From: Eastern US
Legend: Port: 1 (2) -- first number is size in scenario 15; (number) = recommended size
Adak: BASE 863
Port :1 (2) SPS:1 (5) AIR:1 (0) SPS:2 (3)
No military facilities at start. Adak has the best deep-water harbor in the Anchorage-Aleutian chain. It was built into the US Navy’s main base for patrol planes, ships and submarines in Alaska. After landing on the island, engineers discovered that a tidal basin near the landing area could be drained and used as an airfield site, which handled squadron-sized B-24 operations within two weeks (!), and later hosted the headquarters of the Eleventh Air Force. The Navy’s Fleet Air Wing 4 (FAW-4) was also based here, and operated PBY-5As from both the airfield and the harbor.
Amchitka: BASE 865
Port: 1 (1) SPS: 1 (1) AIR: 0 (0) SPS: 2 (4)
No military facilities at start. Amchitka has poor harbors. During the initial, unopposed, landing the Destroyer Worden hit an underwater rock and sank, and waves and wind drove one of the three transports hard aground. An airfield was built and was used by B-24s on occasion, although primarily by B-25s and P-38s. Amchitka was one of three locations in the Aleutians where the USAAF planned to expand the airfield to 10,000 feet to handle B-29s.
Anchorage (& Seward & Whittier): BASE 856
Port: 6 (4) SPS: 7 (3) Air: 6 (6) SPS: 7 (7) Fort:3 (3)
Anchorage sprang to life in 1915 as the base camp for construction of the Alaska Railroad, and by 1940 was the largest city on the Kenai Peninsula, the most populous part of Alaska. Anchorage’s waterfront was along the Cook Inlet to the west; the Chugach mountain range separated Anchorage from the better ports of Seward (south) and Whittier (east). Anchorage was the principal base and headquarters for all army, and army-air, operations in Alaska at the beginning of the war. The Army’s Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Field were well-established by December. The Eleventh Air Force and all the USAAF aircraft in Alaska -- 20 P-36s and 12 B-18s -- were based here, and heavy bombers (B-17s, B-24s) staged through Elmendorf en route to other forward bases.
The game map ‘squashes’ the Kenai Peninsula together. As the map is drawn Anchorage should be one hex to the northwest, then the rail should run two hexes southward to Seward, which was the main port, with a hastily-assembled 5,000 man army garrison (Ft. Raymond). The navy, however, never considered building a base here, preferring the harbors on the islands of Kodiak, Unalaska and Adak, instead. The Army thought the 125 mile rail connection from Seward to Anchorage through the Chugach Range was too easily sabotaged, so they punched a 60 mile spur through the mountains from Anchorage east, and built port facilities at Whittier, which fronts on Prince William Sound. This new supply line was completed in 1943. Anchorage’s location on the game map between the real-life sites of Anchorage, Seward, and Whittier, is actually a nice abstraction of their combined facilities and capabilities, all rolled up into one base.
Atka: BASE 862
Port: 1 (1) SPS:1 (2) Air:1 (0) SPS:1 (0) Fort: 3 (0)
No military facilities at start; the “fort 3” rating is an error. The US Army occupied Atka as ‘insurance’ when they moved forces onto Adak, but the terrain kept them from building more than an emergency landing field for fighter planes. No air units were ever based here. Atka’s Nazan Bay briefly hosted some tender-supported PBY-5s that bombed the Japanese forces occupying Kiska while Adak’s airfields were being built. Adak has better potential port and air facilities, so for game purposes, Atka is a fairly superfluous base.
Attu (& Shemya): BASE 867
Port: 1 (1) SPS: 1 (1) Air: 0 (0) SPS:2 (5)
Attu had no military facilities at start, and a poor harbor. The Japanese never developed an airfield on Attu, but the Americans built one that supported squadron-level B-25 operations, as well as B-24s staged from other bases. Some twenty miles from Attu is tiny but flat Shemya. Shemya has no harbor, and can only be used and supplied by whoever controls Attu. Shemya was the only Aleutian Island with an airfield built to handle B-29 operations. I propose combining Attu and Shemya into one base, to reflect the historic air capabilities of Shemya.
Cold Bay: BASE 859
Port 1 (1) SPS 1 (1) Air 1 (1) SPS 2 (2)
Cold Bay had an airfield under construction when the war began. The airfield, and another one on Umnak, was completed in secret under the cover of the fictitious “Saxton and Company” cannery. The still-unfinished field had 2x 5000’ runways and was useable by April, 1942. Cold Bay was an “intermediate” staging field. At times, some B-26s or B-17s would base there, but not in squadron strength. One account says it had a 10,000’ runway, but I could not confirm that. Navy PBY-5 float planes used a naval anchorage at nearby King Cove.
