Marines in World War II
Historical Monograph

The Defense of Wake

by Lieutenant Colonel R.D. Heinl, Jr., USMC
Historical Section, Division of Public Information
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps

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Wake in the Shadow of War (pages: 1-12)

The Enemy Strikes (pages: 13-28)

Attacks Through 22 December (pages: 29-39)

The Fall of Wake (pages: 40-59)

Conclusions (pages: 60-61)


I. Documentation and Bibliography

II. Prewar History of Wake, 1586-1941

III. U.S. and Japanese Casualties

IV. Wake Chronology

V. U.S. and Japanese Task Organization and Command Structures

VI. The Surrender of Wake by the Japanese

VII. Terrain and Hydrography

VIII. Command and Staff, Marine Detachment, Wake

IX. Presidential Unit Citation


  1. U.S. Colors Being Hoisted Over Wake
  2. Maj. James P.S. Devereux
  3. Commander Winfield S. Cunningham
  4. Maj. Paul A. Putnam
  5. Wake Prior to 1941
  6. Offshore, Heavy Surf
  7. Thick Foliage
  8. Aviation Gasoline Being Pumped Ashore
  9. Marine Camp on Wake
  10. 3-Inch Antiaircraft Gun
  11. Japanese Flagship
  12. Japanese Light Cruiser
  13. Japanese Bomber's Eye View of Wake
  14. Grumman F4F-3 Fighter
  15. USS Tangier, The Relief Ship
  16. South Shore of Wake Island
  17. Patrol Craft 33
  18. Capt. Henry T. Elrod
  19. Marine Command Post
  20. Beached Japanese Landing Craft on Wilkes
  21. Thick Brush on Wilkes
  22. Defender's Eye View
  23. Wreckage on Peale


  1. Defense Installations on Wake
  2. Surface Action of 11 December 1941
  3. U.S. and Japanese Naval Operations About Wake
  4. Situation on Wake Island, 0400, 23 December 1941
  5. Situation on Wake Island at Time of Surrender
  6. Japanese Landing on Wilkes
  7. U.S. Counterattack on Wilkes
  8. Pacific Ocean: Distances from Wake

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Last updated: February 13, 1998

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