The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday Music "What it means to be young and I can dream about you"

I decided to go with a 4fer today.  I decided to roll with the "Streets of Fire" soundtrack.  I had bought the movie as a VHS and the soundtrack on CD.  I would up dubbing "What it means to be young" and I can dream about you" on a cassette tape that I would play in the Mustang while I was stationed in Germany.  To me the movie got a short shrift by the critics, the movie was pretty good and the soundtrack was awesome.  This was the 80's and the soundtracks could make or break a movie.  I do wonder what kind of lever actions they used in the movie.  They don't look like regular Winchester 1894 series rifles. to me....

Streets of Fire is a 1984 film directed by Walter Hill and co-written by Hill and Larry Gross. It is described in its opening credits and posters as "A Rock & Roll Fable".The film is a mix of musical, action, neo-noir, drama, and comedy, with elements of retro-1950s and 1980s. It stars Michael Paré as a soldier of fortune who returns home to rescue his ex-girlfriend (Diane Lane) who has been kidnapped by the leader of a biker gang (Willem Dafoe). Some of the film was shot on the backlot of Universal Studios in California, on two large sets covered in a tarp 1,240 feet long by 220 feet wide, so that night scenes could be filmed during the day.

Jimmy Iovine produced five of the songs for the film and the soundtrack album. For Ellen Aim's singing voice, he combined the voices of Laurie Sargent and Holly Sherwood, billing them as "Fire Incorporated." The Attackers were the real-life (Face to Face) bandmates of Sargent, who provided the lead vocals on Ellen Aim's songs "Nowhere Fast", "Never Be You" and "Sorcerer", and supporting vocals on "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young." The version of "Sorcerer," written and composed by Stevie Nicks, that was featured on the actual soundtrack album was performed by Marilyn Martin. The version of "Never Be You" that was featured on the soundtrack album was performed by Maria McKee.

Two songs written by Jim Steinman were part of the soundtrack: "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" and "Nowhere Fast", both performed by "Fire Incorporated", with Holly Sherwood providing lead vocals on the former and Laurie Sargent on the latter.

 The title of the former was used as the tagline on some promotional materials for the film. Dan Hartman's selection "I Can Dream About You" is the most successful song from the movie, and became a Billboard top 10 hit in 1984 (also from his studio album of the same name). In the movie, the song is performed on stage at the end of the film by "The Sorels," a fictional doo-wop style group consisting of actors Stoney Jackson, Grand L. Bush, Mykelti Williamson, and Robert Townsend. However, the song was actually sung for the film by Winston Ford, whose vocals were lip-synched by Jackson in the movie. While there are thus two versions of the song, only Hartman's version was released commercially.
Steinman later recalled thinking the script was "terrible", but he thought the film was going to be a big hit, in part because of the enthusiasm of Joel Silver:
[He said] this movie is about visuals. It's about excitement, it's about thrills. Don't worry about the script... I remember mentioning it to six or seven people that the script was trashy and I always got the same answer... The script doesn't matter. This movie is about visuals... Then we go to the first edit, the first cut of the movie in the screening room and it's [Jimmy] Iovine and me and Joel Silver... And about 20 minutes into the movie Jimmy turns to me and he goes... this movie is really shitty isn't it? It's really bad. I said, yeah, it's a really bad script. Why didn't anyone notice that the script was bad? It stinks. I can't even watch it... Joel's on the other side going, what am I gonna do next? There's gotta be a next project, and they're sitting there and there's so many lessons I learned during that movie. It went $14 million over budget, I think and I kept saying to Joel, how are they allowing this? 'Cause they kept screaming at us, it's over the budget. I said, how, and they, you've gotta understand, they built all, Walter Hill didn't want to go to Chicago. The story took place in Chicago, so they built Chicago in LA.
Steinman has said the filmmakers were convinced they would have the rights to the Bruce Springsteen song Streets of Fire, and filmed an ending using it. However, when they realized they would not get it in time, they asked Steinman for a song, which he wrote in two days. The song was "Tonight what it means to be young"

