Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Aleutian Islands Campaign:  June 1942-August 1943

This section pertains to the Aleutian Islands Campaign which began when the Japanese attacked Dutch Harbor in June 1942, followed by the unopposed invasion of Attu and Kiska Islands.   To thwart the enemy and subsequent attacks, the U.S. Army established an airbase on Adak Island and measures were taken by the U.S. Navy to utilize submarines to attack Japanese enemy ships.   On March 26, 1943, the U.S. Navy intercepted an enemy supply convoy to the Aleutians, resulting in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands.  Following persuasion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, USN, to resolve the Alaskan situation, U.S. Forces invaded Attu on May 11, defeating the Japanese by the end of the month.  Subsquently, on August 15, when U.S. and Canadian Forces invaded Kiska, they found the Japanese had already evacuated. 

To review artwork from this campaign, please click here for an online exhibit from the NHHC Navy Art Gallery.   

Image:  80-G-K-13807:  Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands.  Emerging for a cloud blanket, at sunrise, soon after it was recovered from the Japanese, August 1943.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.