Monday, 8 May 2017

World War II Relics at Maloelap - Above Water.

On our way back from Ailuk we stopped for a week at Maloelap Atoll.  It was a major Japanese air base during WWII.  It was not invaded by the US forces but was rather rendered ineffective by airpower and naval bombardment and then bypassed as the USN moved closer to Japan.  According to Wikipedia, of the over the over 3000 Japanese personnel, only 1041 survived.

On the main island we asked about the airfield and were taken on a tour, by the kids, of the massive Japanese command bunker, generator station and the airfield.  Then, using the Matt Holly study, we took the RHIB to see the downed B-25 he discovered and finally moved Fluenta to Olllet Island to see the Japanese Zero's on the beach.

Photos below but if you would like more information about the history and the items left behind I recommend reading Matt's 2006 study.   We also have a more detailed version which appears to not be on-line.   Matt is still here in Majuro (we rented a mooring from him) and interesting fellow to talk to.

This is one of the engines from a US B-25 that was shot down attacking Maloelap.

The other engine is about 200 ft further away in deeper water.

On the island itself there are lots of parts of the B-25.  This is a, still lockwired, cover for the gyro.

Further along in the atoll is a Japanese zero fighter.

This is another Zero has what we think is a bullet hole in the prop.

Big carburetor on the zero.

Figuring out how the parts go together

A little hard to see but the purple things are jellyfish. 

Drop tank ?

Ashore, we asked about the airfield and were taken on a tour by the children.

The Japanese infrastructure was impressive.  This is one of the large generators.

The old airfield has Zero fighters and Betty bombers.

Looking at one of the engines of a Betty bomber

Betty bomber

Japanese Betty Bomber

The dials on one of the radios.

Ammunition is strewn around

Placards are still legible (if you can read Japanese)

Massive tanks.  I should have had someone stand byside them to understand the scale.  They are at least two stories high,

One of the smaller cannons with Fluenta in the background

I suggested to the kids that digging up unexploded ordnance is maybe a bad idea.

The whole ocean side of the island is a complex of shore batteries and bunkers.

and more generators.  Look at the size of the flywheel

More cannons.

and bunkers

and old shells.

The interor of the island is full of bunkers.  This one is about three stories tall.

To be continued with the "below water" portion of the visit ...


  1. Love it...what an experience to walk through those old wrecks. It never ceases to amaze me just how innovative people were when put under pressure to produce. As I look at an old black and white news reel of those planes it's hard to think that that was all 70 years ago...they built good stuff and they built it all fast.

  2. Wow Max.The pictures are impressive but I bet you and the family must have found it so awesome to tour a far flung battle scene. Excellent adventure .

  3. Hi from Italy. I checked Tuvalu and I found that blog. Nice adventure !!!! Are you going to Tuvalu again ? Nauru ?? I am looking for someone there who can send me an envelope for my collection. Tks. Alfredo.


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