Two music videos accompanied the song. One does not feature Hartman and consists of scenes from Streets of Fire, intercut with footage of the Sorels miming the song as part of a live performance. The lead singer was played by Stoney Jackson, with Grand L. Bush, Mykelti Williamson, and Robert Townsend as backing singers. In the second video, filmed at the Hard Rock in London, Hartman appears as a bartender trying to charm a young woman (played by Joyce Hyser), singing to her as the Sorels' performance plays on a TV set hanging above the bar. In a 2010 interview with Hyser for the blog Old School: Back to the 80s, she was asked how she came to feature in the video. She replied, "I knew Dan's manager and he asked me if I would do it. We shot at the Hard Rock in London. I honestly remember very little about it, but Dan was very nice and I absolutely love that song. I did another music video for ZZ Top's song "Pin Cushion" which I really like. It was directed by Julian Temple."
While recording a mimed TV performance of the song, Hartman explained why one music video featured actors: "The producers and directors of Streets of Fire wanted the best of everything, so they hired the best singers, the best dancers and best actors to play the parts in the film. So the singers in "I Can Dream About You" who are the Sorels are actually actors, and I wrote and sang this song."
The Dan Hartman Version of the song.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Enjoying the weather...and the Government Shutdown..

Well today was a good day, it was 60 degrees and the sun was out, so I went for a ride..

I had to upload the video to youtube to post it on my blog...apparently blogger has a 100MB limit,

it is the second day of the government shutdown...I see the brain dead zombies shuffling around the house, we have had to board up the house to keep them out.  I have discovered that a shovel works better and is quieter.  I was using a 2ltr bottle taped to my pistol to muffle the report.  The bad thing is that I am running out of 2 ltr bottles.

I also see raiders running around trying to pick off the few people that are not zombies.

     The soil and air is strong with pollution since the EPA isn't around to regulate it.  Food companies have immediately started selling rancid food since the USDA isn't inspecting the meat plants.
There is total anarchy at the airport since the TSA isn't there to keep people compliant and what the TSA used to steal from the passengers, the raiders are picking them off after baggage claim.
The airwaves is full of boobs and bad language since the FCC shut down created anarchy on the airwaves.  The airports are having problems with planes landing with no sequence, apparently each pilot tries to beat the others to the concourse, there have been multiple near misses.

Wall Street has totally taken over, the economic boon really started taking off after the SCC faded into the night.  Since the ATFE has vanished, there have been a lot of RPG's available on Amazon and Ebay.  I even saw an M1A2 for sale for a few million and it will come with a combat loadout.
   I don't know how we will survive because the government always told us what to do.  The Federal government is mother....the Federal Government is Father....what are we kids suppose to do?

Seriously, the Democrats are putting illegals over citizens.  The straight political gall really gets to me and the sycophantic news media will give them cover from their actions, and deflect the blame to the GOP and Trump.

    And finally the News media was overjoyed that the President health is very good and they were effuse in their praise to the almighty for the continued good health and tidings.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The "Akutan Zero"

I did a post a couple of days ago about the attack on Attu and Kiska and I had mentioned about the Zero that was captured from that island, and how the Japanese would up there.  Well Murphy made a comment that there was a story about the Zero that was captured, well I decided to do a bit of digging and "Voila"  there was the story.

The Akutan Zero, also known as Koga's Zero and the Aleutian Zero, was a type 0 model 21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Japanese fighter aircraft that crash-landed on Akutan Island, Alaska Territory, during World War II. It was found intact by the Americans in July 1942 and became the first flyable Zero acquired by the United States during the war. It was repaired and flown by American test pilots. As a result of information gained from these tests, American tacticians were able to devise ways to defeat the Zero, which was the Imperial Japanese Navy's primary fighter plane throughout the war.
The Akutan Zero has been described as "a prize almost beyond value to the United States", and "probably one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific War". Japanese historian Masatake Okumiya stated that the acquisition of the Akutan Zero "was no less serious" than the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, and that it "did much to hasten Japan's final defeat". On the other hand, John Lundstrom is among those who challenge "the contention that it took dissection of Koga's Zero to create tactics that beat the fabled airplane".
The Akutan Zero was destroyed in a training accident in 1945. Parts of it are preserved in several museums in the United States.

