Helion's Into the Endless Mist

Author/Artists: Michal Piegzik


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 106 pages, softcover, approx 100 images
ISBN 978-1-804513-65-3

An almost forgotten campaign of WWII was that of the Aleutians. The Japanese felt that they needed a 'buffer' north of the country and so made plans to put an outpost or two in the Aleutian Islands. This was not, as many have thought, used as a feint for the Midway operation.

Planning was fairly straight-forward with US bases in the eastern Aleutians to be attacked to prevent any interference with landings on Attu and Kiska. Since it wasn't as major an operation as the one to Midway, most of the naval vessels were what I'd call 'second class'. No large carriers, no heavy cruisers, no battleships, instead what was provided turned out to be quite adequate for the task.

The Japanese were not sure if there were any US units on the two islands they planned on occupying, but it turned out that the only US personnel were a weather station on Kiska. Kiska was going to be the main base of the two as it had a good harbor for seaplanes and room for the invasion ships.

The US was fairly quick to respond to the invasion, however, the available forces were pretty meager and consisted of a small fleet and some USN patrol aircraft and some army bombers and fighter. The aircraft were fairly unsuccessful in their attempts at sinking ships, however, the Japanese were successful in attacking US military installations on Kodiak island. This freaked out the US as they feared that an invasion of mainland Alaska was next so diverted a number of troops and equipment to Nome to perform defensive duties that were eventually never needed to fight the Japanese. What was fairly effective against the Japanes were US submarines which managed to sink and damage a number of Japanese ships. All this was against the background of some of the worst weather in the world where wind, fog, and cold fought both sides.

This is volume one of the conflict and covers June to August 1942 when things were generally going the Japanese way. The amount of research done by the author is quite impressive as the book provides a lot of detail from both sides of the conflict. A goodly number of period photos, charts, tables and color profiles makes this a super read. I can, of course, recommend this to you as you'll learn quite a bit about the opening months of this campaign.

March 2024

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