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A Magnificent Fight: Marines in the Battle for Wake Island

The Japanese bombing of Wake Island began a mere few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 8, 1941. Thirty-six Japanese aircraft blasted the atoll's US base and destroyed eight of twelve aircraft. For fifteen days American troops suffered endless bombardments until the second major Japanese offensive was launched on 23rd December. The battle took place on and around the atoll and its minor islets by the air, land, and naval forces of the Japanese Empire against those of the United States, with Marines playing a prominent role on both sides. Against overwhelming forces the Marines and other troops that were stationed on the island fought valiantly, but after forty-nine men had lost their lives in the fight, the remaining American men and civilians were captured by the Japanese.