The Second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937. Attacks by Chinese fighter planes on Japanese bombers caused the Japanese to develop the concept of fighter escorts. The limited range of the Mitsubishi A5M "Claude" fighter used to escort the bombers caused the Japanese Navy Air staff to commission the Mitsubishi A6M Zero as a long-range land- and carrier-based fighter.
The Zero, which first flew in 1939, was exceedingly agile and lightweight, with maneuverability and range superior to any other fighter in the world at that time. The Zero was superior to any Allied fighter it would encounter for the first two years of the war. To achieve this, however, Japanese engineers had traded off durability. The Zero was very lightly built; it had no armor and no self-sealing fuel tanks. According to American author Jim Rearden, "The Zero was probably the easiest fighter of any in World War II to bring down when hit ... The Japanese ... were not prepared to or weren't capable of building more advanced fighters in the numbers needed to cope with increasing numbers and quality of American fighters". The Zero was the primary Japanese Navy fighter throughout the war. During the war, the Japanese manufactured roughly 10,500 Zeros.
In 1940 Claire Lee Chennault, leader of the Flying Tigers, wrote a report on the Zero's performance. However, United States Department of War analysts rejected it as "arrant nonsense" and concluded the performance attributed to the Zero was an aerodynamic impossibility. According to American flying ace William N. Leonard, "In these early encounters and on our own we were learning the folly of dogfighting with the Zero".
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, nine Zeros were shot down. From these wrecks, the Allies learned that the Zero lacked armor and self-sealing fuel tanks, but little else about its capabilities. The Zero's flight performance characteristics—crucial to devising tactics and machinery to combat it—remained a mystery.
Prior to recovery of the Akutan Zero, technical information from three other downed Zeros was available to the Allies. One Zero (serial number 5349), piloted by Hajime Toyoshima, crashed on Melville Island in Australia following the bombing of Darwin. The Zero was heavily damaged, and Toyoshima became Australia's first Japanese prisoner of the Pacific war. Another Zero, piloted by Yoshimitsu Maeda, crashed near Cape Rodney, New Guinea. The team sent to recover the plane erred when they chopped off the wings, severing the wing spars and rendering the hulk unflyable. The third came from China, where Gerhard Neumann was able to reconstruct a working Zero. He used a partly intact Zero (serial number 3372) that had landed in Chinese territory, repaired with salvaged pieces from other downed Zeros. However, bad conditions and the long delivery time from China prevented Neumann's Zero from reaching the United States for testing until after the recovery of the Akutan Zero.

In June 1942, as part of the Japanese Midway operation, the Japanese attacked the Aleutian islands, off the south coast of Alaska. A Japanese task force led by Admiral Kakuji Kakuta bombed Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island twice, once on June 3 and again the following day.
Tadayoshi Koga, a 19-year-old flight petty officer first class, was launched from the Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō as part of the June 4 raid. Koga was part of a three-plane section; his wingmen were Chief Petty Officer Makoto Endo and Petty Officer Tsuguo Shikada. Koga and his comrades attacked Dutch Harbor, shooting down an American PBY-5A Catalina flying boat piloted by Bud Mitchell and strafing its survivors in the water. In the process, Koga's plane (serial number 4593) was damaged by small arms fire.
Tsuguo Shikada, one of Koga's wingmen, published an account in 1984 in which he claimed the damage to Koga's plane occurred while his section was making an attack against two American Catalinas anchored in the bay. This account omits any mention of shooting down Mitchell's PBY. Both American and Japanese records contradict his claims; there were no PBYs in the bay that day. However, his claims do match American records from the attack against Dutch Harbor the previous day (June 3). Rearden noted, "It seems likely that in the near half-century after the event Shikada's memory confused the raids of June 3 and June 4 ... It also seems likely that in his interview, Shikada employed selective memory in not mentioning shooting down Mitchell's PBY and then machine-gunning the crew on the water".
It is not known who fired the shot that brought down Koga's plane, though numerous individuals have claimed credit. Photographic evidence strongly suggests it was hit by ground fire. Members of the 206th Coast Artillery Regiment, which had both 3-inch anti-aircraft guns and .50 caliber machine guns in position defending Dutch Harbor, claimed credit, in addition to claims made by United States Navy ships that were present. Physical inspection of the plane revealed it was hit with small arms fire — .50 caliber bullet holes and smaller, from both above and below.

