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World War II at Sea - Pacific

A listing of World War II naval battles that were fought in the Pacific Ocean.

World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941, and brought the United States into World War II. Launching from aircraft carriers, Japanese planes conducted a surprise attack and sunk or badly damaged eight battleships. The attack on Pearl Harbor was dubbed "a day which will live in infamy" by President Roosevelt.

World War II: Battle of Wake Island
The Battle of Wake Island was fought December 8-23, 1941 and saw the US Marines mount a heroic defense before being overwhelemed by Japanese forces. First landing on Wake Island on December 11, the Japanese were repulsed by the Marines. Reinforced, they returned on the 23rd and succeeded in taking Wake Island.

World War II: Sinking of Force Z
Centered on HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, Force Z was a naval squadron dispatched to Singapore in late 1941. Commanded by Admiral Sir Thomas Phillips, Force Z sortied in early December to attack the Japanese. On December 10, both of Force Z's capital ships were sunk by Japanese aircraft.

World War II: Battle of the Java Sea
The Battle of the Java Sea occurred on February 27, 1942, as Allied naval forces attempted to block the Japanese invasion of Java. Led by Dutch Admiral Karl Doorman, Allied ships engaged the invasion force's escorts in the Java Sea. Lasting over seven hours, the Battle of the Java Sea saw the Japanese repulse the Allied attacks.

World War II: Indian Ocean Raid
The Indian Ocean Raid was conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy between March 31 and April 10, 1942, during World War II. Entering the Indian Ocean, Japanese carrier led by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo attacked Ceylon and British forces in the region. The Indian Ocean Raid saw the British lose several ships including a carrier.

World War II: Battle of the Coral Sea
Fought May 4-8, 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea was a strategic victory for the Allies. In the first naval battle fought entirely with aircraft, Allied naval forces were able to block a Japanese drive through the Coral Sea to Port Moresby. When the Battle of the Coral Sea ended, the Japanese had lost a light carrier while the Allies lost a...

World War II: Battle of Midway - Turning Point in the Pacific
The Battle of Midway in early June 1942, marked the turning point of World War II in the Pacific. Fighting to the west of Midway, the US Navy attacked and sunk four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its own.

World War II: Battle of Savo Island
The Battle of Savo Island was fought August 8-9, 1942, during World War II. Part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of Savo Island saw Japanese ships conduct a night action against Allied vessels off the island. In the resulting battle, the Allies were badly defeated losing four heavy cruisers.

World War II: Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Allied and Japanese naval forces clashed at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24-25, 1942. The second major naval battle of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the engagement saw both fleets launch repeated air strikes against each other. Though both sides ultimately withdrew from the fight, American forces succeeded in sinking the light...

World War II: Battle of Cape Esperance
The Battle of Cape Esperance took place on October 11/12, 1942, in the waters off Guadalcanal. Fighting off Cape Esperance, the battle was the third major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal Campaign. In the Battle of Cape Esperance, American forces were able to sink a Japanese cruiser and three destroyers.

World War II: Battle of Santa Cruz
The Battle of Santa Cruz was fought October 25-27, 1942, during World War II. Part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of Santa Cruz saw Japanese naval forces engage the US Navy in support of an offensive on the island. In the fighting, the US lost a carrier, but inflicted severe aircrew losses on the Japanese.

World War II: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal took place November 12-15, 1942, in the waters around the Solomon Islands. Attempting to reinforce their troops on Guadalcanal, the Japanese dispatched forces to the area and engaged in two major night battles. Meeting the Japanese in battle, Allied ships won both fights off Guadalcanal and inflicted heavy losses.

World War II: Battle of Tassafaronga
The Battle of Tassafaronga saw American and Japanese naval forces clash on November 30, 1942, during World War II. Part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of Tassafaronga had Japanese destroyers attack an American squadron in Ironbottom Sound. A stunning defeat, the Battle of Tassafaronga saw the US Navy lose one cruiser and suffer three...

World War II: Battle of Rennell Island
The Battle of Rennell Island was fought January 29-30, 1943, during World War II. The final naval engagement of the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of Rennell Island saw Japanese aircraft attack American naval forces. In the resulting fight near Rennell Island, the US Navy lost a heavy cruiser and had one destroyer badly damaged.

World War II: Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay was fought November 1-2, 1943, during the Solomon Islands Campaign of World War II and saw Allied forces defeat the Japanese off Bougainville.

World War II: Battle of the Philippine Sea
The Battle of the Philippine Sea was fought June 19-20, 1944, and was a decisive victory for the Allies. Attacking in the Philippine Sea while Allied forces were invading Saipan, the Japanese were repulsed with the loss of three carriers. The battle is often referred to as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" due to the large number of Japanese planes...

World War II: Battle of the Bismarck Sea
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea was fought March 2-4, 1943, and saw Allied aircraft inflict heavy losses on the Japanese. Sailing from Rabaul to Lae, Japanese transports were attacked in the Bismarck Sea. In the fighting, all eight of the Japanese transports were sunk.

World War II: Battle of Leyte Gulf
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was a series engagements fought October 23-26, 1944, in the waters around the Philippines. During the fighting, the Japanese attempted to block the Allied invasion of Leyte through a series of naval battles. The Battle of Leyte Gulf ended in a massive Allied victory and effectively crippled the Imperial Japanese Navy.

World War II: Operation Ten-Go
Operation Ten-Go was a last ditch attempt by the Japanese to aid the garrison on Okinawa. Calling for the superbattleship Yamato and its escorts to break through the US fleet, Operation Ten-Go was a glorified suicide mission. On April 7, 1945, Yamato and its escorts were attacked and sunk by Allied air attacks.

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