Japanese Seaplane Base on Wotje Island, Wotje Atoll

The garrison of Wotje, at peak strength in December 1943, consisted on 3,298 men, 2,103 Navy and 429 Army personnel, and 766 civilian (and Korean) construction workers under the command of Captain (later Rear-Admiral) Nobukazu Yoshimi, of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Of these only 1244 or 37.72% survived until surrender in August 1944. Between mid-1943 and Aug. 1945, US aircraft dropped 3500t bombs and US ships shot 1000t shells onto Wotje. While the first attacks were carrier-based and irregular, daily attacks were started after Majuro and Kwajalein had fallen to the US. At the same time, all supply lines to Wotje were cut off, and the Japanese garrison was left to starve. Of the originally 3300 strong Japanese garrison only 1200 (37%) survived. Casualties occurred from air raids, diseases, accidents, and suicides, but mainly from starvation.


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