The fatal shot severed the return oil line, and Koga's plane immediately began trailing oil. Koga reduced speed to keep the engine from seizing as long as possible.
The three Zeros flew to Akutan Island, 25 miles east of Dutch Harbor, which had been designated for emergency landings. Waiting near the island was a Japanese submarine assigned to pick up downed pilots. At Akutan, the three Zeros circled a grassy flat half a mile inland from Broad Bight. Shikada thought the ground was firm beneath the grass, but in his second pass he noticed water glistening. He suddenly realized Koga should make a belly landing. But by then Koga had lowered his landing gear and was almost down.
The plane's landing gear mired in the water and mud, causing the plane to flip upside down and skid to a stop. Although the aircraft survived the landing nearly intact, Petty Officer Koga died instantly on impact, probably from a broken neck or a blunt-force blow to his head. Koga's wingmen, circling above, had orders to destroy any Zeros that crash-landed in enemy territory, but as they did not know if Koga was still alive, they could not bring themselves to strafe his plane. They decided to leave without firing on it. The Japanese submarine stationed off Akutan Island to pick up pilots searched for Koga in vain before being driven off by the destroyer USS Williamson.

The crash site, which was out of sight of standard flight lanes and not visible by ship, remained undetected and undisturbed for over a month. On July 10, 1942, an American PBY Catalina piloted by Lieutenant William "Bill" Thies spotted the wreckage. Thies's Catalina had been patrolling by dead reckoning and had become lost. On spotting the Shumagin Islands, he reoriented his plane and began to return to Dutch Harbor by the most direct course—over Akutan Island. Machinist Mate Albert Knack, who was the plane captain (note: the term "plane captain" in US Navy usage refers to an aircraft's assigned maintenance crew chief, not the pilot-in-command), spotted Koga's wreck. Thies's plane circled the crash site for several minutes, noted its position on the map, and returned to Dutch Harbor to report it. Thies convinced his commanding officer, Paul Foley, to let him return with a salvage team. The next day (July 11), the team flew out to inspect the wreck. Navy photographer's mate Arthur W. Bauman took pictures as they worked.
Thies's team extracted Koga's body from the plane by having Knack (the smallest crew member) crawl up inside the plane and cut his safety harness with a knife. They searched it for anything with intelligence value, and buried Koga in a shallow grave near the crash site. Thies returned with his team to Dutch Harbor, where he reported the plane as salvageable. The next day (July 12), a salvage team under Lieutenant Robert Kirmse was dispatched to Akutan. This team gave Koga a Christian burial in a nearby knoll and set about recovering the plane, but the lack of heavy equipment (which they had been unable to unload after the delivery ship lost two anchors) meant their efforts failed. On July 15, a third recovery team was dispatched. This time, with proper heavy equipment, the team was able to free the Zero from the mud and hauled it overland to a nearby barge, without further damaging it. The Zero was taken to Dutch Harbor, turned right-side up, and cleaned.
Loading of Akutan Zero on barge.
The Akutan Zero was loaded into the USS St. Mihiel and transported to Seattle, arriving on August 1. From there, it was transported by barge to Naval Air Station North Island near San Diego where repairs were carefully carried out. These repairs "consisted mostly of straightening the vertical stabilizer, rudder, wing tips, flaps, and canopy. The sheared-off landing struts needed more extensive work. The three-blade Sumitomo propeller was dressed and re-used." The Zero's red Hinomaru roundel was repainted with the American blue circle-white star insignia. The whole time, the plane was kept under 24-hour military police guard in order to deter would-be souvenir hunters from damaging the plane. The Zero was fit to fly again on September 20.

Data from the captured Zero had been transmitted to the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) and Grumman Aircraft. After careful study, Roy Grumman decided that he could match or surpass the Zero in most respects, except in range, without sacrificing pilot armor, self-sealing tanks and fuselage structure. The new F6F Hellcat would compensate for the extra weight with additional power.

On September 20, 1942, two months after the Zero's capture, Lieutenant Commander Eddie R. Sanders took the Akutan Zero up for its first test flight. He would make 24 test flights between September 20 and October 15. According to Sanders' report:
These flights covered performance tests such as we do on planes undergoing Navy tests. The very first flight exposed weaknesses of the Zero which our pilots could exploit with proper tactics ... immediately apparent was the fact that the ailerons froze up at speeds above 200 knots so that rolling maneuvers at those speeds were slow and required much force on the control stick. It rolled to the left much easier than to the right. Also, its engine cut out under negative acceleration due to its float-type carburetor. We now had the answer for our pilots who were being outmaneuvered and unable to escape a pursuing Zero: Go into a vertical power dive, using negative acceleration if possible to open the range while the Zero's engine was stopped by the acceleration. At about 200 knots, roll hard right before the Zero pilot could get his sights lined up.