Dutch Harbor (Unalaska): BASE 860
Port 4 (4) SPS 3 (3) Air 2 (0) SPS 1 (0) Fort 3 (3)
In 1940, the Navy decided to build a naval base capable of supporting ships and submarines at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island. To protect the naval base, completed in August, 1941, the army built Ft. Mears and moved nearly 5,500 men onto the island. However, the army could not find a location suitable to build an airfield for fighters anywhere on the rugged 30-mile long island, so instead based them on Umnak, nearly 70 miles away. Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Dutch Harbor as part of the Midway diversion. Once the US occupied Adak and built a naval base there, Dutch Harbor lost most of its significance.
Juneau (& Skagway): Base 855
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (3) Air 4 (3) SPS 4 (1) Fort 3 (0)
Juneau was the territorial capitol, but mostly a hard-scrabble mining town with 1,000 men out of a total population of 6,000 working in the Alaska – Juneau Mine, which turned out a quarter of all the gold produced in Alaska. Juneau had a good port, but no established military or naval facilities, and only one small airstrip. Even today, Juneau, hemmed in by glaciers and mountains, has no road connection to the outside. During the war, Juneau became a replacement depot for troops deploying to and returning from Alaska, but no defenses were constructed. Ships had to pass by Juneau to enter the Lynne Canal (fiord) to reach Skagway. Before 1940, the 400 men at Chilkoot barracks in Skagway were the only US Army garrison in Alaska. Skagway was important because of the short-line railroad that cut through the mountains and connected it to the Canadian town of Whitehorse, which was halfway between the two ends of the proposed Alaska – Canada (Alcan) highway. Most of the engineers, equipment and supplies used to build the Alcan, and to support the air bases along the Lend Lease route to Russia, were sent by sea to Skagway, then railed to Whitehorse. In 1943, the railroad carried 250,000 tons of military supplies. Along the entire southeast coast of Alaska, where the Coastal Mountain Range plunged straight into the ocean, the Army had a hard time finding enough level ground, with clear approaches, to build airfields of any significance. Two engineer regiments that disembarked at Skagway had to camp on the airstrip because it was the only flat ground in the area!
Kiska: BASE 866
Port 1 (1) SPS 2 (2) Air 1 (0) SPS 2 (2)
Kiska had no military facilities in December, 1941. Kiska Island is a snow-covered 4000-foot volcanic mountain. It is five miles wide and 22 miles long, with a ridgeline surrounded by a steep succession of hills running the length of the desolate, barren and uninhabited island. The mountainous volcanic terrain is treeless and covered with waist-high tundra scrub and deep mossy swamplands. The Japanese came closer to building an airstrip at Kiska than they did at Attu, and Kiska had the better harbor. Japanese floatplanes in the harbor defended against air attacks, and made a few raids of their own. 34,000 allied troops invaded Kiska in August 1943. Despite daily air attacks the US and Canadian did not notice that the entire Japanese garrison had been evacuated without detection three weeks earlier. Kiska, like much of the Aleutians, averages 250 days of overcast and light rain every year, and only eight (!) clear days.
Kodiak: BASE 858
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (3) Air 3 (3) SPS 2 (3) Fort 3 (3)
Kodiak is Alaska’s largest island, measuring 100 miles by 10-60 miles, and it guards the western approaches to Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. In 1940 the Navy decided to build Kodiak and Dutch Harbor into its first two naval bases in Alaska. To defend the naval installation, the army built Fort Greeley with a garrison of nearly 6,000 men, and a decent-sized airbase with three concrete runways from 5,000’ to 6,000’ long. The naval base, including facilities for ships, submarines, and float planes, was largely complete when the war began. Kodiak Island is covered by a blanket of volcanic ash, which varies in depth from 3 inches to 8 feet, and in some places 20-foot drifts were found. This blanket, deposited on muskeg and rock outcrop, provided a difficult and unpredictable base, and slowed airfield construction. When the first air units were assigned in February, 1942, the airfield was not complete, but two of the three runways were operational. Eventually B-17s and B-24s operated from the island.
Komandorski: BASE 868
Port 0 SPS 0 Air 0 SPS 0
The Komandorski (Commander) Islands are incorrectly portrayed as American islands. They were a group of Russian Islands, between the Aleutians and the Kamchatka Peninsula. In March, 1943 the US and Japanese navies fought their only surface battle in the Aleutians nearby. An American force of two cruisers and four destroyers intercepted a Japanese transport task force escorted by four cruisers and four destroyers, and forced it to withdraw. There is no need for this base in the game.
