Battle of Wake Island

Wake Island was an American outpost in the central Pacific.

Wake is a coral atoll, made up of three islands. Wake Island itself is the largest, and forms two sides of a triangle. Peale Island and Wilkes Island extend the two arms of Wake Island. The three islands are tiny – only 2.5 square miles in area, but their location in the central Pacific gave them a strategic significance far beyond their size. The Marshal Islands to the south and most of the Marianas islands to the west had been in Japanese hands since the First World War, when they seized them from the Germans.

The Battle of Wake Island began simultaneously with the Attack on Pearl Harbor and ended on December 23, 1941, with the surrender of the American forces to the Japanese.

It was fought on and around the atoll formed by Wake Island and its islets of Peale and Wilkes Islands by the air, land and naval forces of the Empire of Japan against those of the United States of America, with Marines playing a prominent role on both sides.

The island was held by the Japanese until September 4, 1945, when the remaining Japanese garrison surrendered to a detachment of United States Marines.