In early 1943, the Zero was transferred from Naval Air Station North Island to Anacostia Naval Air Station. The Navy wished to make use of the expertise of the NACA Langley Research Center in flight instrumentation, and it was flown to Langley on March 5th 1943 for the installation of the instrumentation. While there, it underwent aerodynamic tests in the Full-Scale Wind Tunnel under conditions of strict secrecy. This work included wake surveys to determine the drag of aircraft components; tunnel scale measurements of lift, drag, control effectiveness; and sideslip tests.
After its return to the Navy, it was flight tested by Frederick M. Trapnell, the Anacostia Naval Air Station director of flight testing. He flew the Akutan Zero in performance while Sanders simultaneously flew American planes performing identical maneuvers, simulating aerial combat. Following these, USN test pilot Lieutenant Melvin C. "Boogey" Hoffman conducted more dogfighting tests between himself flying the Akutan Zero and recently commissioned USN pilots flying newer Navy aircraft.
Later in 1943, the aircraft was displayed at Washington National Airport as a war prize. In 1944, it was recalled to North Island for use as a training plane for rookie pilots being sent to the Pacific. A model 52 Zero, captured during the liberation of Guam, was later used as well.
Data and conclusions from these tests were published in Informational Intelligence Summary 59, Technical Aviation Intelligence Brief #3, Tactical and Technical Trends #5 (published prior to the first test flight), and Informational Intelligence Summary 85. These results tend to somewhat understate the Zero's capabilities

 F6F Hellcat (1943)
Data from the captured aircraft were submitted to the BuAer and Grumman for study in 1942. The U.S. carrier-borne fighter plane that succeeded the Grumman F4F Wildcat, the F6F, would be tested in its first experimental mode as the XF6F-1 prototype with an under-powered Wright R-2600 Twin Cyclone 14-cylinder, two-row radial engine on 26 June 1942.[35][36] Shortly before the XF6F-1's first flight, and based on combat accounts of encounters between the F4F Wildcat and A6M Zero, on 26 April 1942, BuAer directed Grumman to install the more powerful 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine — already powering Chance Vought's Corsair design since its beginnings in 1940 — in the second XF6F-1 prototype. Grumman complied by redesigning and strengthening the F6F airframe to incorporate the 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) R-2800-10 engine, driving a three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller. With this combination Grumman estimated the XF6F-3's performance would increase by 25% over that of the XF6F-1.This first Double Wasp-equipped Hellcat airframe, bearing BuAer serial number 02982, first flew on 30 July 1942. The F6F-3 subtype had been designed with specific "Wildcat vs Zero" input from Battle of the Coral Sea and Battle of Midway veteran F4F pilots such as Jim Flatley and Jimmy Thach, respectively, among several others, obtained during a meeting with Grumman Vice President Jake Swirbul at Pearl Harbor on 23 June 1942, with the first production F6F-3 making its first flight just over three months later, on October 3, 1942. While the captured Zero's tests did not drastically influence the Hellcat's design, they did give knowledge of the Zero's handling characteristics, including its limitations in rolling right and diving. That information, together with the improved capabilities of the Hellcat, were credited with helping American pilots "tip the balance in the Pacific".American aces Kenneth A. Walsh and R. Robert Porter, among others, credited tactics derived from this knowledge with saving their lives. James Sargent Russell, who commanded the PBY Catalina squadron that discovered the Zero and later rose to the rank of admiral, noted that Koga's Zero was "of tremendous historical significance." William N. Leonard concurred, describing it thus: "The captured Zero was a treasure. To my knowledge, no other captured machine has ever unlocked so many secrets at a time when the need was so great."
Some historians dispute the degree to which the Akutan Zero influenced the outcome of the air war in the Pacific. For example, the Thach Weave, a tactic created by John Thach and used with great success by American airmen against the Zero, was devised by Thach prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, based on intelligence reports on the Zero's performance in China

However, nine wrecked Mitsubishi A6M Zeros were recovered from Pearl Harbor shortly after the attack in December 1941, and United States Office of Naval Intelligence, along with BuAer had them studied, and then shipped to the Experimental Engineering Department at Dayton, Ohio in 1942. It was noted that the experimental Grumman XF6F-1s then under-going testing in June 1942 and the Zero had "wings integrated with the fuselage," a design feature not normally practiced in American aircraft production at that time.

