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Maloelap


Digital relief map of Maloelap Atoll

Maloelap (171.23E 8.705N) is an atoll in the Marshalls. It is about 30 miles (50 km)long and fifteen miles (24 km) wide.  Located in the eastern chain of the Marshalls, it was the closest major Japanese base to Hawaii.

The Japanese built a large naval airfield here, on Taroa, which had 1300-meter (1420-yard) and 1500-meter (1640-yard) runways and so many building that raiding American pilots likened it to Ford Island. The Japanese also developed some port facilities. These were protected by two antiaircraft batteries. When war broke out in the Pacific, some 21 H6K Mavis flying boats of Yokohama Air Group were based at Taroa, along with 12 A5M Claude fighters of Chitose Air Group. The atoll was garrisoned by 52 Guard Force.

The airfield at Taroa was not discovered by the Americans until the carrier raids of 1 February 1942, when Halsey's airmen heavily damaged the airfield, sank a transport and submarine chaser and damaged six other ships, and killed the naval air station commander, Rear Admiral Yatsushiro Sukeyoko.

References

Miller (1991)

Morison (1951)
Rottman (2002)

Symonds (2011)



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