taken by the Japanese only weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Wake Island, a U.S. airbase located approximately 2200 miles west of Pearl Harbor, was captured by the Japanese in late December, 1941. The island remained under Japanese control until the garrison there surrendered on September 7, 1945. In October, 1942, a U.S. task force conducted a two-day air raid on the island. The Japanese commander, Shigematsu Sakaibara, convinced the raid was the beginning of an attempt to retake the island, marched 98 American civilian prisoners of war to a remote corner of the island and executed them. (Following the war, Sakaibara was tried and executed for war crimes.) Of particular interest is a large map on thick stock, folded into quarters and reinforced with tape on the verso, bearing copious pencil annotations documenting the second day of air raids on the island, recording various points in the action from the initial takeoff from the carrier at "0515" through the squadron's departure around "0745." The pilot carefully draws the route of two bombing runs, the first against the runways on the main island of Wake, and the second targeting the barracks and ammunition storage on nearby Peale Island. The pilot noted the direction of anti-aircraft fire, positions of guns, as well as the wind and the general weather conditions: "Cumulus @ 2500 strong vertical development… Squalls to and from island." The pilot recorded damage sighted, including "Red flame black smoke 0710" coming from an underground storage area adjacent to Runway A. On his second run he observed "Black smoke 0706-0715—still going strong at 0725" near the barracks on adjacent Peale Island. The archive also features four large, highly detailed reconnaissance photographs of Wake island together with a large body of smaller maps, all used in the planning of the October raid. Also of interest is a mimeographed document titled "U.S.S. Yorktown Air Department Plan of the Day, Tuesday, 5 October, 1943" which details the schedule of the first day of operations beginning at "0245" and ending prior to sunset at "1645," noting the planned launchings and landings of seven major sorties against Wake. Several of the items are stamped "VT-5 Air Intelligence"; VT-5 was a torpedo bomber squadron stationed on the Yorktown during the war. All items apparently from the collection of Lt. H.T. Reynolds of torpedo bomber Squadron VT-5, stationed aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown. One of the photographs, of an Avenger in flight over Wake Island, is captioned "Lt. Reynolds, U.S.S. Yorktown, 1943."

Typical folds and other wear consistent with use, though generally very well preserved, in excellent condition overall. A superb collection of original materials used in the planning and subsequent reports on this historic attack.

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