The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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41.803N) is a major coastal traffic port on the southern coast of Hokkaido,
and had twelve rail
ferries permanently assigned to carry traffic between Honshu and Hokkaido during the
war years. Among other things, these brought iron
ore and coal
from Hokkaido to the factories of Honshu. Capacity was 200,000 tons per
year, of which 80 percent was coal. This constituted about 30 pecent of
the coal trade between the two islands. Hakodate was also
the major port for Japan's
Hakodate was one of the first ports in Japan
to the West under
the treaty negotiated by Commodore Perry in 1854. It had some of the
first Western-style fortifications
built in Japan, centered on a pentagon-shaped fortress built in
1857-1864 against the perceived Russian
threat. In 1869, during the Boshin Civil War, the last of the Tokugawa
forces took refuge here, but were starved out and forced to surrender on 25 May.
The port included a naval base for light forces, which helped keep an eye on the Russians to the north. The port and the nearby Tsugaru Strait were guarded by a heavy artillery fortress regiment.
Despite its coastal location,
Hakodate experiences some
rather cold weather due to its high latitude and proximity to Siberia.
Like most of Japan, it receives ample moisture
throughout the year.
On 14-15 July 1945, carrier aircraft from Task Force 38 struck at Hakodate, sinking a destroyer, two frigates, a number of merchantmen, and eight of the rail ferries. The other four were severely damaged, and movement of coal from Hokkaido to Honshu dropped to 18 percent of its previous level. This was evaluated as the single most damaging strategic mission flown against Japan during the war.
Hakodate was one of eleven cities over which the Americans dropped leaflets
on 27 July 1945 warning of an impending strategic bombing raid.
However, it was not one of the six cities on the list that were
||Building Way Length
Temperatures: Jan 32/19, Apr 51/35, Jul 73/61, Oct 62/44, record 92/-7
Rainfall: Jan 13/2.6, Apr 9/2.8, Jul 10/5.4, Oct 11/4.7 == 46.6" per annum
Craven and Cate (1952; accessed 2011-8-9)
Pearce and Smith (1990)
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