Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Battle of Attu:  May 11-29, 1943

Codename: Operation Landcrab

On May 11, 1943, the U.S. North Pacific Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, USN, landed and supported U.S. Army 7th Infantry Division at two major landings on Attu Island.   One landing was west of Holtz Bay on the nothern side of the island, and the other in Massacre Bay on the southern side.  The assault force was commanded by Rear Admiral Francis W. Rockwell, USN.  The 7th U.S. Infantry Division was commanded by Major General Albert Brown, USA.   The Japanese forces were led by Colonel Yasuyo Yamasaki.  Fought in frigid, Arctic conditions, the struggle continued until May 29th when the remaining Japanese troops, led by Colonel Yamasaki did a banzai charge, which was ineffective.   Overall, the Japanese lost 2,351 lives including their commanding officer Yamasaki.  Following the success of this invasion, the U.S. focused their assault forces on the Invasion of Kiska Island on August 15.  

Image:  80-G-475686:  USS Casco (AVP-12), 40mm gun crew on watch while anchored off Attu.   Photographed by the Steichen Photograph Unit, July 1943.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.