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Mainland Attacks – West Coast

Ellwood Field, California

Ellwood Field, California

On the west coast of Canada and the United States during 1941 and 1942, more that 10 Japanese submarines operated in the area attacking ships and successfully sunk ten vessels; including the Russian Navy submarine L-16 on 11 October 1942.  Some of these were in direct sight of California.  The forgotten war of Alaska will be covered by itself in future posts.

 

23 February 1942, the Japanese submarine I-17 attacked the Ellwood Oil Field west of Goleta, California and they hit a pump-house, a catwalk and an oil well.  The captain, Nishino Kozo, radioed back to Tokyo that he left Santa Barbara in flames.  This event is what led the invasion scare on the west coast.  A 70th anniversary of “Avenge Ellwood” was held there last year.

 

7 June 1942, off the coast of Washington, the American merchant vessel SS Coast Trader was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-26.  The ship carried a crew of 101 officers and men; 56 men were eventually saved by the fishing vessel Virginia 1 and the Canadian corvette HMCS Edmunston (K-106).

 

Estevan Point, British Columbia

Estevan Point, British Columbia

20 June 1942, Japanese submarine I-26 fired 25-30 rounds at the Estevan Point lighthouse on Vancouver Island in British Columbia – but missed.  This was the first enemy shelling of Canadian soil since the War of 1812.  There were no casualties, but shipping was severely disrupted when the lights of the outer stations were turned off.

 

Capt. Tagami Meiji

Capt. Tagami Meiji

21-22 June 1942, Japanese submarine I-25 under the command of Tagami Meiji, surfaced near Oregon and fired at Fort Stevens; the only attack of a military installation on the American mainland.  The only damage was to the baseball field’s backstop and telephone lines.  Gunners were refused permission to return fire.  A U.S. bomber out on a training exercise spotted the sub and did fire on it, but the sub escaped.

 

pilot Nobuo Fujita and his "Glen"

pilot Nobuo Fujita and his “Glen”

9 September 1942, Mount Emily in Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest, near Brookings, received the only aerial bombing on American soil by the enemy.  The Japanese Yokosuka E14Y1 “Glen” seaplane dropped two 180 pound incendiary bombs in an attempt to start a forest fire.  The pilot, 31, Nobuo Fujita, had taken off from the Japanese vessel I-25.  He repeated his attempt on the 29th, but again, no official damage was reported after the flames were quickly extinguished.

 

Mitchell Monument

Mitchell Monument


Approximately 9,000 Japanese balloon bombs were launched by the Japanese Navy from November 1944 and April 1945.  About 300 were reported to have reached America.  One incident caused the deaths of 5 children and one woman in Oregon.  A stone monument (Mitchell Monument) was raised at the site.  This subject is further covered in a previous post https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/?s=balloon+bomb

Canadian military reports indicate that the balloons reached as far inland as Manitoba.  A fire at Tillamook Burn was believed caused by a balloon and resulted in the death of a member of the 555 Parachute Infantry Battalion; there were 22 other injuries.

 

Reports, other than these mentioned, have been classified as false alarms.

 

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Farewell Salute – 

 

Ralph F. DeVito – Tequesta, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII

Dr. Joseph Pollak Jr. – native of Duquense, PA; USMC

Joseph Alper – Haverhill, MA & Boynton Beach, FL; USMC WWII Battle of Okinawa, 2 Purple Hearts; Korean War 1 Purple Heart

Linda T. Mullen – W. Palm Beach; American Red Cross, Emergency Service Case Worker for military families

Roger Kenneth Stockton D.D.S. – born in Chicago, IL; captain US Army WWII, South Pacific

Joseph Samuel Tarascio – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII

 

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Did you know?

Methamphetamine, or “crystal Meth,” was first mass-produced by a Berlin pharmaceutical maker in 1938 and adopted by the Third Reich’s military as a “miracle drug” to keep weary soldiers and pilots awake.  Millions of tablets were distributed to German soldiers, many of whom became addicted and debilitated – causing the Reich even further problems.

 

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Resources:  historylink.org; Wikipedia; evbdn.eventbrite.com ; Palm Beach Post; The Week magazine

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