Early Raids in the
Pacific Ocean

February 1 to March 10, 1942

Marshall and Gilbert Islands, Rabau1,
Wake and Marcus, Lae and Salamaua



U. S. Confidential - British Secret

Publication Section, Combat Intelligence Branch





Office of Naval Intelligence

Washington, D. C.

January 8, 1943.

Combat Narratives are a series of studies of United States naval operations of the current war for the information of officers. They are based upon official documents and contain not only an account of the several actions but also a series of charts and illustrations which should assist the understanding of these events.

Material printed herein is Confidential and should be guarded (1) in circulation and custody of the Narratives and (2) in avoiding discussion of their contents with or within the hearing of any others than commissioned or warrant officers.

Director of Naval Intelligence.


January 8, 1943

Combat Narratives have been prepared by the Publication Section of the Combat Intelligence Branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence for the information of the officers of the United States Navy.

The data on which these studies are based are those official documents which are suitable for a confidential publication. This material has been collated and presented in chronological order.

In perusing these narratives, the reader should bear in mind that while they recount in considerable detail the engagements in which our forces participated, certain underlying aspects of these operations must be kept in a secret category until after the end of the war.

It should be remembered also that the observations of men in battle are sometimes at variance. As a result, the reports of commanding officers may differ although they participated in the same action and shared a common purpose. In general, Combat Narratives represent a reasoned interpretation of these discrepancies. In those instances where views cannot be reconciled, extracts from the conflicting evidence are reprinted.

Thus, an effort has been made to provide accurate and, within the above-mentioned limitations, complete narrative with charts covering raids, combats, joint operations, and battles in which our Fleets have engaged in the current war. It is hoped that these narratives will afford a clear view of what has occurred, and form a basis for a broader understanding which will result in ever more successful operations.

E. J. King
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations.


The Raid on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, February I, 1942 1
        Plan of attack 3
        Task Force attack plans 4
                Task Force HOW 4
                Task Force FOX 7
                Enterprise air group 7
                Wotje bombardment group 17
                Taroa bombardment group 21
                Yorktown air group 27
       Conclusion 33
Action off Rabaul, February 20th 35
        Plan of attack 36
        The action 37
        Conclusion 40
The Raids on Wake and Marcus Islands, February 24th and March 4th 41
        Plan of attack 41
        Ship bombardment of Wake Island 44
        Air bombing of Wake Island 48
        Air attack on Marcus Island 53
        Conclusion 55
The attack on Lae and Salamaua, March 10th 57
        The attack 62
                The Lexington group 64
                The Yorktown group 66
        Conclusion 68
Appendix-Designations and symbols of United States ship and naval aircraft. 69

Charts and Illustrations

Facing Page

Chart: U.S.S. Enterprise attack on the Marshall Islands.  
Illustrations: U. S S. Enterprise.  
                      An Enterprise antiaircraft crew. 20
Chart: U.S.S. Chester bombardment of Taroa.  
Illustrations: U.S.S. Chester.  
                      Hole in deck of Chester. 21
Chart: U.S.S. Northampton and U.S.S. Salt Lake City bombardment of Wotje.  
Illustrations: U.S.S. Northampton.  
                      U.S.S. Salt Lake City during a bombardment. 26
Chart: U.S.S. Yorktown attack on Jaluit, Makin, and Mili.  
Illustrations: U.S.S. Yorktown.  
                      Arming a plane. 27
Charts: Wotje, Taroa, and Roi-Namur.  
Illustrations: A group on the Enterprise.  
                      Kwajalien Island. 34
Chart: U.S.S. Lexington attack on Rabaul.  
Illustrations: Rabaul.  
                      U.S.S. Lexington. 35
Chart: Wake Island.  
Illustrations: Wake Island.  
                      Moist air produced curious effect around propellers of our planes. 52
Chart: Marcus Island.  
Illustrations: Flight deck of the Enterprise.  
                      Prisoners from Japanese boat. 53
Chart: U.S.S. Salt Lake City and U.S.S. Northampton bombardment of Wake.  
Illustration: Wake Island during bombardrnent. 56
Chart: U.S.S. Lexington attack on Lae and Salamaua.  
Illustration: Lae. 57

Last updated: August 12, 2002

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation