|Alliance||Axis - Minor Member Nation or Possession|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Caroline Islands in the South Pacific were named by explorer Francisco Lazcano for King Charles II of Spain in 1686. In 1875, Spain claimed these islands, and in 1899 the islands were sold to Germany. In 1914, Japanese troops occupied the islands during WW1, and after the war Japan received a League of Nations mandate over them. Between 1914 and 1933, restricted by the League of Nations, Japan was not able to build up the Caroline Islands for military purposes, but its departure from the League in Mar 1933 gave her the freedom to do so. The atoll of Truk was built as a forward naval base prior to the Pacific War; it hosted five airfields, several seaplane and torpedo boat bases, repair facilities, and during the war a radar station was constructed. Ulithi Atoll housed a weather station and was briefly used by the Japanese as an anchorage, although this did not last long as Truk had already taken this role. The island of Yap had a history as a German naval base prior to WW1, and it remained an important military base in Japanese possession. Ponape, now Pohnpei, also served as a major base.
ww2dbaseDuring WW2, the Truk base was destroyed in Feb 1944 by American airpower and was cut off for the remainder of the war. Ulithi Atoll was taken by the Americans in Sep 1944 unopposed, and it became the an American forward naval base even larger than Pearl Harbor in Hawaii; the Japanese attempted to attack the base several times, but the effects were only marginal. Yap was bypassed by the Americans, blockaded with the garrison of about 5,000 men left to starve. Ponape, with a garrison of about 8,000 men was likely skipped over.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, the Caroline Islands became parts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands administered by the United States. In 1986, the new nation of the Federated States of Micronesia was formed, and it gained sovereignty over the Caroline Islands.
Last Major Update: Apr 2012
|Events Taken Place in Caroline Islands|
|Attack on Truk||16 Feb 1944 - 18 Feb 1944|
|Palau Islands and Ulithi Islands Campaigns||15 Sep 1944 - 1 Dec 1944|
Caroline Islands in World War II Interactive Map
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945