Nome: BASE 857
Port 3 (3) SPS 4 (2) Air 3 (4) SPS 4 (4) Fort 3 (0)
Nome was an isolated old Gold Rush town, amid rolling hills in the Alaskan tundra along the Bering Sea. The only way to reach Nome was by ship after the ice-flows melted, or by the “bush pilots” who proliferated in Alaska in the 1920s and 1930s. When gold was discovered in the beach sand in 1898, as many as 20,000 prospectors moved in, briefly making Nome Alaska’s largest city. But the gold ran out and by 1940, Nome’s population was a more sedate 1,000. As part of the pre-war defense plan, in July of 1941 Army engineers took over responsibility for building an airfield in Nome, protected by a single infantry company. During a war alert in July, B-18s were moved to Nome and patrolled the coast. The airfield was still under construction, but capable of supporting a squadron when the war began. After the Japanese captured Attu and Kiska, Americans worried that Nome would be attacked, and airlifted 140 planeloads of reinforcements, supplemented with ships from Seward. A Canadian bomber reconnaissance squadron flying Bolingbrokes (Canadian Blenheim IVs) also transferred there. Starting in September, 1942 Nome became the last US stop along the Al-Sib (Alaska – Siberian) Lend Lease Route. Planes were transferred to Russian pilots in Fairbanks, and the shorter-ranged fighters would stage through Nome en route to Russia.
Ogliuga: BASE 864
Port 1 (1) SPS 1 (1) Air 1 (0) SPS 1 (0)
Ogliuga is a very odd choice to include in the game. Ogliuga had no military facilities in December, 1941. It is one of the Delarof Islands, a group of 7 small islands. Ogliuga was never invaded or occupied by any military forces, nor did the Japanese or American commanders ever contemplate building any bases in the Delarofs.
Prince Rupert: BASE 892
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (7) Air 4 (2) SPS 4 (4) Fort 2 (2)
Prince Rupert is a magnificent deep water port, connecting to the transcontinental rail network. P.R. was not well-developed at the start of World War II because the Pacific Northwest was still relatively unpopulated. But after America started its Alaskan defense build up in 1940, the port of Seattle could not handle all the traffic, and freight was railed to Vancouver and Port Rupert for shipment. When the war began a squadron of seaplanes stationed at Allison Bay was Prince Rupert’s only defense. The Canadian Air Force used the American base on nearby Annette Island to guard the sea approaches to Prince Rupert, and this should be considered part of P.R.’s defenses. Annette Island had an airfield that could handle P-40 fighter operations when the war began, and was eventually expanded to support Bolingbrokes as well.
Sitka: BASE 869
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (3) Air 3 (1) SPS 3 (0) Fort 0 (2)
Sitka was an island base that guarded the approaches to Juneau. Because the islands of Southeast Alaska were rich in fur-bearing animals, Sitka was the capital of Russian Alaska before it was sold to the United States in 1867. Prior to the 1940 defense buildup, Sitka’s seaplane base was the only U.S, Navy base in the entire territory. During a war scare in June, 1941, the US Army moved a 2,000 man garrison to defend Sitka, at Ft. Ray. Except for coastal artillery, the terrain was poor for defense. There was no room for the army garrison on the main island, so it was stationed on Charcoal Island and a causeway was built to connect the two. The airstrip’s concrete runway was too short for even Army pursuit planes; it was rigged with catapults and arrestor gear like a carrier deck. After the first and only test flight nearly destroyed an OS2U Kingfisher, the airfield was only used to service amphibious planes.
Umnak: BASE 861
Port 1 (1) SPS 2 (0) Air 1 (0) SPS 3 (5)
Umnak had no military facilities at the start of the war. It is one of the largest of the Aleutian Islands, 83 miles long, with a volcanic peak, Mt. Vsevidof, 7,236 ft high. The Army had to provide air cover for the new Navy Base being constructed at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island in 1940-41. Surveys revealed that the terrain at Unalaska was not suitable for a landing field for bombers, so the Army instead proposed to build an all-purpose air base at Otter Point (Cape Field) on Umnak Island, sixty-five miles west of Dutch Harbor. The Army base was named Ft. Glenn. The air base was built in secrecy, as at Cold Bay, using the fictional “Blair Packing Company” as cover. Construction began in January, 1942, but was slowed because Umnak had no natural harbor. Transports anchored in Unalaska’s Chernofski harbor, then barges took the freight across eleven miles of very rough water. It took a month to ferry across single company of Army Engineers! Umnak was the Alaska Defense Command’s highest-priority project, but little progress was made until the engineers decided not to build paved runways, and used steel matting instead. The new field had a 5000’ runway that was usable by 5 April, although just barely so. By 1 June 1 B-17, 6 B-26s, 17 P-40s, and 6 Navy PBY-5As were based at Fort Glenn -all the planes the unfinished airfield could accommodate. The dirt / steel matting runways worked fine when the ground was firm. But in wet conditions, especially in the summer months, the ground was “spongy” and fighters would bounce thirty feet in the air upon impact. The “ripple” effect would make it unsafe for B-26s to take off. The B-17 pilot reported that Umnak landings were like “landing on an inner spring mattress.” In 1944, when war planners considered basing B-29s in the Aleutians, Umnak was one of three bases slated to receive a 10,000’ paved runway.
< Message edited by Blackhorse -- 8/27/2004 2:52:49 AM >
WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff
Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?