The Relief Of Wake?

The Relief Of Wake?

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 17th, 2003, 4:54 pm #1

The HC has receently reshown its excellent documentary on Wake Island, I have not seen it lately, though I did view it a year or so ago. I just came across some information in Col R.D. Heinl's book, "Soldiers Of The Sea." I do not recall whether or not the following was mentioned in the HC showing.

Regarding the Task Force which was to have relieved/reinforced Wake, and was ordered to pull back once it had been learned that Japanese forces were already ashore on 23 December 1941...

"Aboard the Tangier and Saratoga reactions varied from astonishment to shame and anger. Some staff officers pleaded with Admiral Fletcher to disregard his orders and make a dash in to Wake....What neither Fletcher nor they knew was that...Nor did they know that the Jpanese amphibious task force was clustered about Wake with no apparent measures for security against air or surface attack. Had all this been known, the story of Wake might have been very different and the United States might have had a very dearly needed victory....But it was not known, and Admiral Fletcher, who might have releieved Wake, turned away from the enemy and retired on Midway"

Somewhere, I have read that Heinl himself was a member of that Task Force. Heinl is also the author of The Defense of Wake.

Dick Gaines

R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
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