 SB2C HellDiver
The Akutan Zero was destroyed during a training accident in February 1945. While the Zero was taxiing for a take-off, a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver lost control and rammed into it. The Helldiver's propeller sliced the Zero into pieces. From the wreckage, William N. Leonard salvaged several gauges, which he donated to the National Museum of the United States Navy. The Alaska Heritage Museum and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum also have small pieces of the Zero.
In an attempt to repatriate Koga's body, American author Jim Rearden led a search on Akutan in 1988. He located Koga's grave, but found it empty. Rearden and Japanese businessman Minoru Kawamoto conducted a records search. They found that in 1947 Koga's body was exhumed by an American Graves Registration Service team and re-buried on Adak Island, further down the Aleutian chain. The team, unaware of Koga's identity, marked his body as unidentified. The Adak cemetery was excavated in 1953, and 236 bodies were returned to Japan. The body buried next to Koga (Shigeyoshi Shindo) was one of 13 identified; the remaining 223 unidentified remains were re-interred in Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Japan. It is probable that Koga was one of them. Rearden later wrote the definitive account of the Akutan Zero.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Quick musings....no rants....this time

We survived "Snowmageddon 2018"  I didn't drive much during this time, I can drive in the snow, 5 years of Germany driving a 1986 Mustang that the ass was so light that I had to put 300 pounds of masonry in the back so I had traction and I kept the fuel tank full for more weight.  It was the other people I had issues with, A fellow Blogger and friend coined a phrase that summed it up perfectly  "Drunks juggling Chainsaws", it perfectly described the conditions when snow hits the south and the southerners try to drive like normal.
    Well I was at work...you know....
Yep you guessed it...and I froze my behind off, 26 degrees not including windchill, and out airplane was on the pad, not the hanger.....man it was cold....I stay in the south to avoid the cold...sheesh
  Well speaking of work, before I went outside, I saw that the "Veteran's" B757 dropped in for a visit...We like the airplane and she still looks shiny..
I also got a new holster for my shield,

I got a IWB holster from concealment express.  I like the Safariland holster that I have but unless I wear a long coat, it advertises that I carry concealed and I wear the pistol in church and I don't want other people to get uncomfortable.  I also got an extra pouch for the extra magazine in case of the unlikely event that I get drawn into a gun battle and the 7 rounds won't go far.   Perhaps I am a touch paranoid( Cue in mysterious black helicopter noises) but running out of ammo is not a good thing.  I will save the Safariland for when I am riding the motorcycle where concealment isn't such an issue

Thursday, January 18, 2018

When the Japanese launched a ground invasion of the United States..

This ties in with the Japanese attack on Midway, in June 1942 as part of the diversion of "Operation MI" the invasion of Midway which the Japanese needed to seize to protect the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" that the Japanese were building and they needed the outer islands as a buffer to protect the resource rich areas of the Dutch East Indies and other areas that the Japanese seized right after Pearl Harbor which contrary to belief was not an attack on the United States in preparation for invasion, the Japanese needed to knock the American fleet out so they can run rampant and seize the Philippines and other areas for raw material for their war machine as they continued working on China.  The Japanese wanted to build a impregnable barrier to the home islands.

In the cold, desolate Arctic near Alaska in 1942, Japanese troops quietly invaded and took over two of the Aleutian Islands, considered to be North American soil, with barely any resistance. First, on June 6, they took nine Americans prisoner at a naval weather station on the island of Kiska, and the very next day, on the island of Attu, they captured 45 native Aleuts and an American couple from Ohio.
These two islands are so remote and barren that Attu, according to archeologists, had only a maximum of 5000 inhabitants in the several hundred years preceding its discovery by more recent Russian fur traders. Even when they arrived, one stranded Russian waited seven years before any other ship arrived and he could leave.
By the time WWII came around, the islands were sparsely inhabited, but the growing fear of Japanese in the Pacific sadly prompted American territorial authorities to move the native Aleut inhabitants to internment camps in Alaska. Of the 880 moved, 75 died in the camps due to infectious disease during the two years of internment. Sadly, it wasn’t only the evacuees that suffered. The U.S. didn’t evacuate all of the civilians from the islands – the 43 Native Aleuts and the American couple were still on Attu.

