Long a Pacific Mystery, the Secret Naval Base at Truk is Hit by Avengers, February 1944


This illustration shows U.S. Navy planes flying over the island of Truk in the Federated States of Micronesia during World War II. The destruction of the Japanese naval base at Truk was an important element of American strategy in the Pacific theater. It also had a profound effect on the indigenous inhabitants, who were caught up in fighting that lasted from February 1944 to the end of the war. The planes shown are the Avenger torpedo bombers that first saw action in the Battle of Midway in 1942. The illustration is by Frank Lemon, an artist who produced aviation lithographs and watercolors for the Wright Aeronautical Corporation of Paterson, New Jersey, the manufacturer of the Cyclone engine that powered the Avenger. The more than 50 ships sunk in Truk Lagoon now constitute the premier World War II submerged historical site in the Pacific.

Last updated: February 12, 2016