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Aleutian islands - The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II
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Kiska and Attu, Theobald and Buckner agreed to establish a series of airfields west of Umnak from which bombers could launch strikes against the closest of the enemy-held islands, Kiska. First to be occupied was Adak, 400 miles from Umnak. Landing unopposed on 30 August, an Army force of 4,500 secured the island. Engineers completed an airfield two weeks later, a remarkable feat that they were to duplicate again and again throughout the campaign. On 14 September U.S. B-24 heavy bombers took off from Adak to attack Kiska, 200 miles away. Repeated bombings of Kiska during the summer and into the fall convinced the Japanese that the Americans intended to recapture the island. As a result, by November they had increased their garrisons on Kiska and Attu to 4,000 and 1,000 men respectively. During the winter months the Japanese would count on darkness and the habitually poor weather to protect them from any serious attack.