When the Japanese took the island of Kiska, they killed two men, captured seven, and one escaped – for a while. He hid in a cave, subsisted on earthworms, and lost 80 lbs. After fifty days of starvation in a frozen wasteland, Senior Petty Officer William C. House finally surrendered himself. His surviving Navy brothers had since been moved to Japan and he soon followed. They remained there for the duration of the war.
Why Did Japan Want the Aleutians?
The Aleutian Islands are very remote (1200 miles from Alaska), barren, volcanic islands that are plagued by harsh weather can change on a dime from cold, still, and dense with fog to blasting winds that can drive a person down at 100 mph. There are few if any trees and they are almost unlivable.
Japan’s interest in the Aleutians was strategic. A few years before, U.S. General Billy Mitchell had said, “I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.”

A U.S. Navy reconnaissance photo of four Japanese Mitsubishi A6M-2N Rufe seaplane fighters at Holtz Bay, Attu on 7 November 1942.
A U.S. Navy reconnaissance photo of four Japanese Mitsubishi A6M-2N Rufe seaplane fighters at Holtz Bay, Attu on 7 November 1942.

The Aleutians aren’t exactly Alaska, but Imperial Japan’s General Higuchi Kiichiro had a similar notion. He believed that if he controlled the Aleutians, Kiska and Attu specifically, he would control Northern Pacific sea routes. He wanted to prevent offensive attacks on Japan, separate and create a boundary between Russia and the U.S. (just in case Russia decided to gang up with the Americans and together attack the Japanese), and to create air bases from which to make offensive attacks.

Japanese troops raise the Imperial battle flag on Kiska after landing on 6 June 1942.
Japanese troops raise the Imperial battle flag on Kiska after landing on 6 June 1942.

Taking the Islands
The Japanese, under the command of Colonel Yasuyo Yamasaki, arrived in Kiska on June 6, 1942.
They easily took the island, and the next day began invading Attu as well.  The prisoners they took there were transported to a prison camp at Otaru, Hokkaido, where sixteen of them would die.
The soldiers, who would eventually number 2300-2500, were from Northern Japan and were accustomed to the cold and wind and had little difficulty working in Aleutian conditions.

Attu photo with battle descriptions 1943

From June to September the initial occupation numbering 500 or so Japanese soldiers was growing and preparations were being made. From September to October, the Japanese moved all operations to Kiska, leaving Attu undefended, but the Americans weren’t positioned to take the opportunity to act.
At the end of October, the Japanese returned to Attu under the command of Lt. Col. Hiroshi Yanekawa who established a base at Holtz Bay, where they remained undisturbed by Allied forces for 11 months.
Why Didn’t the U.S. Respond?

Part of the huge U.S. fleet at anchor, ready to move against Kiska.
Part of the huge U.S. fleet at anchor, ready to move against Kiska.
The Japanese attacks on Kiska and Attu occurred just six months after their attack on Pearl Harbor. U.S. forces were still reacting to the devastation and were trying to build up defenses in the Southern Pacific while simultaneously dealing with the European conflicts.
The U.S. did fly from other nearby Aleutian Islands to conduct minor bombing raids, but they didn’t have the ability to bring in ground troops until their victory in March of 1943 in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands in the Bering Sea.
That battle opened the sea lanes enough to finally respond to the Japanese invasion of Kiska and Attu.
Operation Landgrab

Battle of the Aleutian Islands
Two months after Komandorski, the U.S. was ready to act. The Japanese had had limited supplies brought in – and only by submarine – once the sea lanes had been cut off. Still, the Japanese had knowledge of and acclimation to the island on their side. They may have been somewhat prepared, but they only numbered 2300 – certainly no advantage there.
Major General Albert Brown and 11,000 17th Infantry soldiers initiate Operation Landgrab on May 11, 1943. They landed at the north and south ends of Attu and had to make their way to Yamasaki’s position on the high ground that was further inland.
They faced little human opposition, but the island proved a formidable foe. This wasn’t a simple march to the inner parts of the island. The Americans were searching every nook and cranny for their enemy, and they were doing it in the snow, wind, and wet and they were not clothed for it. Neither did they have the equipment they needed for such a search. The powers that be thought this would be a simple in and out sort of mission and, thusly, didn’t take those precautions. They didn’t even bring enough food.
Many soldiers began to suffer from trench foot and gangrene and they were losing morale and physical strength due to extreme cold and hunger. When they did find Japanese soldiers, they were forced to fight the hardier men in intense small battles. The enemy soldiers lived by the Bushido Code, Way of the Warrior that forbid surrender and added to their fierceness in battle. They were warmer, better fed, and had more drive to fight.

American troops hauling supplies on Attu in May 1943 through Jarmin pass. Their vehicles could not move across the island’s rugged terrain.
Still, it was the weather that was the biggest threat with driving winds, drenching rain showers, and freezing temperatures, causing more U.S. soldiers to suffer casualties from cold than from battle.
Somehow the bedraggled American troops were able to push the Japanese to Chichagof Harbor where they hid in caves or underground dugouts. The U.S. had the upper hand, and higher numbers and fortunes were looking poor for Yamasaki and his men.
The Japanese commander, to go forth in honor, decided to risk an attack on the U.S. His plan was to charge on the Americans, take their artillery, and then return to the cliff side hideaways and caves. They would then wait it out until the Imperial Army sent backup.
He launched his banzai charge in the early morning light of May 29th, to the shock of American troops – all the way through the posts to the rear of the American camp – hand to hand combat all the way. Once the Americans began using firepower, the Japanese had no chance, and those that had survived to make it nearly to the end began to commit suicide – many by grenade. A doctor from the field hospital had killed his patients, so they were gone too. He wrote in his diary, “The last assault is to be carried out.… I am only 33 years old and I am to die…. I took care of all patients with a grenade.”
A few very small groups of Japanese continued to fight until July, refusing to give up. Fewer than 30 survived to be taken prisoner. Around 1,000 of the 15,000 U.S. troops were killed.

A map of the Bering Sea region.
A map of the Bering Sea region.
Meanwhile, on Kiska, the Japanese holding that island heard of the mass suicide on Attu. When Americans arrived in August – better equipped with airplanes and Canadian bomber assistance – the bombs they dropped and in 95 ships they stormed Kiska with over 34,000 American and Canadian troops to take out the 5200 Japanese they expected to be there.
But the Japanese had left in July in a hurry with freshly brewed coffee still sitting in cups on the base.
Even though there was no enemy to fight, 200 Allied soldiers died in this non-battle. Some were victims of friendly fire, and others had unfortunate run-ins with booby traps and live ordnance.
What’s Left

Troops march up the beach at Adak Island, during pre-invasion loading for the Kiska Operation, 13 August 1943. The LCM behind the soldiers is from USS Zeilin (APA-3). USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) is in the far right distance. Note the troops' packs and M1 rifles.
Troops march up the beach at Adak Island, during pre-invasion loading for the Kiska Operation, 13 August 1943. The LCM behind the soldiers is from USS Zeilin (APA-3). USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) is in the far right distance. Note the troops’ packs and M1 rifles.
Seventy years later, both islands are like portals in time. Indentations from Allied tents can still be seen on the ground; cups of coffee are still there, and more than coke bottles litter the ground. The military occasionally makes an effort to remove live artillery and unexploded bombs from the island, but that task isn’t finished.
Archeologists and war historians are making an effort to study the sites because they are the only untouched battlefields that have been preserved completely. Because of the arctic conditions, decay is slow or non-existent, giving researchers a window into the past.

    One of the things that came out of the attack on the Aleutians were that the United States captured a Japanese Zero

 Apparently the Japanese pilot had some kind of problems and crashed the plane in the Aleutians, and because of the Tundra the plane wasn't badly damaged and it was spotted and and disassembled and shipped back to the United States, they put the plane back together and totally evaluated the plane.  The F6F Hellcat and Corsair were developed because of the intelligence bonanza from this capture.  This will be another blogpost in its self.